Visit Vancouver – Join a Tour
The attractions when you visit Vancouver are quite spread out, so you will do better to rent a car or join a tour to see the sights. Westcoast Sightseeing offers Hop-On Hop-Off Busses and narrated trolleys that visit all the downtown attractions, including Canada Place, Stanley Park, Yaletown, Granville Island and Chinatown.
Canada Place has distinctive “white sails” architecture on the waterfront and is home to the cruise ship terminal.
Stanley Park has 1,000 acres downtown on the waterfront. Stanley Park includes a zoo, the Vancouver Aquarium, a petting zoo, a children’s train and a waterfront path for walking, jogging, biking and roller blading.
Granville Island is a very popular 37 acre island next to the downtown core. Granville Island has a well known public market, craft shops, galleries, a theater and restaurants.
Chinatown is third largest in North America. In China town, visit the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the Sam Kee Building (world’s narrowest commercial building) and the Chinese Cultural Centre.
Yaletown used to be a warehouse district, but it has become a trendy modern area with high rise condos along the water. Yaletown has lots of restaurants and bars for busy people to spend their time after work.
Visit Vancouver – More Downtown Sights
- Robson St – Stroll the street where everyone accumulates in the downtown core. Shops stay open late into the evening every day to accommodate the crowds.
- Gastown – cobble stone lanes and the world’s first steam clock still operates.
- Vancouver Lookout – 360 degree views of the city from this downtown tower. Have dinner in the revolving restaurant.
- Kitsilano Beach– a great beach on English Bay with shops and restaurants nearby. Enjoy views of the city and the freighters waiting to enter the port.
- Punjabi Market – five blocks located at Main and East 49th.
Visit Vancouver – Hotels
Visit Vancouver Museums
- Science World and the IMAX.
- Vancouver Art Gallery
- Museum of Anthropology – located at the University of British Columbia.
Sights near Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Bridge – 450 feet long and 230 feet high.
Grouse Mountain – gondola from the city to Grouse Mountain for great views over the city. Go hiking or zip-line in the summer. Enjoy skiing in winter. Do the Grouse Grind and hike up the mountain instead of taking the gondola.
Minter Gardens – 90 minutes east of Vancouver.
Visit Whistler Village. Take a bus or rent a car to reach Whistler, which is 1.5 hours north of Vancouver.
Vancouver weather has two distinct seasons, just like its neighbor city of Victoria. The dry season extends from May to September with the best weather occurring in July and August. That makes summer the height of the tourist season. The rainy season extends from November to February. During this period temperatures can reach highs of 50 F or 10 C with heavy rainfall. Clear skies in winter are a sign of nearby Arctic air and temperatures can drop slightly below freezing. Snowfall is extremely rare.
Get to Vancouver
The gateway to get to Vancouver is through Vancouver International Airport. The Canada Line subway runs from the airport to the Vancouver Harbour in the heart of downtown. The fee is less than $10 and it takes about 25 minutes.
Vancouver Cruise Ship Terminal
The Vancouver cruise ship terminal is located in the downtown at Canada Place. The Canada Line from the airport goes all the way to Canada Place, so cruise ship passengers can save on transfer fees by taking the Canada Line.
Get to Victoria
If you want to visit Victoria on Vancouver Island inexpensively, take the Canada Line to Bridgeport. Then transfer to the express bus #620 to the Tswwasssen Ferry Terminal. At the ferry terminal, BC Ferries provides hourly summer vehicle service between Vancouver, BC and Swartz Bay near Victoria. Once you arrive in Swartz Bay, the local Victoria express bus is always waiting for the ferry to arrive. You can also visit the Butchart Gardens near Victoria on a day trip tour.
Visit Vancouver – Background
Vancouver is named after Captain George Vancouver, who explored its bays in 1792. The Coast Salish First Nations were well established in the area at that time. The first European settlement was at Gastown in 1867. When Vancouver became the Pacific terminal for the trans Canadian railway in the late 1800s, the population and the economy boomed. Today that same railway system takes tourists from Vancouver to the Canadian Rockies. In 2010 Vancouver hosted the Olympics. Many venues were built within the city but Whistler was also a major part of its hosting bid. Immigration has significantly influenced Vancouver and more than half of its residents speak English as their second language. Vancouver is consistently highly ranked as one of the most livable cities in the world.