If you’re planning a trip to the west coast of Canada this year make sure you head to the city of Vancouver. With its modern architecture, diverse communities and coastal views this is a city that you cannot afford to miss. Here’s our run down of the top 10 Things to do whilst visiting the city.
1. Cycle around the sea wall
Cycling around the sea wall is one of the most popular things to do in the Vancouver and for good reason – the sights and sounds that you experience along the route are stunning.
As you cycle around the edge of Stanley Park you’ll experience some incredible views around the harbour back across to Vancouver along with stunning coastal views on the far side of Stanley Park.
The cycle itself is really safe and flat so it’s a great way to spend some relaxing time with your partner, family or even by yourself.
2. Take a cable car up Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain looms over Vancouver with a strangely inviting look about it. Being just a short bus ride out of the city it’s really accessible and certainly worth a visit as the view looking down over Vancouver is really special.
To get to the top of the mountain you have 2 options. The first one is the Grouse Grind which is a hiking trail infamous for its steep and challenging nature – one for only the fittest of people! The second option is the cable car which at a small fee is our more preferred and sensible option direct from the car park! Once at the top you can grab a coffee, watch a bird of prey show, observe some bears in the bear sanctuary or watch the famous lumberjack show.
Grouse Mountain is a great trip for all of the family, give it a go.
3. Visit the Totem Poles at Brockton Point
The totem poles are located at Brockton Point within Stanley Park around the far side of the harbour. They are a great point of interest within the city with the collection starting in the 1920s.
Each of the totems, their colours, emblems, animals and other features tell a story so the challenge here is read the information boards and try and identify each element of the totem, why it is there and what it relates too.
The totems are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city so be sure to include this location on your excursion list!
4. Have a laugh at A-maze-ing Laughter!
A-maze-ing Laughter is an art installation made of bronze created by Yue Minjun in 2009. Located in Morton Park the sculpture is easily accessible just across from the beach front at English Bay.
The sculpture consists of 14 statues with different facial expressions poses to generate a smile from the people who visit. Alongside the sculpture there is an engraving stating, “May this sculpture inspire laughter playfulness and joy in all who experience it.”
So don’t be shy, get involved with these 3 metre giants and pull your best poses and facial expressions, great fun!
5. Explore Granville Island Public Market
Granville Island is just a stones throw away from Vancouver’s city centre across False Creek. You have 2 options to get here which is either across Granville Bridge or as we did, head across on one of the ferry’s – these are super cheap and cross the cross every 15 minutes.
On Granville Island you’ll find an assortment of shops, restaurants, performing street artists and Granville Market offering everything everything from food and drink to souvenirs and trinkets!
This is really worth a visit if you are in the city so make sure you head over here.
6. Walk to Kitsilano
Kitsilano like Granville Island is located a little way out from the city. It’s perfectly accessible on foot however you will need to be prepared to set aside a few hours to make a trip here.
Once at Kitsilano it’s a little bit like visiting the West Village in New York City whereby it has a very different feel about it compared to the rest of Vancouver offering a more town-like experience.
At Kitsilano there are Parks, beaches and plenty of points of interest so if you have the time to get here it’s well worth a visit.
7. See the 2010 Winter Olympics Cauldron
The Olympic Cauldron stands 32.8 ft (10 m) tall by the harbour at Canada Place and unless you have your head in the sand is somewhat impossible to miss! Constructed for the 2010 Winter Olympics the work of art is a real feature on the waterfront that serves as a legacy to the hosted event in the city.
The cauldron will provide some incredible photo opportunities for yourself, family and friends and it’s not everyday that you get to see something like this up close. Why would you give it a miss?
8. Explore the sights and sounds of Gastown
Gastown is one of the key highlights of any trip to Vancouver as it is awash with bars, restaurants, shops and some historically cultural features such as the famous steam clock.
You can easily spend a couple of hours here every day if you wanted to, just relaxing in the city and soaking up all of the atmosphere. Grab some lunch, explore the shops, wander around and generally just immerse yourself into this fantastic part of town.
9. Visit Stanley Park
Stanley Park is Vancouver’s worst kept secret. Bigger than Central Park in New York City, Stanley Park has a lot of areas to discover that will take you some time!
If you are a fan of the zoo, the aforementioned totem poles, hiking, woodland walks and seeing wildlife such as raccoons roaming freely then spend a little wandering around here!
10. Relax at Jericho beach
Jericho Beach is a beautiful little spot that faces out to sea offering some incredible views of the ocean and Vancouver’s coastline.
With benches made from felled trees, gently splashing waves and direct sunshine throughout the day you should head down here with a book, do some blogging or simply enjoy some relaxing time with you and your thoughts. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Jericho Beach is a great little escape and easy to get to, especially if you are cycling around the sea wall.
11. Explore the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a little hidden away at the bottom end of Chinatown however what it offers is worth you taking the time to discover it.
As the first Chinese Garden to be created outside of China it offers something a little more special than simply a Chinese garden due to this status. The garden has a large central pond that is full of very large koi carp fish and lilies which is surrounded by walkways and gardens.
I found the garden to be incredibly relaxing and peaceful so if you are looking for a little calm, spend 15 minutes here, it’s completely free to go in so what do you have to lose.
12. Discover the public art around the city
Vancouver is absolutely littered in public art. And not just any art. Properly created, funded, large sculptures. It seems to be the case that no matter where you visit in the city you’ll find another public display close by. All of the sculptures are impressive so keep your eyes open and see what you can spot!
So there you have it! 12 of our favourite things to do around Vancouver. There are of course COUNTLESS things to do in the city and truth be told this list could have been 50 items strong! I hope this post has inspired you to visit this incredible city and helped you plan your next trip.
Are you heading to Vancouver anytime soon or have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below!