If Vancouver is the first city you’ll ever visit in Canada, you can be sure you’ll fell in love with the entire country! Despite its bustling lifestyle, there’s something about Vancouver that makes you feel at home from the moment you arrive there. Many consider it to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world and they are not wrong. Having a splendid mountain backdrop but, at the same time, inviting visitors to relax on its urban beaches, Vancouver has a little bit of something for everyone.
From amazing parks and splendid gardens to museums and art galleries, Vancouver manages to combine the hustle and bustle of a metropolis with the charm of a small town or even of a picturesque village. You can get everywhere with the inexpensive SkyTrain. You’ll be able to experience an endless variety of leisure activities, spend time in nature or on the beach, and even hike on the snow-covered Coast Mountains. What more can you ask from a city?
Outdoor fun inside the city
Nature lovers will simply adore Vancouver. Even though the city never sleeps and imposing skyscrapers dominate the skyline, you’ll find your oasis of greenery to relax and enjoy nature. It’s enough to visit the 400-hectare rainforest Stanley Park to understand why Vancouver will never be just another urban jungle. Stanley Park is massive and almost entirely surrounded by the sea. It has wildlife and beaches, restaurants and so many nature trails. You can ride a bike, go hiking, play golf, sunbathe on the beach, and all will take place within the city’s borders! It’s also the perfect place to unwind while enjoying a ride with the Stanley Park train or even a horse-drawn carriage ride.
The largest uninterrupted seaside path, Vancouver’s seawall is wrapped around Stanley Park and passes the English Bay, surrounds False Creek and ends at Spanish Banks. Enjoy a really long walk (about 28 km), bike or run while admiring spectacular views.
North of Stanley Park awaits the fabulous Capilano Suspension Bridge that will take you into a beautiful forest. Breathe in the fresh air and admire the Capilano River from above. Cross the 140-m bridge even if you’re afraid of heights! The experience is worth all the sweats and prayers! And the bridge is situated only 70 m above the river! Get on the other side and immerse yourself in the beauty of the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Oh, Canada!
And let’s not forget about the urban beaches! When summer comes, Kitsilano Beach unveils the laid-back lifestyle that the locals just love. It’s the perfect place to hang out with friends and swim in the outdoor heated seawater swimming pool while admiring the beautiful mountain backdrop and the city center.
If you want to be in the hippest summer place in Vancouver, choose the beach of the English Bay. It is not only a popular outdoor area but also a great shopping and dining destination. Here is where locals gather on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the New Year’s Day Polar Bear Swim. This is when the bravest people in Vancouver decide to take a dip in the Pacific waters. And yes, December in Canada is like the real December – really cold!
Just 20 minutes away from Vancouver awaits the Grouse Mountain. This destination offers amazing views and it has the largest aerial tramway in North America. The Skyride will take you up to 1,128 m, to the Alpine Station, to either sky, snowboard, skate or just admire the breathtaking views and enjoy a good meal. Wait for the night to come and be mesmerized by a faerie of lights created by the city lights. During the summer, you’ll find numerous hiking trails, including the Grouse Grind that will keep you busy all day long.
The spectacular metropolis
There’s been so much talk about the outdoors and nature that you might find it a bit hard to believe that Vancouver is actually a cosmopolitan city. But it is! Downtown Vancouver will make sure you’ll never get bored. From five-star hotels and chic restaurants to shopping paradises and entertainment, Vancouver is indeed a big, wonderful metropolis!
The museums and art galleries illustrate the rich culture of Vancouver and Canada. The Museum of Anthropology is worldwide famous for its displays and, particularly, for the exhibition dedicated to the First People of Canada. You’ll also find the Multiversity Galleries that have more than 16,000 objects for visitors to admire, as well as wonderful exhibitions dedicated to the Natives of the Pacific Northwest.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is the perfect destination if you want to discover contemporary art exhibits, while the Science Museum, officially known as the Telus World of Science, is a great place for science aficionados and for those who want to enjoy the shows at the OMNIMAX Theatre. For an elegant night out, you should buy tickets for the Vancouver Symphony or the Queen Elizabeth Theatre performances.
One of the coolest places in Vancouver is the Granville Island, a pseudo-island connected to the city by one road and footbridges and to the Downtown peninsula by ferry. The island used to be an industrial center with factories and sawmills but is now home to a Public Market, craft studios, and workshops. It welcomes visitors with theaters, galleries, restaurants, and lovely houseboats.
The oldest part of Vancouver is also the most picturesque neighborhood. Gaston is home to superb Victorian buildings and heritage structures, shops, and galleries. The entire neighborhood is adorned with cobblestone streets and vintage lampposts creating a romantic atmosphere, especially during the night. Dating back to 1867, Gaston tells stories about the old Vancouver but welcomes visitors with chic cafes and fine dining restaurants.
Immerse in all that Vancouver has to offer and fell in love with the city and Canada without thinking twice!