Welcome to Vancouver, a city that’s as cool as a cucumber and as stunning as the mountain ranges that surround it. From lush urban parks to world-class museums and bustling markets, Vancouver is a city that’s full of surprises. So, hop on a bike and let’s explore 24 incredible things to do to help you explore Vancouver in the best ways possible!
24 of the best activities and attractions to help you explore Vancouver
- Rent a bike and explore Stanley Park: Stanley Park is a crown jewel in Vancouver’s already impressive collection of urban parks. From towering trees to scenic views of the ocean and mountains, this park is a must-see. So, rent a bike and take a leisurely ride around the park’s 22-kilometer seawall, stopping at the many attractions along the way. You can also just walk and explore not just the outer seawall but the inner trails and activities you can do. There are even great spots to stop and eat within Stanley Park that you don’t want to miss like: Stanley Park Brewing or the famous Teahouse.
- Explore Granville Island: If you’re a fan of markets, arts, and culture, Granville Island is the perfect destination. This bustling district is home to a diverse array of shops, restaurants, and galleries, as well as a public market that’s overflowing with fresh produce and seafood. This is ideal if you love to cook with great local produce while away on vacation or stock up on treats to take home!
- Walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge: If you’re feeling brave, take a walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a 140-meter-long bridge that’s suspended high above the Capilano River. The views of the surrounding forest are simply breathtaking, especially when you are amongst the trees on their treetop walk or enjoying a beautiful meal with a forest view. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is home to some of our oldest trees in Vancouver. Seasonally they will have amazing events like the MUST SEE Canyon Lights they host during the Winter holiday season.
- Visit the Vancouver Aquarium: The Vancouver Aquarium is a world-class attraction that’s home to over 50,000 animals. From sea otters to sloths, this aquarium offers a fascinating glimpse into the animal world.
- Go skiing or snowboarding on one of the great Mountains: If you’re visiting Vancouver in the winter, don’t miss the opportunity to hit the slopes on one of our amazing mountain slopes. Just a short drive from downtown Vancouver, there are a few beautiful and popular ski resort offering incredible views of the city and surrounding mountains and a variety of activities. Some of the mountains to check out: Whistler, Grouse, Cypress and Seymour!
- Visit the UBC Museum of Anthropology: The Museum of Anthropology is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Indigenous art and artifacts. From intricately carved totem poles to beautiful textiles, this museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Canadian history and culture. Amongst one of our most beautiful campuses UBC.
- Take a tour of the Vancouver Art Gallery: The Vancouver Art Gallery is a must-see for art lovers. This gallery houses a diverse collection of contemporary and historical art from around the world, and is home to some of the most innovative exhibitions in the city. Tuesday evenings I think are even by donation right before closing which makes it the perfect thing to add to your date night downtown on a Tuesday night!
- Walk through the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden: The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a stunning example of classical Chinese landscaping and architecture. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and enjoy the serene beauty of this tranquil oasis in the heart of Chinatown and downtown. Being so close to Chinatown it is the perfect opportunity to stop for a bite to eat while enjoying one of our more historic neighborhoods. Since COVID Chinatown has been faced with many struggles so it is always a great chance to support some talented and loving families.
- Explore the Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge: If you can’t afford the entry fee for the Capilano Suspension Bridge, then don’t worry and head over to the Lynn Canyon Park and Suspension Bridge instead. This free park features hiking trails, waterfalls, and a suspension bridge that’s just as impressive as the Capilano Bridge. Be prepared for lots of stairs and a decent bit of walking, so keep that in mind for anyone with mobility issues or stroller needs.
- Check out the Science World: Science World is an interactive science museum that’s perfect for families and curious visitors of all ages. From hands-on exhibits to live science demonstrations, this museum is a fun and educational way to spend an afternoon. They even host adult only evenings, one each month, so keep an eye out for those if you are looking for a way to enjoy it without all the kids.
- Go whale watching: Vancouver is a great place to spot whales, dolphins, and other marine life in their natural habitat. Take a whale watching tour and experience the thrill of seeing these magnificent creatures up close. There are so many great tour options all over the city from Richmond to Horseshoe Bay you can find the perfect company for your travel plans. Of course if you are planning on taking our BC Ferries you may catch a glimpse of some whales on your ride! Our family has often seen local orca’s while traveling by ferry in our city and it is always so special and our islands are beautiful.
- Enjoy a Broadway Show or Opera at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre: The iconic and beautiful QE theatre is THE spot for any and all Broadway or Opera shows here in Vancouver. Every year they bring an incredible lineup of entertainment and the venue itself is one of the most historic.
- Visit the Vancouver Lookout: The Vancouver Lookout is an observation deck that offers panoramic views of the city from the top of the Harbour Centre tower. The views are simply stunning, and it’s a great way to get a bird’s-eye view of Vancouver’s skyline and surrounding mountains.
- Explore the Gastown neighborhood: Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood and is full of historic architecture, trendy boutiques, and great restaurants. Take a stroll down the cobblestone streets and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this charming district.
- Go on a food tour: Vancouver is a foodie’s paradise, and there’s no better way to experience the city’s culinary scene than on a food tour. From fresh seafood to creative fusion cuisine, Vancouver’s restaurants offer something for every taste. There are some amazing food tour options and even brewery tours that are lots of fun.
- Take a day trip to Whistler: Just a short drive from Vancouver, Whistler is a world-renowned ski resort but it also has great summer activities like hiking and mountain biking. Whether you’re a hardcore skier or just looking for a relaxing getaway, Whistler is a must-visit destination and the drive up along the sea to sky highway is an experience in itself.
- Visit the Bloedel Conservatory: The Bloedel Conservatory is a beautiful indoor garden that’s home to exotic plants and birds from around the world. Take a relaxing stroll through the garden and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. BONUS it is super expensive with admission being under 15 bucks a person, and it is right next door to one of my favorite restaurants with a view: Seasons in the Park.
- Take a boat tour of False Creek: False Creek is a beautiful waterway that winds through the heart of Vancouver. Take a boat tour and enjoy the stunning views of the city from the water. Even just riding the little ferry taxis from Science World to Granville Island is worth the trip, and timed well you can catch the sunset!
- Visit the Contemporary Art Gallery: The Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver showcases modern art exhibitions and is a great place to experience innovative and thought-provoking artwork.
- Go on a craft beer tour: Vancouver is home to some of Canada’s best craft breweries, and there are plenty of tours available that will take you to some of the city’s top beer spots. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, Vancouver’s craft beer scene is not to be missed. Best part is in most cities in the Vancouver area there is a great brewery strip worth walking along and sampling: Port Moody area being one of my favorites with their range of Kombuchas available for those of us living the sober life.
- Take a hike in the North Shore mountains: The North Shore mountains offer some of the best hiking trails in the Vancouver area. From easy nature walks to challenging summit hikes, there’s a trail for every skill level. Of course make sure you pack what you need in case of an emergency overnight and are super prepared. Often times tourists get lost amongst our forests and need rescue, even on trails that seem easy.
- Visit the VanDusen Botanical Garden: The VanDusen Botanical Garden is a beautiful garden that’s home to over 7,500 plant species from around the world. Take a leisurely walk through the garden and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
- Attend a concert or show at the Orpheum Theatre: The Orpheum Theatre is a historic venue that’s hosted some of the world’s biggest performers. From classical music concerts to burlesque, the Orpheum is a must-visit for anyone who loves the performing arts. Check out what they might be offering when you come to visit Vancouver.
- Visit the Richmond Night Market: The Richmond Night Market is a popular night market that’s open during the summer months. With over 100 food vendors and a lively atmosphere, the Richmond Night Market is a great place to experience the vibrant culture of Vancouver’s vibrant and proud Asian community.
Vancouver is a city that’s full of surprises, and these 24 incredible things to do are just the tip of the iceberg. So, pack your bags, hop on a plane, and get ready to explore this vibrant and lively city. Of course for those of us who do live here let this list be the sign you needed to get out of the house and enjoy all the things that our city has to offer!