Is Vancouver Worth Visiting? Things To Do & Reasons To Visit (By A Local)
Are you wondering; is Vancouver worth visiting? If so, then I got you covered!
Vancouver, British Columbia, is one of Canada’s most stunningly beautiful cities, with plenty of fantastic things to do and see. As a local to Vancouver, I can give you all the ins and outs of this city.
As you continue to read, I will tell you various locations to see, things to do, where to stay and more.
Is Vancouver Worth Visiting
Vancouver offers stunning views and abundant nature, but there are also plenty of activities and attractions to explore.
First off, Vancouver is in a central location where you can drive or take ferries to various locations. For example, you can drive towards the mountains and be emersed in the forest, drive five hours to the Okanagan, where you will be in a desert and enjoy wine country, or hop on a ferry to the many surrounding islands.
Vancouver is also known for having a diverse culture not only with its people but with food too. The city sits on the traditional unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
If you love seafood, Vancouver is one of the top places in Canada to try seafood, especially salmon or sushi. If you are not into seafood, you can find various cuisines in Downtown Vancouver, from high-end to local pubs and everything in between.
Outdoor recreational activities are one of the primary reasons why people from around the world visit Vancouver. Our mountains – Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour, are available in the winter to snowboard, ski and tubing. During the summer, you can hike or mountain bike on the trails.
So, is Vancouver worth visiting? Yes! However, if you want to find out more, keep on reading.
5 Top Things To Do & See
As I mentioned, I am a local to Vancouver and can tell you all the non-touristy things to do in Vancouver, but these are the top things that, as a tourist, you need to check out and see.
1. Queen Elizabeth Park
In the heart of Vancouver (also on the highest hill in Vancouver), Queen Elizabeth Park is something every tourist should experience.
Stunning views to watch the sunset, dine at the Seasons Restaurant in the park, explore the Bloedel Conservatory, or watch the ducks at the Duck Pond.
2. Stanley Park
Vancouver’s most significant and one of the most beloved parks in the city is Stanley Park. Walking, biking, rollerblading and stopping at viewpoints along the Seawall is something that locals love to do daily.
Experience the Vancouver Aquarium, also located inside the park or walk the different paths within the park.
3. Granville Island
Whether you want to enjoy the arts, eat, shop at the local boutique shops, or enjoy entertainment, Granville Island is the place to be.
The Granville Island Market has many vendors inside selling fresh produce to poultry and meets and other various types of food, food vendors or locally made items.
4. Science World
Growing up in Vancouver, Science World was almost every local child’s favourite field trip. However, suppose you have children, or you want to go yourself.
In that case, Science World is an excellent interactive place for learning to experience all things Science. Depending on when you visit Vancouver, there are adult nights only too.
5. Exploring Downtown
While planning on exploring Downtown Vancouver, be sure to explore Robson Street, where you will find retail stores and restaurants and Granville Street for more of Vancouver’s nightlife, restaurants and some retail stores.
Gastown is also another neighbourhood off of Downtown Vancouver to also check out. It is the only Vancouver location that still has cobblestone and brick mixed streets and sidewalks.
Best Time To Visit Vancouver
If you want to avoid experiencing rain during your visit to Vancouver, the best time to visit Vancouver is May to September. However, the price will increase because it is the high tourist season and during the summer.
If you do not mind rain or cold, October to April will be more reasonable if you try to stay on a budget.
From Mid-November to February, Vancouver could experience snow in the lower mainland, so if you want to avoid snow, I suggest coming during the fall or summer. Unfortunately, these winter months are also the rainiest months of the year.
How Many Days Do You Need In Vancouver?
How many days you spend in Vancouver depends on your plan. For example, if you plan on only staying in the central downtown core, you will need about four or five days.
However, if you plan on doing things outside Downtown Vancouver, say travelling to Whistler or the Okanagan, I suggest one to two weeks.
Where To Stay In Vancouver
Figuring out where to stay in Vancouver for the first time can be overwhelming as this city has multiple hotels, depending on where you want to visit.
Amenities like hotels with indoor pools with a restaurant on site or hotels with outdoor pools and a fitness centre may also be something to consider when travelling to Vancouver.
The best location to stay in Vancouver is, of course, Downtown. Downtown will have all the local tourist destinations within walking distance or by local transit.
Restaurants, retail stores, Canadian souvenir shops, and coffee shops will also be nearby for convenience.
Top 3 Picks For Hotels In Vancouver
These are the top three picks I recommend for hotels in Downtown Vancouver.
💎 Best Luxury Hotel – Rosewood Hotel Georgia
✅ Impeccable hospitality
✅ Excellent location
⚖️ Best Mid-Range Hotel – Hotel Blu
✅ Fantastic for couples
✅ Free bike rentals
📍 Best Budget-Friendly – Sandman Hotel Vancouver (Downtown)
✅ Indoor pool
Is Vancouver A Walkable City?
Vancouver is a walkable city. This city itself is smaller than it seems, and it is close enough in proximity that local neighbourhoods are easy to walk to.
For example, you can walk from Downtown Vancouver to Waterfront in approximately 10 minutes or so.
Can You Explore Vancouver Without A Car?
Yes, Downtown Vancouver is much better to explore without a car – parking in downtown can be a nightmare. However, as I mentioned, Vancouver is a walkable city, so you can only rent a car if you plan to explore further out of the city.
Local Transit – Buses, SkyTrain & Canada Line
If walking will give you difficulty, local transit is another option instead of a car. Buses accept cash to get on. However, they will not give you any change. But, purchasing a Compass Pass or Card is the best way to travel on local transit.
You can purchase a Compass Pass at any SkyTrain or Canada Line stations or select London Drug locations. However, keep in mind that there are three different zones for travelling on the SkyTrain, and you will have to purchase the correct pass for travelling into one of the three zones.
You can also use the pass or card on the bus, but all buses are considered one zone.
TIP: Compass Cards will be easier to use if you plan to stay in Vancouver for an extensive amount of time because they are reloadable cards. Passes will be better if you plan to stay for a short time.
Is Vancouver Cheap To Visit?
Yes and no. Compared to New York, Vancouver is much cheaper to visit. But Vancouver can be expensive depending on what you are doing, for example, multiple excursions and tours.
Is Vancouver Or Toronto Better For Tourists?
I am biased to say that Vancouver is better than Toronto. However, if I am being unbiased, Vancouver and Toronto have different environments and vibes.
For example, Toronto on the East Coast is the “New York of Canada,” so you can expect similarities to New York: tall city buildings, better nightlife, and a fast-paced environment. On the other hand, Vancouver’s food, climate and beautiful mountain views make many people want to gravitate toward the West Coast.
Does Vancouver Have Nice Beaches?
All of the beaches in Vancouver have beautiful views of the mountain ranges. In addition, some of the beaches have a skyline view of Downtown Vancouver.
Vancouver has eight beaches you can visit, all great for watching the sunset or hanging out for the day, and they are all on the West End. Sunset Beach and English Bay Beach are the closest to downtown.
Second and Third Beach are located in Stanley Park along the Seawall; you can also visit these beaches by walking.
Kitsilano Beach is the next closest beach to Downtown. However, it is always one of the busiest beaches because it is in Kitsilano’s neighbourhood, so there will be many locals at this beach.
Jericho, Locarno, and Spanish Banks Beach are the furthest from Downtown Vancouver. The beaches look connected as it looks like one long beach. However, they are broken up into three sections.
Jericho Beach is on the other side of the Jericho sailing centre to the Vancouver Yacht Club. Locarno and Spanish Banks are connected but are separated by Volleyball courts.
Locarno and Spanish Banks will be busy during the summer as they are the most picked beaches that locals like to travel to and have the most parking.
I recommend not swimming in the ocean, but if you want to, have fun in the water. Second and Kitsilano Beach (I believe Kits is a saltwater pool) have outdoor swimming pools if you want to swim outdoors by the beach.
Conclusion: Is Vancouver Worth Visiting
Vancouver is a captivating city with plenty of amazing things to do and see, whether you are looking for an adventure-filled getaway or want some relaxation.
So if you are wondering, is Vancouver worth visiting? The answer is yes!
Have a good day 🙂