Named after "Gassy" Jack Deighton, a seaman from the UK, Gastown is Vancouver's most historic neighborhood and dates back to 1867. It's here that you'll find cobble stone...
Things to do in Vancouver, BC
Get Your Bearings in Vancouver
Things to See
If you love the outdoors, you'll love Vancouver. This city by the sea literally has mountains, ocean and rainforests touching it on all sides.One of the best ways to get to explore the city is by riding a bike along the Seawall. This paved path stretches 5.5 miles around the city and has some of the best views. For mountain-fresh air, ride the seabus or drive over to North Vancouver to check out hiking trails and woodsy attractions like Grouse Mountain. Of course, there's indoor activities like an aquarium in Stanley Park, museums, a flight simulator and galleries.
Caution: If you're going to do a hike, be sure to practice wilderness safety. Check the weather, know the area, bring a map, pack food and extra clothing, and let people know where and when you're going.
Hot Tips: Stanley Park is home to a number of attractions. It's a great place to spend the day where the kids will stay busy and you won't have to go far.
Where to Stay
Downtown Vancouver is home to many familiar name brand properties and a handful of charming boutique hotels. If you're looking to splash out on a fancy room, you're spoiled for choice. The Fairmont Pacific Rim is lively and fun, while the Rosewood Hotel Georgia is swanky and subdued. If you're looking to save money on your hotel, there are some budget-friendly hotels that are comfortable and convenient. Getting around Vancouver is quick and convenient, so wherever you choose to stay, you can be sure that you won't be too far from the action.
Avoid: If you're after a quiet night's sleep, avoid booking a hotel in the Granville Entertainment district. It's also best to avoid hotels on and around East Hastings.
Hot Tips: If you're staying in one of the fancier hotels, check to see if they're offering a car service. A number of them have luxury cars that can take you on quick trips in the city.
What to Eat
Restaurants in Vancouver are as diverse as the culture found in this city. Whether you're craving dim sum, curries, sushi, dosas or pizza, you can practically take a tour of the world one restaurant at a time. From cheap eats in little hole-in-the wall restaurants to fine dining experiences, there's something for all budgets. A visit to Vancouver wouldn't be complete without two things though: fish and chips by the ocean and some of the best sushi this side of the Pacific. For fish and chips, check out Go Fish! For sushi, try Miku in Coal Harbour.
Avoid: If you're looking for a truly great sushi experience, do yourself a favor and skip the all you can eat sushi places.
Be Sure to Sample: Fresh B.C. salmon that's raw, smoked, grilled, baked or fried. Sockeye is a local favorite. Pair it with B.C. wine and you're in for a treat!
- Outdoor Dining
- Restaurants near Cruise Port
- Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus
- Restaurants with Healthy Menus
- Romantic Dining
- Take Out
- Waterfront Dining
- Whistler's Best Breakfast
- Whistler's Best Lunch
- Whistler's Best Restaurants
- Whistler's Best Value Restaurants
Places to Party
Granville Street’s entertainment district is where you'll find a large number of nightclubs, but there also a handful of other options in Gastown and Yaletown. Vancouver's a university city so it's not uncommon to find younger crowds at the clubs. Older crowds tend to hit up the lounges, bars and breweries. For cocktails and wine, head to Gastown and Chinatown where you have plenty of choice. For breweries, head over to the Main Street area for a tour of the local beer. When the sun goes down, live music is also on tap and venues are scattered around the city.
Caution: Cabs can be difficult to get when all the clubs close. If you can leave before close, you may avoid a lengthy wait for a taxi.
Hot Tips: Many of the breweries in the Main Street area are walkable or a short bike ride away so it's pretty easy to do a brewery tour.
Where to Shop
Downtown Vancouver is where you'll find many global brands. Along Robson Street are plenty of individual shops and downtown's major shopping mall, Pacific Centre. The mall is great for a rainy day! Inside the mall are a lot of famliar brands and three major department stores: Nordstrom's, Holt Renfrew and The Hudson's Bay Company. Also off of Robson is home to some of the most luxurious brands like Gucci and Montcler. Head to Gastown if you're into one-of-a-kind boutiques and luxury home goods. When it comes to boutiques, South Granville, Main Street and Kitsilano are lovely neighborhoods to explore.
Caution: When you head into Gastown, you may not be comfortable going past Carrall Street along East Hastings Street.
Best Local Souvenir: Of course maple syrup and smoked sockeye salmon are popular, but locally made goods like candles that smell of cedar and balsam wood or small-batch gin are unique.
Things to do in Vancouver
Vancouver is known for...
The mountains definitely help play an integral role in defining this province’s reputation for being beautiful. Not only are theses mountains easy on the eyes, they attract sport enthusiasts all year round. In the winter months, locals and visitors glide down the snow-covered peaks on the North Shore, Whistler and numerous other ski resorts across British Columbia. After the snow has melted, you will find people strapping on their gear and heading for the thrill-inducing mountain biking parks, and scenic trails being used by both leisurely hikers and trail runners. Our mountains really are the best of both worlds and provide us with entertainment for much of the year. Did we mention that the views from the tops of the mountains are equally stunning, if not more, than those from the ground?
We don’t want to come across as bragging, but Vancouver’s oceanfront setting (in combo with the mountains) makes it one of the most beautiful cities in North America. And of course, where there’s ocean, there’s beach. Vancouver’s many beaches are summer playgrounds for sun worshippers of all ages. And depending on what vibe you like your beach to have, chances are there’s one in the city that will tickle your fancy. A city surrounded by ocean also gets some of the freshest seafood around. Local crab, fish, shellfish and other treats from the sea are easily found citywide. Try British Columbia’s wild Pacific salmon and there’s no looking back. If you’re lucky enough to befriend someone with a boat, a sunset cruise up Salmon Arm is one-of-a-kind.
Boasting North America’s second largest Chinatown,Vancouver offers a real cultural treat. Bordering Gastown - an area of Vancouver that has seen exponential housing growth -Chinatown has been getting more visitors by the day. Go there to indulge in baked goods, roasted duck, green teas, specialty items and fun home décor. While walking around Chinatown, you’ll forget you’re in Vancouver until you catch a glimpse of those aforementioned mountains.
Those who like to eat and drink will find themselves smitten with Vancouver’s culinary scene. The Pacific Rim tends to have a heavy influence on West Coast cuisine; enjoy experimenting with the fusion. Sushi joints are as abundant as New York coffee shops, while street food carts offer everything from fish tacos to tasty poutine. Vancouver loves lavish delights, but if your wallet is in need of a little restraint, there are plenty of spots that will gratify the taste buds without damaging your bank account. This diverse city may soon have you dreaming about the Indian, Vietnamese, French, Italian,Belgium, Japanese, Latin, or Thai meal that’s left you in a euphoric state. If mixology is your thing,Vancouver will keep you on your toes. Wine connoisseurs will appreciate the Okanagan’s bounty, found in local liquor stores and restaurants. You could literally eat your way across the city.
Mountains surround Vancouver and tucked away on these mountains are plenty of hikes that range from easy to multi-day treks that are only for very seasoned hikers. When going out on a hike, it's best to let people know where you're going, which trail you will be using and bring some snacks and water with you. Another important tool is to bring a GPS or compass with you. The Baden Powell trail on the North Shore is a very popular trail that has a few different off-shoots that will cater to your hiking level. Many of these trails are dog friendly, so don't be surprised if you see some four legged friends taking in a nice hike. The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is a beautiful hike that's relatively moderate. The view of the suspension bridge is a very welcome addition to the already pristine forest. Vancouver does have bears, so be vigilant and brush up on your bear safety knowledge before hitting the forest. Encounters don't happen often, but you should always be prepared.
The Pacific Ocean surrounds Vancouver and has gifted the city with many beautiful beaches. Downtown Vancouver has a number of sandy spots that are ideal for soaking up the sun and enjoying a little picnic. English Bay, Sunset Beach and Second Beach are all around the West End. They're clean, family friendly and the waters are safe to swim in. Across the bridge, you will find some larger beaches, as well as Vancouver's nude beach. Wreck Beach is the city's only nude beach and is well hidden away from the general public. It involves going down quite a lot of stairs and is not accessible for those with mobility issues. Kits Beach is always busy and full of people enjoying some sports like volleyball, football and frisbee. If you like being in the thick of the action, that beach is for you. Jericho, Lacarno and Spanish Banks are a little bit more subdued and are the perfect escape from the busy city on a hot summer day.