Raising my daughter in Vancouver gave me a chance to discover some of the best spots in the city for families. Together, we spent a lot of time exploring expansive parks and gardens, marveling at the fish at the aquarium, and eating our way through Vancouver's tasty foods.
Vancouver is surrounded by nature—beaches, forests, and mountains—which serve as a playground for the whole family. Meanwhile, the city’s love affair with doughnuts and ice cream is sure to be a hit with the kids. From its kid-targeted museums to bicycle tours and playgrounds in every neighborhood, Vancouver as a destination welcomes curiosity and exploration.
Vancouver’s weather is changeable—layer up for warmth and pack an umbrella.
If you only have time for one thing, make it the Vancouver Aquarium.
Start the fun at Granville Island—its Public Market is full of food stalls and baked goods with something for every age and interest (Lee’s Donuts is a must-try.) After breakfast, hit up the Kids Market—with its child-sized door, arcade, and joke shop, this is a place just for kids.
In summer, cool off at the free waterpark, or seek out some of the buskers and public performances dotted across the island. That way, you and the kids can experience Granville Island's art scene.
Science World is instantly recognizable, with a geodesic dome that dominates the waterfront. Originally built for Expo ’86, this child-centric science museum plays an outsize role in every Vancouver kid’s life. Hands-on exhibits invite kids to explore and ask questions, but there’s fun for adults too amongst the carefully curated exhibitions.
Afterwards, wander over to Amato Gelato to refuel with a scoop from its wide array of flavors. Alternatively, take a walk through historic Chinatown for dim sum and bubble tea (both are some of my daughter’s favorites from childhood—and now).
Stanley Park is home to many treasures—splash parks, horse-drawn carriages, ice cream kiosks, and the Vancouver Aquarium. Begin your day with a bike ride around the Seawall—its flat ground and views out over the sea and mountains make it a hit among families. Otherwise, rest your feet on a guided horse-drawn carriage tour.
Later you can head to the aquarium to let the kids explore. With touch pools featuring the wildlife of the Pacific and a walkable rainforest exhibit, it offers a chance to discover the wonder of the ocean to which Vancouver is so deeply connected.