With its world class restaurants, natural wonders, and a range of unexpected attractions, Vancouver really is packed with exciting things to do
Thanks to its wonderful natural setting and its modern architecture, Vancouver is a beautiful city. Everywhere you look are mountains, forests and waterways, and the air just seems to smell so different - it’s fresh :) I can now understand why it’s consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities, in the world...It also might have something to do with how nice Canadians are. So when Expedia.ca asked us to come up with our favorite things to do, it was an easy task. As you can see I have a little love affair with Vancouver.
Vancouver is so more than just a nice place, it is packed full of interesting and exciting things to do. You have the usual, restaurant and bar scene, which you would expect from a big city (although Vancouver does them as well if not better than many of its rivals) and others are more quirky and help give the city its unique charm.
So if you find yourself heading to Vancouver, check out this list of 9 best things to do in Vancouver!
Tree Top Adventure at Capilano Suspension Bridge
You don’t have to go to far to witness some of this region’s spectacular scenery. Just ten minutes from downtown Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge lets you see British Columbia’s forests from an unexpected angle. The bridge itself crosses a 70 meter gorge (and is an impressive piece of historic engineering), but there is also a network of walkways which take you right up into the treetops. No visitor should miss this, as it’s truly beautiful .
Bike Around Stanley Park
Most cities have large signature parks, but few can boast a location as interesting and picturesque as this. Stanley Park sits on a headland which juts out into the Narrows and English Bay. Most of it is still covered in local pine trees and its shores play host to several little beaches. The park is also pretty large, so the best way to take it all in is by bike, and these can be rented for less than $15. The park is largely flat, meaning that even those who tend to avoid exercise won’t find themselves out of their comfort zones. There is no better way to spend a relaxing afternoon than taking in the many beautiful views.
Have Cocktails in Gastown
As well as being the oldest part of Vancouver (complete with a historic monuments), Gastown is also where the city’s cool kids go to have fun. It’s packed full of entertainment options, with bars and restaurants being particularly well represented. All that competition means that there are some truly excellent places to grab a drink, and our favorite discovery was Clough Club. They serve their own range of craft cocktails in a space which feels perfectly quiet and relaxed. If you meeting up with friends after work or looking for a date place, this is a great option.
German Fine Dining? It Exists!
After a cocktail, a couple of minutes walk away is Bauhaus – an example of how great Vancouver’s restaurants can be, but also how cosmopolitan it can feel. You might not expect to find a gourmet German restaurant on Canada’s West Coast, much less one which embraces the cuisine so thoroughly that it breaks down you preconceptions about German food. I had no idea that it could be so delicate and interesting, believing that it was all sausage, potatoes and schnitzel unceremoniously slapped on a plate – wow I was very, very wrong!
Try a Fresh Omakase Menu at Masoyoshi
Continuing the multicultural theme, Vancouver is also home to one of the best sushi restaurants we have visited. Masoyoshi is a small, simple and unpretentious place, but it is also the workplace of one of Canada’s most acclaimed Japanese chefs. You can confidently trust him and pick the omakase menu, safe in the knowledge that you will experience something amazing.
Into Craft Beer? Check Out Craft Beer Market
After a spot of research at the Craft Beer Market, we are happy to report that a good beer is very much appreciated in this city. The owners have converted an old salt warehouse into a brewery, and as you enjoy your drink you can admire the enormous kegs in which it has just come out of, as well as the metal pipes which connect the kegs to the taps at the bar. The have a selection which ranges from weiss beers to stout, and everything we tried was delicious. If it’s a nice day order some food, grab a seat outside and settle in for a few hours.
Walk the Waterfront
We have seen a lot of city waterfronts in our travels, but Vancouver's is one of the best we’ve encountered. It’s full of little shops and restaurants, and an emphasis has been placed on keeping it green. There are grassy areas and tall trees all along it, which makes it one of the most pleasant places in the city. With this geography there is quite a lot of it, so rent a bike and explore.
See How Honey is Made
One of Vancouver’s nicest hotels, the Fairmont Waterfront, also boasts a unique attraction. It is not every day that you get to visit an apiary, don a beekeeping suit and see first hand how bees organize their colonies. The hotel’s ‘bee butler’ will teach you all about the importance of these insects to the ecosystem, and afterwards you can enjoy everything from beer to ice cream made with the honey they provide.
Take a Road trip to Whistler
Whistler is renowned the world over for it’s natural beauty, so if you are staying more than a few days you have to get out and see it. There are any number of places you can go but Whistler is famous for a reason. Skiing is obviously the main attraction but even in the summer months there is plenty to do. Whether you take in the scenery by foot, bike, gondola or zipline you will be blown away.