Dreaming of a Vancity adventure? With endless options to explore, The Wordrobe rounds up ten of the best unmissable experiences to try in this thriving eco-friendly city
Constantly cited as being one of top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life, it’s no secret that Vancouver makes a beautiful Canadian getaway. Located on the cusp of abundant nature, this city is surrounded by ocean waters, mountains and ancient forests – helping it earn the title of ‘Green City’ and prompting many a tree hugger to flock here in droves.
As well as a fantastic foodie scene (having recently joined Toronto as Canada’s first Michelin guide destinations) Vancouver also offers easy access to the North Shore Mountains, Pacific Ocean and the mighty Fraser River – whilst also being home to the largest urban park in North America.
There is so much to do in Vancity, with endless options to explore. The Wordrobe rounds up ten of the best unmissable experiences to try for your next visit:
1 Embrace the rain at Capilano Bridge
Locals won’t let the rain stop them, so don’t let it stop you. There’s even a popular hashtag for that, #EmbraceTheRain. Rain forecasted? A perfect day, then, to head outdoors, anywhere in Vancouver. You might opt to explore Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver.
The wire-cable pedestrian suspension bridge soars 70-metres (230-feet) high over the Capilano River. It was originally built in 1889, out of hemp ropes and cedar planks. Its name comes from the Squamish Nation Indigenous community and means “beautiful river.” The Canyon gets enveloped in a cool mist that hugs the bridge which is only possible during rainy days. Take note, photographers:, the lighting is perfect for an epic Pacific Northwest shot.
2 Take a floatplane to Victoria
Many Vancouverites take the ferry to get to Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city, on Vancouver Island. Take a more intimate, 35-minute float plane ride instead. These iconic seaplanes take off from the inner harbour of Vancouver to the inner harbour of Victoria, just steps away from each city’s downtown core.
Try to snag a window seat and check out the scenic views of the city, Gulf Islands, and Salish Sea. Don’t stop there. You can also take Harbour Air floatplanes to multiple destinations, including Tofino and the SunshineCoast.
3 Bike the Vancouver Seawall
Said to be the longest uninterrupted walkway in the world, the Seawall is 28-kilometres (17-miles) and circles downtown Vancouver. It goes through the scenic Stanley Park (a 405-hectare (119-acre) park connected to the city), around the downtown core, around the Science World, through the Olympic Village, and towards Granville Island (a trendy shopping and entertainment district).
There are many rental shops for bikes and e-bikes, including Spokes and EzeeRiders. Cycle City Vancouver also offers guided tours of top biking areas, including an electric bike tour. Biking not your thing? You can also walk or jog the route too.
4 Go Hollywood on Vancouver film sets
Many TV series and films such as Deadpool, Tomorrowland, and Godzilla have been taped in the city, sometimes called “Hollywood North.” Vancouver’s film industry is the largest of all Canadian cities and third in North America, behind Los Angeles and New York.
Vancouver Film & TV Tours offers an immersive three-hour walking tour of the region’s burgeoning film and TV industry. You’ll tour famous streets and film locations and use a tablet to view the actual film sequence. You may even spot your favourite celebrity walking around town during your visit.
5 Do the Grouse Grind
With an average grade of 30 per cent, the 2.9-kilometer (x-miles) “Grouse Grind” trail to the top of Grouse Mountain is a gruelling non-winter must do (save it for spring or summer).
Most people complete the hike in about two hours, but the record is about 25 minutes. Once at the peak, you are rewarded with panoramic views of Vancouver and surrounding communities. Further reward yourself with atreat from one of the many cafés, restaurants, and shops at the top of this popular winter ski hill destination. We thoroughly recommend the oat milk cappuccinos.
6 Stroll through Gastown
Gastown is downtown Vancouver’s cultural and culinary hub. Take in its rich history through one of many themed walking tours (including ghosts, food, or beer). Be sure to walk by the 1977 antique-style steam clock on the quarter hour to watch the steam and hear the unique whistle blow its song. It’s one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city. If you’re a fan of plant-based dishes, don’t miss a pitstop at MEET, one of the city’s coolest eateries.
7 Hit the beach
It isn’t typically known as a beach destination, but Vancouver has some great beaches to visit. Kitsilano Beach has a large heated, outdoor, salt-water pool three times the size of an Olympic pool. Jericho beach offers a perfect view of the north shore mountains towering over Downtown Vancouver.
Spanish Banks provide the ideal water for skimboarding. Watch the annual summer fireworks competition, the Celebration of Light, from one of the West End beaches. Visiting outside of summer? Vancouver’s beaches are equally enjoyable in cooler (and even rainy!) weather. English Bay is particularly popular during the Polar Bear Swim, with a dip in its freezing waters an annual new year’s tradition for many.
8 Take the scenic route up the Sea to Sky
The spectacular 163-kilometre (101-mile) Sea to Sky highway linking Vancouver to the resort town of Whistler through Squamish is known as one of the most scenic drives in the world. Stop at one of the many viewpoints and lookouts along the way.
Save time for the many roadside attractions, including the beautiful Shannon Falls (only a five-minute walk from the road), the Sea to Sky Gondola, and one of the many 2010 Olympic Games venues. Stop in Whistler for world-class skiing and outdoor activities year-round.
9 Experience Stanley Park through an Indigenous lens
A tour with Talaysay Talking Trees Tour through the 400-hectare (988-acre) natural West Coast urban rainforest opens up another way of seeing the world. You’ll hear age-old stories and learn how Indigenous coastal peoples harvested (and still do) the local trees and plants for food and medicine.
It’s an easy walk, great for all abilities (just wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather). This guided tour is hosted by the Shíshálh (Sechelt) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations from February to October, rain or shine.
10 Follow your tastebuds to Richmond
Cultural fusion characterizes Richmond, BC, just south of Vancouver. This city is known to have the best Chinese food outside of China. To experience it to its fullest, sign up for an Authentic Asian Eats Tour, which introduces guests to 10 authentic Chinese dishes.
The tour provides total immersion in the language and foodways of this vibrant Canadian-Chinese community. Of course, Vancouver has plenty of culinary offerings too – in fact, the city is receiving its own MICHELIN Guide with top picks of outstanding local restaurants and culinary leaders revealed this fall.
Hungry for more? Start the adventure via visiting explore-canada.co.uk