Vancouver has plenty on offer for every tourist. It’s only a couple of hours from Seattle if you drive south, and Whistler if you drive north, so a popular starting point for a road-trip. Plus, it’s a city surrounded by mountains, what more could you ask for?
So, if you’ve only got a few days to explore Vancouver (or maybe you just want a few pointers on what to do), then here’s a great, achievable bucket list to work your way through:
Explore Stanley Park
Stanley Park is definitely a tourist hotspot in Vancouver; full of beaches with a skyline view, outdoor pools & woodland walks. Lots of people hire bikes so they can cycle the entire perimeter of the park, but if that’s not your thing, then you can also drive everywhere instead. It’s a great lil scenic drive if you have space in your itinerary, as you’ll have the park on one side and the ocean on the other!
See the famous steam clock in Gastown
Gastown is also full of dozens of gift shops, perfect for the kind of day that involves exploring and shopping. I managed to grab some great souvenirs from the shops here, so definitely make sure to keep your eyes out! As for the clock, it is one of the few functioning steam powered clocks left in existence. Every sixty minutes it marks the hour by playing a little whistle tune and puffs steam from the top.
Cheesy, but isn’t that what makes it a little fun?
Visit Granville Island
Granville Island is definitely one of my favourite places in Vancouver. Again, more gift shops (hell yeah), but also shops that sell locally produced products, so it also supports the local community. We stopped for lunch inside the food market – there’s several stalls selling different cuisines, so it’s a great option as it feeds everyone.
It’s a quirky place and full of life, but the ideal spot for a mooch – you get a great view of the city from the waterside!
Stop for ice-cream at Marble Slab Creamery
We stopped here after a hot day exploring Stanley Park and oh boy, we were pleased we did. So pleased, in fact, that we returned a second .. and third time! You choose your flavour ice cream (birthday cake and white chocolate are both 11/10 options) and then they mix in toppings of your choice. So after mixing in chunks of cookie dough, brownie, oreo and smothering in caramel sauce .. I was a very happy gal.
Definitely recommend it if you’re a sucker for desserts and fancy treating yourself – plus they do other things such as shakes, crepes & waffles, so there’s something for everyone!
Take in the view from Lion Gate’s Bridge
This bridge is located inside Stanley Park, so would tie in nicely with a day spent exploring the park itself! The Canadian coast is absolutely beautiful. And, despite visiting in the heat of summer, some of the leaves were already orange creating this beautiful hue around the bridge itself.
It’s a 100% worth the drive up to see and to grab a photo!
Check out one of the museums
In case of a rainy day (or a much needed break from the sun), a museum is always a great addition to any itinerary. We spent a good couple of hours at the science museum and although aimed at kids, it was great fun!
If museums aren’t so much your thing, then maybe try the aquarium in Stanley Park (you can kill two birds with one stone that way). I had a great experience there as there was so much to see – we were even lucky enough to hold some snakes.
Take a ferry ride
Any kind of boat ride when visiting somewhere new is great as you get to see everything from a new perspective. I took the ferry from Vancouver over to Vancouver Island and although this technically wasn’t an excursion, just a means of transport, it did offer some pretty great views of the mountains. If you fancy hiring a boat yourself, check out this website.
Aaaand that’s all from me! I’d love to know if you got up to any of these things whilst in Vancouver, or if there’s anything crucial you think I’ve missed!
Thanks for reading! 🙂