Activities to Enjoy While Visiting Vancouver

Vancouver is a beautiful, vibrant Canadian city.  It is one of the few places where you can go to the beach in the morning, and visit a ski resort in the afternoon.  This article will provide you with information about attractions in the greater Vancouver area.  

The city enjoys one of the mildest climates in Canada.  Spring time is beautiful, with many varieties of flowers and shrubs in bloom over a period of several weeks. The summer months are  pleasantly warm and very dry.  November to April are the rainiest months, and wind storms sometimes occur. It seldom snows in the fall or winter, and when it does, it is usually gone in a day or so.  Vancouver residents can enjoy outdoor activities such as golfing year round.  

I live in the nearby city of Victoria and have visited the area many times.  Whether you want to visit for a weekend or longer, there is plenty to see and do in Vancouver.  

English Bay

Beaches in the Vancouver Area

On warm, sunny days, beaches like English Bay and Kitsilano are packed with people.  English Bay, pictured in the photo above, is particularly popular.  

The annual international fireworks show, called the Celebration of Light, takes place here every summer.  This event takes place over several nights and is free to attend.  It attracts thousands of people each night.  It's a breathtaking display and well worth seeing, if you don't mind large crowds.  While there you can also enjoy the beautiful sunsets.  English Bay has a great selection of  restaurants and shops, and is not far from the main downtown area.  

Not far from here is Kitsilano Beach.  In the summer time beach volleyball is a popular activity.  The neighborhood of Kitsilano is very upscale, and homes are expensive.  Actor Ryan Reynolds grew up here.

Another popular area is False Creek.  It is an inlet that separates downtown from the rest of the city.  One fun way to get around is by using one of the ferries that stop at various places around False Creek.  You can also go from False Creek to Granville Island on one of the ferries.  This is a very scenic location and worth the time to visit.  

As lovely as these areas are, they aren't really suitable for swimming.  The ocean is cold this far north.  

Granville Island

Granville Island and Other Interesting Places

The Seabus takes people from downtown to Granville Island.  There is a huge public market here, similar to the Pike Market in Seattle.  The market has delicious fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables, and crafts and clothing made by local entrepreneurs.  

There are many places to eat here, with prices ranging from moderate to expensive.  The island features outdoor entertainment in the summer time, such as dancing and live theater.  Other attractions include a children's museum and other stores with art work, gift shops and so on.  

Robson Street is located downtown, and is a popular upscale shopping area in Vancouver.  Many high end stores can be found here.  It's also a great place to enjoy coffee at one of the outdoor cafes.  This is a popular place to spend time on weekends and most places are very busy.

Gastown is Vancouver's historic district.  The first people to settle in the Vancouver area lived here.  Many of the buildings here have been preserved over the years.  Gastown features cobblestone streets and a steam clock.  There are many boutiques, art galleries and other shops here and a wide variety of restaurants.  

The largest indoor shopping mall in greater Vancouver is Metrotown.  There are over 450 stores located here.  It is easily accessible from the downtown area by taking the Skytrain. 

Stanley Park Seawall

Stanley and Queen Elizabeth Parks

Stanley Park borders the downtown and is best known for its wonderful Seawall.  It is several miles in length, beginning and ending outside the park.  One side of the Seawall is for pedestrians, and the other for those who are cycling or skating.  This is one of the most scenic locations in Vancouver, with many opportunities for picture taking.  

Stanley Park also has an aquarium, hiking trails, a miniature railroad, tennis courts, and playgrounds.  In the summer time outdoor theater and concerts take place.

Queen Elizabeth park is much smaller, but a beautiful place to visit.  There are many lovely floral displays,  a botanical garden, Chinese gardens, and a conservatory.  You can enjoy outstanding views of the downtown area and North Shore Mountains.  The park is a popular spot for weddings, due to its scenic beauty.  Seasons in the Park offers fine dining and is open for lunch and dinner. 


White Rock

White Rock

One of my favorite places to visit in greater Vancouver is White Rock.  It is located about 45 mintues south of downtown, and is right on the border with the United States.  There really is a very large, white rock located at the beach here, which is how the city got its name.

White Rock has a wonderful promenade, a pier, and miles of great waterfront. Marine Drive, located by the beach, has excellent restaurants, gift shops, boutiques and galleries.   It's a perfect place to spend a few hours.  

White Rock is also a very busy place, especially on weekends, and restaurants tend to fill up fast.   There are quite a few bed and breakfasts, many of them with wonderful ocean views.  

Other Things To Do in Vancouver

The main library downtown is worth seeing due to its architecture, which is made to resemble the Roman Colosseum.  It is a city block in length, and retail stores and several restaurants are also located there.

Not far from the library is the Vancouver Art Gallery.  This includes 10,000 works of art and photographs.  The Gallery building is also very beautiful.  It is made with marble and features columns at the front and is topped with a dome.  

The Queen Elizabeth theater features concerts and other cultural activities.  The much larger Rogers area and BC Place are sometimes uesd for concerts as well.

The alpine resort of Whistler is a popular destination all year.  The drive from downtown on the Sea to Sky highway is very scenic.  The highway passes Howe Sound, which has several fjords and outstanding views.

Whistler village itself has quite a few shops and restaurants.  There also are many places to stay, and reservations are suggested in the winter months.  People come from all over the world to ski here. 

The gondola takes visitors to a summit with incredible views.  Temperatures are a lot colder there than at the village, so be sure to bring something warm.  

Vancouver hosted the very successful Winter Olympics in 2010, with Whistler being used for the alpine events.  It remains a source of pride for the people of Vancouver and British Columbia.

As you can see, there is lots to see and do in Vancouver.  I consider it to be one of the most scenic cities you could find anywhere.