Visiting Vancouver for the first time is like being a kid in a candy store – it’s hard to pick what you want because it all looks so good. This guide for a one-day visit includes a 4D ride experience that takes you across the country, a historic museum that walks you through Vancouver's past and some general food and fun in between.
If this is not only your first time in Vancouver but also your first time in Canada, then start your day with a trip to Canada Place’s FlyOver Canada attraction. This 4D movie will take you on a breathtaking journey from coast to coast across this gorgeous country.
A helicopter gets the shot for FlyOver Canada — Photo courtesy of FlyOver Canada
The location of FlyOver Canada provides awesome views of the North Shore Mountain and has plenty of great photo opportunities around the area. It’s also close to many hotels, the cruise ship terminal and public transportation, so it's easy to get to.
Prior to the ride, enjoy the pre-show and a walk down the Canadian Trail, where you can learn all about Canada. Once inside, feel the mist tickle your face as you take in the sights and smells of Canada on the movable seats.
After your cross-country journey, head east into Gastown, where you will find an array of boutique shops, cafes and restaurants that offer breakfast, lunch and dinner.
For a quick bite, La Taqueria sells traditional Mexican tacos that will fit any budget. This restaurant is popular among locals.
La Taqueria's tacos - There are so many options! — Photo courtesy of La Taqueria
If you prefer a slightly leisurely lunch, Nuba is across the street from La Taqueria and serves tasty Lebanese food. The pitas are great for satisfying mid-day hunger.
Explore Gastown prior to going into neighboring Chinatown – it’s Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood! History buffs may want to check out the Vancouver Police Museum that’s housed in the city’s old morgue and is somewhat between Gastown and Chinatown.
Inside the museum, you will get a taste of how the Vancouver Police Department has evolved over the years with their technology, uniforms and equipment. Even the most beautiful cities have a story to tell, and Vancouver is no different; the Vancouver Police Museum showcases the criminal underbelly of Vancouver and allows visitors to step inside the old morgue. As you can imagine, it gets especially busy there during the Halloween season.
Moving on from the museum into Chinatown will land you at Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden for a little sunshine (weather permitting), flowers and culture.
Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden — Photo courtesy of Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden (Facebook)
The traditional gardens are a breath of fresh air and a delightful retreat on any given day. If you have time, there are numerous shops in Chinatown where you will find all sorts of neat trinkets, teas, baked goods and edible goods. If you’re visiting Chinatown on the weekend during the summer months, check out the Night Market on Keefer Street and treat yourself to a Potato Tornado. You won’t regret the deep-fried treat!
While you’re in the area and finishing of your first day in the city, you may as well head to the Keefer Bar for a drink and enjoy one of Vancouver’s best cocktail bars. Toast to your day of exploring a small slice of Vancouver.