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Things to do in

Vancouver

Enjoying adventurous activities doesn't always have to mean missing out on city life. Not in Vancouver, anyway.

Our most recommended things to do in Vancouver

Vancouver: FlyOver Canada Experience

1. Vancouver: FlyOver Canada Experience

Welcome to the home of North America's leading flying ride. Use advanced technology to capture thrilling, authentic footage of real locations so riders can experience those places as they were truly meant to be. Find yourself in downtown Vancouver's Canada Place, and be whisked away on an exhilarating journey over the world's most spectacular scenery. Experience state-of-the-art technology to give you the feeling of flight. Hang suspended, feet dangling, before a 20-metre spherical screen while the film immerses you on an exhilarating journey across some of the worlds most iconic landscapes. Special effects, including wind, mist, and scents, combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience.

Vancouver: 24 or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Pass

2. Vancouver: 24 or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Pass

See the sights of Vancouver at your own pace with a 24- or 48-hour pass for the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus. Choose from a variety of options to suit your interests. Listen to an informative on-board commentary to help you choose where to hop off. Experience the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver and the serene natural beauty of the local parks. Jump off at Science World or indulge your passion for sport at the Olympic Village. Stroll the rainforest pathways of Stanley Park, enjoy a bite to eat on Granville Island, visit the iconic Gastown Steam Clock or shop 'til you drop on Robson Street. Benefit from multiple stops, including Coal Harbour, English Bay Beach, Chinatown, and the Sports District.

Vancouver: Grouse Mountain Admission Ticket

3. Vancouver: Grouse Mountain Admission Ticket

Grouse Mountain is Vancouver’s most visited year-round natural attraction, located just 15 minutes from downtown.You can enjoy panoramic views as you travel to the alpine aboard the iconic Skyride. Enjoy thrilling outdoor adventures, cultural activities, and educational experiences, which are available year-round. In the summer, choose from an incredible variety of activities including a world-famous lumberjack show, a "birds in motion" demonstration, a visit to the resident orphaned grizzly bears, guided eco-walks, a disc golf course, Theatre in the Sky, plus shopping and dining. You can also add to your experience with exciting adventures (at an additional fee) such as a mountain ropes course, mountain ziplines, the "Eye of the Wind", helicopter tours, and tandem paragliding. In winter, enjoy the stunning light installations on the Light Walk, the slopes at the Sliding Zone, an outdoor skating pond, snowshoeing, and more.

Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Self-Guided Tour

4. Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Self-Guided Tour

Only 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver, take a walk on Vancouver's wild side as you stand 230 feet (70m) above the waters of the Capilano River on a breath-taking 450-foot-long (137-metres) suspension bridge. Appreciate nature from 3 breath-taking perspectives - the world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Treetops Adventure, and the thrilling Cliffwalk.  This 27-acre park was made famous by its namesake bridge, which was built back in 1889, and has been added onto with even more attractions to let you experience the temperate rainforests of beautiful British Columbia.  While the wobbly bridge and stunning location is a Vancouver landmark, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park offers an all-encompassing BC experience. History, culture, and nature are presented in unique and thrilling ways with knowledgeable staff and interpretive signage providing as much, or as little, information as guests want. The thrilling Cliffwalk hugs the granite cliffside and offers panoramic views of the thriving rainforest and canyon below. With 16 anchor points in the cliff supporting the structure and two glass platforms, this walk is not for the faint of heart. The Treetops Adventure takes guests 110 feet into the canopy of a coastal rainforest on 7 suspension bridges attached to old-growth trees. It is accessible to guests age 2 to 92. Nature guides provide hourly tours, explaining the importance of a West Coast temperate rainforest to the ecosystem. Guided Tours and seasonal events like Raptors Ridge birds of prey June to October and Canyon Lights late November through to end of January enhance the many experiences at this year-round destination.

Vancouver Lookout Ticket: All Day Admission

5. Vancouver Lookout Ticket: All Day Admission

The Vancouver Lookout is an iconic and essential landmark high over Vancouver. It makes the perfect first stop on any traveler's itinerary to get an overview of the fabulous landscape of the city and the Northshore mountains. The glass elevators take you high above the street (168 meters (588feet) to be exact). After only 40 seconds, you're high above the fray and can look over all of Metro Vancouver's hot neighborhoods and sprawling mountain ranges. Vancouver Lookout has been iconic in the city's skyline since 1977. Here you can enjoy views as long you would like and learn from the knowledgable staff up top.

Classic Vancouver Panorama Tour by Seaplane

6. Classic Vancouver Panorama Tour by Seaplane

Enjoy the most popular tour of Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. This ideal introduction to seaplane aviation departs from downtown Vancouver’s Coal Harbour and provides a complete aerial view of the city, as well as its surrounding parks and beaches. As if the scenery isn't enough, the thrill of flying will really carry you away. The exhilarating spray of the water is always a highlight during take-off and landing. With over 50 aircraft currently, your hosts operate the largest all-seaplane fleet and the first carbon neutral airline in North America. DeHavilland DHC-3 Turbine Single Otters and Twin Otters service regularly scheduled flights between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. DHC-2 Beavers service the Gulf Islands. Cessna 185 aircraft are available for charter.

Vancouver 2.5-Hour Sunset Dinner Buffet Cruise

7. Vancouver 2.5-Hour Sunset Dinner Buffet Cruise

Gaze out on the downtown skyline, the mountains behind the North Shore, and the West Vancouver shoreline, all on this special Vancouver dinner cruise. Be served a delicious West Coast style buffet dinner accompanied by in-house music. On this 2.5-hour cruise, prepare to see the best sights of Vancouver as you sail along the water. Watch as the sun slowly disappears into the Pacific Ocean as you create an unforgettable memory. On board, you'll be treated to an all-you-can-eat West Coast themed buffet dinner. Dine on your meal as you savor the sounds of music. Get up and dance or take a stroll on the deck to see the city skyline from your vantage point on the water.

Vancouver 1-hour Harbor Tour

8. Vancouver 1-hour Harbor Tour

Take a break from the malls, museums and galleries and enjoy Vancouver from the outside on this fully narrated 1-hour cruise. From the spacious open-air decks you can enjoy a drink from the fully licensed bar and have a perfect view over this entire beautiful city. You will see the world famous Stanley Park, a rich-green oasis comprising of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees rising from the waters of the harbor. From the deck of the boat you can also see the impressive Lions Gate Bridge. Linking the City of Vancouver to North Vancouver, this huge suspension bridge is an impressive sight, particularly from the water it soars above. This relaxing hour cruise on the harbor also offers stunning views of the spectacular city skyline and the breathtaking North Shore Mountains. An ideal way to see the city at a calm and relaxed pace.

Vancouver: Sea to Sky Gondola and Whistler Day Trip

9. Vancouver: Sea to Sky Gondola and Whistler Day Trip

Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola, explore Whistler Village and admire the natural wonders in between on this 10-hour adventure that departs from Vancouver. Feel in awe of the ever-changing landscapes along the Sea to Sky Highway. There will be a pit stop to marvel at the 335-meter-high Shannon Falls. Ride the famous Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, an outdoor paradise for climbers and backcountry adventurers. The gondola takes you to Habrich Ridge, where you will have 90 minutes to take in breathtaking views of the mountains, coastal rainforest, and network of inlets of Howe Sound. Pass the quaint town of Squamish and the Tantalus Glacier while continuing the journey to Whistler. Once there, spend an afternoon exploring downtown shops and cafes. Located at the base of Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, home of the 2010 Olympics, you will be able to take advantage of the surrounding hiking trails.

From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

10. From Vancouver: Butchart Gardens & Victoria Sightseeing Tour

Discover Victoria, the capital of British Columbia on a guided tour from Vancouver. See the Empress Hotel, the Parliament buildings and beautiful Butchart Gardens. Upon leaving Vancouver, take a scenic ferry ride from the mainland through the Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island. From here, you will embark on a driving tour to Victoria. Discover Victoria’s downtown area featuring the Fisherman’s Wharf, the Inner Harbour, The Fairmont Empress Hotel, Mile 0 and the historic Chinatown. Enjoy some free time to explore downtown Victoria at your own pace. Next, visit the internationally renowned Butchart Gardens. This National Historic Site began with an exhausted limestone quarry that was transformed into the now picturesque Sunken Garden. Explore 55 acres of themed garden displays, including a Japanese Garden, Italian Garden and Rose Garden. Wind down your day with the scenic return sailing trip aboard BC Ferries, and then back to where your tour began.

Frequently asked questions about Vancouver

What top attractions are a must-see in Vancouver?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Vancouver?

The best day trips and excursions from Vancouver are:

Whistler

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Vancouver

Mayuri is based in Canada and travels with her husband. She is the founder of ToSomePlaceNew, which covers European destinations and cultural travel. A history graduate and an MBA by qualification, she found her true calling in digging a city’s past and discovering their unique nuances. Find more about Vancouver on her blog.

What should I do on my first trip to Vancouver?

Vancouver is one of the vibrant cities on the west coast of Canada. It is home to one of the largest urban parks, called Stanley Park and has a stunning seawall. You can walk or bike the seawall, and enjoy hikes in nearby trails. When in the city, enjoy fish and chips at Granville Island, visit Vancouver museum, and wander the downtown area. You will find a lot of cool restaurants, sights and sea views in Downtown Vancouver, including Canada Place! Another must visit in Vancouver is the Capilano Suspension Bridge located in the northern part of the city, followed by the Grouse Mountains for a nice day trip!

What are some hidden gems to see in Vancouver?

Although the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a must visit in Vancouver (and it can be expensive for entry fees and attractions inside), consider visiting the Lynn Canyon, also located in the northern part of the city. This park and the bridge is smaller in comparison to Capilano, but it is less visited by tourists, and has no entry fees!

How much time should I spend in Vancouver?

Two to three days is ample time to explore Vancouver city’s attractions such as the Canada Place, Olympic Cauldron, a few museums, Stanley Park, Granville Island, ChinaTown, and more. In the evening you can also walk downtown or go on an evening cruise. On one of the nights go shopping at Robson Street, and eat at a nice restaurant!

What food is Vancouver known for?

Vancouver is best known for its seafood and sushi. You can relish seafood at the Granville Island restaurants, or downtown bistros. When in Canada, Maple Syrup infused foods are a must try as well. You will also be impressed with the coffee culture in Vancouver - be sure to sit down at a local cafe to enjoy!

What is the best way to get around Vancouver?

Once you arrive in Vancouver, you can use the SkyTrain to get to various neighbourhoods for sightseeing. Hop on and hop off tours are also a great way to explore various attractions. When exploring the downtown area, your best bet is to wear comfortable shoes and walk. Same goes for Robson Street. Biking is also a great way to explore this city!

What are the best months to visit Vancouver?

Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit Vancouver. These are the months of March to May, and then from September to November. During this time, the weather is mild and favourable for sightseeing, and you can also expect fewer crowds, and better hotel rates.

What is Main Street of Vancouver known for?

The Main Street of Vancouver is the place to be! It is filled with cozy bistros, coffee shops, independent boutiques, local breweries, consignment stores, sky rise buildings and world-class restaurants. I personally like the GasTown neighbourhood as it oozes European flair with vintage steam clock, buildings and cobblestone lanes.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

Main Street, GasTown, and Robson Street are great for fine dining, coffee shops, and restaurants with an international menu. For seafood, head to Granville Island, and Chinatown to try fish, crabs, sushi rolls, dimsums and more!.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Located in the West End of Vancouver, Robson Street is the best place to go shopping in the city. You will find most of the popular brand names here including some of the largest Canadian labels (like Lululemon). And after shopping, you can sit down at a nice restaurant on Robson Street!

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Vancouver?

For a first time visitor, the downtown core, or Yaletown are great neighborhoods for accommodation. Hotels in these areas are in the mid range to luxury budget level. In downtown you can also choose suites with waterfront views!

What are the best annual events in Vacouver?

As the Roman amphitheatre is so well preserved, it is still used for a number of festivals and events throughout the year. For example, the Festival of Nîmes has been taking place since 1997, on dates throughout the summer - attracting international talent including Elton John, Radiohead and Metallica. The ancient arena also hosts the Great Roman Games - a reenactment spectacle for the whole family.

Other Sightseeing Options in Vancouver

Want to discover all there is to do in Vancouver? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Vancouver

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 4,843 reviews

Have seen it 3 times now and still can’t get over the absolute thrill of the experience! The scenery is amazing,it takes your breath away! Want to go again!

Sean is the best guide I’ve ever had! Food was very good, although (for me) it could have been a bit more (but I’m a big eater)

Very well organized with helpful staff and a very calm experienced pilot. Scenery was stunning.

We started our vacation with fly over Canada, it was a great experience.

I enjoyed the route, the history, and the comlpany.