7 Fun Things to Do in Vancouver, Canada
Vancouver is an incredible metropolis on Canada’s temperature southwest coast. Home to almost 2.5 million people and more residential skyscrapers per capita than any other city in North America, Canada’s third-largest city seems even bigger and busier than it is. On top of that, Vancouver has been widely considered one of the most liveable cities in the world for over a decade. That means it has a perfect mix of safety, equality, walkability, and awesome things to do!
Read on for 7 fun things to do in Vancouver!
1. SeaBus to Lynn Canyon
One of my favorite things to do in Vancouver is actually just outside the city. This is a great one for the nature-lovers. Go down to Waterfront Station and hop on a SeaBus. These massive ferries can each hold up to 385 passengers, and cross Burrard Inlet between Vancouver and North Vancouver. Once in North Vancouver, hop on the 229 bus to Lynn Canyon. The trip takes about an hour and there’s some walking involved, but believe me, it’s worth it.
Gastown is one of Vancouver’s most popular urban neighborhoods. Dating back to 1867, Gastown was the original Downtown Vancouver. Here you can find the celebrated Steam Clock, a whistling timepiece with an interesting history: it was placed over a steam grate to deter homeless people from sleeping on the sidewalk.
Gastown is also the site of many of Vancouver’s best restaurants, bars, and clubs, such as the Lamplighter Public House and The Alibi Room. A lot of the most fun things to do in Vancouver are located in or around Gastown.
3. Stanley Park
Stanley Park is to Vancouver what Central Park is to New York City. It’s quite simply an awesome place to hang out, but don’t just take my word for it: in 2014, TripAdvisor ranked it the “top park in the entire world,” based on visitor reviews!
It’s interesting to note that this park was not planned by a landscape architect. Rather, it evolved naturally as a heavily-wooded isthmus. Going for a run through the forested paths makes you forgot that you’re a stone’s throw from a major metropolitan area.
There are many things to see as you walk, run, or bike around the 1,000-acre park, such as the Vancouver Aquarium. However, most residents and visitors will agree that the park’s best asset is the Seawall. Started in 1931 by a single mason, the Seawall not only keeps erosion of the island at bay, but it also contains the running, biking, and skating paths that circumnavigate the entire park. If you’re someone who likes to stay active on your travels with a jog, you’ve come to the perfect place.
4. Capilano Suspension Bridge
Located to the west of Lynn Canyon, Capilano Park also has a suspension bridge, but this one is among the largest in the world. Spanning 140 meters across pristine forest, this is the premier (albeit more touristed) suspension bridge in Vancouver. Capilano is one of the most popular and fun things to do in Vancouver, and affords ample photo and Insta opportunities.
5. Granville Island
Granville Island (technically a peninsula) was originally an industrial island at the southern tip of Vancouver. In recent years, following trends in other cities, the island’s old warehouses were revamped. Today they comprise the Granville Island Public Market, among other businesses! This is the shopping heart of the city, and the “island” is dotted with ferries able to take you all over the city and metro.
6. West End
The West End is another of Vancouver’s premier neighborhoods. Featuring a high East Asian population, the West End is similar to San Francisco’s Chinatown, featuring a high number of Asian restaurants and businesses.
Also in this neighborhood is English Bay, where you’ll encounter a nice beach, the few days out of the year where there’s actually sun (I love you, Vancouver!).
While in English Bay, you’ll probably see a large pile of gray boulders, loosely resembling a human figure. This is the inukshuk, a First Nations word that, fittingly, means “in the shape of a man.” The inukshuk hails not from the First Nations tribes around present-day Vancouver but rather from the tribes of polar northern Canada, who would use these stone statues as navigational devices.
7. Get Some Poutine!
Poutine is Canadian soul food. This dish originated from Quebec but is popular from coast to coast. It’s comprised of french fries and cheese curds topped with gravy and is as decadent and as delicious as it sounds.
There are myriad spots, but I can personally vouch for Mean Poutine. They’ve got several different styles of poutine for about $7-10, and those boxes will fill you up. You’ve got to try their Southern BBQ poutine, which adds a nice spin to the classic dish by adding in bacon bits and barbecue sauce. Absolutely delicious!
Yes, poutine is loaded with calories, but don’t worry about that. You’ll burn ’em all off walking around Vancouver!
Other Notes on Vancouver
Vancouver is beautiful and safe and highly walkable, but like a lot of other Pacific Northwest Cities, it’s also extremely overcast most of the year. Also like a lot of PNW cities, most places do not offer free public bathrooms (or bathrooms at all, for that matter).
There you have it, 7 fun things to do in Vancouver! Have a favorite place to visit in the home of the Canucks? Let me know in the comments below!