Many see Vancouver as a small Canadian replica of the vast, competitive New York. And it’s no wonder. Vancouver has it all: an enviable location, breathtaking green lungs, an intimidating downtown, a curious Chinatown and one of the most hipster areas in Canada. Not to mention one of the most varied gastronomic panoramas in North America. Discover the 10 best places to see and things to do in Vancouver.
Although its microclimate is, without a doubt, an attraction for many (especially during the cold Canadian winter), Vancouver is a manageable, exciting and very hospitable capital. There’s no doubt about it, if you travel to Vancouver you won’t want to go back.
Granville Island Public Market
This small island is a small miniature world where you can spend the day or even the weekend (it has a charming hotel: The Grandville Island Hotel. Buy, eat, play, photograph, discover, explore in this little place to see in Vancouver… If you go with children, the first stop will be the “Kids Market”, a real paradise of toys where you can be enraptured with giant puppets and mountains of stuffed animals.
In the summer, Granville Island also has an interesting water park. But, without a doubt, one of the reasons that will drag you to this small island will be its flea market with its variety of delicious takeaway food.
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Although not the largest of its kind, this park surrounding North Vancouver is slightly larger than New York’s famous Central Park. Grab your bike or put on a pair of comfortable shoes and head off to discover this great green lung of Vancouver.
Oh, and don’t forget your camera because from the promenade which borders Stanley Park you’ll have perhaps the best view of the Vancouver skyline. Within this huge park you’ll also find the Vancouver Aquarium which will delight the little ones in the house (and the older ones too). Start your Vancouver trip at Stanley Park and cross it off the list of things to see in Vancouver.
English Bay / Morton Park
These 14 giant hysterically laughing bronze statues by Chinese artist Yye Minjun have become one of the most iconic pieces in English Bay and therefore one of the things to see in Vancouver. Imitate them, touch them, climb them and portray your antics for posterity. Afterwards, our advice is to get your strength back at True Confections at 866 Denman Street. Their chocolate banana cake is legendary.
The impressive building of the Science World is only a reflection of what is inside. Inside the giant ball of mirrors is the OMNIMAX Theatre, which houses the world’s largest vaulted cinema screen. Science World is also full of exhibitions and entertaining activities, all related to the world of science. It is an amusement park where physics, chemistry and electricity are the kings of the show.
One of the things to do in Vancouver is to watch ‘hockey’, Canada’s national sport. Our recommendation is that you choose a front row seat at any game where the Canucks, the local Vancouver team, play. If you like strong emotions and have a bulletproof stomach, order a hamburger and soda and sit down to enjoy this sport where more teeth come out than at the dentist’s office. The adrenaline of the players and the passion of the fans for this sport are an explosive mixture. 100% fun guaranteed!
Clothing and food in “The Drive” neighborhood
If you are a fan of vintage clothing, supporting local businesses and vegetarian food, a visit to Commercial Drive Street is a must. The best thing about “The Drive” is its eclectic spirit. Most of the shops and restaurants you’ll find there are run by the owners. This neighborhood is full of parks where locals gather to play baseball or whatever they want. Don’t be shy and join them. The Canadians will make you feel at home. Our advice is that, if your visit coincides with Halloween, take a tour of this neighborhood where their neighbors will have a real tunnel of terror ready for you.
Head into Vancouver’s Chinatown and change continents without catching a single plane. Soak up a colourful and smelly culture and be amazed by the display of bats, frogs and dried fish at the doors of their shops. Situated between the financial district and Gastown, Vancouver’s Chinatown also offers a haven of peace.
This is the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden which was built as a bridge of understanding between Chinese and Western cultures. If you’re traveling to Vancouver between December and January, don’t miss the China Festival! This is a colourful light show with street food stalls and traditional Chinese markets which will make you reflect on the strong links Vancouver has with the East.
Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver is one of those cities with a bohemian feel to it, with neighborhoods like Gastown or streets like Commercial Drive, so art and culture couldn’t be far from this equation. If you’re a modern art lover and wonder what to visit in Vancouver, its Art Gallery is the answer.
Located in the former provincial courthouse, this stunning neo-classical building houses a permanent collection and thought-provoking temporary exhibitions by international artists.
It’s hard to talk about the things to do in Vancouver without mentioning the Vancouver Lookout. Situated in the heart of the metropolis, above the Harbour Centre, the adventure at the Vancouver Lookout begins with an adrenaline rush as the elevator in this building will have you up in forty seconds at 168 meters (408 feet). From here you’ll be able to enjoy breathtaking 360 degree aerial views and you’ll want to have a battery in your cell phone to take that panoramic photo!
Pacific Spirit Regional Park
One of the attractions not only of Vancouver but of all of Canada is undoubtedly its incredible natural parks. You don’t have to be a nature lover to appreciate the grandeur of the century-old trees or the long suspension bridges. Located on the west side of the city of Vancouver, Pacific Spirit Regional Park offers an extensive network of trails accessible to the general public all year round within its more than 750 hectares of forest. What to see in Vancouver – this fairytale park!
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Be sure to read these articles if you are a fan of Canada and its neighboring country, the United States:
Canada’s Top 15 National Parks
Toronto Travel Guide
The best Oktoberfest in the world: from Canada to Malaysia
Tips for renting a motorhome in the United States
5 secret U.S. states
America’s 10 Most Amazing Car Trips