If you are looking for the best things to do in Vancouver then I have got Mother Lodge here. These Vancouver attractions run the gauntlet from a chill urban oasis to epic dining and a full-on night out.
Come find out what to do in Vancouver!
Stanley Park View
Stanley Park is a 405-hectare (1,001-acre) public park located along the western boundary of Vancouver. Stanley Park is a distinctive natural development of pre-existing coastal rainforest adapted to its surrounding urban environment. Here you can bike along the park’s world-famous Seawall, marvel at the enchanting Coast Salish totem poles, or explore the wonders of the Vancouver Aquarium.
Tour Downtown Vancouver
You can check out all the places to visit in downtown Vancouver by visiting one of the top Vancouver tourist places. I find it the best way to see the sights, learn about the city, and even get some exercise.
Some top tours include:
- Stanley Park Bike Tour: Take a guided bike tour of Vancouver and weave through old-growth forest trails, learn about local flora and fauna, and witness Coastal First Nations history.
- Vancouver City Highlights Tour: See the Vancouver Lookout, and Capilano Suspension Bridge, and Get a Vancouver Downtown City Highlights Guided Tour All in One.
Walk through Gastown
When people ask me what to do in Vancouver, my response is to direct them to Gastown. Vancouver’s most historic district is famous for its cobbled streets and bars, and the best things to do in Gastown include:
- Historic souvenir shopping at places like the Coastal People’s Gallery
- Happy hour craft beers and cocktails at places like Chloe’s Club
- Gastown Steamclock: Vancouver’s most photographed object
- Vancouver Police Museum: Probably the scariest museum in Canada
Bill Reid Gallery
A Vancouver itinerary cannot be considered complete without exploring the history and culture of the indigenous peoples who have called the region home since time immemorial. Located in the heart of downtown, this small gallery is the only facility of its kind devoted entirely to contemporary Northwest Coast indigenous art.
It is named after the acclaimed Haida artist, carver, and goldsmith Bill Reed who did more than anyone else to popularize the style. The Bill Reid Gallery houses an extensive collection of his works as well as those of many of his contemporaries. If you are unable to visit UBC’s Museum of Anthropology a visit is highly recommended.
Dine at some of Vancouver’s best restaurants
Booking a table at one of Vancouver’s best downtown restaurants should be automatic for anyone, visitor or local.
Here are some amazing options:
- Cioppino’s: Award-winning chef and owner Pino Posterano combines the rustic simplicity of his Calabrian roots with exquisite Italian culinary techniques and fresh West-Coast ingredients.
- Marutama: Ramen spot that was initially established in Japan, famous for its creamy chicken broth and homemade noodles. Also a great gyoza spot and one of the best value places in town.
Take a Downtown Vancouver Food Tour
Must-Eat Dining Vancouver Dining doesn’t have to mean booking a table at Vancouver’s best restaurant. One of the best ways to get a guided tour of Downtown Vancouver is to see the city while scheduling stops at some amazing Vancouver healing spots.
Two of my favorite Vancouver food tours that include Vancouver Downtown Activities include:
- Gastown Historic Food Walking Tour: Walk through the classic cobblestone streets of Gastown with an improv comic as a guide and stop for seven food tastings and three alcoholic beverages. Expect poutine, dumplings, cheesecake, and more.
- Woke Around Chinatown: Explore traditional drugstores, cookware stores, and a Chinese bakery for goodies—all led and narrated by neighborhood chefs. You’ll learn the streets and the crispy BBQ duck.
Walk through Chinatown
Chinatown Vancouver is the second largest Chinatown in North America, and it’s a great way to experience a little Chinese culture in the city. It’s on the outskirts of downtown and has some great things to do:
- Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Garden: The first Chinese “scholars” garden built outside China remains the largest outside Asia and is a wonderful urban escape from the chaos of downtown Vancouver.
- Chinese Cultural Center Museum: The first Chinese Canadian culture museum. Here you can experience the Chinese Canadian immigrant experience in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Chinatown Millennium Gate: These terracotta tiled arches form one of the most emblematic spots in downtown Vancouver and it’s a great photo spot.
- Chinatown BBQ: The best BBQ chicken, pork, or duck you’ll ever find – done in traditional Hong Kong style, this is one of the best value meals in the whole city.
Fly Across Canada 4D
At Canada Place, next to the Vancouver Cruise Terminal, you can prepare yourself for an amazing in-flight experience. The Flyover Canada ride uses state-of-the-art 4D video technology to create a flight simulator for the ages – taking you on an eight-minute ride through the best of Canada’s natural and urban landscapes.
Shop by Storm on Robson Street
Some of the best shopping in Vancouver is along Robson Street, in the heart of downtown. The fun begins on Granville Street, where you can find the Pacific Center Mall, home to the popular department store; Hudson’s Bay Company, Nordstrom, and Holt Renfrew.
In Robson Square, you’ll find tons of shops and boutiques, including favorites like Roots, Lululemon, Nike, Muji, and Aritzia. Head one block north to the “Luxury Zone,” which can be found at Alberti and West Georgia Streets if you’re in the mood for something a little more lavish.
Experience Vancouver Nightlife
Fun things to do in Downtown Vancouver usually start with (and end with) stops at Vancouver’s best bars. Downtown Vancouver also has a handful of nightlife districts that are bound to turn it into a crawl for you.
- The Granville Strip: Closest north to Vancouver’s Vegas Strip, the Granville Entertainment District is six blocks of bars, mostly visited by young people, backpackers, and clubbers.
- Yaletown: A plethora of bars, restaurants, and lounges that cater to yuppies, celebrities, foodies, and anyone cool. This is Vancouver’s most stylish nightlife area.
- Gastown: World-class cocktail bars and cheap and cheerful dive bars serving up some of the best Vancouver craft beers are the names of the game here. If you’re a total drinker, that’s it.
Take in the views at Vancouver Lookout
Located just a short walk from Waterfront Station, the Vancouver Lookout is a 553-foot (168 m) tall observation deck that provides visitors with stunning panoramic views of the Vancouver skyline, the North Shore Mountains, and Burrard Inlet. Take advantage of interactive displays or a multilingual tour from a knowledgeable local guide to learn more about the city’s past, present, and future.
This largely residential neighborhood is most widely known as the gateway to Stanley Park. However, the West End also includes Davie Village, which is home to most of the city’s LGTBQ community. This area has many bars and restaurants, a collection of parks, and some of Vancouver’s best beaches, all nestled along the banks of False Creek.
This peaceful waterfront area, spread between Canada Place and Stanley Park, has a mix of residential and commercial buildings. The area is known for the striking juxtaposition between its large glass condominium towers and the peaceful calmness of Burrard Inlet.
Gastown and Chinatown
Technically downtown includes the neighborhoods of Chinatown and Gastown. However, it is because of the abundance of attractions in these historic neighborhoods that we have chosen to give them the special attention they deserve.