Are you wondering if Granville Island is worth visiting? I can help you out.
Being born and raised in Vancouver, I’ve had many tourists ask me where to visit the city. Granville Island has always been one of the top places on my list for a tourist to visit.
It’s a vibrant artistic hub that puts a modern twist on its industrial heritage. This bustling peninsula, right in the heart of False Creek, is a beloved neighbourhood community that brings the arts together.
In the blog post, I will be sharing reasons why you should or shouldn’t visit Granville Island (but you should) and things to see and do while you are there.
Is Granville Island Worth Visiting
So, is Granville Island worth visiting? Yes, it is.
During your visit, you will discover quaint shops and galleries, street performances, live entertainment, and many dining options that range from casual to gourmet.
Seafood is the most popular type of food you can find at Granville Island. The SandBar Seafood Restuarant and The Vancouver Fish Company are excellent seafood restaurants where you can enjoy fish, oysters, lobster, and more.
However, Granville Island isn’t only a spot to grab a quick bite; it’s also known as the art district neighbourhood that hosts numerous arts and cultural events year-round.
Now, there is only one reason you should avoid visiting Granville Island: if you’re not into large crowds. There are many people during the summer, and the market and outside areas can become crowded.
Either way, Granville Island should still be on your list of places to check out while visiting Vancouver.
Things To Do In Granville Island
There are many things to do and see on Granville Island that are accessible almost year-round.
Granville Island Public Market
The number one reason everyone goes to Granville Island is for the Granville Island Public Market. At the North end of Granville Island, you will find the famous bustling market filled with locally owned businesses selling everything from sweet treats and artisan goods to produce and meats.
The Arts & Entertainment
Granville Island is your canvas for creative exploration. It’s home to numerous galleries, artist studios, and the vibrant Emily Carr University of Art and Design.
There are many live performances that you can catch at one of the many theatres. There are also music events year-round.
Here is a list of locations where you can find performances:
- Ballet BC
- The NEST
- Waterfront Theatre
- The Improv Centre
- Granville Island Stage, Arts Club Theatre Company
- Red Gate Revue Stage
- Performance Works (music)
Granville Island has many water activities that you can participate in. The calm waters of False Creek are perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. There are also boat rentals available.
One of the best outdoor things to do in Vancouver is to go on a whale-watching tour. From orcas and humpback whales to porpoises and seals, the province’s coast creates an ecosystem providing habitat for eating and sleeping during migration.
Whale watching season spans from March to October, showcasing migrating grey whales and humpbacks alongside resident orcas.
This is the best whale-watching tour in Vancouver from Granville Island. They have reputable and knowledgeable guides for an unforgettable experience. The tour also practices responsible tourism and emphasizes and encourages the well-being of marine life and habitat conservation.
As I briefly mentioned, Granville Island is a fantastic place to grab a quick bite. Granville Island has many of dining options, where you can enjoy everything from casual food at the market to upscale meals with a view.
Some popular locations are Lee’s Doughnuts, a locally owned mom-and-pop doughnut shop that has been open since 1979.
A La Mode, you can find them located in the Granville Island Market food court, where you can try their famous clam chowder soups and chicken pot pies.
I also enjoy Market Grill, which is located in the Granville Island Market food court. My favourite go-to is their BBQ Chicken Burger with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, but I personally like to remove the tomato.
There are also small coffee shops and cafes that are scattered throughout Granville Island.
Breweries and Distilleries
If sipping local craft beer or unique spirits piques your interest, Granville Island won’t disappoint. Granville Island Brewing is one of the city’s most well-known craft beer distributors. It is a must-visit spot in the city if you are finishing up a bike ride or grabbing a beer with friends.
If you’re looking for something other than beer, check out The Liberty Distillery. Gin, Whiskey, and Vodka are their specialty here. You can buy a bottle or two or relax and enjoy a signature cocktail in their full-service cocktail lounge.
Shopping and Boutiques
Walking around Granville Island, you can find many locally owned small businesses with unique, handmade items such as jewellery, paintings, pottery, and more.
Granville Island is also an excellent location to find original First Nations-made artwork, clothing, handcrafted wood carvings, and more. One of the most prominent shops is the Wickaninnish Gallery, an Indigenous-owned company founded in 1987 by Patricia Rivard.
Suppose you’re travelling with children, then Kids Market in Granville Island will be a must-see spot for them. The Kids Market is a kid-centric mall with a play area, a shop called the Toy Company, an arcade, and more.
I used to go to the Kids Market to play in the arcade when I was younger with family friends. However, my favourite part of the market was walking through the small door meant for children at the entrance.
Granville Island Water Park
Open-seasonally, the Granville Island Water Park offers a family-friendly escape with a waterslide and various water spouts. It provides a refreshing cool down during the summer, making Granville Island Water Park a go-to destination for those seeking a refreshing break.
How To Get To Granville Island
While having a car is the easiest way to get to Granville Island, parking can be a nightmare. I recommend public transit as there are many buses that stop near Granville Island.
From Downtown Vancouver
The most straightforward bus route from Downtown Vancouver is on Granville Street and West Georgia. You can take the number 50 bus, “South False Creek via Granville Island.” It will be an approximately 20-minute bus ride.
False Creek Ferries Or Aqua Bus
Suppose you’re coming from other locations in Vancouver, such as Yaletown, Science World, or Kitsilano. In that case, you can take the False Creek Ferries or Aqua Bus.
They both stop at the same places, except the False Creek Ferry has an extra stop at Elsje Point (Kits Point, near the Vancouver Maritime Museum).
You can hop on one of these small passenger ferry buses that navigate through False Creek. It’s a fun and unique way to explore False Creek and avoid public transit. You can pay for tickets online or purchase them at one of the stop locations, as it will be easier.
You can take a beautiful walk along the South False Creek Seawall to get to Granville Island. The starting point is Science World, and will take you around 45 minutes to get to Granville Island without stops.
Best Times to Visit Granville Island
Granville Island is an excellent location to explore year-round, but here are some of the best times to help you choose the best time for your visit.
Weekdays, rainy days on weekdays, and mornings are the best times to avoid large crowds. There will also be shorter lineups to popular stores.
Granville Island will also have fewer tourists and crowds during the fall and winter.
However, while summer brings more entertainment to Granville Island, there will be more crowds, tourists, and longer lineups. But if you prefer more entertainment, summer will be your best option.
Where To Stay In Vancouver (Near Granville Island)
While Granville Island has only one hotel in the area, there are a couple of hotels for where to stay in Vancouver instead or somewhat near Granville Island.
⚖️ Mid-Range Hotel — Granville Island Hotel
The Granville Island Hotel is positioned at the end of Granville Island. The staff is accommodating and fantastic, and the spacious rooms offer a beautiful view. Additionally, guests can access a 24-hour business center for work-related needs or enjoy dining at the Dockside Restaurant and Bar.
💎 Luxury Hotel — OPUS Vancouver
In the heart of Yaletown, OPUS Vancouver offers a convenient and comfortable stay. The hotel’s rooms have contemporary decor and amenities such as a coffee house on site, massage options, an on-site restaurant, and more.
🎯 Budget-Friendly — Best Western Plus Sands
The Best Western Plus Sands offers a budget-friendly stay a short walk from English Bay Beach. Amenities include an on-site fitness center, sauna, 24-hour front desk, and coin laundry facilities.
Is It Worth Going To Granville Island – FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about whether Granville Island is worth visiting or going to.
How Long Should You Spend At Granville Island?
You can spend two to three hours in Granville Island. Typically, most people spend a few hours because the area of Granville Island is not that large, so you can eat and then walk around within a few hours.
Is Granville Island Touristy?
Yes, Granville Island caters to tourists. While many locals love to spend time in Granville Island to shop or eat, you will find that most people exploring Granville Island are tourists.
Why Is Granville Island Popular?
Granville Island in Vancouver is a popular destination for its diverse attractions. It’s a bustling hub for shopping for fresh produce and artisan goods, complemented by an artistic community with galleries and theatres.
Is Granville Island walkable?
Yes, Granville Island is walkable. All the local restaurants, coffee shops, and stores are accessible on foot.
Conclusion: Is Granville Island Worth Visiting
As you can see, Granville Island is worth a visit in Vancouver. Its diverse attractions, many local food options, and unique shops provide a well-rounded experience for all visitors. Whether you’re into food or art or looking for a family-friendly outing, Granville Island’s lively atmosphere makes it a destination worth checking out.
Have a good day 🙂