7 Things To Do In Vancouver, Canada
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.
A reference point showing the relative distance between Yaletown (the peninsula/downtown Vancouver) and North Vancouver.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is located here.
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.
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.
The Grouse Mountain Experience In Under 5 Minutes
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
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)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vancouver Mainland and Downtown
The Opus Hotel, Davie Street, and subway stop (UrbanRail) are found here.
Sea Monstr can be a starting point! The rest of Gastown is very walkable.
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.
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.
Very easy to get to via Yaletown! Spend just an hour eating lunch or wander around for an entire afternoon.