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7 Things To Do In Vancouver, Canada

Updated on September 9, 2015
Marina Lazarevic profile image

Marina loves making weekend trip to Vancouver from the Bay Area. She's been three times now, and always discovers something new.

Vancouver is a remarkable city. For those that live on the west coast of the US, there isn't really an acceptable excuse not to visit. I embarked on a trip during a weekend in October and despite not having enough time to do everything on my to-do list, there was plenty to keep me captivated. The city and surrounding area are so breathtakingly beautiful that one can get lost simply by walking around and exploring. But alas, a traveler must see the sights! Below is a list of seven entertaining sights, landmarks, and activities to check out while in Vancouver.

North Vancouver

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A markerYaletown -
Yaletown, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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A reference point showing the relative distance between Yaletown (the peninsula/downtown Vancouver) and North Vancouver.

B markerCapilano River, North Vancouver -
Capilano River, West Vancouver, BC, Canada
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The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is located here.

C markerGrouse Mountain -
Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, BC V7R, Canada
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Don't forget to bring a jacket - it gets chilly up here!

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Located in North Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a nature-friendly tourist hotspot. The bridge itself is the highlight attraction and stretches 460 feet long and sits 230 feet above the Capilano River. In addition to the bridge, the park features a one-of-a-kind venue called Treetops Adventure in which one can walk across bridges of varying heights through a forest of tall trees. The entire park is surrounded by a temperate rain forest so not only are the views breathtaking, but the air is undeniably fresh.

One downside to Capilano is the whopping $30 admission fee (per person), but since one can spend hours adventuring and taking in all that the park has to offer, it is completely worth it. Besides the Suspension Bridge and Treetops Adventure, the park boasts a third attraction called Cliff Walk which entails walking along the narrow ledge of a cliff.

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Capilano Suspension Bridge (entrance). View of the Capilano River from the bridge. Cheeky entrance sign for Treetops Adventure. A Treetops Adventure bridge. Part of the raised trail of the Treetops Adventure.
Capilano Suspension Bridge (entrance).
Capilano Suspension Bridge (entrance).
View of the Capilano River from the bridge.
View of the Capilano River from the bridge.
Cheeky entrance sign for Treetops Adventure.
Cheeky entrance sign for Treetops Adventure.
A Treetops Adventure bridge.
A Treetops Adventure bridge.
Part of the raised trail of the Treetops Adventure.
Part of the raised trail of the Treetops Adventure.
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Skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain. Grizzly bear head at the top of Grouse Mountain.
Skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain.
Skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain.
Grizzly bear head at the top of Grouse Mountain.
Grizzly bear head at the top of Grouse Mountain.

Grouse Mountain

This is but one of the North Shore Mountains of the Pacific Ranges in North Vancouver. The entire area is a skier's paradise (Whistler is nearby), but those who are not athletically-inclined (myself included) should not fret. There are two routes to the top (4,000 ft) of Grouse: hiking and the skyride. Hiking is self-explanatory and the skyride is well, a ride via a Swiss Garaventa aerial tramway.

Top of Grouse Mountain.
Top of Grouse Mountain.

The Grouse Mountain Experience In Under 5 Minutes

A slice of downtown visible from the Lookout Tower.
A slice of downtown visible from the Lookout Tower.

Vancouver Lookout Tower

For a stellar view of the city from Downtown, the Vancouver Lookout Tower is an excellent choice. The tower sits atop of the Harbour Centre, a skyscraper located in the business district of Downtown Vancouver. Upon reaching the top, one can catch an unobstructed 360-degree view of the entire city.


Cost Summary: Capilano, Grouse Mt, and Vancouver Lookout

Location
Top Features
Cost
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Suspension Bridge, Cliffwalk, Treetops Adventure, The Living Forest
$12-$32 (child, youth, student, senior and adult passes available; all park features included)
Grouse Mountain
Round-trip Skyride, visit with grizzly bears, snowshoe trails (winter only), and mountaintop ice-skating (winter only)
$14-$40 (child, youth, senior, and adult passes available)
Vancouver Lookout
40 second elevator ride to the Observation Deck (553 ft), 360° aerial view of Vancouver
$8-$16 (child, youth, student, senior, and adult passes available)

Vancouver Transit Information

Vancouver UrbanRail - for downtown and mainland traveling.

TransLink - Bus, the SeaBus (to get to North Vancouver), and the SkyTrain (airport).

Granville Island Public Market

Foodies and shoppers alike relish all that Granville Island Public Market has to offer. In addition to boatloads of tourists (heh), Granville Island hosts dozens of food vendors, retailers selling locally produced products (artwork and the like), handmade crafts, and more. It is a wonderful part of town to get lost in for an entire afternoon. Additionally, Granville Island Brewing Co. is a brewery which originated on Granville Island (acquired and moved in 2009) and continues to produce small batches of its beer varieties as well as offer tastings and tours of its facilities on a regular basis.

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View of downtown and Granville Island (and more) from the Granville Bridge. Food noms picked up at Granville Public Market.
View of downtown and Granville Island (and more) from the Granville Bridge.
View of downtown and Granville Island (and more) from the Granville Bridge.
Food noms picked up at Granville Public Market.
Food noms picked up at Granville Public Market.
Spicy Tuna rolI from Sea Monstr.
Spicy Tuna rolI from Sea Monstr.

Sushi

A special perk for sushi lovers exists in Vancouver -- sushi is, as one can imagine, incredibly fresh and -- as one might not have guessed -- incredibly cheap! There isn't much more advice I can provide on this subject other than to seek it out. In my three days in Vancouver, I was fortunate enough to eat Sushi three times. Sea Monstr in Gastown was my favorite.

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Lovely cobblestone street in Gastown. Steam-powered clock in Gastown.
Lovely cobblestone street in Gastown.
Lovely cobblestone street in Gastown.
Steam-powered clock in Gastown.
Steam-powered clock in Gastown.

Gastown

Gastown is the edgy part of Vancouver where all of the hip and trendy locals hang out. Well, that's contemporary Gastown. Gastown is actually a historic site in Vancouver. It's known for the steam-powered clock which sits on the corner of Cambie and Water Street. The steam powers the sounds that emanate from the clock every hour. In addition to the clock landmark, Gastown is a technology hub, fashion district, and has a thriving nightlife. I really enjoyed walking along the cobblestone streets in the rain; the area is really very charming.

Yaletown/Downtown

The hotel (Opus) I stayed in is located in Yaletown. Yaletown is part of the peninsula that is downtown Vancouver. It is the opposite of Gastown, if you will. Yaletown is very high-end and fancy. There are many boutiques, coffee shops, hotels and apartment buildings. I actually did not spend a ton of time around my hotel. The benefits to staying in a hotel that's in Yaletown are twofold, however. For one, there's a metro station so commuting is very simple. Yaletown is also centrally located. The Burrard Inlet runs through the various parts of Vancouver, the peninsula being situated in the center. That said, Yaletown is an appropriate place to station oneself for easy access.

Hamilton St at Davie St. View from Opus Hotel balcony.
Hamilton St at Davie St. View from Opus Hotel balcony.
Yaletown at night. BC Place Stadium is visible in the distance (look for the blue lights!).
Yaletown at night. BC Place Stadium is visible in the distance (look for the blue lights!).

Vancouver Mainland and Downtown

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A markerYaletown -
Yaletown, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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The Opus Hotel, Davie Street, and subway stop (UrbanRail) are found here.

B markerSea Monstr Sushi, Gastown -
Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Sea Monstr can be a starting point! The rest of Gastown is very walkable.

C markerStanley Park -
Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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I did not get to visit Stanley Park during my trip, but 8 million people do every year! The park is 10% larger than New York's Central Park.

D markerVancouver Lookout Tower -
Vancouver Lookout, Simon Fraser University-Vancover Campus, Harbour Centre, 555 West Hastings Street
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I stopped by the Lookout Tower on the first evening of my trip, but the views should be much better during the day, assuming it's not overcast.

E markerGranville Island -
Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, Canada
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Very easy to get to via Yaletown! Spend just an hour eating lunch or wander around for an entire afternoon.

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    • ezhang profile image

      Edward Zhang 17 months ago from Bay Area, CA

      Vancouver is an awesome place! I visited a few years back. If I ever go back, I'll definitely be sure to check out the places on your list.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      It really is lovely, nice one!

    • Marina Lazarevic profile image
      Author

      Marina 2 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Thanks for dropping by, sally! Yes, I took all of the photos in this Hub except for the one of me standing on the bridge. :)

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Looks like an amazing place to visit. I especially love the image of the view of downtown and Granville Island (and more) from the Granville Bridge. Did you take it?

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wow, the view of the town is awesome, very different from asians

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A beautifully presented hub! I have heard lots about Vancouver and your hub. A very interesting insight and so greatly researched.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 2 years ago from Canada

      We spent a weekend in Vancouver this summer but we did not do much touristy. We had a free (by donation) walking tour that we would highly recommend. Other than that, we visited friends and met an online co-worker for coffee. Next time, we'll have to see the sights!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Vancouver sounds a great place.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E. Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      While on a business trip to Seattle decades ago, I took a day trip to Vancouver. I was very impressed! Perhaps my greatest impression after spending a day there was how clean a city it was. And the setting was beautiful. I remember seeing something I had never seen before - people lawn bowling on an actual lawn at, if I remember correctly, a university. Vancouver ranks high in my memory to this day.

    • Marina Lazarevic profile image
      Author

      Marina 3 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      On my second visit I biked around the sea wall at Stanley Park and need to update this Hub. That's definitely my top recommendation!

    • Fawntia profile image

      Fawntia Fowler 3 years ago from San Francisco

      I visited Vancouver briefly in college but would like to go back. It is a beautiful city! Thanks for the ideas.

    • Marina Lazarevic profile image
      Author

      Marina 3 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Thanks so much!

    • Is2222 profile image

      Paul Barlow 4 years ago from Louisville, KY

      Love this! Beautiful pics

    • Marina Lazarevic profile image
      Author

      Marina 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Vinaya, I'm so glad that it was helpful for you! :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Hello Marina,

      Simone recommended this hub. I have done some travel hubs and I will try to incorporate all the good things you have included in this hub.

      Cheers

    • Marina Lazarevic profile image
      Author

      Marina 4 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Thank you for your comment, Vacation Trip!

    • Vacation Trip profile image

      Susan 4 years ago from India

      Wow.. This looks awesome, the pictures are amazing. Thanks for sharing.

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 4 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      I've always wanted to visit Vancouver. Thanks for this informative and interesting hub.