29 Best Things To Do In Vancouver in 2022


How to get to Vancouver

Fly 

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the second largest airport in Canada, so it is more than likely that you will be able to get to Vancouver via airplane. 

There are over 100 destinations around the world that have direct flights into Vancouver International Airport, most of them from the US! 

AirCanada is the main airline operating in YVR and is a great option for flying in and out. 

Train

Arriving in Vancouver via train can be a sightseeing trip in itself! If you are traveling from Toronto, VIA Rail Canada offers a 4-day rail trip that stops in some amazing places along the way! 

Be sure to check out our guide to Winnipeg if you make a stop along the way – which you definitely should! 

Drive

Rent a campervan or a car and drive to Vancouver! The city is easily accessible by road from various locations including Seattle, Victoria, Montreal, and Vancouver Island

Boat

One of the best ways to get to Vancouver from Alaska is via boat!

Check out these Alaska cruises to see the best of both areas. 

BC Ferries run regular ferry services to several locations including Vancouver Island, Victoria, and the Gulf Islands, check out their schedules here

How to get around Vancouver

getting around vancouver

Walking

The best way to get around Vancouver is to walk. Vancouver is famously a very walkable city and you will find that the main attractions of the city are fairly accessible to each other. 

Public transport 

Vancouver has an expansive public transport system, consisting of SkyTrain, buses, commuter trains, and even the sea bus! 

The Sky Train is probably Vancouver’s best form of transport and its 3 lines are ideal for getting around the city.

We would even recommend the sky train as the best way of getting from the airport to downtown Vancouver. 

The Seabus is a tourist attraction in itself and ideal for viewing the city with the mountains in the background. 

Currently, the public transport in Vancouver still allows you to pay with cash. However, if you are planning on using the different systems a lot, then you are definitely going to want to buy a Compass Card. 

Compass Cards cards can be purchased for $6 from vending machines near SeaBus and SkyTrain stations and then topped up after registering online.

After purchasing you can tap on and off all forms of public transport around the city and benefit from a discounted price! 

Rent a car

Having your own vehicle will give you a lot more freedom when exploring all the things to do in Vancouver and renting an RV will mean saving on accommodation prices! 

While driving probably isn’t the best method of getting around downtown Vancouver, as it is very small and expensive to park in, if you are looking to go on a few day trips from Vancouver, it is a great option. 

Luckily, most of the hotels around Vancouver have free parking so you should have no problems finding a space.

Where to stay in Vancouver

29 Best things to do in Vancouver 

1. Whale watching with Vancouver Whale Watch

whale watching vancouver

Without a doubt, whale watching is one of the best things to do in Vancouver and it draws in thousands of visitors a year.

Canada’s waters are full of marine life, a lot of which you may get to spot while whale watching! 

There are a few companies that offer whale watching tours in Vancouver, however, we went with Vancouver Whale Watch and could not recommend them enough, book your whale watching tour here. 

vancouver whale watching

This tour starts from the quaint fishing village of Stevenson and cruises around both the Gulf and the San Juan Islands for 3-5 hours, keeping a look out for orcas, humpback whales, and seals. Vancouver Whale Watch are so confident you will see whales on their tours that they even offer for you to come back for free if you don’t manage to spot any! 

April through November tends to be the best time to go whale watching as you can catch the humpbacks on their migration towards Alaska!

However, we do recommend bringing some winter layers and a waterproof as it can get very chilly on board.

They will provide you with coats should you need them, and if you sit near the edge, expect to get wet.

Don’t forget sunscreen too. I ended up burning my face because I forgot to put sunscreen on, even though it was super windy!

The team at Vancouver Whale Watch are super knowledge and you can truly sense they care about the whales.

They don’t try to entice them, they simply watch them and their behaviors and from that they can work out where the animals will be.

You will NOT be disappointed on this adventure.

2. Cycle around Stanley Park

stanley park

Another absolutely iconic thing to do in Vancouver is to cycle the seawall in Stanley Park. 

Located right in the center of Vancouver, Stanley Park is a famous urban forest, with amazing greenery, stunning views, and tons of things to do! 

Some of the park’s highlights include Vancouver Aquarium, Stanley Park Totem Poles, the Stanley Park train, waterparks, and walking trails.

The park itself is huge and would take you all day to walk around, which is why most people cycle around. 

You will find a few locations around the park for bike rentals to complete the Stanley Park seawall, a 7-mile paved trail along the perimeter of the park and next to the sea. The cost of bike rental for the day will likely be around $25 but it is definitely worth it for the trip! 

If you are interested in learning some of the histories of the park and some other areas around Vancouver, why not book this guided bike tour, which includes not only Stanley Park but a few other locations around the city as well. 

3. Watch the sunset from Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is a popular mountain in Vancouver, mainly for the ski slope, however, it is open all around and only 15 minutes away from the center of downtown! 

Whether you are just going for the SkyRide, visiting the wildlife center, zooming down the mountain ziplines, or having dinner with a view, you will not regret your trip up the mountains. 

If you are looking for things to do in Vancouver in winter, Grouse Mountain is the place to go as they have a huge selection of winter activities!

Not only do they have a ski resort but they also offer ice skating, snowshoeing, markets, and sledding

sunset at grouse mountian

Buy your entry ticket to Grouse Mountain here for a round trip on the SkyRide and to skip the queues, which can be long in high season! 

If you enjoy a hike and are feeling brave you can actually hike to the top of the mountain by completing the Grouse Grind Trail, a word of warning though it is up nearly 3000 stairs! 

4. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Photo by noelle on Unsplash

The temperate rainforest is obviously a huge draw for people to British Columbia and it is clear to see why.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is the perfect way to explore and get an aerial view of the forests. 

You could easily spend a day walking around the park and cliff walks and admiring the views of the treetops and mountains in the distance.

The suspension bridge itself has been open since 1889 and is a must-do activity for any trip to Vancouver. 

Located just a short drive from Vancouver, the park provides a free shuttle bus from Downtown but you will need to pay for your entrance ticket to get into the park. 

If you are visiting in the warmer months, do stop by raptors ridge during your trip to meet some of the park’s resident birds of prey and learn some more about the local wildlife in the park. 

Capilano Suspension is one of the best things you can do in Vancouver in November through to January purely for breathtakingly beautiful Capilano Canyon lights, where the bridge is lit up with festive Christmas lights.

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE!

5. Ride the Sea-to-Sky Gondola

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Vancouver
Photo by Josephine Lin on Unsplash

Head along the Sea to Sky Highway towards Squamish to arrive at the very famous Sea-to-Sky-Gondola

As you can probably tell by the name, this cable car goes very high and has huge windows so if you aren’t good with heights, this might not be the activity for you – not to worry there are plenty of other things to do in Vancouver! 

Once you reach the top there are tons to do including hiking trails, suspension bridges, and a wooden deck on top of the summit – which actually hosts yoga most mornings. 

If you aren’t planning on renting a vehicle to get around Vancouver, this Sea to Sky Gondola tour picks you up from Vancouver, takes you to Shannon Falls, on to the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, and then finishes in the pedestrian-only Whistler Village before dropping you back in Vancouver. 

6. Take a day trip to Lynn Canyon Park

All outdoor enthusiasts will love a day trip to Lynn Canyon Park and it is completely free

We would recommend getting there early to beat the crowds and taking a picnic with you to make the most of your day trip.

From there, pick one of the beautiful trails, which are suitable for a range of different abilities, and explore the peaceful forest. 

If you visit during the warmer months, the park has a huge swimming hole, which while cold, is a great way to spend a summer’s day.

There are also a few waterfalls scattered around the park, the most popular being Twin Falls which is accessible via the twin falls trail and can be a lot quieter than the swimming hole. 

Lynn Canyon also has a suspension bridge, similar to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, that goes over waterfalls and lakes and is free of charge! 

It is probably best to drive to Lynn Canyon Park but it is also easily accessible by bus. Just take the sea bus from downtown to Lonsdale Quay and then catch the 228 or 229 bus to the Lynn Valley Center. 

7. Vancouver Harbor Tour

Vancouver Harbor Tour

Book this stunning 1-hour Harbour Tour to see the city of Vancouver from a whole new perspective.

We booked this tour during our visit and it was easily one of the best activities we did! 

Board from the dock and spend an hour on the deck of the steamboat, listening to your guided tour of the harbor.

There is even a fully licensed mini bar on the boat and we found it was a great way to mingle with both tourists and locals. 

BOOK THAT EXACT TOUR HERE.

8. Try awesome vegetarian food at MeeT 

Whether you are a veggie or not you HAVE to try some of the incredible food options at MeeT. 

Located in three different locations around Vancouver, Gastown, Yaletown, and Main st, MeeT is a 100% vegan brand that is known as being one of the best vegan restaurants in the world! 

The owners were on a mission to show people that it was easy to transition to plant-based foods and that plant-based foods were tasty and can be affordable, they have definitely proved that to be the case! 

If you get the chance to visit the Gastown or Yaletown restaurants, be sure to try their brunch menu as it has some great options and looks super yummy! 

Check out all of MeeT’s menus here. 

9. Eat your way through Granville Island Public Market

public market in vancouver

Granville Island is a small island next to Vancouver that is actually technically connected to the mainland. There is a lot to explore on the island so it is definitely worth the trip whenever you are in Vancouver! 

The public market is probably the most famous attraction on the island (and is definitely our favorite). The market potentially has anything you could ever need, amazing food stands, fresh produce, hand-made gifts, and even local art galleries! 

To be sure not to miss anything, book this 2-hour market tour where you can sample some of the area’s best dishes and produce, meet the vendors, and get shown around by an expert. 

The public market is open daily from 9am to 6pm and is located by the ferry docs on the island. Granville Island is really easy to get to from Vancouver, simply drive down there or take the ferry bus. 

10. Drive across Lions Gate Bridge

Lions Gate Bridge

One of Vancouver’s most iconic landmarks, Lion Gates Bridge is a suspension bridge that was built in 1938.

The Bridge connects the city of Vancouver to North Vancouver and West Vancouver. 

The bridge itself looks amazing in the backgrounds of photos and is usually best seen (and photographed) from the water on either boat tours or the Seabus.

We definitely do recommend driving over it if you have your own vehicle though, to get the full experience of Lions Gate Bridge! 

11. Check out Canada Place

canada place

The first stop for visitors from cruise ships, Canada Place, or the port of Vancouver, is an iconic landmark of the area. 

Easily recognizable by its 5 huge white sails, welcoming ships to Vancouver, Canada Place is definitely worth checking out. 

If you are looking for things to do in Vancouver for free, Canada Place often has a range of free events that they regularly host including Zumba and yoga! 

Also, if you are lucky enough to visit Vancouver over Christmas, Canada Place hosts some amazing Christmas activities including a light show, an arts and crafts fair, and the avenue of Christmas trees. 

12. Queen Elizabeth Park

queen elizabeth park

If you are after some luscious greenery while you are in the city, head straight to Queen Elizabeth Park

You will regularly spot people having photoshoots in front of the impressive floral displays on show throughout the park.

It is the perfect place for a walk, a picnic, or even a game of put-put! 

If you are a big fan of gardens, this Garden Tour takes you around three of Vancouver’s most famous gardens, Queen Elizabeth Park, Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and Van Dusen Botanical Garden on a private tour. 

13. Wander around Gastown & the Gastown steam clock

gastown steam clock

Gastown is arguably the trendiest neighborhood in Vancouver and is well worth an explore. 

Being one of the city’s oldest areas, Gastown is filled with cobbled streets, European-style architecture, and boutique stores. 

Be sure not to miss out on the Gastown steam clock, this clock is over 50 years old and is powered by steam and whistles! The clock goes off every 15 minutes so you will probably hear it while you are wandering around. 

Gastown is known for being rich in culture and having an assortment of different amazing eateries.

We recommend taking this Gastown walking food tour, to get all the perks of taking a walking tour, mixed in with trying some amazing food and drinks! 

14. Check out Science World

Photo by Aditya Chinchure on Unsplash

If you are looking for things to do with kids in Vancouver, head straight to Science World! 

This non-profit organization is passionate about teaching the public about science in a fun interactive way. 

Science World is a pretty epic place and that starts from the exterior, you quite literally can not miss it with its huge metallic ball on top. 

Try to spend the whole day here as there really is so much to see! BodyWorks is a fun interactive biology exhibit where you can see life-size organs and learn about some of their bodily functions. 

A favorite amongst children seems to be the ‘Eureka!’ exhibit. This is where you learn about forces and it contains a lot of brightly colored plastic balls as well as a giant hamster wheel! 

If you aren’t visiting Vancouver with children, we recommend going to Science World After Dark, every third Thursday, where you can enjoy the exhibits with nibbles, drinks, and music.

15. Take a day trip to Whistler

whistler

Whistler is a gorgeous little ski town with tons of things to do, it would be silly not to take a day trip to Whistler from Vancouver! 

If you have your own vehicle, the drive to Whistler is just over two hours, straight down the famous Sea to Sky Highway.

This is an activity in itself and you can definitely do a couple of photo stops along the way.

However, if you do not have your own vehicle you can book this tour which not only includes a trip to Whistler but also the Sea to Sky Gondola ride we mentioned earlier. 

whistler day trip

The city of Whistler is a walking-only village, no vehicles are allowed, luckily it’s pretty small! If you are into winter activities, there is so much to do in Whistler that you could easily spend a few days here

If you are just visiting for a day trip, be sure to check out some of their incredible eateries and enjoy the apres! 

16. Try a flightseeing tour

flightseeing tour in vancouver

One of the most incredible things to do in Vancouver is to take a ride in a seaplane. During your trip you will see seaplanes taking off and landing all day long, it is a very popular activity in the city. 

This flightseeing tour departs from the seaplane terminal and flies for 35 minutes, allowing you to see the stunning panoramic views of Vancouver and the surrounding mountains. 

While this tour costs around 200 CAD, it really is a bucket list-style activity and we definitely recommend giving it a go if your budget can stretch that far! 

17. Head to Richmond for seaside vibes

richmond seaside

Richmond is a city just outside of Vancouver but with a completely different atmosphere, making it the perfect day trip during your visit

The old fisherman’s village of Steveston Harbour is the perfect place to enjoy some fresh fish and chips on the harbor and watch the fishing boats go in and out. 

This seaside city has a strong Asian influence making it a great place to try some of the delicious eateries on offer. Richmond is even home to the famous Richmond Night Market which you could easily confuse with one located in southeast Asia! 

Richmond also has one of the largest Buddhist temples in North America which is definitely worth a trip. 

If you have time for some shopping, Richmond’s commercial district has a huge selection of shopping malls, perfect for a rainy day trip from Vancouver. 

18. Experience FlyOver Canada

Flyover Canada in  Vancouver

Our favorite thing to do in Vancouver when it rains has to be FlyOver Canada, perfect for those adrenaline enthusiasts when you can’t go outside! 

This technological amusement ride has 360-degree screens to make it look and feel… and smell like you are zooming around Canada suspended in the air. 

Book your tickets here to be sure you get a space, as you can probably imagine, this gets very busy on a bad weather day! 

FlyOver Canada is open from 9:30 am until 9 pm every day and is located right next to Waterfront Station, making it easily accessible via public transport. 

19. Day trip to Vancouver Island (Victoria)

Butchart Gardens in Vancouver Island

While ideally if you were wanting to explore the nearby Vancouver Island, you would go for a couple of days, it is possible to visit in a day. 

This Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour starts with an early morning ferry trip over to Vancouver Island which if you keep your eye out, you might even be able to spot some whales on the way! 

Butchart Gardens are absolutely beautiful and have huge collections of garden displays including both Japanese gardens and Italian gardens and even a carousel. After the gardens, you will get some time to explore the highlights of Victoria. 

Victoria is located at the southern end of Vancouver Island and is actually the capital of British Columbia. Luckily the guided tour will show you all of the best bits as it really is a lot to explore in one day if you do not know your way around. 

20. Try a ghost walking tour if you’re feeling brave

Gastown in Vancouver

During your day trip to Gastown, book the Lost Souls of Gastown Walking Tour if you would love a spooky tour of the area. 

Gastown is full of dark cobbled alleyways, gothic architecture, and even an old steam clock, making it the perfect setting for a creepy evening

Vancouver has an interesting past including tales of smallpox, fires, and unsolved murders, learn about all of these and more from your in-character tour guide, if you are brave enough!  

21. Experience wineries at Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley in Vancouver

Fraser Valley is the perfect day trip from Vancouver for any wine lover. 

Enjoy some wine tasting with some stunning views of the Fraser River, the largest river in British Columbia, and the huge vineyards. 

This Vancouver Wine Tour at Fraser Valley leaves from Vancouver and takes guests around 3 different wineries around Fraser Valley. The tour includes 4 tasters at each winery, a charcuterie board for lunch, and the opportunity to purchase wines. 

Not only that but the tour will pick you up from your hotel and a 60-minute drive away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a completely stress-free day. 

22. Go Hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park

A hiker in Garibaldi Provincial Park

Garibaldi Provincial Park is an enormous mountain park, over 2000 square meters, not too far north of Garibaldi. If you were planning to take a small trip to Whistler, a trip to Garibaldi Provincial Park might be a good stop-off as a lot of it surrounds the town of Whistler.

There are several hikes you can do in this provincial park but the Garibaldi Trailhead (or black tusk) is probably the most well-known. It is located just off Sea to Sky Highway, about a 25-minute drive away from both Whistler village and Squamish. 

The Garibaldi Lake Trail is over 18km long and is not for the faint-hearted. While a beautiful hike, it is considered a moderate 6-hour hike and is mostly uphill. 

If you have access to a car or motorhome, you can easily drive from Vancouver. However, if you do not or would rather do the hike in a group, you can book this Garibaldi Lake Hike. This tour is run by photographers so you can learn how to take the perfect shots during your hike! 

23. Catch the sunset and a swim at Kitsilano Beach

Sunset at Kitsilano beach in Vancouver
Photo by Jhana Ellard on Unsplash

The beautiful neighborhood of Kitsilano, or Kits as the locals call it, is located on Cornwall Avenue and is not to be missed. 

Arguably one of the trendiest beaches in Vancouver, Kitsilano is full of hipster bars, eateries, and boutique shops. 

Obviously, you can swim in the sea at Kitsilano Beach, but there is also an outdoor waterfront swimming pool which is popular amongst locals and tourists alike! You will regularly see people chilling around in this area, waiting for Kitsilano Beach’s famous sunset. 

The lido isn’t the only activity on offer, is it not unusual to see groups of people playing volleyball, tennis, and basketball down at the basketball court. 

We would recommend heading to The Boathouse restaurant and grabbing a window seat and enjoying a bite to eat, while the sun goes down. Be warned that this restaurant gets very busy in the summer months, so you may want to book in advance.  

24. Go hiking in Mount Seymour Provincial Park

Mount Seymour Provincial Park in British Columbia

Only a 40-minute drive from Vancouver is Mount Seymour Provincial Park which is a hot spot for hiking enthusiasts. 

Dog Mountain Hike is probably the most popular trail in the park as it is known as being fairly short at only 5.6km there and back. While it is rated as an easy hike, it is definitely towards the moderate end of easy. A lot of the trail is covered in rocks and tree roots, making it slightly more difficult in wet weather, but reportedly it is a great snowshoe along. 

The Dog Mountain hike takes you across various bridges and rivers before reaching the peak of dog mountain. From the peak you can walk through the forest and onto the lookout point, from here you see stunning views of North Vancouver and the famous Lions Gate Bridge. 

25. Eat your way through Chinatown

Vancouver has a huge Chinese population meaning there is a lot of Chinese influence across the city. It is one of the city’s few original historic neighborhoods as Chinatown has been an established cultural area for over 100 years

Chinatown in Vancouver is one of the best we have visited, it is so vibrant and a really fun thing to do both during the day in Vancouver and during the night. 

If you are staying in the center of Vancouver it is likely to be within walking distance from your hotel. Before you reach the middle of Chinatown there is a nearby classical Chinese garden that is beautiful to walk around. 

One of the best parts about Chinatown is the amazing food stalls and restaurants. It is the perfect place to try some delicious Chinese dishes.

While you can easily sample some of the eateries on offer yourself, we recommend booking this Wok Around Chinatown Tour to taste some amazing food and learn about the cultural history of the area from a local chef. 

26. People watch at Olympic Village

Vancouver Olympic Village

Built originally for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the Olympic Village now contains a residential area, restaurants, shops, and parks. The Olympic village is located north of False Creek and is easily accessible via ferry or SkyTrain. 

Some of the best things to do at the Olympic Village is to visit the Olympic Village Square, a great people-watching spot full of cafes and bars where there is always something going on! 

The false creek seawall is a relaxing walk with beautiful views very near to the village which is a perfect way to watch the sunset. 

27. Take a stroll to Lighthouse Park

Light House Park during Sun Set in Vancouver

Okay so it might be a bit more than a stroll, Lighthouse park is just over half an hours drive from downtown, located in North Vancouver. From the car park, it is a short walk to the lighthouse.

Whilst you can’t get too close, the lighthouse by the water is a stunning location and a perfect place to sit and eat a picnic and try to do some wildlife spotting! 

The lighthouse park also has several hiking trails nearby which are of all difficulties. These trails are dog-friendly and popular with walkers and also bird watchers, so don’t forget your binoculars!  

28. Book a Dinner cruise

A cruise ship in Vancouver Harbor Marina
Photo by Aliya Izumi on Unsplash

One of the best ways to spend an evening in Vancouver is to book a sunset dinner harbour cruise. 

This is a great way to see the city in style and get the best views of the sunset over the horizon with the backdrop of the Northshore Mountains. 

Meet the boat at the Harbour Cruises Marina, where you will be welcomed onto the cruise with a welcome drink and shown to your assigned table. The included dinner is a high-quality seated buffet serving an assortment of pacific coast style dishes. 

During your cruise, you will spot some iconic Vancouver landmarks including Canada Place, the Vancouver shoreline, and Lions Gate Bridge. 

29. Spot sea life at Vancouver Aquarium

Coral Reef in Vancouver Aquarium, Vancouver

Another great idea for things to do with kids during the day in Vancouver would be to visit the amazing Vancouver Aquarium.  

This aquarium is highly accredited and definitely worth the visit, with several different exhibits including Amazon, the tropics, Penguin Point, Pacific Canadian Pavillion, and the new wildlife rescue

Their wildlife rescue section is a fan favorite, here you can meet rescued animals such as seals and sea lions who now live at the center. 

As you can probably imagine, the aquarium gets busy during the weekends and school holidays so book your ticket online first to be sure you get a ticket and the best price available. 

Vancouver Travel Tips and FAQs

How long should you stay in Vancouver?

You could very easily spend one week exploring all of what Vancouver has to offer! While 5 days might be enough to explore the city, ideally for a few day trips during your visit, 7 days would be ideal. 

What is a good daily budget for Vancouver? 

Vancouver is known for being quite expensive, especially in high season! We would suggest budgeting around 100 Canadian dollars a day just for meals, transport, and activities. An average accommodation will cost around CAD200 a night and you might want to set aside some extra cash for special activities such as a seaplane tour or a trip to Vancouver Island. 

Is Vancouver safe? 

Vancouver is known to be a very safe location for tourists to visit. The crime rate in Vancouver is fairly low and even at night, the streets are very walkable. 

However, when traveling in any city and new location, it is wise to always be cautious. 

Is Vancouver walkable? 

Yes! Vancouver is a very walkable city and walking is the best way to explore the best areas! 

If there are any attractions that aren’t walkable, it is more than likely you will be able to get there via public transport. 

Can you book a tour of Vancouver? 

Yes. There are some amazing tours of the city, here are some of the top-rated: 

Where to go after Vancouver

As you can see, Vancouver has so much to offer and there is so much to explore in the city. 

I’m sure we have missed a few activities so please let us know what your favorite things to do in Vancouver are in the comments. 

If you are looking to continue your travels from Vancouver, you are in an ideal location for some more exploring. 

You could continue on to see more of Canada and British Columbia by taking a weekend trip to Whistler or Vancouver Island or travel south down to the US to Seattle!

Check out more of our guides for inspiration:



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