It’s hard not to be amazed by this West Coast city. Face plastered to the window, I took in the awe and beauty of it all from the plane; the sprawling city nestled in a valley, surrounded by towering mountains. I couldn’t wait to touch down and start exploring.
Here is my list of the top things to do in the city!
Deep Cove Kayak
Take a half hour drive north-east of the city to Deep Cove for some leisurely kayaking. If you don’t want to fork up $40+ for cab fare, you can also take the bus, which takes about an hour. We did the Deep Cover Explorer Tour with our guide Erin, who was extremely knowledgeable of the area. She brought us along the shore, pointing out starfish of all shapes, sizes and colours.
We also saw moon jellies, harbour seals and tiny fish, and kept our eyes peeled for cougars! It poured the entire time, but it was hard to complain surrounded by such breathtaking scenery.
We took a bathroom break and Erin, who I now forever love, pulled out some donuts from a local bakery. They were so delicious and served as a huge morale booster as I practically swallowed two whole.
For $80/person (running April to October), this excursion is absolutely worth it. It’s not far from the city, yet offers a totally different experience in terms of beautiful views. The pace was leisurely, which was much appreciated after a night out on the town.
Speaking of nights out on the town, if I’m ever back in Vancouver I would definitely take the hike out to Deep Cove again, but instead try the full-day Boats, Bikes & Beers tour ($279).
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Take the city bus about half an hour north of the city to check out Capilano Suspension Bridge. I was hesitant considering my fear of heights, but decided to do it anyway.
CSBP is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and only costs $40 for full access to the bridge and park. The wobbly walk has great viewpoints and definitely tests your ability to hold down food. I conquered my fear of heights like a champion!
What I didn’t know beforehand was that they also have a fantastic new Cliffwalk, snaking along Capilano River on a labyrinth-like series of narrow bridges, stairs and platforms. This activity is not for the faint of heart, but well worth it if you can muster up the courage! There are some pretty cool photo opps too.
Challenge yourself to the Grouse Grind
Take a 5 minute drive or 15 minutes by transport up to Grouse Mountain for a climb your legs will never forgive you for. The Grouse Grind, a 2.9 kilometre trail, is best suited for actual hikers. If you’re more of the Netflix type, take the Skyride to the top for a spectacular view. It’s worth doing the Ultimate Experience for $58 – bringing you even higher to the top and allowing access to the wind turbine with clear-glass viewPOD.
Granville Island Public Market & Brewery
Granville Island is a unique little offering. I went to check out Granville Island Brewing, but quickly realized that the quaint little space had much more to offer. There was entertainment, food, art and boutique shops – all within a super short walk of each other. Definitely worth seeing!
Go on a brewery tour
If you’re at all social and enjoy drinking beer, put this near the top of your list of things to do. Vancouver Brewery Tours offers a behind the scenes look at the city’s best craft breweries. You don’t need to be a connoisseur to enjoy this one, you just have to have a #goodattitude. For $75, explore what sweet nectars come out of this great area and buckle down for a night you’ll soon forget (if you’re doing it right, anyway).
Rent bikes and cruise around Stanley Park
We followed the waterfront trail, taking in the scenery while working off the food weight put on from 14 days of binge-eating. We also biked through Stanley Park, which is definitely worth checking out. It’s foresty, has beautiful views of the ocean and hundreds of yachts you’ll never be able to afford. The Brockton Point Totem Poles are also worth a quick peek. We had fun making up the meanings behind each animal and their placements on the totem.
Stop for some discounted drinks and tasty food at Cactus Club Café before returning the bikes.
Grab a bite to eat in Gastown
We ate at Chill Winston, a cute little place with a big patio. It’s got some yummy shareables and some interesting plates that I guarantee you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. It’s moderately priced too – great for lunch with a few friends!
Everyone’s adventures will be different, but I can assure you, everyone leaves Vancouver with a heavy heart and a longing to return.