Vancouver is exactly the sort of city you can’t fully appreciate until you visit. Many of us have an idea in our heads for what an ideal city in the Pacific Northwest might be like – relaxed and authentic, blending in with nature, full of friendly people, etc. And while there are plenty of alternatives that people love visiting, including U.S. cities like Portland and Seattle that are arguably better-known, Vancouver really captures the spirit of the region.
It’s a wonderful place to visit, in large part because of the simple vibe of the place – which can’t be properly characterized in any article. There are also a lot of enjoyable things to do in and around the city, however, which leads us to this incomplete, but hopefully helpful list!
1. Walk Stanley Park
No matter where you look, Stanley Park will be listed among the top Vancouver attractions. It’s one of the most beautiful urban parks in the world, comprised of nearly 1,000 acres of forest land, beaches, paths, and walking and biking paths, meant simply to be enjoyed by people who want to spend a day outside. The Seawall – basically a narrow road for bikers and walkers around the perimeter of the park, by the water – is arguably the main attraction, and possibly the very best way to get a sense of the overall beauty of Vancouver.
2. Explore Robson Street
Robson Street is a downtown area that can give you a better sense of the city itself. Known for an array of shops and restaurants that can keep any visitor entertained, it’s typically bustling with activity in a very charming way. The last few years have actually seen a few shops up and down the street closing, but rumor has it the street is about to see a resurgence and it’s never truly faded in the first place. This should continue to be an exciting and pleasant place to explore, do a little shopping, and grab a drink or a bite to eat.
3. Go On A Bar Crawl
Speaking of grabbing a drink, Vancouver, like some other Pacific Northwest cities mentioned above, is known for having some pretty good beer joints. And, as is often the case in large cities, the best of them happen to be in some of the most vibrant and popular neighborhoods. For this reason, rather than simply to enjoy the drinks, a bar crawl can be an excellent way to get to know Vancouver. One suggestion of an epic summer beer crawl does a nice job of outlining the path through the neighborhoods, including West End, Yaletown, Granville, and Gastown. That’s just one option, but it gives you an idea of what to aim for.
4. Swim At Kitsilano Beach
Because it’s not fully on the Pacific Coast, Vancouver can be mistaken as a city that isn’t on the water. However, various inlets surround the city, which gives it the effect of being on the Pacific, though it’s perhaps a little bit calmer. One beautiful pocket of the city on the Burrard Inlet is Kitsilano Beach, which is perhaps the main beach area in the city. It’s a place where locals hang out to get some sun and even go for a swim in nice weather, as well as a nice place for a stroll even in milder conditions.
5. Check Out River Rock
River Rock is a resort a little ways outside of Vancouver, but it’s a nice stop if you’re interested in staying at a more relaxed venue by the water. An outline of a casino resort road trip through Canada actually highlighted it as one of the top stops, pointing out that it’s pretty modern, having been built in 2005. The River Rock, while primarily a casino, is a beautiful place to relax, with its own pool, spa, and dining offerings, in addition to comfortable rooms and pretty views of a harbor packed with sailboats.
6. Go Whale Watching
There just aren’t that many cities in North America from which you can go on a legitimate whale watching tour. But not only is it an option in Vancouver – it’s a high enough quality whale watching area to make this a commonly recommended tourist activity. This is an experience unlike any other, and something you’ll really enjoy if you get the chance to do it.