A trip through British Columbia is not complete without a few days in Vancouver. The largest city in BC is a starting point for several Alaskan Cruises and a stopover on the Rocky Mountaineer – and can be easily slotted into any west coast itinerary. But deciding how to spend your time in Vancouver when you only have a few days can be tough. So we’ve rounded up some of the key things to see and do into a simple four day itinerary to help you make the most of your time.
Day 1 – Become acquainted with the city
Start your first day in Vancouver itself, exploring the city’s well-known attractions. The best place to head to is the banks of False Creek, where you’ll find several key attractions. This includes Science World, Creekside Park, Rogers Arena, BC Place, Granville Island, Museum of Vancouver and Vancouver Maritime Museum. The creek is quite long so be prepared for a lengthy (but scenic) walk.
After a day discovering the city, you’ll be hungry and eager to experience Vancouver’s exciting culinary offerings. Vancouver is through and through a foodie city, so much that we’ve already written about the delicious cuisines that can be found in the BC capital.
Day 2 – Experience a bird’s eye view from Grouse Mountain
On Day 2 it’s time for an adventure at Vancouver’s highest point: Grouse Mountain. What you’ll actually get up to depends on the time of year you visit, but the must-visit Skyride is open 365 days a year. This will take you on a bird’s eye view of the vibrant evergreen trees below, while you look back on the cityscape of Vancouver.
At the top of the mountain – depending on the time of year – you’ll find activities such as zip-lining, skiing, shopping, paragliding and snowshoeing. There’s also a wildlife refuge for endangered species, where two orphaned grizzly bears, Grinder and Coolaas, call home (you can even have breakfast with them during the summer!). Another star attraction is The Eye of the Wind – the world’s only wind turbine with a glass viewing platform just three metres below its blades.
Day 3 – Test your fear of heights on the Capilano Suspension Bridge
Today it’s time to head into the north of the city to one of Vancouver’s top tourist attractions: the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Suspended 110 feet above the forest floor, it provides magnificent views of Vancouver’s striking evergreens. If, however, you’re not feeling brave enough there’s also a treetops adventure, cliff walk, nature trails and guided tours in the wider park.
In the evening, take a wander into Chinatown. Found on the eastern side of downtown Vancouver, this is the third largest Chinatown in North America. Start the early evening strolling round Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a sanctuary from the busy streets that line the rest of the city.
Afterwards start your evening with dinner in one of Chinatown’s many restaurants. Chinatown has immerged as a trendy favourite amongst locals, and serves delicious modern Asian-inspired fusion dishes as well as traditional Chinese menus. Finish your night by popping into one of the cocktail bars that line the streets.
Day 4 – Spend a day in Stanley Park
For your final day in the city, keep it easy with a walk through Stanley Park. Found on the peninsula at the north-western edge of downtown Vancouver, this impeccably maintained garden attracts 8 million visitors a year. Home to numerous attractions including the Vancouver Aquarium, the heated outdoor Second Beach Pool and the Variety Kids Water Park, there’s plenty of day-time activities.
As evening approaches, stop for a bit of dinner. For a fine-dining experience, head to The Teahouse which serves a fusion of West Coast flavours with a touch of French flair (and an impressive wine list). There’s also the Stanley’s Park Bar & Grill, which offers a more casual dining experience complete with beer garden.
Afterwards watch a performance by Theatre Under the Stars, a local not-for-profit theatre group that performs in the outdoor Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park. Then finish the night by watching the sunset from either the Vancouver Seawall or the Third Beach. The perfect way to end your four days in Vancouver.