Canada is a country with alluring landscapes, magnificent mountains and exquisite beaches. An abundance of nature with waterfalls, lakes and forests! It is a true enigma in the northern part of North America. The city that we are going to talk about is a jewel in itself in Canada. Located in the lovely British Columbia province, Vancouver is the central hub or rather the heart of BC. The moment when you are in flight and the pilot announces that you are about to reach Vancouver in 20 minutes and see the peak out of the window, you see the summit of the mountains spread all across and it is a view to relish forever. Finally, you’ve landed in Vancouver and the chill breeze touches your face. You definitely fall for the surreal beauty of this place. Well, you are at the hotel and then you think, “Well, here I am in Vancouver. What next?” To answer your question, check out our list of the best things to do in Vancouver.
1. Take in the views along Vancouver Seawall
Built around Stanley Park to prevent erosion, Vancouver Seawall has since become a major attraction for tourists visiting the city and a great spot for locals and outdoor enthusiasts to relax and hang out. The stone wall spreads over 17 miles (27 kilometers) and is the longest continuous waterfront trail. The path is excellent for biking, walking, jogging, and roller skating; it offers spectacular waterfront views along the way. While here, keep an eye out for several landmarks too.
Address: Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2
Website: Vancouver Seawall
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
2. Check the time at the famous Gastown Steam Clock
Among the city’s most famed tourist attractions, the 1977 Gastown Steam Clock is a must-see when in Vancouver. The clock is situated in Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood of the same name. It blends perfectly with the cobblestone streets, Victorian architecture, and chic boutiques. This antique-style clock is powered by steam and tells the time by whistling.
Gastown Steam Clock
Address: 305 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B9
Website: Gastown Steam Clock
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
3. Admire the manicured Queen Elizabeth Quarry Gardens
Not only is Queen Elizabeth Park one of Vancouver’s top spots for wedding photo sessions, but it also has its own Celebration Pavillion for wedding ceremonies. The park boasts dancing water fountains, panoramic city views, a rose garden built to commemorate Canada’s Centennial in 1967, and a wide variety of lush vegetation. The park’s most beautiful corners include Quarry Gardens, with perfectly manicured shrubs, trees, and perennials, and the arboretum that houses spectacular tree species including Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, and coast redwood, the world’s tallest trees.
Queen Elizabeth Park
Address: 4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2Z1
Website: Queen Elizabeth Park
Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)
4. Check out Vancouver's waterfront from Canada Place
Canada Place is one of Vancouver’s iconic landmarks. It is situated in the heart of the city offering stunning waterfront vistas to its visitors. Both an events venue and a place that offers experiences galore, Canada Place is a popular spot for travelers and locals. When you arrive at Canada Place, the first thing you will see is its five white sails that have become iconic to the Vancouver waterfront. They light up at night, offering the Sails of Light spectacle from sunset to sunrise. Other must-try experiences include exploring the Canadian Trail to discover Canada from north to south and east to west, Dream of Canada Exhibit, and Heritage Horns.
Address: 999 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 3T4
Website: Canada Place
5. Watch Bloedel Conservatory light up
Seeing Bloedel Conservatory light up doesn’t happen every day, but it’s definitely worth watching if you visit Vancouver on Canada Day or other significant events. On any other day, the conservatory is a spectacular home to colorful exotic birds and a healing garden that will engage all your senses. There are over 120 free-flying birds at Bloedel Conservatory, including African parrots, Chinese pheasants, and dwarf Macaws. As you explore the botanical garden, you will discover tropical plants galore, from the delicate Amazon lily to banana trees. Flame of the woods, the lollipop plant, and strangler figs are worth looking for too.
Address: 4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Y 2M4
Website: Bloedel Conservatory
Opening hours: 10am - 3:45pm (daily)
6. Take a selfie at Olympic Cauldron @ Jack Poole Plaza
Built in honor of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Olympic Cauldron @ Jack Poole Plaza is a massive structure that depicts a modern Olympic torch. Since its inauguration, the construction has become a permanent tourist attraction and is occasionally lit for special events. Make sure you take a selfie next to the imposing structure, with either mountains or some of Vancouver’s skyscrapers as a backdrop.
Olympic Cauldron @ Jack Poole Plaza
Address: 1055 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 0C3
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
7. Browse through various exhibits at Museum of Vancouver
Museum of Vancouver is one of the city’s staple museums, dating back to 1894 when it was originally founded. Although it suffered multiple changes throughout the years to get to the shape and form it is today, it remains Canada’s largest civic museum. Inside, you will find permanent collections with historical, archaeological, cultural, and ethnographic exhibits as well as temporary exhibitions. The museum also hosts various events and workshops so make sure you check them out too.
Museum of Vancouver
Address: 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9
Website: Museum of Vancouver
Opening hours: Thu - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed from Mon - Wed)
Price: 8 CAD (6 USD)
8. Find your way out of the maze at VanDusen Botanical Garden
VanDusen Botanical Garden is one of Vancouver’s gems and a natural oasis in the heart of the city. This garden is home to over 7,500 of the most spectacular plant species from around the world. Take a walk through the garden and discover its lush vegetation, veggie garden, beautiful sculptures, tranquil lakes, and a spectacular waterfall. One of its highlights is the Elizabethan maze created from over 3,000 cedars. We dare you to try and make your way out of it as fast as you can!
Vandusen Botanical Garden
Address: 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1
Website: Vandusen Botanical Garden
Opening hours: 10am - 3pm (daily)
9. Photograph the unique sculptures at Vanier Park
Situated in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighborhood, Vanier Park boasts beautiful waterfront and downtown views. It even has a small sandy beach that is a great spot for flying a kite and admiring the unique sculptures sprinkled here and there. There’s plenty to do around the park as well since Museum of Vancouver and Vancouver Maritime Museum are just a three-minute walk away.
Address: 1000 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9
Website: Vanier Park
Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)
10. Explore the architectural details of Museum of Anthropology at UBC
The first thing you will notice when visiting Museum of Anthropology at UBC is its interesting modern architecture. Once you step inside, feast your eyes on the renowned art collections. The museum constantly hosts new installations and displays. It is also home to permanent exhibitions, including the sculptures, bentwood boxes, and canoes displayed in the Great Hall, the Multidiversity Galleries, and Bill Reid Rotunda with its famous sculpture called The Raven and the First Men.
Museum of Anthropology at UBC
Address: 6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2
Website: Museum of Anthropology at UBC
Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon)
11. Gaze at the Vancouver skyline from Harbour Centre
One of the best ways to gaze at the Vancouver skyline and a sure way to fall in love with the city is from the Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre. Harbour Centre is one of the city’s tallest buildings and is a hotspot for business, history, and tourism. However, the best part about it is the Vancouver Lookout observation deck that can be accessed by riding a glass elevator. Once at the top, the 360-degree views of the city will take your breath away.
Address: 555 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 4N6
Website: Harbour Centre
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 6pm (closed on Sun)
12. Check out the unique Granville Giants Murals by OSGEMEOS
Located on a worksite on Granville Island, Granville Giants Murals by OSGEMEOS is a unique work of art spray-painted on six giant concrete silos. The artist wanted to create art on a three-dimensional surface, so finding the right spot was quite challenging yet the result has quickly gained popularity. Giants is actually an ongoing project, with multiple locations including Brazill, the United States, several countries in Europe, and Vancouver in Canada.
Granville Giants Murals by Os Gemeos
Address: Granville Island
13. Learn about Chinese culture at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is located in Vancouver’s Chinatown. It is the first Chinese garden built outside China. With a public park and a garden accessible with a fee, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden hosts various cultural and educational programs and events as well as festivals and concerts. The garden is an excellent place to visit with the entire family, and it can be an exciting experience for all ages.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Address: 578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2
14. Be part of the brewing process at Brassneck Brewery
A visit to Brassneck Brewery will not only make you feel like you’re part of their brewing process but also get to taste their selection available on tap. Situated on Main Street, the brewery features a brewhouse, a cellar, a tasting room, and a shop where you can purchase their branded merchandise or beer to take home. Their tasting room has a limited 50-person capacity, which makes the experience even more authentic. There’s always a food truck available outside where you can order food and bring it inside, so you have a snack to go with your brew.
Address: 2148 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3C5
Website: Brassneck Brewery
Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 2pm - 10pm; Sat - Sun: 12pm - 10pm
15. Enjoy a barbecue dinner at Reflections: The Garden Terrace
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Rosewood Hotel Georgia is one of Vancouver’s top hotels featuring deluxe rooms and suites, fine dining, and a wellness center. Still, one of its most notable attractions has to be the rooftop restaurant, Reflections: The Garden Terrace. Nestled between skyscrapers, the terrace offers a spectacular view. It serves a selection of tapas that are perfectly paired with sophisticated cocktails. At night, they serve a barbecue dinner cooked by a chef.
Reflections: The Garden Terrace
Address: 801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7
Website: Reflections: The Garden Terrace
Capilano Suspension Bridge is 137 meters (450 feet) across and 70 meters (230 feet) above Capilano River. It was built in the year 1889 but since then many attractions have been added to the park. There are seven suspension bridges throughout. A definite breathtaking experience is to do cliff walking in here. Moving across natural rain forest vegetation on suspension walkways will surely run chills down your spine. The moment you look down through the glass and see the river beneath will give terrific sensations.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
It was a hippie capital during olden times but now it gives a Venice beach vibe right in the middle of Vancouver. If you miss Venice Beach, then get in at this exotic beach. Playing volleyball and enjoying the largest outdoor pool is an experience to cherish forever.
Cycling tour across Kitsilano Beach:
Address: Vancouver Cycle tour
18. Dive into the mind-boggling demonstrations at Science World
The Telus World of Science is a wonder of science which will spark up your mind with new information. Experience extensive and wide visual arena at OMNIMAX Theatre. The exhibition space is must see the attraction in beautiful Vancouver. A true inspiration for future generations which will surely be a great source for science lovers and technology enthusiasts.
If you wish to have a dining, event and extreme sightseeing experience in cruise then you need not look more! Harbour Cruising is the best and the most popular cruise service in Vancouver.
Vancouver Harbor Sightseeing Cruise
Duration: 1 hour
Granville Island is not exactly an island but it is an actual sandpit! You will have huge options for food and drink here. Be it shopping or collecting souvenir, watching a show in the theater or visiting the public market. Granville Island has everything for everyone!
Granville Island Tour
If you are a lover or admirer of ancient culture than Brockton Totem Pole is for you! Visit and explore the artistic and cultural hub of Vancouver. There are a large number of totem poles spread across Stanley Park. It is a 20 minute walk from Harbour entrance to Stanley Park.
Stanley Park Small-Group Bike Tour with E-Bike Option
Duration: 3 hours
You are in downtown Vancouver and you want to spend your rest of the day at a unique place! Well, you do have stunning choices available. Visit Grouse Mountain Summit and experience the marvelous vista of Vancouver, 20 minutes away from cowntown. The aerial tramway at the entrance will take you 1,130 meters (3,700) feet above sea level to Alpine Station. If you are a skier or snowboarder, then there are around 14 runs open for you. Even if you plan to do nothing, at the top you can view the wide panorama of the entire Vancouver city. There are plenty of options for food and drinks too.
Grouse Mountain 5-Zipline Peak Adventure with Chairlift
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Have you seen the movie 50/50 where Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen are walking in the park and having a conversation? Well, that’s Stanley Park! One of the most famous attractions of Vancouver which has around 7 million visitors each year. Miles and miles of paved and dirt trails, beautiful beaches, parks and miniature railways give a unique impression amidst the city of Vancouver. A great way to escape the city yet situated quite close to downtown, Stanley Park will give you lovely view of downtown buildings.
Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tour
Duration: 1 hour
Whether it is dipping into deep valleys or flying from the top of a mountain in Canada. Experience the unique scenic visions of Canada. But wait while your imagination flies away! All this you will be experiencing with marvelous special effects, including wind, mist and scents, combined with the ride’s motion at a state-of-art technology at FlyOver Canada.
Vancouver FlyOver Canada Simulated Flight Ride Admission
Duration: 25 minutes
Home to more than 70,000 animals in Canada’s largest Aquarium, it has more than a million visitors all around the year. You can visit the marine animal displays, touch and feel the dolphins and turtles and experience 4D aquarium and numerous educational events and shows all around the year. The Vancouver Aquarium is a great escape from the city and a major marine science center of Vancouver.
Vancouver Aquarium Skip-the-Line Admission Ticket
Duration: 1 to 8 hours
Experience Vancouver today
Vancouver has everything to offer for everyone. Natural parks, mountains, oceans, nightlife and food, whatever you wish to do or experience, Vancouver will truly satisfy and give you memorable moments to cherish forever!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.