Things to do in Vancouver

Enjoying adventurous activities doesn't always have to mean missing out on city life. Not in Vancouver, anyway.

Our most recommended things to do in Vancouver

Vancouver: FlyOver Canada Experience

1. Vancouver: FlyOver Canada Experience

Get entry tickets to FlyOver Canada in Vancouver for a flight ride experience that will transport you to the wonders of Canada using state-of-the-art technology. Experience special effects, including wind, mist, and scents, combined with the ride’s motion. Use advanced technology to capture thrilling, authentic footage of real locations so riders can experience those places as they were truly meant to be. Find yourself in downtown Vancouver's Canada Place, and be whisked away on an exhilarating journey over the world's most spectacular scenery. Experience state-of-the-art technology to give you the feeling of flight. Hang suspended, feet dangling, before a 20-meter spherical screen while the film immerses you on an exhilarating journey across some of the world's most iconic landscapes.

Vancouver: Floatplane and Capilano Suspension Bridge Combo

2. Vancouver: Floatplane and Capilano Suspension Bridge Combo

Take a 20-minute seaplane tour departing from downtown Vancouver and get a spectacular aerial view of the city. Enjoy a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park with an admission ticket and explore the Cliffwalk, Capilano River, and more on this combo tour. Combine your seaplane tour with a visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. You will get the benefit of a complimentary shuttle transfer from downtown Vancouver to the park.  Located 70 meters above the Capilano River and measuring 140 meters in length, this bridge has been used as a crossing since 1889. Also, discover the new Cliffwalk which follows a precipice along the Capilano River on a maze-like series of bridges, stairs, and platforms through rainforest vegetation.

Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Self-Guided Tour

3. Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Self-Guided Tour

Stand 230 feet (70 meters) above the waters of Vancouver's Capilano River on a 450-foot-long (137 meters) suspension bridge. Appreciate nature from three breathtaking perspectives: the world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Treetops Adventure, and the thrilling Cliffwalk.  Step inside the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park with 27 acres to explore. Cross the wobbly Capilano Suspension Bridge and take in the views of the Capilano River from dizzying heights. Admire the panoramic views across the park and learn about the sites and habitats from staff. Test your nerves on the Cliffwalk, a glass path consisting of 16 anchor points in the cliff and two glass platforms. Soak up the dramatic views of the lush rainforest and canyon below as you make your way along the cliffside. Embark on the Treetops Adventure and head 110 feet into the canopy of a coastal rainforest on seven suspension bridges attached to old-growth trees. Join one of the hourly tours with a nature guide and hear about the rainforest and ecosystem. 

Classic Vancouver Panorama Tour by Seaplane

4. Classic Vancouver Panorama Tour by Seaplane

Enjoy the most popular tour of Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains. This ideal introduction to seaplane aviation departs from downtown Vancouver’s Coal Harbour and provides a complete aerial view of the city, as well as its surrounding parks and beaches. As if the scenery isn't enough, the thrill of flying will really carry you away. The exhilarating spray of the water is always a highlight during take-off and landing. With over 50 aircraft currently, your hosts operate the largest all-seaplane fleet and the first carbon neutral airline in North America. DeHavilland DHC-3 Turbine Single Otters and Twin Otters service regularly scheduled flights between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. DHC-2 Beavers service the Gulf Islands. Cessna 185 aircraft are available for charter.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR): Premium Lounge Entry

5. Vancouver International Airport (YVR): Premium Lounge Entry

Relax and feel refreshed before your departure or in between flights in the comfort of a Plaza Premium Lounge at Vancouver International Airport. Lounges are located in the international, domestic and USA terminals, giving you a chance to unwind no matter where you're flying.  Recline in the sleek, contemporary departure lounge, and make use of first-class services and facilities including a shower room (international lounge only), delicious and comforting meals, high-speed Wi-Fi and private resting areas. Choose from a 3-, or 6-hour package to suit your schedule.

Vancouver: Sea to Sky Gondola and Whistler Day Trip

6. Vancouver: Sea to Sky Gondola and Whistler Day Trip

Ride the Sea to Sky Gondola, explore Whistler Village and admire the natural wonders in between on this day trip from Vancouver. Feel in awe of the ever-changing landscapes along the Sea to Sky Highway. There will be a pit stop to marvel at the 335-meter-high Shannon Falls. Ride the famous Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, an outdoor paradise for climbers and backcountry adventurers. The gondola takes you to Habrich Ridge, where you will have 90 minutes to take in breathtaking views of the mountains, coastal rainforest, and network of inlets of Howe Sound. Pass the quaint town of Squamish and the Tantalus Glacier while continuing the journey to Whistler. Once there, enjoy free time to explore the downtown shops, cafes, the Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort, or the surrounding hiking trails.

Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

7. Vancouver: Victoria, Gulf Islands Cruise, & Butchart Gardens

Experience the Pacific Coast and Vancouver Island by land and ship on a guided day trip from Vancouver with hotel transfers included. View the British Columbia coastline from a sightseeing cruise, followed by a stop at Butchart Gardens en route to the British-inspired city of Victoria. Board a BC Ferries vessel at Tsawwassen terminal for a 90-minute sail through the serene beauty of the Gulf Islands. On the way, look out for marine wildlife from the outdoor ship decks, especially eagles, sea lions, and whales. Arrive at Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island and continue to the enchanting botanical paradise of Butchart Gardens. Wander through a series of themed gardens, highlighted by the massive Sunken Garden complete with a dancing fountain. Marvel at the architectural wonders of the city of Victoria boasts, including the iconic Parliament Buildings and the waterfront Fairmont Empress Hotel. Visit the shops and cafes of Government Street and Chinatown. Stroll along the Inner Harbour for prime ocean views, and enjoy some free time to take in this culturally significant city. Return on the bus to Vancouver by ferry to conclude this diverse tour.

Vancouver: 24 or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Pass

8. Vancouver: 24 or 48-Hour Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus Pass

See the sights of Vancouver at your own pace with a 24- or 48-hour pass for the hop-on-hop-off sightseeing bus. Choose from a variety of options to suit your interests. Listen to an informative on-board commentary to help you choose where to hop off. Experience the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver and the serene natural beauty of the local parks. Jump off at Science World or indulge your passion for sport at the Olympic Village. Stroll the rainforest pathways of Stanley Park, enjoy a bite to eat on Granville Island, visit the iconic Gastown Steam Clock or shop 'til you drop on Robson Street. Benefit from multiple stops, including Coal Harbour, English Bay Beach, Chinatown, and the Sports District. Make the most of your experience in Vancouver with additional options. Choose experiences like seeing the city from the water on a relaxing harbor cruise, or taking a tour of the city in the evening.

Vancouver: Grouse Mountain Admission Ticket

9. Vancouver: Grouse Mountain Admission Ticket

Grouse Mountain is Vancouver’s most visited year-round natural attraction, located just 15 minutes from downtown.You can enjoy panoramic views as you travel to the alpine aboard the iconic Skyride. Enjoy thrilling outdoor adventures, cultural activities, and educational experiences, which are available year-round. In the summer, choose from an incredible variety of activities including a world-famous lumberjack show, a "birds in motion" demonstration, a visit to the resident orphaned grizzly bears, guided eco-walks, a disc golf course, Theatre in the Sky, plus shopping and dining. You can also add to your experience with exciting adventures (at an additional fee) such as a mountain ropes course, mountain ziplines, the "Eye of the Wind", helicopter tours, and tandem paragliding. In winter, enjoy the stunning light installations on the Light Walk, the slopes at the Sliding Zone, an outdoor skating pond, snowshoeing, and more.

Vancouver & Capilano Suspension Bridge Sightseeing: Half-Day

10. Vancouver & Capilano Suspension Bridge Sightseeing: Half-Day

Vancouver’s fascinating past and present come together in this engaging tour that traverses through urban cityscapes, seaside parks, and ancient rainforests. Begin with the highlights of downtown, including Canada Place, home of the 2010 Olympic Cauldron.  Wind through impressive modern and historic architecture, past the Arts and Financial Districts and the fashion mecca of Robson Street. Enter the 1,000-acre urban rainforest, Stanley Park, for a unique perspective of the city from a quiet forest setting. Continue across the Lions Gate Bridge to Vancouver’s scenic North Shore and the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Don’t miss the impressive collection of First Nations artwork and the historic Story Centre.  From the spectacular Cliffwalk, gaze out over towering cedars and the Capilano River winding through the valley far below. Take an exhilarating walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge to the other side, where many unique and informative experiences await, including the TreeTops Adventure.  Do not miss the amazing Cliffwalk above the canyon. Return to downtown Vancouver via Stanley Park and English Bay, and get ready to engage all of your senses as you step out into Granville Island Market. This market is an artisan haven for all things local and handmade, including delicious food, coffee, tea, eclectic artwork, and West Coast music.  Carry on through bustling Chinatown, a tribute to the Far East. Continue to historic Gastown, the heart of Vancouver, where it all began.

Frequently asked questions about Vancouver

What top attractions are a must-see in Vancouver?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Vancouver?

The best day trips and excursions from Vancouver are:

Whistler

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Vancouver

Mayuri is based in Canada and travels with her husband. She is the founder of ToSomePlaceNew, which covers European destinations and cultural travel. A history graduate and an MBA by qualification, she found her true calling in digging a city’s past and discovering their unique nuances. Find more about Vancouver on her blog.

What should I do on my first trip to Vancouver?

Vancouver is one of the vibrant cities on the west coast of Canada. It is home to one of the largest urban parks, called Stanley Park and has a stunning seawall. You can walk or bike the seawall, and enjoy hikes in nearby trails. When in the city, enjoy fish and chips at Granville Island, visit Vancouver museum, and wander the downtown area. You will find a lot of cool restaurants, sights and sea views in Downtown Vancouver, including Canada Place! Another must visit in Vancouver is the Capilano Suspension Bridge located in the northern part of the city, followed by the Grouse Mountains for a nice day trip!

What are some hidden gems to see in Vancouver?

Although the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a must visit in Vancouver (and it can be expensive for entry fees and attractions inside), consider visiting the Lynn Canyon, also located in the northern part of the city. This park and the bridge is smaller in comparison to Capilano, but it is less visited by tourists, and has no entry fees!

How much time should I spend in Vancouver?

Two to three days is ample time to explore Vancouver city’s attractions such as the Canada Place, Olympic Cauldron, a few museums, Stanley Park, Granville Island, ChinaTown, and more. In the evening you can also walk downtown or go on an evening cruise. On one of the nights go shopping at Robson Street, and eat at a nice restaurant!

What food is Vancouver known for?

Vancouver is best known for its seafood and sushi. You can relish seafood at the Granville Island restaurants, or downtown bistros. When in Canada, Maple Syrup infused foods are a must try as well. You will also be impressed with the coffee culture in Vancouver - be sure to sit down at a local cafe to enjoy!

What is the best way to get around Vancouver?

Once you arrive in Vancouver, you can use the SkyTrain to get to various neighbourhoods for sightseeing. Hop on and hop off tours are also a great way to explore various attractions. When exploring the downtown area, your best bet is to wear comfortable shoes and walk. Same goes for Robson Street. Biking is also a great way to explore this city!

What are the best months to visit Vancouver?

Spring and fall are the best seasons to visit Vancouver. These are the months of March to May, and then from September to November. During this time, the weather is mild and favourable for sightseeing, and you can also expect fewer crowds, and better hotel rates.

What is Main Street of Vancouver known for?

The Main Street of Vancouver is the place to be! It is filled with cozy bistros, coffee shops, independent boutiques, local breweries, consignment stores, sky rise buildings and world-class restaurants. I personally like the GasTown neighbourhood as it oozes European flair with vintage steam clock, buildings and cobblestone lanes.

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

Main Street, GasTown, and Robson Street are great for fine dining, coffee shops, and restaurants with an international menu. For seafood, head to Granville Island, and Chinatown to try fish, crabs, sushi rolls, dimsums and more!.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

Located in the West End of Vancouver, Robson Street is the best place to go shopping in the city. You will find most of the popular brand names here including some of the largest Canadian labels (like Lululemon). And after shopping, you can sit down at a nice restaurant on Robson Street!

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Vancouver?

For a first time visitor, the downtown core, or Yaletown are great neighborhoods for accommodation. Hotels in these areas are in the mid range to luxury budget level. In downtown you can also choose suites with waterfront views!

What are the best annual events in Vacouver?

As the Roman amphitheatre is so well preserved, it is still used for a number of festivals and events throughout the year. For example, the Festival of Nîmes has been taking place since 1997, on dates throughout the summer - attracting international talent including Elton John, Radiohead and Metallica. The ancient arena also hosts the Great Roman Games - a reenactment spectacle for the whole family.

Other Sightseeing Options in Vancouver

Want to discover all there is to do in Vancouver? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Vancouver

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 4,843 reviews

The seaplane rise was wonderful (despite the strong smell of kerosene throughout the trip). We had great views, especially of the city. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is set in a beautiful forest, with a lovely walking trail. The bridge itself isn’t for the faint hearted. The tip I received from a tourist behind me was to keep walking and look ahead. If you stop, it swings more.

We love it. Upstairs staff member welcome us with Halloween sweets for our daughter. Amazing viewing. Super experience

Our trip around Vancouver was very informative and we were well looked after by the driver so !!

It was very fun, educational and you got to explore the greatest of Vancouver. Please do it!

It was a great day out , the tour guide was amazing too.