Things to Do in Vancouver Last updated: April 18th, 2023
When people ask us what we think is the most beautiful city in Canada, Vancouver is our answer. Although it’s one of the most densely populated cities in North America, it’s also surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including lush rainforest, mountains, and the Pacific Ocean. It’s because of its setting that we often rank Vancouver, British Columbia as one of the prettiest cities on Earth.
Vancouver is also vastly urban, with hundreds of skyscrapers dotting the landscape. You can easily be surrounded by a concrete jungle in the morning and out in the forest in the afternoon. This is what makes it such a great place to visit. However, it’s also one of the most expensive cities in Canada, especially when it comes to real estate and accommodation.
If you’re looking for a vibrant art scene, loads of delicious restaurants, historic districts, thriving markets, incredible urban parks, and beautiful vistas, Vancouver should be on your bucket list. In this Vancouver Travel Guide, we’ll share with you some of the best things to do in Vancouver while also sharing some tips on saving money, how to get around, where to stay, and more.
Table of Contents
- Things to Do in Vancouver
- Stanley Park
- Vancouver Aquarium
- Granville Island
- Ride a Ferry
- Vancouver Maritime Museum
- Take a Boat Tour
- Rent a Seadoo, Kayak, or Paddleboard
- Grouse Mountain
- Rent a Bike
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Lynn Canyon Park Suspension Bridge
- The Polygon Gallery
- Vancouver Whale Watching
- Gastown and the Steam Clock
- Beaty Biodiversity Museum
- Take a Historic Walking Tour
- Go on a Date
- Vancouver Mysteries
- Robson Street
- Watch a Sporting Event
- Find Filming Locations of Your Favourite Movies
- Go Nude at Wreck Beach
- Vancouver Art Gallery
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
- VanDusen Botanical Garden
- Nitobe Memorial Garden
- Greenheart TreeWalk
- Get a View from Harbour Centre Observation Deck
- Museum of Anthropology at UBC
- Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
- Richmond Night Market
- Go on a Food Tour
- Experience Canada with FlyOver Canada
- Vancouver Police Museum
- Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site
- Explore the Sea from Sewell's Marina
- Take a Day Trip to Whistler
- Taste Craft Beer at the Many Vancouver Breweries
- Where to Eat in Vancouver
- Tips for Saving Money in Vancouver
- Where to Stay in Vancouver
- Getting to Vancouver
- How to Get Around Vancouver
- Weather in Vancouver (Best Time to Visit)
- Fun Things to Do Beyond Vancouver
Things to Do in Vancouver
Vancouver is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Canada, which creates loads of attractions, activities, and other things to do. Below is a list of some of the best things to do when visiting Vancouver.
Whenever we go to Vancouver, we always make sure we take time to ride a bike or go for a walk around Stanley Park. It’s Vancouver’s first urban park and remains the largest with over 400 hectares of natural West Coast rainforest. It’s filled with beautiful beaches, local wildlife, and historical landmarks. It’s also home to the incredible aquarium. Whether you walk within Stanley Park while marvelling at magnificent trees, or take the seawall for stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Stanley Park is a great place to go to be immersed in nature while inside the city. The park is open from 6 am until 10 pm unless otherwise posted.
While visiting Stanley Park, you may want to pay a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium as well. This is Canada’s largest aquarium with more than 70,000 beautiful creatures, such as dolphins, anacondas, sea otters, sloths, and more. The Vancouver Aquarium is also well respected for its research and marine stewardship and is a great place to learn about the region’s marine life.
Located right in the middle of the city is a little peninsula that’s become a popular hub for food and drink. Granville Island has a wonderful food market, a famous brewery, and a variety of cool shops. In the summer, it’s also alive with boat taxis, paddle-boarders, and kayakers.
Ride a Ferry
Speaking of Granville Island, one of the best ways to get there is by ferry! When walking around the waterfront, you’ll notice all sorts of little ferries travelling between places such as Kitsilano Beach, Granville Island, and Science World. It’s fairly cheap and is a fun way to just travel around and see Vancouver from the water. Consider buying a day pass and just enjoying it throughout the day.
Vancouver Maritime Museum
Speaking of riding a ferry, one of the dock locations is near the Vancouver Maritime Museum, a hidden gem in Kitsilano that shares stories about the Pacific Northwest and the Arctic while creating experiences that build bridges between the past and future. From their unique waterfront location, visitors can explore exhibitions and take part in programs about life on and around the Pacific Northwest and Arctic oceans. Their most popular exhibition is the RCMP Vessel St. Roch, a National Historic Site housed in an iconic mid-century modern A-frame shelter.
Take a Boat Tour
Soak in the unparalleled views of Vancouver’s breathtaking coastline aboard one of Sea Vancouver’s zodiac-style vessels, which is the fastest and most exciting way to see Vancouver from the sea!
Your trip starts with a relaxing cruise along Vancouver’s Inner Harbour before soaring up to 55 km/h as you cross through the Burrard Inlet. Along the way, you’ll enjoy the sights of Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, the North Shore, English Bay, False Creek and Stanley Park. Tours are 90 mins in length and depart hourly from Granville Island.
Rent a Seadoo, Kayak, or Paddleboard
Surrounded by water, Vancouver is an excellent city to go kayaking, paddle boarding, or jet skiing. Whether you’re looking to go solo or join a guided tour, Vancouver Water Adventures has something for everyone. Their fleet includes 35 jet skis, 80 paddleboards, 60 kayaks and two beautiful tour boats. They’re located at Granville Island and at a kiosk on Kitsilano Beach. Whether you are experienced or inexperienced, a local or a visitor looking for a local experience, they will help you find the best activity for your trip.
Quite possibly Vancouver’s top outdoor attraction, Grouse Mountain is a great place to go for gruelling mountain hikes or even an easy gondola ride to get jaw-dropping views of the city and the surrounding mountains. You can also see wildlife like bears and owls, enjoy outdoor shows like the Lumberjack show and Birds in Motion. In the winter, enjoy adventures including the stunning Light Walk, Sliding Zone, outdoor skating pond, or give snowshoeing a try on an array of trails. You can also rent skates, sleds and snowshoes.
The Gondola costs approximately $80 for a return-trip. Get your tickets here!
Rent a Bike
Vancouver is one of the best cities in Canada for biking. Whether you’re looking to share the urban streets with cars while cycling next to skyscrapers or heading off for an adventure in Stanley Park to cycle along the seawall, there’s no shortage of options for peddling a bike. In fact, due to its immense popularity, there’s a plethora of places to rent a bike from as well. Some options include English Bay Bike Rentals, Cycle City Tours, Spokes Bicycle Rentals, and Freedom Bike Rentals.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Another popular attraction is the 450-foot-long Capilano suspension bridge, which hangs over the Capilano River in North Vancouver. For those afraid of heights, it’s quite the thrill. Soar over the Capilano River as you cross the suspension bridge, climb through old-growth fir trees on the Treetops Adventure, and rise high above the canyon along a towering wall of granite on the new Cliffwalk.
Lynn Canyon Park Suspension Bridge
If you’d like to live like a local and go for a hike in a beautiful area complete with another suspension bridge, Lynn Canyon Park is a great option. For one, the suspension bridge here is free and it’s still 150 feet high! There are also short scenic hikes, swimming holes, and waterfalls. It’s a great place to spend a good half day.
The Polygon Gallery
The Polygon is a vibrant art institution that inspires and provokes cultural insight through adventurous programming. The Gallery is committed to championing artists and cultivating engaged audiences. Its lens of inquiry creatively responds to shifting perceptions of the world, through the histories and evolving technologies of photography and related media.
Vancouver Whale Watching
If you really want to see something magical while visiting Vancouver, consider a Vancouver whale watching tour. Vancouver and Vancouver Island are famous for Orca whales, including resident orca whales and transient orca whales. We’ve had spectacular whale-watching experiences around Vancouver and also out in Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. While nature can be unpredictable, your chances of seeing them are very high. Tours cost approximately $145 CAD. The only company we’ve gone with is Seabreeze Adventures, which is located in Steveston. During our tour with them, we saw a pod of resident killer whales and a pod of transient killer whales. Pretty amazing, especially when you consider it’s only 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver!
Gastown and the Steam Clock
No visit to Vancouver would be complete without visiting Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. Once home to a single tavern back in 1867, it’s now a very trendy part of the city with a plethora of restaurants, cafes, vars, and shops. It’s also home to beautiful historic buildings, cobblestone streets, and the famous Steam Clock, which goes off every hour.
Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Located on Vancouver Campus, the Beaty Biodiversity Museum gives you the chance to fall in love with the diversity of life through more than 500 exhibits, more than 2 million specimens, and Canada’s largest blue whale skeleton. Enjoy more than 20,000 square feet of exhibits, including dinosaur trackways from BC’s early Cretaceous period, and myriad fossils, mammals, reptiles, and plants from around the region and across the planet.
Take a Historic Walking Tour
If you really want to learn about Vancouver’s history while taking in the shabby East Village and Gastown districts, consider taking a Forbidden Vancouver walking tour. You’ll learn all about Vancouver’s dark history, including bootlegging, opium dens, corruption, and riots.
Go on a Date
As you can imagine, Canada’s most beautiful city has no shortage of options when it comes to romantic date ideas in Vancouver. Whether you’re looking for something in nature, such as a hike in Lynn Canyon, or something in the city, such as visiting one of the many museums, there are many options to choose from.
If you love solving clues and are looking for an outdoor activity in downtown Vancouver, Vancouver Mysteries offers four outdoor games to uniquely explore the city. Choose the game, date and time and then watch for an email with digital waivers to sign, further instructions and the secret start location where you meet a Game Operator in character as a detective, spy or Agent X. They start your story and provide you with everything you need to solve your mystery, including a map, clues, artifacts and tools. This is real-life (no apps to download), self-guided, and only available in Vancouver.
If you’re visiting Vancouver, you probably want to spend some time in the city itself and one of the best streets to walk around is Robson Street. It’s full of delicious international restaurants, hipster cafes, and shops. It’s a great place for people-watching and feeling the soul of Vancouver. For lovers of Japanese food, there’s no shortage of it in Vancouver and you’ll find plenty of sushi bars, ramen shops, and Japanese bars to enjoy here.
This recently-converted industrial neighbourhood is now home to some of the city’s most popular pubs and eateries. It’s one of those places where you can eat lunch on a patio, go for a walk along the neighbouring Seawall, admire the street art, or just hang out in one of the nearby parks, such as David Lam Park or George Wainborn Park.
Watch a Sporting Event
If you’re into professional sports, Vancouver’s a great place to be. Vancouver is home to both a Canadian Football Team – the BC Lions – as well as a National Hockey League team – The Vancouver Canucks. If you’re visiting in the summer, football is on the agenda, whereas in the winter, it’s all about the Canucks. Vancouver is also home to the White Caps soccer team.
Find Filming Locations of Your Favourite Movies
Did you know that Vancouver is known as the Hollywood North? In fact, many Hollywood productions are filmed in Vancouver and you can join Fans of Vancouver on one of their filming location tours, seasonal walking tours, or urban adventures around Vancouver. Vancouver has productions filming all over the city on a regular basis and they will give you the best “movie tour” possible.
Go Nude at Wreck Beach
If you’re looking for a nude beach, this is the only one in the city. Here you’ll find naked folks just “hanging” out, sunbathing, swimming, and listening to music. It’s places like this that made Vancouver famous back in the ’70s. It’s located in Pacific Spirit Regional Park.
Vancouver Art Gallery
If art is your thing, you won’t want to miss the collection of national and international artwork at the Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s home to more than 9,000 works of art, a whole exhibit devoted to Emily Carr (BC’s favourite historical artist) and late-night parties with live music. Admission is $24 CAD approx but is pay-what-you-want on Tuesdays.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Did you know? This was the first authentic Chinese garden built outside of China. It’s also been named the top city garden in the world by National Geographic and is located right in the heart of the city. Admire the ponds filled with koi fish, the 150-year-old miniature trees, and the various covered walkways as you walk around the tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. It’s made even more special considering it was made using 14th-century methods, which means no glue, power tools, or screws! Admission is just $14 CAD (approx).
VanDusen Botanical Garden
VanDusen Botanical Garden is a beautiful botanical garden situated in Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood. The Garden covers 22 hectares (55 acres) and displays plants from all over the world, including an extensive collection of native British Columbia (Northwest Coast) plants.
In addition to water features throughout the rolling landscape, special features in the garden include carved totem poles, a small Japanese garden and large stone sculptures. There’s also a beautiful maze adjacent to VanDusen’s heirloom vegetable garden.
Nitobe Memorial Garden
Located at the University of British Columbia, Nitobe Memorial Garden is a traditional Japanese stroll garden with an authentic tea house and is considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.
The garden is beautiful in all weather and highlights the passing of the seasons such as cherry blossoms in spring, blooming irises in summer, maple leaves glowing red and yellow in the fall, and both native and Japanese trees pruned in winter. No matter what time of year, carpets of moss, bridges that span a koi pond and iris bed, and stone paths that cross waterfalls, create a peaceful atmosphere that invites the visitor to reflect on both the beauty of nature and its place in their lives.
Also located at the University of British Columbia, the Greenheart TreeWalk will spark your adventurous spirit as you navigate suspended walkways and tree platforms high above the forest ﬂoor. Located in the heart of UBC Botanical Garden, the 310 metre-long treetop canopy walkway hangs from huge Douglas firs, cedars and grand firs, many of which are over 100 years old. Reaching a height of nearly 20 metres above the forest floor, the walkway will give you a bird’s eye view of Vancouver’s magnificent coastal temperate rainforest.
Get a View from Harbour Centre Observation Deck
If you’re looking for a view of the city, head on over to the downtown Harbour Centre’s observation deck for panoramic views over the city, mountains, and ocean. Admission is $18 CAD (approx).
Museum of Anthropology at UBC
If you’re looking for one of the world’s finest displays of Northwest Coast First Nations arts, this is the place to go! Located at the University of British Columbia just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver, you’ll find spectacular carvings, weavings and contemporary artworks inside a gorgeous building overlooking the mountains and sea. You’ll also find the world’s largest collection of works by acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid, 9,000 objects from around the world, a collection of European ceramic unique to North America, and monumental Haida houses and totem poles on the museum grounds. Admission is $18 CAD (approx).
Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
This Gallery is the only public Gallery in Canada dedicated to contemporary Indigenous Northwest Coast Art, making it a spectacular place to witness art from the region. Inside you’ll find the Bill Reid SFU Art Collection, as well as special exhibitions and programs that build bridges between all peoples. It’s located in downtown Vancouver, within walking distance of the Pacific Centre. Admission is $13 CAD.
Richmond Night Market
For all the foodies out there, one of the coolest – and tastiest – spots you can visit in the city is the Richmond Night Market. Open between May and September, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped foot into Asia, enjoying a wide range of Asian food, culture, and shopping. Snacks start at $2 CAD.
Go on a Food Tour
Vancouver is a great place for food lovers and Vancouver Foodie Tours is one of the most popular food tours in the city. They’ll take you to as many as eight different spots around Gastown and Granville Island, making sure your tastebuds are satisfied. Tickets start at $95 CAD.
Experience Canada with FlyOver Canada
Want to get a taste of the second-largest country on Earth in just 8 minutes? Located at Canada Place on Vancouver’s waterfront, FlyOver Canada utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give you the feeling of flight. You will hang suspended, feet dangling, before a 20-metre spherical screen while the film whisks you away on an exhilarating 8-minute journey across Canada, from east to west. Special effects, including wind, mist and scents, combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience. This motion ride is extremely popular and some people even told us that it made them cry from seeing all the beauty of Canada.
Vancouver Police Museum
The Vancouver Police Museum and Archives are dedicated to preserving the history and memory of British Columbia’s largest independent municipal agency, the historic City Coroner’s Services and the City Analyst’s Laboratory, serving as an educational institution, living memorial, cultural anchor, and bridge between Vancouver citizens, visitors and local law enforcement.
The museum is located on the top floor of the city-owned Coroner’s Court building and permanent exhibits include the original morgue and autopsy suite. The museum maintains a collection of more than 30,000 objects, including archival documents, photographs, publications, confiscated firearms and other weapons, counterfeit currency, and various other artifacts and memorabilia, of which an estimated 40% is on display.
Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site
If you’re into history, this could be a great thing to add to your Vancouver bucket list. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society honours the importance of Canada’s West Coast fishing history by sharing stories of the fishing industry and fishing communities through exhibitions, collections, programs, and events.
Explore the Sea from Sewell’s Marina
Whether you’re looking to rent your own speed boat, go fishing, or join a sea safari, Sewell’s Marina has you covered. Located in Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, Sewell’s Marina has been introducing visitors to Vancouver’s ocean playground since 1931. This includes Fishing Derbies, Sea Safari Eco Tours, Company Scavenger Hunts and their famous self-drive boat rental fleet. You can also enjoy lovely ocean and mountain views from their “deck of the bay”, even if you’re not up for an ocean adventure. Howe Sound offers over 300 sq. miles of sheltered islands and bays to explore and the Sunshine Coast and Gulf Islands are within easy sailing distance of Horseshoe Bay.
Take a Day Trip to Whistler
If you want to explore Whistler Village and marvel at the beautiful waterfalls in the famous Sea to Sky region, you might want to opt for a day tour from Vancouver to Whistler with BeWild Adventures. They also offer a number of guided hikes as well.
Taste Craft Beer at the Many Vancouver Breweries
Trying to decide on the best breweries in Vancouver is like trying to decide on the best pizza joint in Italy. There are so many breweries in Vancouver and all of them are good. You can’t go wrong. However, we reached out to a local and asked them to name five. Here they are:
Brassneck Brewery: According to many locals, Brassneck Brewery makes the best beer in the city. Whether you order your favourite pint or a flight of four, the prices are very reasonable and they have a great location on Main Street.
Stanley Park Brewing: Located right inside Stanley Park, not far from Second Beach, Stanley Park Brewing is an excellent place to sample some craft beer and munch down on some delicious food. They also have an awesome patio and are surrounded by tennis courts and nature.
33 Acres Brewing Company: If you’re looking for coffee and beer, this is the place to go. It’s now become so popular, that they’ve had to expand…but not too much.
Callister Brewing Company: Located within walking distance of must-see Gastown, this cool little brewery creates tiny, collaborative brews. People love it not only for their great beer but because 4 microbreweries share the same space, giving you lots of options. We’ve also heard great things about the bacon cheese board.
Powell Brewery: If you love Tiny and Old Skool, this is the place to go. This husband-and-wife-team-owned nano-brewery won “Beer of the Year” from the Canadian Brewing Awards for their Old Jalopy Pale Ale. Suddenly, they weren’t so small, as more people requested their all-natural, hand-crafted beers.
If that’s not enough for you, consider a day trip out to Port Moody or North Vancouver for their walkable brewery districts. Both are accessible by transit. Cheers!
Where to Eat in Vancouver
Vancouver has so many dining establishments that an entire website could be dedicated just to that. However, if you just want some quick recommendations based on places we’ve been, here are a few that stand out.
Water St. Café: Located in the popular neighbourhood of Gastown and literally across the street from the world-famous Steam Clock, Water St. Café is a great place to go for some Italian-influenced fine dining. It has a fancy look on the inside, making it great for a date as well, in addition to a lovely patio and an upstairs dining area that is known for its nightly live music. They also have a very good happy hour menu if you’re looking to sip back on a cocktail while enjoying the variety of people across the street admiring the Steam Clock. We visited during the month of May when they were hosting their annual Crab Fest, allowing us to indulge in many crab-inspired dishes. We really loved their Crab Panzanella, which featured BC Dungeness crab served on a giant garlic crouton. Yum!
Honey Salt: Another beautiful restaurant that’s located right inside BC Place is Honey Salt. This neighbourhood restaurant combines classic comfort with a relaxed sophistication, serving chef-driven, farm-to-table cuisine with an emphasis on locally and regionally sourced ingredients that highlight the bounty of British Columbia in an approachable and comfortable setting. We were able to try a variety of dishes during our visit, such as their Pan Roasted Halibut, Delmonico Ribeye, and their delicious Crispy Brussels Sprouts, which come with lemon, Parmigiano Reggiano, and crushed chili flakes. They also serve breakfast, lunch, and dessert. We recommend trying their Society Chocolate & Banana Cake.
Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant & Brewpub: Also recommended for anyone looking for craft beer, Stanley Park Brewpub is a great place to eat as well. Located inside Stanley Park, this brewpub serves up brunch, lunch and dinner, including some really delicious bowls. We had both their Schezuan rice bowl with chicken, crispy noodles, and kimchi, as well as the Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl, which features soy-marinated tuna, crab, edamame, tempura puffs, and more. Both were delicious but made even better when washing it down with a pint of craft beer. They also feature a variety of appetizers, pizzas, burgers, and snacks.
Tips for Saving Money in Vancouver
When it comes to costs, Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in Canada, especially when it comes to real estate. However, there are still some ways you save some money.
Free parks and gardens: There are loads of free parks and gardens to enjoy around the city, such as the world-famous Stanley Park. Spend some time outside, enjoy the fresh air, and don’t spend a dime.
Free Walking Tours: Every time we take a “free” walking tour somewhere in the world, we’re impressed. It’s just a great way to learn some key facts and stories before enjoying the city at your own pace. You should definitely be prepared to tip but still, it’s a cheap way to enjoy a new city.
Discounted Entertainment: If you want to experience the entertainment side of Vancouver, check out ticketstonight.ca to look for half-priced entertainment tickets.
Enjoy Happy Hour: Eating and drinking during happy hour is a great way to save money and most bars and restaurants have discounts at certain times. Search for the Ultimate Happy Hours website for updated info across the city.
Same-Day Sports Tickets: If you want to watch a sports game and save money at the same time, the Tourism Vancouver Visitors’ Centre actually offers “Tickets Tonight”, which is half-priced tickets for events that haven’t sold out.
Spend Tuesday evening at the Vancouver Art Gallery on a Tuesday: Want to check out some incredible art for cheap? After 5 pm on Tuesday nights, the Vancouver Art Gallery is by donation only.
Coupon Sites: Like most cities, Vancouver has lots of deals on sites like Groupon and Living Social.
Purchase Tickets Online: Vancouverattractions.com lets you purchase tickets in advance, saving you up to 30%!
Where to Stay in Vancouver
Vancouver is home to a plethora of accommodation, ranging from budget hostels to super high-end hotels and everything in-between. For those on an extreme budget, you might want to try Couchsurfing, which can be great to meet like-minded people as well. Other recommendations include:
Samesun Hostel: For those on a budget, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better hostel than Samesun Vancouver. It’s centrally located, near the Skytrain, and is within walking distance from Granville Island and Gastown. It’s one of the most popular hostels in Vancouver and for good reason.
Best Western Premier Chateau Granville Hotel & Suites: Located right in the heart of Vancouver, within walking distance to almost everything, this Best Western Premier is a great option for those looking for a mid-range hotel with all the amenities you need. Many of the rooms have balconies as well, allowing you to get some fresh air while admiring some very beautiful views of the city.
Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre: Way back in 2010, we scored this beautiful hotel on Priceline for a 50% discount. While I’m not sure you’d find a deal like that anymore, all I can say is that the views from our balcony on the 27th floor were hard to beat. Like any Sheraton hotel, it’s beautiful inside and out.
Getting to Vancouver
If you’re a visitor looking for different ways of getting to Vancouver, here’s some practical advice on how to get here.
Getting to Vancouver by Plane
If you’re flying into Vancouver, you’ll most likely be flying into Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Although there are other smaller airports around, this is the one that gets used by most visitors. It’s located just 25 minutes from downtown, is rated as one of the best airports in North America, and offers easy access to downtown Vancouver, including the Skytrain.
From the airport to downtown, take the Canada Line for just $13 CAD (approx).
Getting to Vancouver by Car
Vancouver is also a great place to visit by car. Most people would be either driving west from interior BC or the mountains or driving up from the USA. Vancouver shares one of the busiest border crossings in the country and lots of people traverse the border for work. The drive between Seattle and Vancouver is less than three hours. If you’re on a Canada Road Trip, the drive from Calgary to Vancouver is one of the most scenic drives in the country, passing through numerous national parks and jaw-dropping scenery.
Getting to Vancouver by Bus
Although western Canada lost the service of Greyhound, there are still a few options for getting to Vancouver by bus. From Calgary, there’s the Rider Express, which takes just over 13 hours. From Seattle, the bus takes around 4 hours and is served by Greyhound, Bolt Bus, and Quick Shuttle. The easiest way to check options is by using Busbud.com.
How to Get Around Vancouver
Vancouver is probably one of the best cities in Canada for public transportation. This is due to the fact that the city is so densely populated, similar to places like New York. Because of this, tourists will find it quite easy to use the train, buses, or other modes of transportation.
Train: Both the SkyTrain Rapid Transit system and the Canada Line are common ways of traversing the city of Vancouver. You can get almost anywhere with one-way tickets ranging from $3 to $5.75 CAD. You can also buy a day pass for $10.50 CAD or a Compass Card for loading money onto. For schedules and more, visit Translink.ca.
Bus: Vancouver’s bus system also works well but only operates on one-zone fares, which can be annoying at times. Tickets between the trains and the buses are non-transferable either unless you use the Compass Card. However, if you’re travelling around at night, the buses run later than the trains, so they might be your best choice.
SeaBus: If you’re travelling by water, such as from Downtown Vancouver to the North Shore, you can jump on the SeaBus, which is also run by Translink.ca.
Taxi: Like most of Canada, taxis are not cheap but they can be convenient. Prices start at $3.50 CAD and it’s $1.89 CAD per kilometre after. As of January 2020, Uber and Lyft are also possible in downtown Vancouver.
Bicycle: Vancouver is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country and there are many places to rent them. We definitely recommend renting one to bike around Stanley Park, but traversing the city can be a good option as well. The public bike rental system is called Mobi, which costs $12 CAD per day for unlimited 30-minute rides.
Weather in Vancouver (Best Time to Visit)
Vancouver is one of the mildest cities in Canada, receiving very little snowfall and rarely dipping below 0°C. It does, however, get a lot of rain, especially in the winter months.
The busiest time to visit Vancouver is just like all cities in Canada – the summer! It gets quite hot and sunny during the summer months, averaging around 25°C. Like all Canadian cities, this is when the city truly comes to life. However, prices are also the highest at this time.
As mentioned, the winters in Vancouver are milder than almost anywhere else in Canada, with temperatures averaging just 6°C. However, you can still enjoy a “classic winter” by hitting the slopes of the world-famous Whistler Mountain Resort or Grouse Mountain.
Other times to visit would be the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. These can be rainy times to visit but are generally warm in temperature. Not hot. However, prices are less, crowds are fewer, and certain activities are in their prime, such as whale watching, which is best between April and May.
Fun Things to Do Beyond Vancouver
Another great part about Vancouver is that there are so many things to do outside of the city as well. From taking the ferry over to magical Vancouver Island, road tripping up to Whistler, driving to wine country around Kelowna, or going all the way past the Canadian Rockies to Calgary, Alberta, there are so many things to do for all types of travellers.
For more on what to do outside of Vancouver, check out these articles below: