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Incredible Things to do in Vancouver Canada

The spectacular Canadian city of Vancouver, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, lush rainforests, incredible wildlife and a vibrant ocean, has been voted one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I love that the city is so immersed in nature. Mountains, ocean and rainforest combine with skyscrapers, monuments, beautiful buildings, cobbled streets and noisy bars. There are endless things to do in Vancouver, museums to visit, trendy restaurants, boutiques and cafes. In downtown Vancouver, you can snowboard, climb a mountain, watch whales or sea mammals from a kayak.

view of Vancouve
Water, Forest, Mountains, City; the spectacular city of Vancouver in BC Canada.

Vancouver is known for offering a variety of outdoor activities and adventures, from water sports to hiking, camping, snorkeling, paddle boarding and kayaking in the summer to snowboarding, skiing and various snow sports in the winter. I’ve spent a lot of time hiking in this beautiful coastal city, check out our reviews and descriptions of the best hiking trails around Vancouver.

Vancouver Island, the largest island on the west coast of North America, is part of British Columbia and can be reached by a short and exciting ferry ride from Vancouver. We had a blast exploring this beautiful island, check out our article on great things to do on Vancouver Island! Vancouver is full of exciting activities, whether you’re a cultural enthusiast, adrenaline junkie, foodie or photographer, this beautiful city will amaze you. In this article, we’ll look at the amazing activities in Vancouver for all interests!

Vancouver Must See Places

Every city has a few must-visit places, they are very popular tourist spots and famous attractions that the city is famous for! I’m going to start this article by looking at the best places to visit and things to do at each of these places in Vancouver.

Grouse Mountain

Things to do at Grouse Mountain – Grouse Grind Hiking, skiing, snowboarding, paragliding, restaurants, nature films, grizzly bears, shows, gondola rides.

I fell in love with Grouse Mountain, which is located in the middle of downtown. Often referred to as “Vancouver’s Peak,” this 1,250-foot-high mountain is a short public transit ride from downtown Vancouver. The mountain offers great views and is very popular for year-round outdoor activities. There are also many activities throughout the year, including a 100-seat theatre at the top of the mountain and a wildlife sanctuary.

Skyride aerial tramway coming down Grouse Mountain
The Skyride cable car descends from Grouse Mountain
Riding the Skyride cable car from Grouse Mountain is an amazing experience in Vancouver.

Most people ride the Skyride cable car up and down to enjoy the incredible views of Vancouver, the ocean and the surrounding area. The ride lasts 10 minutes and departs every 15 minutes from 8:45am to 10:00pm at night. At the top of the mountain, there are many entertainment options: a lumberjack show, a grizzly bear, a movie theatre, various restaurants and much more. For more information, check out our Mount Grouse hiking guide.

In the summer, the most popular activity is the famous climb up the Grouse Mountain Grind. The Grind is legendary in Vancouver, the trail has about 3000 steps with an incredible 800m vertical drop in just 3km, yes, it’s steep! The trail is used for hiking and running and is usually very popular, with over 100,000 people hiking it in one season. This trail only goes in one direction, uphill. There is no downhill allowed on the Grouse Grind trail; hikers take a cable car down and the cost is $15. A number of other activities are offered during the summer, such as disc golf, cable car rides, and paragliding.

In the winter, Grouse Mountain is a top destination for skiing and snowboarding with lifts and 33 trails! The mountain has numerous trails and terrain for skiers of all levels and six snowboarding areas. It’s also a good place to learn! Lift passes, equipment rentals and lessons are available for all levels. At Grouse Mountain, you can ski, snowboard, ice skate, snowshoe and practice other winter activities.

Grouse Mountain tickets include Skyride and optional round-trip transportation from downtown Vancouver.

Stanley Park

Things to do in Stanley Park – go to Seawall to run, walk, bike, rollerblade, swim, eat and visit the aquarium.

Stanley Park is a huge preserve, almost completely surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, covering about 400 acres. The beautiful area is surrounded by Vancouver Harbour and Inglis Bay, and a total of about 27 km of trails stretch through the forest.

walking on Stanley Park wall one of the best things to do in vancouver
Walking between the ocean and the forest on the Stanley Park Wall towards the city is a great experience in Vancouver.

The walk between the ocean and the forest along the Stanley Park wall towards the city is a great experience in Vancouver.

The most popular activity at Stanley Park is the walk through the park along the sea wall. The Stanley Park Sea Wall, which surrounds the park, is a 9-kilometre-long continuous paved path with spectacular views of the park, the ocean, downtown Vancouver and the mountains. The Seawall is very popular with hikers, runners, cyclists, families and skaters. Rent a bike, run or walk – it’s free all year round. There are plenty of places to rent bikes near the park.

Explore the popular Vancouver highlights bike route through Stanley Park Rainforest and historic neighbourhoods like Gastown and Chinatown, including a cruise and city tour.

There are two popular beaches to visit in Stanley Park: Second Beach and Third Beach are about 20 minutes apart. Third Beach is larger and suitable for swimming, with lifeguards on duty during the summer. Second Beach is adjacent to the very popular huge heated swimming pool on Second Beach, located on top of the sea wall. The pool has a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. The pool has exercise lanes and swimming areas for fun – a great place for the whole family.

Stanley Park also has play parks, putt-putt, tennis courts, a splash park and the Stanley Park Train that runs from April to early September and takes you around the park. One of the most exciting attractions at Stanley Park is the Vancouver Aquarium.

Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is located in Stanley Park. The aquarium is amazing, as a very active diver it is great to see the local flora and fauna in such an aquarium, it reminds me of the Cape Town Aquarium, one of the best things to do in Cape Town.

Jellyfish Vancouver Aquarium
Check out the amazing jellyfish bloom exhibit at the Vancouver Aquarium.

The Vancouver Aquarium has over 60,000 amazing aquatic creatures living in it.Check out the British Columbia exhibit and see what the underwater waters of the Vancouver area look like. See sago, octopus, rockfish, starfish and other fish from all over British Columbia. See sea otters or check out the hypnotic jellyfish exhibit. Appreciate daily experiences with sea lions, otters and penguins. The aquarium also features several educational exhibits from other parts of the world, such as Amazon or tropical aquariums. The Vancouver Aquarium is a research facility and initiative of Ocean Wise, a non-profit corporation dedicated to the conservation of aquatic animals. A visit to the aquarium contributes directly to its conservation, education and research programs.

Granville Island

Things to do on Granville Island – gourmet tour, public market, beer, SUP, kayaking, whale watching

Granville Island is an incredible place to relax, have a beer and a bite to eat. It’s also a great place to start exploring Vancouver by kayak or paddle board.

Take a two-hour paddleboard tour along Vancouver’s stunning coastline, watch the marine life and explore the city.

Stroll past food stalls on a relaxed family or foodie day, where buskers play on the streets all day and lots of tasty treats are on sale. Granville Island, located across from downtown Vancouver, is technically a peninsula connected to Vancouver, not a real island. Filled with shops and entertainment, Granville Island is a very popular destination with over 10 million visitors a year. The Granville Island Public Market is an indoor market and probably the most popular place to visit on the island. For foodies, visiting the public market is one of the best things to do in Vancouver. Stroll around and browse the many food and produce shops, handmade products and unique gifts offered by up to 150 vendors. The market is open all day from 9 am to 7 pm. If you’re looking for good beer, visit Granville Island Brewing, Canada’s first microbrewery.

Granville Island Public Market Walking Tour

Go Whale and Orca Watching

Vancouver is a great place for whale watching, as various species of whales and other marine animals are regularly spotted during whale watching tours.

Humpback whales, gray whales, minke whales and orcas can be spotted at different times of the year.

Whale watching from Vancouver
Whale watching is a “must do” activity in Vancouver. Humpback whales are very common.

Vancouver whale watching boats often observe sperm whales that come to the area to feed on migrating salmon, from May to October. Humpback whale numbers are highest from April to November.

Whale watching trips are made from Granville Island, Cole Harbour, Horseshoe Bay and Steveston.

Take an exciting whale watching safari from Granville Island, which is a highly rated team. Embark on an expedition to see whales, killer whales, seals, sea lions, golden eagles and many other marine animals.

Half day whale watching trip on the 80ft flagship catamaran Prince of Whales, meeting in downtown Vancouver.

Canada Place

Things to do at Canada Place – stroll, admire the giant ships, FlyOver Canada

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront, Canada Place is an icon of the city. The Canada Place building is located on Vancouver’s waterfront. The architecture in the form of a giant sailing ship is very famous and can be seen from all over Vancouver.  Many cruise ships that visit Vancouver dock here, and it is interesting to walk around and see these huge ships up close. The outdoor deck of Canada Place is very pleasant to walk around and has a beautiful view of the ocean and the North Shore mountains. Canada Place is also located near the Olympic Cauldron, home to the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Vancouver World Trade Centre and the FlyOver Canada virtual attraction.

FlyOver was a really fun activity, it’s a flying theatre attraction that takes guests on a virtual reality flight across Canada using attraction equipment, a huge spherical screen and machines that create wind, fog and scents to enhance the experience!

In July and August, there are free outdoor movie screenings on Thursday nights, a great opportunity for a picnic! Canada Place is located near Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver.

From Canada Place, take a scenic walk along the waterfront to Stanley Park, where you can watch giant ships and seaplanes take off and land.

Seaplane Flight Over Vancouver – Get a bird’s eye view of the scenic harbour and nearby mountain peaks during this 20-minute seaplane flight for small groups.

Pub Crawl – sample the best of Vancouver’s microbreweries during a three-hour tour of the city’s craft breweries.

Gas Town

Things to do in Gastown – visit the steam clock, take photos, grab a coffee, grab a beer

The trendy Gastown district in downtown Vancouver is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Its name comes from “Gazi” Jack Deaton, a steamboat captain from Yorkshire who arrived in 1867 and could talk a lot (gazi). The Fashion District is a great place to shop as it has a mix of contemporary fashion and tourist-oriented businesses. Gastown is home to many gift shops, restaurants, nightclubs, independent art galleries and decorating stores. The buildings are Victorian in style. The area has a very lively food scene with elegant cocktail lounges and restaurants serving everything from gourmet sandwiches to local seafood.

things to do in Vancouver see steam clock in Gas Town
The Gastown steam clock built in 1977 is a famous site to see in Vancouver.

Located near Waterfront Station, the Gastown Steam Clock is the #1 tourist attraction in the area. This working steam clock, made in 1977, is one of the few working steam clocks.

Functional steam engine clock in the world. The steam clock whistles and lets off steam every 15 minutes. Grab a beer at the popular Steamworks Brew Pub. Maple Tree Square, known for its history and landmarks, is a good place for photography. Gastown has several excellent coffee shops; visit Prado Cafe, Nemesis or Revolver. Unfortunately, I found out about this late, but it’s apparently a fun activity – a tour of Gastown Lost Souls.

Also check out this well-reviewed Gastown walking tour

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Things to do on the Capilano Suspension Bridge – suspension bridge, treetop adventure, cliff walk

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge over the Capilano River in North Vancouver. The bridge is 140 metres long and is located 70 metres above the river. It is one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist attractions, with over a million visitors a year, and has been a tourist attraction since 1889. More than just a suspension bridge, the bridge is privately owned and leads to an activity park full of forest trails and treetop walks among the old giants.

the Capilano Suspension Bridge Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is one of the most famous places in Vancouver.

The rock bridge at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a series of cantilevered and suspended walkways rising from a granite cliff over the Capilano River, a high and narrow pathway above the canyon far below.

Ticket price includes round-trip transportation from Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, admission to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, including the TreeTops Adventure and the thrilling cliff walk.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge has a hefty price tag, but Linn Canyon Park is a great alternative with lots of tours, a suspension bridge, and it’s free!

Capilano Suspension Bridge Tickets

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park is a city park in the North Vancouver neighbourhood. This beautiful park is full of hiking trails that can be explored from all levels.The Baden-Powell Trail runs through the park and crosses the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. If you want to hike from Lynn Valley to Deep Cove, the section is 12 miles long. The park has many breathtaking waterfalls and popular swimming pools where you can take a dip. The suspension bridge over Lynn Canyon towers 50 feet above the canyon. The park has the Lynn Canyon Cafe and an environmental center that you can visit. We explain the different trails in the park in our guide to the best hikes in Vancouver.

English Bay

Things to do in English Bay – swimming, boating, kayaking, walking the waterfront, coffee, beer

English Bay is located in Vancouver’s West End, adjacent to Stanley Park, and is one of the best bays in Vancouver. It’s where the city merges with the ocean, where high-end shops and restaurants line English Bay Beach and the English Bay waterfront. Inglis Bay offers spectacular views of the ocean, the southern Vancouver Peninsula, the University of British Columbia, and on a clear day, Vancouver Island.

The sea wall of English Bay stretches from Sunset Beach near the West End to Second Beach in Stanley Park.  There are walking and biking paths along the Seawall promenade with beautiful views of English Bay.  The Seawall is extremely popular year-round with Vancouver residents and tourists alike.

Stand up paddleboarding in Vancouver
Renting a paddleboat at English Bay Beach and paddling to Stanley Park is an amazing Vancouver trip.

English Bay Beach is a beautiful sandy beach that is great for swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding or just sunbathing. There are kayak/paddleboard rentals in the bay that are close enough to go to Stanley Park and explore the park from the water.  Kayak/paddleboard rentals are available from late May through September.

Inglis Bay hosts two huge events each year: the Celebration of Light festival and fireworks in late July/August – 3 nights of musically synchronized fireworks, and the Polar Bear Cruise when thousands of people take the plunge into the icy water on January 1 – a tradition since 1920!

Queen Elizabeth Park

Things to do in Queen Elizabeth Park – enjoy fantastic views of the city, visit the rose garden, flooded quarry garden, arboretum, visit the Bloedel Conservatory, play pitch and putt golf, tennis and disc golf.

Queen Elizabeth Park, located at Vancouver’s highest point, 167 metres above sea level, is one of Vancouver’s most visited places, with beautiful landscaped gardens, stunning views and an arboretum (a garden with over 1500 trees). One of the most beautiful places in Vancouver with fantastic panoramic views of downtown. Enjoy plazas, grassy hills, dancing fountains, public artwork and diverse gardens. Inside the park is the Bloedel Conservatory, which has a huge variety of free-flying exotic birds and tropical plants from three different climate zones.

Four-hour guided city tour including Queen Elizabeth Park Special offer!

Kitsilano Beach

Things to do at Kitsilano Beach – swimming in the Pacific Ocean, swimming in the heated pool, sunbathing, biking from Kitsilano Beach to Granville Island.

Kitsilano Beach things to do in Vancouver
Kitsilano Beach is the most popular beach in Vancouver. Some beaches in Vancouver have logs that are suitable for sitting on or using as tables.

Kitsilano Beach, located near downtown Vancouver, is one of Vancouver’s most popular beaches and is easily accessible by public transportation. Locals call it Kitts Beach, a sandy beach that is great for swimming and sunbathing, but also has grassy areas suitable for picnicking. The water is cold, but there’s a heated seawater pool next to the beach that’s great for swimming if the cold water isn’t to your liking. There are nice washing and changing facilities on the beach for a small fee. Kitsilano even has a special dog beach where locals can walk their dogs. The water here is a bit deeper, so it’s suitable for swimming.

Horseshoe Bay

Things to do in Horseshoe Bay – snorkelling and sea lion diving, sea kayaking

Horseshoe Bay is a coastal village in West Vancouver from where BC Ferries sail to Nanaimo, the Gulf of Mexico Islands and the Sunshine Coast. Horseshoe Bay is a beautiful area that marks the beginning of the beautiful Sea to Sky Highway that runs from Vancouver to Whistler. There are several nice cafes and restaurants here. There are boats that leave from Horseshoe Bay, and in Howesound Bay you can snorkel and kayak at the Pam Rocks seal colony. Snorkeling with seals and kayaking from Horseshoe Bay

Deep Cove

Things to do in Deep Cove – kayak, paddleboard, hike the Quarry Rock Trail, swim

Deep Cove is a beautiful little village at the foot of Mount Seymour in North Vancouver that consists mainly of one street dotted with restaurants, cafes and an ice cream shop. It’s a nice place to paddle and kayak, with a small sandy beach suitable for swimming. Deep Cove offers several boutiques, kayaks and paddleboats for rent, and a walk to Stone Rock. The Quarry Rock Hiking Trail in Deep Cove is an easy hike that overlaps with the first section of the famous Baden Powell Trail, a scenic 50-mile route from the North Shore to Horseshoe Bay. The trail is only 3.8 km long and is relatively flat with a 100 m vertical drop. The trail passes through densely wooded areas of hemlock and Douglas fir with great views of Deep Cove until you reach Stone Rock, a rock outcrop. This is an easy and very popular trail that is suitable for children and dogs. The trail can be hiked in about 2 hours. Hike to Quarry Rock from Vancouver

hiking in deep cove from Vancouver
Beautiful scenery on the hiking trails around Deep Cove.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classic Chinese Garden

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest Chinatown in Canada and one of the largest in North America, full of Chinese restaurants and grocery stores. The classic Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden is the best place to visit in Vancouver’s Chinatown.  It was the first Chinese or “scientific” garden built outside of China. The Chinese garden was inspired by the gardens of the Ming Dynasty scholars. It is a beautiful and peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, and all the building materials, decorations, furniture and plants were sourced from China. Winding paths lead through the beautiful gardens to the Jade Pavilion, the Classical Garden and the Ark. An amazing photo opportunity.

Located at 578 Carrall Street and consists of a free public park and garden with an entrance fee. A small group bike tour to Gastown, Yaletown, Chinatown and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Garden covering about 18 km (11 miles) while exploring Vancouver.

Richmond Night Market

The Richmond Night Market is an incredible night market with amazing food stalls that takes place during the summer months in Richmond in metropolitan Vancouver. This bustling night market with more than a hundred food stalls offers truly amazing and unique food, such as authentic Asian snacks from fantastic ramen to street food like tornado potatoes, grilled octopus, mango desserts and other interesting dishes. The market is active from May to October and can be reached by taking the Canada Line SkyTrain to Bridgeport Station and walking from there.

Awesome Things to do in Vancouver

There are lots of amazing things to do in Vancouver that you can experience at various places around the city, which I highly recommend!

Check out these two amazing, highly rated food tours:

Foodie things to do in Vancouver

Vancouver is a wonderful destination where visitors can sample some of Canada’s famous dishes. In this beautiful coastal city, you can choose from a wide variety of interesting multicultural-influenced dishes made with the finest Canadian ingredients. When visiting Vancouver, you shouldn’t miss out on sampling a variety of local specialties.

Poutine

Poutine is a very popular Canadian dish that you don’t want to miss in Vancouver. It is basically fried potatoes that are covered in cheese curds and brown gravy. There are a variety of options and I saw pork, duck, bacon, mushroom sauce and sweet potato poutine.

Poutine take away favorite thing to eat in Vancouver
Plain poutine with cheese and brown sauce – a Vancouver favourite.

To enjoy the best poutine, from plain to insanely tasty combinations, head to one of Vancouver’s poutine specialists; Fritz European Fry House on Davis Street is perhaps the best poutine in Vancouver, Mean Poutine on Nelson Street or La Belle Patate also on Davis Street are two other highly rated poutine spots. Poutine is served at many fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, A&W and Harvey’s.

I’ll never forget how my brother and I arrived hungry in Victoria on Vancouver Island after four days of hiking and camping on the Juan de Fuca trail. Putin at A&W that day was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten! The amazing poutine, available all over the country, is prepared by Costco at great prices with real cheese and proper sauce.

Japadog

Japadog is probably the most famous street food vendor in Vancouver, and eating these delicious hot dogs with a street flavour is on the list of “things to do in Vancouver”. A Japadog is a hotdog with a side of Japanese food. They serve turkey hotdogs and beef hotdogs combined with ingredients such as teriyaki, seaweed, okonomiyaki and more. One stall has become a chain of stalls in Vancouver and now they have a store, but I loved picking up my Japadog on the street. You can find Japadog in Richmond and at Waterfront Station, Japadog in Vancouver.

popular Japadog streetfood in Vancouver
Eating Japadog on the street was one of my favourite foodie activities in Vancouver. Flavored with authentic Japanese ingredients, this hotdog is definitely worth finding in the city.

Ramen

When I first visited Vancouver, I had no idea what ramen was. It’s one of the most popular dishes in the city, and ramen is definitely a must-try in Vancouver. Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup made from a rich and flavourful broth, often accompanied by a boiled egg. There are many varieties of ramen and the broth can be made with different meats or vegetables and different types of noodles can be used. In Japan, ramen is a popular fast food. Vancouverites love their ramen, maybe it’s a combination of the large Asian population and the rainy weather, but with a huge selection of quality ramen, this is the place to try different things.

Coffee things to do in Vancouver

Vancouver Coffee Franchise Places

As a big caffeine lover, I was very happy to discover the amazing coffee culture in Vancouver when I stayed here for a few months. There are many coffee franchises and quality specialty coffee shops in the city. Tim Hortons is a Canadian coffee shop that you can find on every other block. The one I liked best was Timbits, also known as donut holes, which are delicious little cakes that are fried and topped with frosting. I’ve never seen so many Starbucks, they really are everywhere. If you drink coffee with two milks and two sugars, in Canada you just order a double double.

Good Coffee in Vancouver

Franchise stores are not the place to go if you want good coffee. If you’re a fan of quality espresso-based beverages made by trained baristas using excellent coffee beans, even in Vancouver they can put a smile on your face. When European immigrants settled in Vancouver after World War II, they brought the espresso culture with them, establishing coffee roasters and ensuring the highest quality. On Commercial Drive, you can still visit some of the original cafes, such as Continental Coffee and Joe’s Café. If you’re looking for a great coffee, look for Caffe Artigiano or Prado Café, founded by Canadian barista champion Sammy Piccolo and located in several locations in Vancouver: Caffe Artigiano on Yale and Hornby Street next to the Fairmont Vancouver, and Prado Café on Commercial Drive, in Gastown and on Fraser Street.

Beer tasting in Vancouver

Canada has a huge beer scene – not just Budweiser and commercial beers, but a number of excellent homebrews, lagers, pilsners and IPAs made locally from quality local ingredients by talented local brewers. A craft brewery or microbrewery is a brewery that produces small quantities of beer, and craft breweries are very popular in Canada. With over 100 breweries, Vancouver is a fantastic place to explore the Canadian craft beer scene.

Experience beer the Canadian way – go to a brewery tasting room, brewpub, restaurant serving craft beer, or take a brewery tour. At the tasting room, you can order a tasting flight, which is a selection of four beers on tap to sample, grab a bite to eat and some of your favourite Canadian-style takeaway beers, and buy a growler of beer (64 ounces or about 6 beers).  Visit Steamworks Brewing Company in Gastown, Dockside Restaurant on Granville Island, or Main Street Brewing Company in the Brewery Creek area of Mount Pleasant.

beer tasting things to do in Vancouver
Main Street Brewing Company – I was happy to share a few flights of beer and a bite of their nachos!

Active things to do in Vancouver

Located near the mountains and ocean, Vancouver is known for offering a huge variety of outdoor sports and adventures. With 5 top ski resorts surrounding Vancouver, there are amazing opportunities to practice all snow sports. The ocean around Vancouver, rich with marine life, offers amazing spots for kayaking, boating, scuba diving, snorkeling with seals, surfing and just about any water activity you can imagine. The beautiful forests in and around the city create amazing places for year-round hiking, camping and biking. Other popular activities in Vancouver include fishing, scenic golf courses and mountain ziplining.

Hiking in Vancouver

Vancouver is a mecca of hiking, and walking in the beautiful forests is one of the best things to do in Vancouver. Within the city are many amazing trails that can be reached by quick and inexpensive public transportation, such as Lynn Headwaters National Park, Grouse Mountain, and the Baden Powell Trails, see our full article “The Best Hiking in Vancouver”. Closer to the famous ski town of Whistler, there are fantastic trails in Garibaldi National Park, the outdoor paradise of Squamish and hiking trails on Vancouver Island.

Grouse Grind Hike Vancouver
Climbing the 2,830 steps to the top of The Grind is a challenge in an hour or two.
Snow sports in Vancouver

Snow sports in Vancouver

Located just 15 minutes north of downtown, Grouse Mountain offers 26 trails for skiers and snowboarders, four lifts, six terrain parks and four snowshoe trails, a variety of outdoor alpine activities and outdoor ice skating in the winter.

Mount Seymour, a half-hour drive from downtown Vancouver, offers 24 trails and five lifts, scenic snowshoe trails and fun tubing and sledding.

Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is the area’s premier ski and snowboard destination, located about two hours north of Vancouver in Whistler, British Columbia. Whistler has over 200 runs served by 38 lifts and offers glacier skiing and some of the largest bouldering and tubing in North America. Whistler Blackcomb, along with Cypress Mountain, was the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Cypress Mountain is located just a 30-minute drive from Vancouver. Cypress has 52 runs served by nine lifts.

Check out this day of skiing/snowboarding at Cypress Mountain from downtown Vancouver.

Water activities around Vancouver

Pedal boat and kayak rentals are available at several locations in the city and are a fun way to spend an afternoon. Kayak rentals can be found at Jericho Beach, downtown at Falsey Creek, English Bay Beach, Stanley Park and Deep Cove.

Diving – Vancouver is home to some of the best cold water diving in the world, which isn’t that cold if you have the right gear! Venture out of Horseshoe Bay and observe cliff tops, canyons, wolf eels, octopus, seals and more. A snorkeling trip to Vancouver

Snorkel with Vancouver’s resident seals Kayak in Howe Sound, board a boat from Horseshoe Bay

Surfing – there are some great surf spots on Vancouver Island. Tofino is an area on the west coast of Vancouver Island and has some great beaches for surfing. This is the best area in Canada for wave surfing for all skill levels. Cox Bay and Long Beach are good spots, surf schools offer lessons in Chesterman which is a good place for beginners. Tofino has a great surf culture, go to one of the surf shops for lessons and they will provide you with equipment and an instructor to teach you on the beach. Learn to surf in Tofino

Awesome things to do Close to Vancouver

Some of the most impressive places around Vancouver can be visited on day trips from the city.

Vancouver Island

Beautiful Vancouver Island is full of exciting activities and is easily accessible as a day trip from Vancouver. Check out our complete guide to Vancouver Island. Known for its beautiful beaches, stunning old-growth forests and rich underwater life, Vancouver Island offers great adventure activities on land and in the water. Take impressive day hikes along the coast or embark on multi-day walking adventures. The West Coast Trail is one of the best coastal hiking trails in the world, a challenging week-long route filled with wildlife including bears, whales and killer whales.

west coast trail video

Whale watching is excellent off Vancouver Island. Killer whales, humpback whales, gray whales and minke whales are some of the types of whales that can be observed during whale watching expeditions. On the island, don’t miss the amazing gardens, waterfront parks, museums, restaurants and craft breweries. Vancouver Island is a great place to practice ocean sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing and scuba diving. It’s easy to get here by ferry from Vancouver or take an amazing flight on a small plane from Vancouver! Check out our complete guide to activities on Vancouver Island.

Drive the Sea to Sky Highway

The Sea to Sky Highway, which connects Vancouver and the popular ski resort of Whistler, is a 75-mile (121 km) stretch of Highway 99 with spectacular views. Along this beautiful route, visit the Sea to Sky gondola or Lake Garibaldi.

Sea to Sky gondola 

The Sea to Sky Gondola between Vancouver and Whistler is a very popular place outside of Vancouver that should not be missed! The gondola takes passengers from near the highway high above Howe Sound, where the views are spectacular. The gondola is located in Squamish, about a 50 minute drive north of Vancouver.  There are observation platforms, a suspension bridge and a scenic trail at the top. You can also hike the challenging Sea to Summit Trail, which climbs more than 900 metres over 7 km.

Garibaldi National Park

Lake Garibaldi with its perfectly turquoise glacial water is located in Garibaldi National Park, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and alpine meadows. The 18km hike to the lake and back is a great day trip from Vancouver. Camping by the lake and hiking to Black Branch or the Panorama Trail are two popular weekend trips. The trailhead at the Rubble Creek parking lot can be reached by public transit from downtown Vancouver using the Parkbus, giving you more than enough time to complete the trail.

Garibaldi national park
Garibaldi National Park is one of the most beautiful areas near Vancouver.

Accommodation in Vancouver

Highly rated accommodation in Vancouver with a good location.

Transport in Vancouver

Central Vancouver is fairly condensed and you can walk or cycle to a lot of places. Rental bicycles are available on a bike-share program, Mobi by ShawGO. There are many Mobi bike stations around downtown Vancouver.  You can unlock a bike at one station and return it to another. Register and check how Mobi bikes work.

Vancouver has an awesome public transit system, the Translink consisting of the Skytrain, the Bus system and the Seabus. Easily plan your trip using the Translink Trip Planner.

SkyTrain is a rapid transit system to quickly take you between Downtown and Metro Vancouver’s suburbs. Skytrain has 53 stations served by three lines: the Expo Line, the Millennium Line, and the Canada Line. The Canada line connects the city center and Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

Mobi by ShawGO in Downtown Vancouver
Bicycles in the bike share program, Mobi by ShawGO in Downtown Vancouver

The Bus system is very efficient and included in your Translink pass, if you use Google Maps you can basically get anywhere in the city fairly easily and on schedule using the Skytrain and Bus system.

SeaBus is a passenger-only ferry service that links Downtown Vancouver with North Vancouver by crossing the Burrard inlet, this fun trip is included in your Translink day pass.

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