- Discover Vancouver
Stanley Park | Granville Island | Grouse Mountain | Skiing and Snowboarding | Capilano Suspension Bridge | Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge | Free | Gastown | Chinatown | Floatplane | Food | Shopping | Vancouver Island
Stanley Park is the largest urban park in North America, bigger than Central Park, and has spectacular sea views. You can take a horse drawn carriage through the park if you don’t fancy a walk. There are beaches, paved and dirt trails, a totem pole display, Brockton Point Lighthouse, the Jubilee Lighthouse, as well as Canada’s largest Aquarium. The Vancouver Aquarium has over 9000 sea creatures including sharks and Beluga Whales as well as a mini-rainforest. It’s good fun and interactive. Book a bike tour below to discover the park in a different way.
One of the most popular tourist spots in Vancouver, Granville Island has a public market, buskers, cafes and waterfront restaurants. Get there by ferry. A great way to see the island if you have kids is to take the Pirate Adventure Cruise which runs from the island. To explore just grab a map and walk around the island.
Grouse Mountain is a 25 minute drive from Vancouver and has a slew of activities. There are two Grizzly Bears, Grindle and Coola, who live in a purpose built habitat. You can learn all about the magnificent Grizzly Bear here. There’s a zip line and you can tour the mountain on it. There are helicopter tours, a birds of prey display, paragliding, disc golf as well as shopping and good food. To get up you can take the Skyride.
The Grouse Grind or “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” takes a gruelling hour and a half. If you are in good shape you should try walking the nearly 3000 feet of wooden steps as there is some stunning scenery on the way up.
In winter the mountain becomes a ski destination for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. If you want to get on the mountain but are not a keen skier, you can tour the mountain on trails in your snowshoes or take a sleigh ride. You can also ice skate.
The Capilan Suspension Bridge spans a river in a spectacular setting. You should give it a skip if you are afraid of heights. There is a cliffwalk that follows the river and the Treetops adventure brings you on a tour through the trees on bridges and platforms up to heights of 100 feet.
There is another Suspension Bridge at Lynn Canyon, and there are some beautiful Rainforest walks as well as watering holes to take a dip in. Book tickets for a photography tour below.
Take a free tour with Tour Guys who will show you some of Vancouver’s top sites.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is in the old courthouse on Robson Square. It’s one of the largest art galleries in West Canada and is free to enter on Tuesday nights between 5pm and 9pm.
There’s a free choir concert in Christ Church Cathedral.
Learn to dance for free in Stanley Park in the Summer. In Ceperley Meadow you can learn the Tango, the Rumba, or many more dances.
The Seawall walk is a 22km path that runs along Vancouver’s waterfront. It is the most popular recreation spot in Vancouver for walkers, joggers, cyclists and skaters.
Climb the Harbour Centre for great views. There is a revolving restaurant and an observation deck. A glass elevator takes you to the top.
Telus World of Science or Science World is a science centre situated at the end of False Creek. It is pricey, $30 for adults and $22.50 for youths, but is full of informative and interactive exhibits such as Animal Inside Out, films on World War Two and humpback whales in theie IMAX theatre.
Gastown is where the city of Vancouver began. There are great restaurants, shopping and nights out. The cobbled streets are full of life.
One of the largest in North America. Highlights include the Sun Yat-Sen Gardens. There is a charge, around $10, for the Gardens but the park next door is free.
Take a floatplane tour. It’s got to be the best way to see the city. The planes fly low over the city so you really get a good view. You can also fly to Whistler on a floatplane.
Yaletown was once a warehouse district but is now one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Vancouver. Yaletown is situated on the False Creek waterfront and is filled with cafes and restaurants.
Robson Street has all sorts of shops where even the most discerning shopper will find what they are looking for. There are trendy boutiques as well as all the big name stores. Burrard Street to Jervis Street is the main area.
Vancouver Island is a land of contrasts; untouched wilderness as well as all the modern comforts you could wish for. Many visitors come for adventure; camping, climbing, kayaking and bear spotting to name but a few. The climate is quite mild, it’s warm in the spring and the summer and not much snow falls in the winter, except for in the mountains which are excellent for skiing and snowboarding. July and August have the best weather and are the busiest months. Although in September it is still quite warm and there are fewer tourists around. Below are just some of the huge array of activities that can be enjoyed on the island.
Watch orca pods breaching and hunting in the waters around the island on a whale watching tour or see the majestic Grizzly Bear in its own habitat. April is the best time for Whale watching when thousands of Grey Whales swim by on the west coast of the island.
Butchart Gardens in Victoria is a quite spectacular collection of gardens, ponds and plants. Give yourself at least two hours to enjoy it. It is a little pricey (€30) but is worth it. Each Saturday in the summer there is a fireworks display. The summer will see all the flowers and plants in full bloom, although the gardens can be enjoyed all year round.
Watch the storms in Tofino. Many people actually visit Vancouver Island in the winter to watch the sometimes spectacular storms pound the coast.
Book tickets for a whale and wildlife tour below.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is located south of the city. Most major airlines fly into here.
Flight times to Vancouver
Dublin 9.5 hours | London 10 hours | Hong Kong 13 hours | New York 5 hours | San Diego 2 hours | Sydney 15 hours
Getting to and from the airport
They are reliable and safe. All taxi drivers in Vancouver have to take a training programme before they can take fares. The trip should cost around $30.
The Canada Line runs from the airport to Downtown. It takes around 25 minutes and costs around $9.
Take bus number 424 from the airport to Airport Station, then number 98 to Burrard Station.
Amtrak run services between Seattle, Washinton, Portland, Oregan and Vancouver.
“The Canadian” runs between Vancouver and Toronto and stops in Alberta, Jasper, and Edmonton.
Greyhound buses operate out of Pacific Central Station.
You can walk, cycle, get a ferry, a seaplane or just drive.
The transit system in Vancouver is called TransLink. It is a network made up of buses, trains and ferries. The SkyTrain is a system of fully automated trains that run very frequently. The SeaBus is a ferry service that sails between Waterfront Station and Lonsdale Quay on the North Shore. It’s worth taking the trip across Burrard Inlet for the breathtaking views.
The Aquabus takes you to Granville Island. It runs every 20 minutes from 9am to 7pm.
Muggings, shootings and stabbings are very rare in Vancouver. There is a problem with property crime however, so look after your valuables. Don’t leave anything in sight in your car,and be aware of your surroundings.
Dial 911 in an emergency.
Vancouver to Dublin - 9.5 hours
Vancouver to London - 10 hours
Vancouver to Hong Kong - 13 hours
Vancouver to New York - 5 hours
Vancouver to San Diego - 2 hours
Vancouver to Sydney - 15 hours