A Geek’s Guide to Vancouver BC
So you want to explore Vancouver British Columbia, and why wouldn’t you? It’s clean and vibrant, and you get the best of both world, nature, and city all in one location. You can spend a weekend here or a lifetime and always see something new.
Planning Your Visit
I always recommend looking up the official tourism site for the destination you’re visiting. The travel bureau wants you to see the best stuff its city has to offer to make sure you spread the word and keep coming back.
Where do you want to stay? Hotel overlooking the city or vacation rental to live like a local in a residential neighborhood?
During our latest visit, we stayed at the lovely Hampton Inn & Suites in Downtown Vancouver. This was the ideal hotel for us for our location and budget. The hotel staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the city and surrounding area. They also have a fun Instagram page to give you more insight into their favorite locations. There are many hotels in the city that are budget friendly or pamper you with luxury.
The next thing to plan is how you want to get there.
- Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is less than 8 miles from Downtown Vancouver
- Drive the distance. Make sure to have a vehicle that will tell you kilometers per hour and expect to pay everywhere you go for parking.
- Train choo-choo. Amtrak gives you a chance to see all the beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer
What To Do
This park is huge! Being one of the city’s largest attractions you should plan at least a half day to explore. The seawall is a nice walk or bike ride to work off all that poutine you ate. Check with your hotel or vacation rental as many will supply bikes to ride for a few hours. There are also plenty of bike rental shops near the park entrance or Citi bike once in the park.
Take one of the little boats across False Creek to enjoy the Public Market and shops on Granville Island. Expect to spend a few hours here exploring and trying the food including Granville Island Brewing Co.
From there continue the little ferry ride to Maritime Museum Dock where you can get beautiful views of the English Bay.
Kitsilano Beach Park
Kits Beach is the perfect place to soak up the sun and spend a summer day relaxing or playing beach sports.
Gastown is a small charming neighborhood with a famous resident, the Steam Clock. There are only 7 working steam clocks in the world and Vancouver is home to one of them. It’s fun to take a few moments watching the gears turn or hearing the whistle blow. There are also a few souvenir shops near the clock if you’re looking to take some goodies home.
A short walk away you’ll find Canada Place.
An iconic landmark, Canada Place is a great place to feel welcomed. It’s the Convention Center, a major cruise terminal, and so much more. Also in the area, you’ll find the 2010 Olympic Torch and the digital Orca statue art.
Commonly referred to as “Hollywood North”. With some big studios in the area, there’s filming going on most times of the year. You can look up some of your favorite films and hit the streets kid, live like the stars.
During migration, you may have a chance to see these majestic creatures. The best months for spotting a whale will be March to October and there are many different tour companies to choose from.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Fans of Nat Geo should recognize this gem as they named it the World’s Top City Garden.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
A stunning place to take in the beauty nature has to offer and take Instagram worthy photos.
No need to go to P Sherman 42 Wallaby Way when you can visit all your favorite fish here.
Only 15 minutes from downtown with spectacular views of the city.
Weird Science! Be a kid and get creative with science.
VanDusen Botanical Garden
Sip some tea, take in this wonderland, and daydream under a tree like Alice.
Vancouver is on the list for being a “Foodie City” and for great reason, they have food trucks, well-respected chefs, and amazing cuisine. Where will your taste buds take you?
Blue Water Cafe
Best known for its seafood and outstanding wait service, you can either have an elegant dining experience or wallet-friendly happy hour experience.
Earnest Ice Cream
We all deserve a sweet treat. Especially after deciding what flavor you want from the mouthwatering list.
Cactus Club Cafe – English Bay
Food with a view! Great place to laugh with friends and loved ones over a great menu.
A local favorite and recommended as a must-do
Vancouver locals are huge on brunch and this is the spot to do it at. Lines can form so get here early.
a few other recommendations
- Tacofino – TACOS! need I say more?
- Fanny Bay Oyster Bar – Happy Hour!
- Meat & Bread – grab a sandwich and head to a park
- Nicli Antica Pizzeria – pizza and drinks, yes, please!
- If you’re driving expect to pay for parking everywhere
- There’s free “neighborhood” wifi in Yaletown
- The currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD). Paper bills include $5, $10, $20, $50 & $100. $1 coin known as a loonie and a $2 coin known as a toonie
What are your favorite places to see and do in Vancouver?