If you’re looking for unique things to do in Vancouver, you’ll find no shortage of places, activities, and attractions to keep you busy! This city is a place of once-in-a-lifetime experiences that exist nowhere else in Canada – and probably North America.
From skiing and snowboarding in the winter to exploring Vancouver’s many parks and gardens, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant Canadian city. Vancouver is also home to diverse cultures, thanks to its large immigrant population. Whether single, a student, a working professional or a couple with children, you’ll find plenty of activities to enjoy in Vancouver.
Where is Vancouver Located?
Vancouver is located in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is situated on the Pacific Ocean coast and bordered by the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Washington State in the United States.
How Many People Live in Vancouver?
Approximately 600,000 people live in Vancouver, making it one of the largest cities in Canada. The city is also one of the country’s most ethnically and culturally diverse, with immigrants making up nearly half of its population.
Neighboring cities near Vancouver
Whether you’re looking for things to do in Vancouver today or planning a longer tour, consider exploring some of its neighboring cities. Just a short drive away from Vancouver is the beautiful mountain towns of Whistler and Squamish, which offer world-class skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.
How to Get to Vancouver?
Flying is the easiest. Whether traveling from within Canada or internationally, the best way to get to Vancouver is by air. There are several major airports in the area, including Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), and Victoria International Airport (YYJ).
If you’re traveling from the United States, several significant airports offer flights to Vancouver, including Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Portland International Airport (PDX), and San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
A road trip to Vancouver is also a popular way to visit the province from different parts of Canada. The Trans-Canada Highway runs from Vancouver to Montreal and is a scenic drive that takes you through some of the most beautiful areas in the country. Road trip to Vancouver and other cities in BC is one of the summer bucket lists of many Canadian residents.
Once you’re in Vancouver, getting around is easy, thanks to the city’s well-developed public transportation system. The Metro Vancouver area has an extensive network of buses, trains, and ferries that can take you anywhere you need.
Biking is another popular way to get around Vancouver, thanks to the city’s many bike paths and trails. Biking is a great way to see the sights and get some exercise at the same time. Vancouver is also very walkable, so don’t hesitate to explore on foot!
Things to Do in Vancouver – no matter who you are
There are so many things to do in Vancouver it can be hard to know where to start! Here are just a few of the many activities and attractions that this vibrant city has to offer:
#1. Skiing and Snowboarding
Vancouver is home to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. In addition, the nearby mountains of Whistler and Squamish offer world-class skiing and snowboarding, as well as other winter sports such as tubing and dog sledding.
If you’re a beginner or just looking for family-friendly fun, several ski resorts in the Vancouver area offer lessons and slope-side childcare.
The waves along Vancouver’s coast are perfect for surfing, especially during summer. Several surf schools in the city can teach you how to ride the waves like a pro! You don’t even need to own a board – many schools will rent you one for your visit. Just be sure to check the weather forecast before you go, as the waves can be pretty dangerous when the weather is stormy.
#3. Time travel
One of the coolest things to do in Vancouver is visit one of its many time-travel-themed restaurants. From a 1950s diner to a medieval castle, there’s something for everyone! These restaurants are great for dates or special occasions and perfect for families with kids.
Check out our list of the best time-travel-themed restaurants in Vancouver for more information.
# 4. Watch a pod of Orcas frolic
Orcas (also known as killer whales) are some of the most beautiful and majestic creatures on earth, and it’s worth your time to see them when you’re in Vancouver. There are several places along the coast where you can watch these amazing animals swim and play – be sure to check the weather and sea conditions before you go.
For more information on where to see orcas in Vancouver, check out our list of the best places to watch the Vancouver Orcas Frolic.
#5. Visit the world’s best urban park
Stanley Park is often considered one of the world’s best urban parks. There’s something for everyone here: over a thousand acres of forest, gardens, trails, and beaches! The park is also home to several cultural attractions, including the Vancouver Aquarium and the Totem Pole Gallery.
#6. Watch the Olympic
If you’re in Vancouver during summer, check out the city’s many free outdoor concerts and events. One of the most popular is the Celebration of Light, a world-famous fireworks competition that takes place each year at English Bay.
Vancouver also hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, so there’s plenty of Olympic memorabilia around town to check out. For more information on what’s happening in Vancouver during your visit, check out our list of Things to do in Vancouver today.
#7. So many Museums in Vancouver!
Another great way to spend a day in Vancouver is by visiting one of its many museums. From science and technology museums to art galleries and history museums, there’s something for everyone here! The best museums in Vancouver include the Museum of Anthropology, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. For more information on the best museums in Vancouver, check out our list of the top museums in Vancouver.
#8. Parks are a big deal in BC!
Vancouver is home to some of the most beautiful parks in North America, and they’re perfect for a day spent outdoors with friends or family. For example, the Seawall is a 22 km path that runs along Stanley Park and False Creek, and it’s perfect for a walk, run, or bike ride. Other popular parks include Queen Elizabeth Park (home to one of the most extensive gardens in Canada) and VanDusen Botanical Garden (a 55-acre botanical garden).
#9. Drive in the Sea-to-Sky Highway
One of the most popular things to do in Vancouver is driving along the Sea-to-Sky Highway. This scenic route takes you from Vancouver to Whistler, one of the most beautiful drives in North America. Stop at one of the many lookout points to enjoy the stunning views.
#10. How about hiking the Grouse Grind?
If you’re looking for a more active way to spend your day, why not go hiking in Grouse Mountain? This popular mountain is located just north of Vancouver and offers some of the best hiking trails in the area. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as it can be quite strenuous
#11. Window shoppers love the Gastown!
Gastown is Vancouver’s historic district and is home to some of the best shopping in the city. From high-end boutiques to local markets, there’s something for everyone here! Gastown is also a great place to grab a bite to eat or have a drink, as there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area. If window shopping is your thing, visit some Gastown malls.
#12. Check out the Dim Sum!
One of the best things about Vancouver is its diverse food scene. So if you’re looking for something different to eat, try Dim Sum! There are plenty of great Dim Sum restaurants located in Vancouver, and they offer a wide variety of dishes to choose from. For more information on the best Dim Sum restaurants in Vancouver, check out the list of the top Dim Sum restaurants in Vancouver.
#13. Go Kayaking in Deep Cove
If you’re looking for a fun day trip from Vancouver, why not go kayaking in Deep Cove? This beautiful cove is located just north of the city and offers some of the best kayaking in the area. You can rent a kayak or paddleboard at one of the local shops, and there are plenty of places to stop for a picnic lunch.
#14. Aqua-biking in Kitsilano Beach
Are you looking for a workout with a view? Then be sure to check out Aqua-biking in Kitsilano Beach! This popular beach is located just south of Vancouver and is the perfect place to swim, sunbathe or take a yoga class. There are also plenty of great restaurants and cafes nearby to refuel after your workout.
#15. Shop in the night at Richmond Night Market
One of the best things to do in Vancouver is to shop at the Richmond Night Market. This popular market is open from May to October, offering various goods. You can find everything from clothes and accessories to food and souvenirs here, and it’s a great place to bargain hunt. For more information on the Richmond Night Market, check out our list of the top things to do at the Richmond Night Market.
#16. Hike in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park
If you’re looking for a great day hike from Vancouver, check out Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. This beautiful park is located just north of the city and offers plenty of trails to choose from. You can find something for everyone here, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker.
#17. Into plants? Visit Wander Van Dusen Botanical Garden
One of the best things about Vancouver is its many gardens. If you’re into plants, visit Wander Van Dusen Botanical Garden. This beautiful garden is located in the heart of Vancouver and offers a variety of gardens to explore. There’s also a great cafe on-site, so you can relax after exploring the gardens.
#18. Commodore concerts are amazing!
If you’re a fan of live music, be sure to check out Commodore concerts. This popular venue is located in Vancouver, and it offers a variety of concerts to choose from. You can find everything from rock and pop to hip-hop and jazz here, and there’s something for everyone. For more information on upcoming Commodore concerts, check out our list of the top things to do at Commodore.
#19. How about a run in Pacific Spirit Park?
If you’re looking for a great place to go for a run, be sure to check out Pacific Spirit Park. This beautiful park is located just west of Vancouver and offers plenty of trails to choose from. You can find something for everyone here, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced runner.
#20. How about watching the sunset in Vancouver?
One of the best things to do in Vancouver is to watch the sunset. This beautiful city offers some of the best views in the world, and there’s no better place to watch the sun go down than on one of its beaches. But of course, one of the best places to watch the sunset in the world is at English Bay, so be sure to check it out!
Still, want more in Vancouver? Let us know your travel appetites, and we’ll be sure to furnish you with a longer list of Vancouver Tourist attractions.
What does a weekend look like in Vancouver?
What to do during a typical weekend in Vancouver depends on your fun appetite and maybe your marital status or whether or not you are traveling as a family – or with children. A lot of Vancouver’s charm is that it can offer an array of different activities and attractions, whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a family-friendly vacation. Here are some ideas:
If you’re single and looking to mingle:
- Check out one of Vancouver’s many bars or clubs in Gastown or Yaletown.
- Attend a concert at the Commodore Ballroom or the Orpheum Theatre.
- Go on a hike through Stanley Park or Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
- Visit Granville Island and explore the public market, shops, and restaurants.
- Take a ferry ride to Bowen Island and walk along one of its many trails.
If you’re traveling as a couple:
- Spend the day wine tasting in Fraser Valley.
- Go for a romantic hike through Lynn Canyon Park.
- Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery and observe some of the city’s culture.
- Enjoy a scenic drive along the Sea to Sky Highway.
- Relax at one of Vancouver’s many spas, or go for a couples massage.
If you’re traveling with family:
- Visit one of Vancouver’s many parks, such as Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, or Pacific Spirit Regional Park.
- Take a ferry ride to Granville Island and explore the public market, shops, and restaurants.
- Visit the Vancouver Aquarium or Science World.
- Check out Capilano Suspension Bridge Park or Grouse Mountain.
- Go for a walk or bike ride along the Stanley Park seawall.
No matter what you choose to do, we’re sure you’ll enjoy your time in beautiful Vancouver!
Still, want more? Check out our list of top things to do at Commodore for an even longer list of activities and attractions in Vancouver! And if you have any questions about traveling in this amazing city, don’t hesitate to contact us – we’re always happy to help.
Recommended: Is Vancouver better than Toronto?
Are you looking for something different to do on your next trip to Vancouver? How about time travel? That’s right – with a little imagination, you can travel back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth or explore ancient civilizations that have long disappeared. Vancouver is home to some of the best museums in the world, and they offer a wide variety of exhibits that will take you on a journey through time.
Here are some of our favorites:
The Museum of Anthropology at UBC: This museum is dedicated to studying human cultures from around the world and offers a fantastic collection of artifacts from all over the globe.
The Royal BC Museum: This museum is one of the largest in British Columbia, and it tells the story of the province’s history from its earliest inhabitants to the modern day.
The Vancouver Art Gallery: Canada’s oldest gallery features a diverse art collection from North America and Europe.
Science World: This interactive science museum is a great place to learn about the natural world, and it also has a planetarium and an Omnimax theatre.
No matter your interests, Vancouver has a museum that will take you on a fantastic journey through time. So, be sure to add one (or more!) of these museums to your list of things to do in Vancouver!
Have you ever wanted to watch a pod of Orcas frolic in the wild? Or explore the world’s best urban park? Vancouver is home to incredible natural wonders, and we have the perfect guide for you. Check out our list of top things to do outdoors in Vancouver:
Watch the orcas at Johnstone Strait: This strait is located between Vancouver Island and the British Columbia mainland, and it’s one of the best places in the world to see orcas in their natural habitat.
Hike or bike through Stanley Park: This world-famous park is home to lush forests, beautiful beaches, and stunning views of Vancouver Harbour.
Take a walk or run on Seawall: This iconic seawall stretches for over 22 km (13.67 miles) and offers some of the best views of Vancouver’s skyline.
Visit Grouse Mountain: This mountain is located just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver and offers incredible views of the city and surrounding mountains.
Explore Pacific Spirit Regional Park: This park is located near the University of British Columbia, UBC, and features dense forests, rushing creeks, and a rugged coastline.
No matter what your outdoor interests are, Vancouver has something for you. So, add these activities to your list of things to do in Vancouver!
Vancouver is a fantastic city with plenty to see and do. Whether you’re looking for a fun day trip or a weekend getaway, Vancouver has something for everyone! Add these activities to your list when planning your next visit.
How about a video of Vancouver to wrap up this virtual city tour?
We hope you enjoyed this guide on fun things to do in Vancouver! If you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.