If you find yourself having 24 hours to enjoy Vancouver, you're in luck that this city is both diverse, and very accessible. There's plenty to see while you're in town, but when time is of the essence, it's best to have a plan to make the most of the short visit. One of the best things about Vancouver, apart from its natural beauty, is that it's not a huge city where things take a long time to get to.
Start your day off with an early morning bike ride around Stanley Park, if the weather is favorable. It's doesn't take very long and there are plenty of picture perfect photo opportunities. The fresh ocean air may just be the best way to wake up. While you're in Stanley Park, a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium is a delightful way to spend a couple hours. It's the best way to see what's lurking beneath British Columbia's frigid waters. After your morning in Stanley Park, head down to Gastown and grab a bite to eat at Nuba, or Meat & Bread. They're right across the road from each other, do depending on your mood, you can take your pick. Both are equally delicious, but offer completely different culinary experiences.
Meat & Bread — Photo courtesy of Natasha JOhn
Now that you're in Gastown, you could do the classic tourist photo session down at the Steam Clock, or you could go to the Police Museum. It's definitely a unique experience and will take you inside the city's old morgue. Learn about the Vancouver Police Department's past, check out some confiscated illegal weapons (you'll be glad they're confiscated), view some items from real crime scenes and see what a real morgue looks like. How many city's can you say you have done that in? It takes about 60-90 minutes to get through, depending on how long you spend looking at everything.
From there, you could either go into Chinatown and marvel at all of the sights and sounds you will find there. It's the second largest Chinatown in North America, next to San Francisco and is a fantastic place to find budget friendly trinkets to take home for those that didn't get to join you on your trip to Vancouver.
If you prefer the great outdoors, head over to Grouse Mountain and pick your chin up off the floor when you ride up the Gondola and see the stunning views in front of your eyes. There are a few different wild life shows, mixed in with a Grizzly Bear sanctuary and lumberjack shows, so it's really easy to spend an entire afternoon up there. Depending on the season, you can be down at the beach having a picnic in the sunshine, and then up on Grouse surrounded by snow.
Grouse Grizzly — Photo courtesy of Grouse Mountain
When the night falls, go over to Granville Island and check out the Public Market before it closes. Foodies will be in their happy place as they wonder through the market and salivate over the tasty bounty. For dinner, Edible Canada is the place to go, and is right across from the Public Market. With an all-Canadian menu, you will really get a taste of what Canada, and Vancouver, is all about.
Granville Island Public Market — Photo courtesy of Granville Island
When you're nice and full, you could go to the Wedgewood Hotel's lounge, Bacchus, and relax in a cozy chair with a night cap and reminisce about the fun day you have had. If you're a music junkie, there are plenty of live music venues around Vancouver that attract many up and coming bands, and well known artists. Just be sure to buy your ticket ahead of time, if you know the date you're going to be in Vancouver.
24 hours may not sound like a lot, but in Vancouver, you can cover plenty of ground and experience different seasons all in one day.