Maybe you’re only in Vancouver for a day before your cruise ship leaves from Canada Place, or are in the city for business and have only a few free hours to explore. In any case, if you’re only in Vancouver for a day and want to make sure to get the most out of your time here, this itinerary will ensure that you hit all the best spots in the city without having to travel outside of the downtown area.
Start your morning off right with the most important meal of the day – brunch! Vancouver’s got some great places to eat breakfast, whether you’re planning an early morning wakeup or a looking to get a late start to the day. Some great places to check out include Brioche, Jam Café, Medina Café, Chewies’ Steam & Oyster Bar, Pure Bread and more – check out our “Top 5 Breakfast Spots Near the Vancouver Lookout” post for more information.
Originally named after steamboat captain “Gassy” Jack Deighton, Gastown is a unique neighborhood in the city offering plenty of restaurants and boutiques steeped in a historic setting. Walk down Water Street along cobblestone sidewalks and explore shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants, all while taking in the historic architecture that gives this district of Vancouver its unique charm. The famous Gastown steam clock is also located along Water Street, so be sure to stop and watch as it blows a whistle of steam every 15 minutes, or plays Westminster Chimes on the hour.
11AM Vancouver Lookout
Enjoy a 360 view of the city like you’ve never seen before from 553 feet in the air at the Vancouver Lookout! From the top of the tower located in the Harbour Centre, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the city, downtown core, famous Vancouver landmarks, coastal mountains, and beyond. Get a free guided tour around the observation deck to learn more about the city and the various attractions. Stop here for some great photos of Vancouver from the sky during the day, and then return with the same ticket at night for the sunset and night time view.
No visit to Vancouver is complete without trying some aburi oshi (pressed and seared) sushi! Make your way down towards Canada Place to Miku Restaurant, where the aburi oshi craze began. Located right along the water, you will be dining with a beautiful view of the water and the mountains.
However, if you are on a budget, you can find the same style of sushi within Downtown Vancouver’s the financial district for a fraction of the price at Yui’s Japanese Bistro – which was opened by ex-chefs of Miku Restaurant!
Located in the Fairmont Pacific Rim, Giovane Cafe is known for their sugar buns – a light and fluffy sugar bun, filled with a velvety and cloud-like cream filling. They offer their original flavour, as well as a rotating seasonal flavour. But get there early, because they sell out quick!!
1PM Vancouver Art Gallery
Located right in the centre of downtown, the Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest gallery in Western Canada, and makes a great stop if you want to check out the Vancouver art scene. Step out of the bustling city and take in the ever changing curated exhibitions, featuring both Canadian and International works of art from world renowned artists. Have more time? Check out some other the other great galleries Vancouver has to offer, such as the Bill Reid Gallery in Gastown, or the Museum of Anthropology located on the UBC campus.
3PM Granville Island
Located in False Creek, Granville Island the place to go if you are looking for great food and quaint shops. The island is home to an extensive public market, many boutiques, shops, and art studios, as well as a marina and some nice restaurants. The island is also a great place to visit with kids, as it boasts a large kids market and a free waterpark complete with a waterslide. Stroll through the Public Market where you will find lots of fresh produce and food! If you have space in your tummy, check out A La Mode for their Clam Chowder Pot Pie.
Whether you snack your way through the Public Market, peruse the boutiques and galleries that line the streets, or simply stop for some ice cream, a trip to Granville Island always has something for everyone.
6PM Stanley Park
There really is no better way to experience the natural beauty of Vancouver’s temperate rainforests than by visiting Stanley Park. As Stanley Park is a large expanse of forest located just steps away from the downtown core, you can experience the “wild” side of BC without leaving the city centre! Explore over 400 hectares of urban park by biking or walking the seawall — a 22 kilometer pathway that wraps along the coast from Coal Harbour all the way to Kitsilano Beach. If you choose to cycle, it will take about an hour to complete the Stanley Park loop along the seawall, and there are many places to rent bikes within the downtown area.
Stop by the Teahouse in Stanley Park for a fine dining dinner experience.
7PM English Bay
Enjoy all that the Pacific Ocean has to offer by spending the evening watching the sunset at English Bay. Vancouver boasts some of the best beaches in the world, and a trip to the city wouldn’t be complete without visiting one. Be sure to pose with the A-maze-ing Laughter statues while you are there!
8PM Vancouver Lookout
Come back to visit the Vancouver Lookout and see the stunning night lights with your all-day ticket. Don’t forget your camera!
There is nothing better than a crisp, fall day. Our city is especially gorgeous at this time of year, with all the glorious fall colours out in full force. Why not spend your next (and rain-free!) day off exploring our city and checking out the fall leaves. Grab yourself a pumpkin spiced latte (see our previous blog on best places to grab em’ here), bundle up in a warm scarf, and get ready for a great new Instagram picture. Here are the best places to check out some fall foliage in Vancouver!
We obviously had to kick off this list with Stanley Park. Named the “best park in the world” by Trip Advisor, Stanley Park has over 1000 acres of beauty to explore. In the fall, the park is bursting with red, yellow and orange leaves. Talk a walk or bike around the iconic sea wall, and get those cameras ready.
University of British Columbia & Pacific Spirit Park
The gorgeous University of British Columbia (UBC) campus is surrounded by Pacific Spirit Park. Both the park, as well as the campus itself, is a great place to see some fall leaves. Walk one of the many trails through the park, or simply take a walk around the beautiful campus that is home to over 50,000 students and is one of the top 3 schools in the country.
Queen Elizabeth Park
This gorgeous park is the highest point in Vancouver, giving stunning views of our downtown core and the North Shore mountains. At this time of year the park is a great place for a fall picnic or walk through the gardens. You can also visit the Bloedel Floral Conservatory while you’re there! Located within the park, the conservatory is a wonderful place to escape the cold air for a little bit and checkout a wide variety of tropical plants and birds.
Our observation deck offers stunning 360 degree views of the city. Come see the fall colours from above during the day, and then come back in the evening for a beautiful fall sunset and the city’s night lights. Tickets are valid for the entire day! We are open 7 days a week from 9 am to 9 pm. See you soon!
It is that time of year once again! Fright Night takes over Playland from October 7th to October 31st offering a chilling experience. Open select nights, it features 7 haunted houses, 15 rides and 2 thrilling live shows.
Being Western Canada’s largest Halloween exhibit Fright Nights never disappointments, leaving kids, and adults alike terrified and wishing they never came in the first place. Classics such as Keepers Doll Factory, Haunted Mansion, and Car-N-Evil will be back once again for another year, while attractions such as The Beast, and Hellavator will be giving chills down your spine.
Want to skip the lines? You can purchase a Rapid Pass ensuring you get to the front of the line for all haunted houses as well as once for The Beast, Wooden Roller Coaster, Music Express, Atmosfear and Hellevator. Guests will be able to buy their tickets at participating 7-Eleven locations or online and save $3! Do not wait too long because these tickets are limited and sell out fast every year! For more information on tickets, and dates click here.
To get you ready here’s a look at one of the more popular haunted houses offered.
The leaves have changed colour, Halloween is just around the corner and the rain has set in; fall has arrived in Vancouver! It’s the season for sweaters, cute scarves and everyone’s favorite seasonal drink: Pumpkin Spice Lattes. If you’re getting tired of Starbucks or you want to try a PSL with a twist, check out any of the below locations for an amazing variation of this fall staple.
2565 Alma Street (Broadway & Alma)
Conveniently located only 10 minutes away from the University of British Columbia, Grounds for Coffee serves up a cozy Pumpkin Pie Latte. This café also serves up arguably the best cinnamon buns in the city – pair it with your Pumpkin Pie Latte for a match made in fall heaven.
595 Burrard Street (Bentall Centre)
4500 Oak Street (Oak & W29th)
Second Cup’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes are made with real white chocolate, espresso forte and pumpkin pie syrup. They are also garnished with pumpkin pie spice – perfect for those fall Instagram shots. You can find them in the Bentall Centre downtown or on Oak Street, just a block away from the beautiful VanDusen Botanical Gardens.
901 Homer Street (Homer & Smithe)
The Buzz Café and Espresso Bar serves up an array of fall themed drinks – including a traditional Pumpkin Spice Latte and a Canadian twist on the classic, a Maple Pumpkin Latte. And if pumpkin is not your thing, try their Ginger Banana Bread Latte, it will surely warm you up and get you in the fall spirit. This café is located in central downtown in Vancouver’s oldest retail art gallery, Harrison Galleries.
The Canadian answer to Starbucks offer up their own spin on a PSL, a Pumpkin Pie Caramel Macchiato – topped with caramel and graham crackers for that extra seasonal goodness. This time of year you can also find the Toffee Nut Latte on their menu if you wish to veer off the pumpkin path.
If you want pumpkin, just not in your coffee, head over to Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House. Trees are known for their amazing cheesecakes, and this fall they’re serving up slices of pumpkin spice cheesecake. Of course, they also serve up PSLs if you want to pair your pumpkin cheesecake with a pumpkin drink. Downtown, you can find them in Gastown, Yaletown, and just two blocks over from the Lookout at Granville and West Hastings.
Calling all you lovers out there, our city’s new art installation is for you!
A sculpture dedicated to eternal love opened in Queen Elizabeth Park recently. Couples can attach locks to the structure, located near the park’s Bloedel Conservatory. Designed by local artist Bruce Voyce, it features a set of four sculptures huddled together under umbrellas.
“This art project celebrates the shelter that love brings and the union that it forms,” reads the Park Board’s description. “Love has no boundaries and therefore the human forms in the sculpture have been left both ageless and genderless, locked together in an everlasting embrace.”
Voyce’s project differs from other love lock installations around the world. In many cities, couples are known to hang locks on popular bridges; most notably the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris, as well as the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. This however, comes with some public safety concerns. Recently, officials in Paris had to remove hundreds of locks from a portion of the bridge that was collapsing. In Brooklyn, officials had to remove many locks over safety concerns for the vehicles below. Voyce’s installation also features a drop box for the keys, instead of throwing them into the trash. These keys will be collected and used for future art projects in the city.
The ‘Love in the Rain’ Sculpture is located in Queen Elizabeth Park (4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC).