The 20 Best Things To Do in Vancouver

20 best things to do in Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver is known for its gorgeous scenery, friendly people, and cultural attractions. The busy seaport set on the west coast of Canada is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one of the top places to live. While there are so many fun things to do in Vancouver, we've compiled a list of the top 20. From outdoor adventures to museums and public markets, this stunning city is both beautiful and loaded with exciting activities.

Related: Canada Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Stanley Park and Coal Harbour in Vancouver, CanadaUnsplash

1. Explore Stanley Park

Location: Stanley Park is west of downtown Vancouver. Access the main entrance at the west end of Georgia Street.
Best time to visit: The park is open year-round. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time to avoid a flood of fellow visitors.

Considered the heart of the city, Stanley Park has roughly 1,000 acres of beaches, playgrounds, and gardens. The green space even has a golf course, aquarium, pool, and splash park! Visitors have many choices when visiting Stanley Park, but one of the most popular things to do here is travel the almost 10-kilometer (six-mile) section of seawall along the park's exterior. Inside Stanley Park, you'll find 27 kilometers (17 miles) of trails to explore, totem poles from as early as 1920, and wildlife like beavers and great blue herons.

2. Travel the 10-kilometer Seawall

Location: Head to the the east side of Stanley Park Drive next to Coal Harbour to start this trek.
Best time to visit: Spring, when over 40,000 blooming cherry trees color the path.

While the section of the seawall in Stanley Park is considered the most trekked, those looking to explore a little further should travel the entire path. The 10-kilometer (six-mile) seawall starts at the Vancouver Convention Center and then meanders around Stanley Park to False Creek and Granville Island before ending at the beaches of Spanish Banks. The world's largest uninterrupted waterfront trail offers stunning views of Vancouver's impressive mountains, stunning skyline, and beautiful beaches.

3. Go to Granville Island

Location of the Granville Island Public Market: 1689 Johnston St., Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9
Best time to visit: Summer offers the best weather. Weekdays and early mornings are best to avoid crowds.

Granville Island is an old waterfront industrial setting, and a trip to this unique location is one of the best things to do in Vancouver. The island's Granville Island Public Market is a very popular indoor attraction and a fantastic place to pick up souvenirs, unique gifts, fresh produce, and other tasty treats.

4. Trek the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Location: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1
Best time to visit: Any time! It's open every day except Christmas Day. To avoid crowds, head to the bridge in the early morning or late afternoon.

This wooden suspension bridge is 137 meters (450 feet) across and 70 meters (230 feet) above the Capilano River. The main draw? The bridge offers beautiful rainforest views. A tourist attraction since 1889, this Vancouver landmark is an adventure for those who love breathtaking vistas. The park also has a cliff walk and a Living Forest exhibit.

5. Visit Grouse Mountain

Location: 7.7 miles north of Downtown Vancouver. Travel across the Lion’s Gate Bridge to Grouse Grind, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9
Best time to visit: Summer offers fantastic hiking, and winter offers skiing. No matter what time of year you go, make sure it's a clear day to fully appreciate the views!

One of the best things to do in Vancouver is to witness the city's beauty from the Grouse Mountain gondola. A popular Vancouver attraction, the mountain offers much more than just a pretty picture. No matter the season, there is plenty to do on Grouse Mountain. Considered the peak of Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is open year-round. In the summer, expect epic hiking trails and adventurous ziplining. In the winter, enjoy snowshoeing and ice skating.

6. Go Whale Watching

Location: 12240 Second Ave, Richmond, BC V7E 3L8
Best time to visit: April to October.

Get an up close and personal view of British Columbia's magnificent mammals. Vancouver Whale Watch offers fantastic tours where guests can expect to spot orcas, seals, dolphins, whales (of course!), and much more. Plus, these tours are a great chance to learn more about the biology and behavior of sea animals.

Gastown Steam Clock at nighttime.Unsplash

7. Have Fun in Gastown

Location: Northeast corner of Downtown Vancouver
Best time to visit: The mornings are quieter, the afternoons are lively, and every evening when the lights come on, the neighborhood really comes to life.

Gastown is one of Vancouver's most trendy neighborhoods. With cobblestoned streets and cool, refurbished buildings, it offers plenty of art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Gastown is also home to the famous Gastown Steam Clock. The steam clock is one of the only ones working around the globe and lets out a whistle on the strike of every hour.

8. Feel Inspired at the Pacific Arts Market

Location: 1450 W Broadway #1448, Vancouver, BC V6H 1H4
Best time to visit: Afternoons, Thursdays to Sundays

The gallery space is nearly 2,500 square feet and is full of art, jewelry, and crafts from Canadian artists. Artists rotate, as do paintings, ceramics, woodcarvings, etc. Come here to get unique souvenirs, immerse yourself in a colorful and artistic space, and feel creatively inspired.

9. Get Adventurous at Jericho Beach

Location: Jericho Beach is on the north side of Jericho Park between Wallace St. and Discovery St.
Best time to visit: Summer. Plus, July hosts the Folk Music Festival.

The calm surf at Jericho Beach is one of the best things for water adventurers to do in Vancouver. So, hop on a kayak or paddleboard, or try your hand at windsurfing or sailing. Luckily, equipment rental is available.

10. Stroll the VanDusen Botanical Garden

Location: 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1
Best time to visit: Spring and summer, when the gardens are in full bloom.

At 55 acres, the VanDusen Botanical Garden is a relaxing place to wander. With over 7,500 plant species, a hedge maze, and a scenic lake, the gardens are a tranquil spot to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

11. Visit Rogers Arena

Location: 800 Griffiths Way, Vancouver, BC V6B 6G1
Best time to visit: Go on a tour every Thursday, Friday, or Saturday morning. To catch a game, check out the schedule.

Sports fans will love this Vancouver attraction! Home to the Vancouver Canucks hockey team, catch a game from October to April, or maybe longer if the home team makes the playoffs. Rogers Arena is also a top destination for big concerts and events throughout the year.

12. Go to the Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden

Location: 578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2
Best time to visit: Spring to see the beautiful cherry tree blossoms.

This tranquil green space is the first Chinese garden built outside of China. Expect to spot rare trees and rocks. Each piece is placed intentionally to showcase balance and harmony. The Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden is one of the best places in Vancouver to experience peace, quiet, and beauty. Join the free guided tour and savor a cup of complimentary Chinese tea before you leave.

Evening in False Creek, VancouverFreepik

13. Stroll Along False Creek

Location: The creek runs along the southern edge of Downtown Vancouver
Best time to visit: Summer is warm and busy. Spring and fall offer crisper weather, but a stroll along the creek is still really enjoyable.

Not just a pretty picnic spot, False Creek is ideal for a stroll. Separating downtown from the rest of the city, the waterfront offers three popular walks: North, South, and Olympic Village. False Creek is also a fun place to rent a kayak and venture past Granville Island.

14. Spend the Evening at the Richmond Night Market

Location: Lulu Island, Metro Vancouver, BC
Best time to visit: The annual night market is held during the summer months.

Looking for something fun to do at night in Vancouver? Try the Richmond Night Market. The largest night market on the continent runs from May to October and offers a fun variety of food, games, shops, and live music and entertainment.

15. Visit the Museum of Anthropology

Location: 6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Best time to visit: The wonderful museum re-opens in June, following a few upgrades.

Located at the University of British Columbia on the territory of the Musqueam people, this museum features unique pieces from indigenous people. Their collection is quite extensive, with hundreds of thousands of artifacts ranging from ceramics to totem poles, to name a few.

16. Spend the Afternoon at English Bay

Location: Along Beach Ave. between Bidwell St. and Gilford St.
Best time to visit: English Bay is popular year-round. Peak season is late summer.

Nestled in Vancouver's West End, English Bay offers some of the best things to do in Vancouver. Known for its beaches, shopping, and annual events, like the Celebration of Lights Fireworks in the middle of summer, there is simply so much to do here. Don't miss the stunning sunset at Sunset Beach.

17. Take a Trip to Pam Rocks

Location: Northwest of Vancouver. Get to Palm Rocks via regular ferry service.
Best time to visit: Late summer to early fall.

Pam Rocks is a small group of rocks in the middle of Howe Sound. The area offers an excellent opportunity to meet local seals, who often swim over to say hello to kayakers and snorkelers. There's also other wildlife here, like plenty of birds and fish.

18. Admire Art at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Location: 750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7
Best time to visit: The Vancouver Art Gallery is closed on Tuesdays. Try weekdays for a more intimate visit.

Vancouver Art Gallery is Western Canada's largest gallery, and a trip to this popular Vancouver attraction will not disappoint. The three-story historic building houses many great works, including some by Emily Carr, one of British Columbia's most loved painters.

Science World, VancouverUnsplash

19. Learn Something New at Science World

Location: 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC V6A 3Z7
Best time to visit: Any day between 10 AM to 5 PM.

Traveling with little ones? Science World is a wonderful Vancouver attraction for all ages, especially kids. The multi-level space inside the oceanfront dome offers hands-on learning galleries, and science showcases on the planet's largest domed screen. Plus, adjacent to Science World is Creekside Park, the largest playground in Vancouver.

20. Soak in the Views from Queen Elizabeth Park

Location: 4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2Z1
Best time to visit: While Queen Elizabeth Park is pretty year-round, late spring and fall are particularly beautiful.

This Vancouver park is the highest vantage point in the city, offering breathtaking views of the North Shore Mountains and more. Built on a former quarry, this impeccable park has beautiful gardens and is home to the Bloedel Conservatory, an arboretum with exotic plants and birds.

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