Vancouver, on Canada’s far west coast, is a travel destination that shouldn’t be overlooked. The mild coastal climate attracts visitors all year round. In winter, it is common to find surfers tearing up the waves on the west coast and skiers heading to the slopes inland.
Here, the landscape is truly magnificent! Mountains, lakes, rainforests, and a rugged coastline dotted with small towns and villages – it looks straight from the postcards.
To the south lies Victoria, the picturesque capital of British Columbia. Further north, especially on the western side of the island, there are beautiful natural areas, including the famous West Coast Path.
Vancouver is a city where people and nature live in harmony. Its mirrored skyscrapers rise against snow-capped peaks, while its bustling city center is surrounded by sandy beaches and wide promenades. In spring, tens of thousands of pink Sakura trees bloom in the streets.
Let us take a look at 10 places to visit in this city!
Stanley Park is the first place that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. In addition to lush vegetation and wildlife, it is known for its stunning city center views. The park has a fascinating past, ideal meadows, and beaches for great picnics.
Interestingly, Stanley Park is bigger than New York’s Central Park. So keep in mind it will take you several hours to walk the Seawall promenade.
Once mainly industrial, Granville Island is now a thriving center of activity. Converted warehouses are home to artists and retailers alongside many theatres, galleries, and restaurants.
One of the most popular attractions is the Granville Island Public Market, which sells fresh goodies. Here, you can get fruit and vegetables, seafood, and a variety of ready meals. It is certainly the best place to treat your inner foodie!
Unlike what you might think, this arts center is actually not a real island. In fact, it is connected to the residential areas to the south by a single road and pedestrian center and to the Downtown Peninsula by a ferry across False Creek.
In both winter and summer, when the weather is clear, Grouse Mountain offers unrivaled panoramic views. It is especially impressive in the evenings when the city lights are on.
The gondola operates daily from street level to the summit. There, year-round explorers can enjoy yummy meals and activities and admire wildlife.
Grouse Mountain is a loved destination for families. The winter wonderland offers outdoor ice-skating, snowshoeing, skiing, and snowboarding for those who wish to get a little bit of thrill.
In summer, Grouse Mountain is a sunny paradise with trails, including the famous Grouse Grind – affectionately known as Mother Nature’s Stairway.
Vancouver’s historic, vibrant and diverse Chinatown is one of the Western Hemisphere’s largest Chinatowns and one of the coolest attractions in the city.
Not only is it a great place to walk and dine, but it also has plenty of historic sites that will surprise even the most experienced travelers. Make sure to see the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden and the Chinese Cultural Centre. They are magnificent!
VanDusen Botanical Garden
When you think of a fairyland, something similar to VanDusen Botanical Gardens probably pops into your mind. The beautiful site is an amazing destination all year round. With winding paths and ponds filled with lily pads, the garden will be a wonderful discovery for first-time visitors.
The magnificent site, which first opened to the public in 1975, now has many different sections. Explore the on-site labyrinth, meditation garden, Rhododendron Walk, Korean Pavilion, and a Chinese and Himalayan area.
A particularly magical time to visit the garden is at Christmas time when its plants, trees, and shrubs are covered with thousands of twinkling fairy lights.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
A walk in the forest takes on a whole new meaning when you visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Here, travelers walk through an old rainforest upriver on a 140-meter-long and 70-meter-high suspension bridge that crosses the Capilano River.
The park also includes the Cliffwalk walking trail. It is attached to a granite cliff up to 30 meters above the forest floor, with platforms that offer stunning vistas over the forest.
Less adventurous visitors can enjoy a walk along the earth walk and try to make traditional handicrafts with the help of local people of the North West.
The sandy shores of Kitsilano Beach are a hallmark of Vancouver’s laid-back and fun lifestyle. It is a place where locals chat with friends and visitors come to admire the mountain scenery.
Kitsilano’s view of the city center is breathtaking. In addition to the beach and oceanfront, there are several cafes and walking trails, and a bustling shopping strip a few blocks south on West Fourth Avenue.
When it comes to stunning beaches in Vancouver, English Bay is among the best. Part of the West End, English Bay is a place for shopping and high-end dining, but it is also a popular outdoor playground where people stroll, cycle, skateboard, and absorb public art installations.
The biggest event occurs in summer when thousands of people gather on the banks to watch fireworks accompanied by music for three nights. Another popular event is the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim when hardy swimmers plunge into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Robson Street is best known for shopping, but international brands aside, it is also home to the city’s main art institution, the Vancouver Art Gallery. Here, you can see the outstanding Emily Carr collection, as well as other international exhibitions.
The gallery is opposite Robson Square, an interesting public space designed by Arthur Erickson, which also features an ice rink.
It’s nearly impossible to mention all the cool things to do in Vancouver. If you have the time, we also suggest experiencing:
- FlyOver Canada (a technology that gives you the feeling of a flight)
- Vancouver Aquarium (meet over 65000 animals, including sea otters)
- Science World (great for families)
- Queen Elizabeth Park (for view-seekers)
- Museum of Vancouver
- Treetop Adventure (high ropes activity aimed at younger children)
- Museum of Anthropology at UBC
Where to stay in Vancouver?
To get to know Vancouver better, it is a good idea to stay in the city center. It is lively and vibrant and home to many of Vancouver’s top attractions, including Stanley Park, English Bay, Robson Street, Gastown, and Granville Island, as well as great shops and restaurants.
At PrivateUpgrades, you will find many great options that take luxury to a new high.
Fairmont Pacific Rim
One of the best hotels in the city is Fairmont Pacific Rim. Thanks to its prime location overlooking Vancouver Harbor, Stanley Park, and the North Shore Mountains, it is a favorite pick for many.
When you book your stay at this hotel as a PrivateUpgrades member, you can enjoy various benefits.
- Upgrade your accommodation on arrival, subject to availability
- Receive a daily full breakfast for two guests
- A $100 hotel credit
Prices here start from $579 per night.
Rosewood Hotel Georgia
First opened in 1927, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia is one of the classic luxury hotels in downtown Vancouver.
The accommodation is located in a magnificent heritage building with 154 well-appointed rooms and suites. It offers stunning city views on the corner of Georgia and Howe Streets.
Business travelers appreciate the convenience of a downtown location, while other guests enjoy proximity to Stanley Park, the waterfront, and Vancouver’s best restaurants, shops, art galleries, museums, and theatres – all just minutes away.
PrivateUpgrades benefits include:
- Daily Georgia breakfast for two people
- $100 hotel credit
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
Prices at the beautiful hotel start at 267 euros.
Vancouver is truly the city that has it all. Its prime location near the United States, breathtakingly beautiful mountains, and bustling city life draws millions of tourists to Vancouver every year. If you need help planning a luxurious vacation, we are here to assist!
Reach out to our team to learn more.