5 minutes reading time Canada
Vancouver, Canada is an outdoor lover’s paradise. If you visit the city, you’ll be guaranteed to spend plenty of time mixing city life with nature. I’ve compiled a list of the 8 best activities to do in Vancouver, Canada.
1. Hit the Slopes
If you find yourself in Vancouver during winter, you’ll want to take advantage of the three local mountains: Cypress, Seymour, and Grouse. All three are within a 30-minute drive of the city and are typically open from mid-November into mid-April. The best part is they each offer night skiing! If you have never gone night skiing, immediately add it to your list. Select trails remain lit until as late as 10 pm and some even offer incredible cityscape views from above. Snow lovers will absolutely find skiing and snowboarding one of the best activities to do in Vancouver during winter.
2. Head Out Hiking
Don’t fret if you visit Vancouver in summer, though! Once the snow melts, a vast offering of trails opens up to hikers. The length and difficulty vary from trail to trail. Be sure to research the trails in advance and pack smart and safe: water, snacks, and some extra layers.
- Easier Option: A local favorite is a hike to Quarry Rock at Deep Cove (private tour). The 2.4-mile round trip trail takes a little over an hour to complete, but maybe longer if you want to enjoy the views from the top of Quarry Rock. Don’t forget to stop at Honey’s Donuts after as a reward for your hard work.
- More Challenging option: A more difficult hike is called the Stawamus Chief, in Squamish. There are three summits and the hike averages 5-7 hours round trip if you hike to the third and final summit.
3. Paddleboard or Kayak
Give your legs a break from the hiking and get an arm workout instead! Kayaking and paddleboarding are extremely popular in Vancouver. The wide range of nearby lakes and creeks (and even the sea!), allows for plenty of options to get some exercise and explore. There are a variety of spots to rent paddleboards and kayaks or go on guided tours. Deep Cove, Jericho Beach, and Kitsilano Beach are some of the city’s most popular spots to venture out. Here are some of the best spots to paddleboard in Vancouver.
4. Visit Chinatown
Vancouver has one of the best Chinatowns in North America. Peruse the herbal & medicinal shops, wander the tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Garden, or simply create your own mini-food tour. The food here is INCREDIBLE. Some popular spots include Jade Dynasty for dim sum and Chinatown BBQ for a duck. For a unique cocktail experience, stop by the Keefer Bar. The dimly lit bar has a Chinese apothecary theme and serves up delicious and unique cocktails.
5. Spend the morning on Granville Island
Granville Island is a small shopping and arts district. A quirky way to arrive there is using a water taxi. Bring cash to purchase a ticket on board and you’ll hop on board the tiny boat that brings you across False Creek directly to Granville Island. Arrive and start by browsing Granville Public Market. This huge, indoor market offers a fresh selection of produce, seafood, meat, cheeses, and more! There are also smaller boutique stalls throughout the market as well, making it a great spot to pick up a gift.
Walk around the rest of the island to other art vendors and galleries. For beer lovers, take a quick tour of the Granville Brewery and then stay for a flight. For something a bit stiffer, wander to the Artisan Sakemaker. The owner makes his own sake (my favorite is the sparkling), which is delicious. As the evening progresses, many of the stores shut down and the theaters opened. These theaters house anything from plays to improv shows to stand-up, so be sure to check what acts are ongoing here.
6. Bike the Seawall
One of the best things to do in Vancouver is biking the seawall. The seawall is a paved biking and pedestrian path that wraps around the perimeter of Vancouver, directly next to the sea. In total, it covers 17-miles, but most enjoy renting a bike to cover the 5.5-mile loop around Stanley Park. Rent a bike at Spokes and give yourself a few hours to explore Vancouver from a different perspective. I promise this is a must on your list of things to do in Vancouver.
7. Discover Your Favorite Neighborhood
Vancouver has 22 unique neighborhoods, each with its own vibe and persona. Since Vancouver is so walkable, you’ll be able to walk through multiple neighborhoods in one day. Stop by Gastown, and transport back in time along its cobblestone roads and Gaslamp-lit streets. Then meander over to Yaletown, a former warehouse district turned into patio-galore and yuppie hotspot. Other notable neighborhoods to visit include Kitsilano, Chinatown, and Coal Harbour.
8. Walk Across a Suspension Bridge
Head into the local forests and get in touch with nature! The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is an extremely popular destination, just outside the city. An adult ticket goes for $60, but grants you access to their treetop adventure (various viewing platforms and suspension bridges high up in fir trees), the cliffwalk (a narrow look out over the river), and the suspension bridge, and more. It does get crowded here, so book tickets in advance and try to arrive early in the morning, especially if you want to attempt to snap the ideal pic. For a slightly smaller version (but free!), head to Lynn Canyon. You can explore the various hiking trails and swimming holes throughout the park. You also can find the 160ft Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, which tends to have fewer crowds than Capilano.
I hope this list gives you some great ideas on some awesome things to do in Vancouver, Canada! Enjoy your visit to Vancouver and take advantage of all this incredible list!
Link to my personal website with additional travel stories: www.saraebauer.com