10 things to do in Vancouver

Vancouver has been described as one of the most convivial cities to live in.

Travel writer, Natasha Blair recommends 10 things to do in Vancouver.

Vancouver - photo credit: Albert NormandinHop on, Hop off Coach Tour

Familiarise yourself with the City’s different districts which includes the City Centre where shopping malls are hidden underground; Gastown, for its historic buildings dating back to the city’s beginnings in the late 1800s; and Yaletown, Vancouver’s trendiest neighbourhood where you can climb aboard one of Canada’s first steam locomotive.

Bicycle friendly

Designated bike lanes and greenways make cycling safe, and easy to get around. A network of shared bikes Mobi are available for short-term use. Helmets are obligatory, supplied with the bikes, and included in the cost. Some hotels, such as the one I stayed in, the Opus lend out bikes for free. Ride the 28km greenway, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.

Vancouver’s Urban Winery and Ale Trail

Gastown’s steam clock - photo credit:t Nelson Mouellic, Tourism Vancouver bcaletrail.caBritish Columbia is a wine-producing region but for a brief visit there are no vineyards easily accessible. To compensate, the Urban Winery in Railtown produces 36 hand-crafted wines, all from local grapes as well as having a brewery on site. Vancouver prides itself on its craft beers with more than 24 breweries. The majority of these can be found in East Vancouver with many of them also serving food. Each one has its own character. Steamworks, for example, is named after the central steam system that not only powers its brewhouse but also Gastown’s Steam Clock.

Grouse Mountain

Towering 4,100ft, Grouse Mountain is a year-round destination, easily accessible from Central Vancouver, with numerous activities depending on the time of the year. This includes adrenalin sports such as paragliding and zip lining. The 80+ person Skyride gondola has space on its top where the more adventurous can stand while being whisked up the mountain. A chairlift takes those who want to reach the 4,100ft summit. Two orphan grizzly bears Coola and Grinder live on the mountain. The bears aren’t around in the winter months as they hibernate.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension BridgeBased in the 27acre Capilano Park, the bridge stretches 450ft across and 230ft above the Capilano River. Seven suspension bridges through the evergreen take visitors up to 100ft above the forest. Visitors can also walk along the cantilevered walkway that clings to a granite cliff, above Capilano Canyon. Enjoy complimentary guided tours on both history and nature.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

An oasis of peace hidden away in Chinatown, and forming part of the Chinese Cultural Centre, the gardens are modelled on private gardens in Suzhou, China. The gardens are designed to embody the Taoist philosophy of yin and yang where every element of light, texture and vegetation is balanced and symbolic. The architecture of the buildings is an authentic representation of the Ming Dynasty era.

Take a Seaplane/Visit Vancouver Island

View Vancouver from the air, with its backdrop of mountains, rainforest, water from the Pacific Ocean, and acres of green spaces. A quick way to hop over to Vancouver Island to visit British Columbia’s capital Victoria or the ski resort of Whistler.

Stanley Park

Stanley Park Totem PolesCovering a space of 400 hectares that includes a portion of the city’s seawall, the park includes a rainforest, sports fields, manicured lawns and gardens, and three beaches. A display of First Nations, the local indigenous people, Totem Poles commemorates the area’s history and people who lived there. If visiting between March and November, explore the park in a horse drawn carriage.

Granville Island

Hop on an aquabus to the man-made Granville Island, once an industrial site, and now an arts and crafts cultural hub. A great place for finding presents with a large indoor market with stalls selling local produce of all descriptions. Accredited buskers provide entertainment. Three large silos, to commemorate the origins of the site, have had their fascias painted.

Explore the Origins of the first Jewish Settlers

Vancouver’s First Jewish SynagogueThe Fraser Valley Gold Rush attracted many people to the area. Among those were Jewish people including David Oppenheimer who was instrumental in establishing accessible transportation. The Jewish Museum organises walks for people interested in learning about these first settlers, starting from what used to be Vancouver’s first synagogue at the turn of the twentieth century.

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Silver Travel Advisor recommends Frontier Canada.

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Natasha Blair

Travel & food journalist, member of BGTW

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