Growing up near Vancouver, I spent my days surrounded by towering mountains, glittering ocean, and deep forests where I hiked, swam, and skied. Returning to the city as an adult, I’ve explored further, finding hidden speakeasy-style bars, quirky galleries, and incredible restaurants. And over the past few years, I’ve played tour guide to friends visiting the city— known as Hollywood North for its film production industry—and found activities and experiences to appeal to everyone’s interests.
Vancouver boasts easy access to nature alongside a diversity of culture that makes you feel like the whole world is laid out before you in this sparkling city by the sea.
Be prepared for rain and fickle weather—layer up and pack an umbrella.
If you only have time for one thing, make it Stanley Park.
Head to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (easy access via a bus from downtown) for one of Vancouver’s favorite hikes. As you pass glacial streams, cedar forests, and a soaring suspension bridge, you’ll be immersed in Pacific Northwest beauty. Otherwise, stay in the city to explore Stanley Park—walk or bike around the long Seawall, or opt for a horse-drawn carriage tour.
Main Street is the heart of the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, one of Vancouver’s coolest. Lined with vintage stores and antique stores filled with treasures, this area is the spot to find your next perfect outfit (C’est La Vie Boutique and Bohemia Gallery are two favorites.) Grab coffee and a sweet treat from Liberty Bakery and people-watch from one of the public pavilions.
In the evening, wander up to the Shameful Tiki Room, which offers kooky cocktails in a tropical environment, or explore some of the neighborhood’s craft breweries.
Take some time to refuel after your adventures—begin in historic Chinatown for dim sum or noodles and learn about the rich culture of the neighborhood with a visit to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden for a traditional tea ceremony. The Chinese Cultural Centre Museum is right next door, sharing the long history of Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver.
For more sightseeing, a hop-on hop-off bus offers an easy option to explore the rest of the city. Exit at Granville Island for more delicious treats at the Public Market, or head to Robson Street for luxury shopping.