The Best Things to Do in Vancouver
Collected by Amanda Castleman , AFAR Local Expert
This lively, cosmopolitan city in British Columbia is cradled by extreme natural beauty. It’s also home to Canada’s mildest climate, making it a destination for outdoor fun like skiing Grouse Mountain and watching the world’s rarest orcas. Whether you choose adventures extreme—crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge—or far more gentle—touring the Vancouver Aquarium, you'll find your place in the city.
Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4, Canada
Vancouver’s most famous urban space, the thousand-acre Stanley Park, epitomizes everything that locals here love about the outdoors, and visitors have many ways to explore the expansive grounds. Hiking trails weave around totem poles and hemlock...
1669 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada
A former industrial backwater, Granville Island has changed a lot since the 1970s. Where once there were factories, now there are buskers, theaters, artisan studios, a marina, and a superb culinary scene, anchored by a public market. Jump on the...
6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada
Part of the University of British Columbia, this museum houses one of the finest collections of Northwest Coast Aboriginal art, including bentwood boxes, feast dishes, totem poles, and canoes from the Haida and Coast Salish people. Some of these...
Vancouver Campus, 2212 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
The first of its kind in this country, this family-friendly museum focuses on the evolution of biodiversity and why it’s worth conserving. Opened in 2010, it showcases more than two million natural history specimens, from fossils, shells,...
750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7, Canada
Western Canada’s largest public art museum weighs in at almost 12,000 works. The collection here is strong on Emily Carr, a modernist compatriot of the Group of Seven (Canadian landscape painters from the 1920s who were deeply...
3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1, Canada
This 27-acre attraction in North Vancouver gets the heart racing with a suspension bridge that bounces 230 feet above a forested river gorge. Even more spectacular, however, is the Cliffwalk, a labyrinth of walkways along the granite flank of the...
6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9, Canada
Part of the North Shore mountain range, this 4,039-foot peak offers jaw-dropping views of the city. It’s busiest in the winter, when four chairlifts service 33 ski runs, but remains popular in the summer thanks to the steep, 1.8-mile Grouse...
578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2, Canada
Amid the bustle of Chinatown stands this lovely 15th-century-style garden, named for the father of modern China. Even though it was built in 1986, artisans from Suzhou constructed the entire property without nails, screws, or power tools. The...
648 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2G2, Canada
Wide paths and a laid-back cycling culture make bikes a great way to explore Vancouver. Rent one from Cycle City Tours, which offers self-guided maps as well as outings run by expert storytellers. One tour takes a 5- to 7.5-mile spin through...
1668 Duranleau St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3S4, Canada
Vancouver’s serene waters serve as the perfect playground for kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders. Newbies can book two-hour “tasters” at Ecomarine’s Granville Island or Jericho Beach locations, while more adventurous...
121 Lower Ganges Rd, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2T4, Canada
Downshift on this groovy Gulf Island, just a 35-minute seaplane ride from the city. Here, artist studios abound, as do makers of artisanal food and beverages. Classic stops include the summertime Saturday Market, the Blue Horse Folk Art Gallery,...
Vancouver, BC, Canada
When the warmer months arrive, Grouse Mountain opens the roof of its cable car gondolas, which run 5,282 feet (1,610m) up the city’s iconic peak. The ride feels daring, despite the helmets, safety lines and thick railings that comfort...
1601 Bayshore Dr, Vancouver, BC V6G 3H3, Canada
For some fun on the water, spin around the city in a Zodiac-style boat. Sea Vancouver’s 90-minute tours launch from Coal Harbour, then zip to the North Shore, English Bay, False Creek, and past Stanley Park. During the ride, you’ll...
845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada
Presiding over Stanley Park, Canada’s largest aquarium houses more than 50,000 creatures, from penguins to sea otters to three-toed sloths. Don’t miss the star turns from the rescued Steller sea lions Izzy and Rogue, who swoop...
2340 River Rd, Richmond, BC V7C 1A1, Canada
This innovative park offers families a chance to burn off energy in Richmond, among wetlands and old farm fields. The structures here are made from rope, BC yellow cedar and other sustainable, local elements that blend into nature. And what...
6111 River Rd, Richmond, BC V6Y 0A2, Canada
North America’s first foray into the Olympic Museum Network, this $10 million Richmond gem opened in 2015. Here, it’s all about interactivity—visitors can score goals, gauge their reaction times, and measure how much air they...
9160 Steveston Hwy, Richmond, BC V7A 1M5, Canada
Modeled after Beijing’s Forbidden City, this stunning complex blends tranquil gardens with intricate stonework, golden tiles, symbolic carvings, and ceramic murals. Critics consider it the country’s most exquisite example of...
4760 Inglis Dr, Richmond, BC, Canada
Floatplanes have long flourished on the sheltered waters of the Inside Passage and the mountain lakes of the Pacific Northwest. Vancouver’s major carrier, Harbour Air, docks right beside Canada Place and the Convention Centre. Swoon...
1669 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada
This former industrial site is a one-stop shopping spot for last-minute souvenirs. Weave in and out of the countless alleys and stalls; among the art galleries, toy shops, crafts stores, farmers market and waterfront restaurants, you’re...
12138 Fourth Ave, Richmond, BC V7E 3J1, Canada
Discover the bygone ways of processing seafood at this terrific industrial museum, a national historic site in Canada’s largest commercial fishing port. Nicknamed the “Monster Cannery,” the 1894 building used to be the biggest of...
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