This charismatic harbor city is equal parts natural wonder and cosmopolitan gem.
When it comes to city planning, you can’t do much better than Vancouver. This western city is surrounded on all sides by earthly delights. Snowy mountains tower in the distance, beaches perch along the Strait of Georgia, and verdant parks dot the central districts. If you’ve spent hours flipping through a travel guide in search of Vancouver trip ideas, this treasure trove of scenery is a relatively effortless place to start.
Despite the area’s natural beauty, however, Vancouver vacation packages can be decidedly cosmopolitan. Because the thriving downtown area is bordered by an ocean, developers have had to be creative with how they plan and build. The result is skyscraper-studded central district that’s easy to navigate by foot and pretty enough to support hours of leisurely strolling.
Kick off your Vancouver vacations at the Harbor Center Lookout. This retro spot offers panoramic views of the entire city, and it’s the best way to catch a glimpse of the area before you start exploring. Then, head to the Vancouver Art Gallery to browse the collections, or snap a few photos of architectural marvels like Canada Place and the Marine Building.
Dive a little deeper into Vancouver’s culture with a trip to the West End. This locally loved district is near both historic Gastown and Chinatown, and you’ll discover charming cafes, hip eateries, and eclectic boutiques located on its residential streets. The neighborhood’s primary draw, however, is Stanley Park. Vancouver travel aficionados often consider this seaside space to be the city’s heart and soul thanks to its network of beaches and attractions. Visit the Vancouver Aquarium, take your family to the Miniature Railway, or soak up the sun on Sunset Beach. You’ll even find cheap Vancouver deals and discounts on bike rentals and kayaking amenities.
Once you’ve had your fill of Stanley, make your way to Yaletown for some of the city’s best boutiques. Pacific Center is another top spot for shopping holidays, but budget a little time to explore Granville Island. This artsy district is home to a marina, public market, and brewing company, and you’ll find several galleries and craft studios just waiting to inspire your creative side.
Amble along the waterfront at Vancouver Harbour and visit theaters, shopping avenues and museums in the heart of one of Canada’s largest cities.
Downtown Vancouver is a vibrant and intriguing area with bright lights, skyscrapers and an eclectic port area. Many of the city’s main attractions and cultural highlights line the shores of the Vancouver Harbour and False Creek, which borders the city center. Experience the country’s diverse terrain with the FlyOver Canada simulator at Canada Place.
Arrive in the downtown area via the historic Waterfront Station, an example of the city’s impressive architecture. Admire its neoclassical style, red-brick façade and white columns. A few blocks southeast is Gastown, the oldest part of Vancouver’s downtown area. Enjoy the romantic ambiance here as you stroll down cobbled streets lined with Victorian houses.
For a more modern part of downtown Vancouver, visit the iconic shopping avenue of Robson Street. Browse upscale boutiques and immerse yourself in the fashionable setting. Dine in style at a sushi restaurant or enjoy an abundance of international cuisine along the street.
Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery to discover local artists and established international names. Peruse its collection of landscape paintings and modern photo exhibits. Another artistic highlight is the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which hosts the Vancouver Opera and Ballet British Columbia. Watch a performance in the auditorium, which seats almost 3,000 people.
Spend some time in Chinatown to see the Sam Kee Building, which is known as the world’s narrowest commercial edifice. Visit the Chinese Cultural Centre and enjoy Chinese food from one of the many restaurants. Relax in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden for some peace and quiet in the middle of the bustling city.
Downtown Vancouver is the sports hub of the city, with stadiums home to many of the city’s most popular teams. Attend an ice hockey match at Rogers Arena, where the Vancouver Canucks play. Watch Canadian football and soccer matches at BC Place Stadium.
Immediately north of the downtown area is one of the city’s highlights, Stanley Park. Follow nature trails for views of the mountains that surround the city, the expansive English Bay and dense forests.
Downtown Vancouver is a major transport hub for British Columbia and can be easily reached by bus, SkyTrain and on foot from surrounding Vancouver neighborhoods.