Vancouver is one of the world’s most spectacular cities, surrounded by mountains and water. FlightNetwork recently named it the fifth most beautiful on the planet, though many would argue it’s No. 1. In addition to jaw-dropping scenery, it hosts a wealth of cultural attractions, fantastic eats, and all sorts of shopping opportunities.
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may contain affiliate links, which means we earn a commission when you purchase through these links.
It’s easy to fall in love with British Columbia’s largest city, and difficult to leave, which is why many find themselves searching the Vancouver houses for sale in hopes of enjoying it all year round. But if you just have a short time, with so much to see and do, prioritize these essentials for the best experience.
If you’ll be staying less than a week, downtown is the most convenient option, with many attractions that can easily be reached on foot. It includes the neighborhoods of Yaletown, Gastown, the Waterfront, Granville Entertainment District, the Financial District, West End, and Coal Harbour.
Sample the Local Seafood
Vancouver is famous for its fresh, local seafood, salmon in particular. British Columbia salmon is shipped across the globe, but it’s always better when eaten fresh off the boat. Menus often include mouthwatering halibut, prawns, and Canadian sablefish too.
Take in the View from the Vancouver Lookout
Standing nearly 500 feet above Harbour Centre, the Vancouver Lookout is a great spot to take in a panoramic view of the city, water, and mountains. You might want to dine here too, with the Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant providing constantly changing, spectacular views while it slowly rotates.
Take a Walk in Stanley Park
Stanley Park lies on the downtown Vancouver Peninsula covering over 1,000 acres. Its famous Seawall is a paved path that stretches for 5.5 miles bringing magnificent views of downtown, Lions Gate Bridge, Burrard Inlet, and the North Shore Mountains. The park also hosts multiple attractions like the Vancouver Aquarium too.
Check Out the Granville Island Public Market
One of the top open-air markets in North America, come here to browse or buy everything from artisanal cheeses and the fresh catch of the day to produce and rare mushrooms. It’s the perfect place to gather ingredients for a picnic or enjoy an al fresco meal as the boats glide by in English Bay.
Play on Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain, the “Peak of Vancouver” is the place locals and visitors go to enjoy the great outdoors and activities like hiking and ziplining during the warmer months, with winter bringing opportunities for snowshoeing and ice skating. The Grouse Grind is one of the most popular challenges to accomplish, made up of 2,830 stairs that will bring you to enjoy stunning ocean and city views.
Cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge
The 230-feet-high Capilano Suspension Bridge spans 450 feet over the Capilano River through a lush rainforest. While it may be heart-pounding for some, it offers gorgeous views of the verdant greenery. A number of other attractions are here too, like nature tours, a cliff walk, Living Forest exhibit, and a treetop adventure.
Go Whale Watching
If you visit anytime between March and October when thousands of whales migrate through the waters around Vancouver, joining a whale watching trip is a must. This is one of the world’s best destinations for spotting whales, with humpbacks and orcas frequently seen. You’re likely to glimpse dolphins, sea lions and seals too, while surrounded by breathtaking scenery.