Vancouver things to do and see

vancouver tourist attractions

This city in British Columbia on Canada’s west coast was a real surprise to us when we arrived for a road trip.  Four nights were included here as part of a round-trip itinerary.  Vancouver had never really been on our radar before as we were visiting the west coast mainly to experience the Canadian Rockies.  But we were so glad this was part of the trip, wondering why we had never been before.  So here is my “Vancouver things to do and see” list for the first-time visitors.

The city centre is 9 miles from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) where you can get a Skytrain.  This transport link will get you to the city in 25 mins.  Really convenient if you don’t have a car.  We got off the Skytrain and were literally only 2 blocks from our hotel.

Vancouver really is beautiful.  It’s clean, modern looking and surrounded by mountains & water, offering some unique attractions because of the location.  The mountains offer a great day out from the city to explore and the boat trips can take you out whale watching.  The friendly locals are also a big plus as it’s not uncommon for a complete stranger to start talking to you while you’re waiting to cross the road.

So here are my Vancouver tourist attractions that I believe should be considered before any others if you are to visit this wonderful city.


Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain Cable Car

Grouse mountain is Vancouver’s number one tourist attraction as it contains a few attractions in one place.  You can pick up a bus from the north of Vancouver which takes only 25 mins to the cable car station.  If you are in the main city, you can take SeaBus across the harbour to the bust stop.  These run throughout the day, every 15 – 30 mins and takes 15 mins to get across the harbour.  It’s worth the trip across to the North just for the scenery.


This is the cable car that takes you from the base of the mountain on a one-mile journey up to the peak.  The views are breathtaking so ensure you bring a camera.

Eye of the wind
This unusual attraction is actually a wind turbine with a glass viewing pod at the top. This gives you 360-degree views at a height of 64m (210ft).

Fly at speeds up to 80kmh and 200 ft high. Choose 3 or 5 line packages. A bit pricey but exhilarating.

Wildlife Refuge
This area contains various animals including two resident Grizzly bears

We were also treated to a Lumberjack show, featuring log sawing, climbing and log rolling. A very entertaining day out.




Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge

This suspension bridge can be found in North Vancouver crossing the Capilano River.  At a height of 70m (230ft) & 140 m (460ft) long, it makes for great views across the Capilano Canyon.

You can also do a cliff walk that puts you on narrow walkways sticking out over the Canyon cliff face.  And some of these walkways have glass floors, making for an unforgettable look down.







Whale Watching

Orca Whale Vancouver

The location of Vancouver is ideal for going out on a boat looking for whales.  There are a handful of boat operators that go out from the main city.

The Prince of Whales tours is the largest and one of the main operators located on Granville Island.

This was one of the highlights from this “Vancouver things to do and see” list.  Although you’re more likely to see Killer Whales on these trips, you may also get to see humpback whales too.  We saw several pods of Orcas and pretty close too.  Although the boats try to keep their distance, there is no accounting for their curiosity.






The Vancouver Lookout

This odd looking building in downtown Vancouver looks like an observation tower sandwiched between two office buildings.   At a height of 170m (550ft), it gives visitors a 360-degree view of this beautiful city.  Armed with a city map, it is a great place to visit first to get your bearings of the different districts.

There is also a revolving restaurant above the observation deck if you fancy a meal while taking in the ever-changing vista.







Sea Planes

Vancouver Seaplane

At the Coal Harbour between downtown and Stanley Park, you will find a seaplane terminal.  From here you can take a quick jaunt over to Victoria Island, Whistler or even Seattle.  With the many bodies of water around Vancouver and surrounding areas, seaplanes are perfect for quick transportation or even a tour of the city.







Stanley Park

Stanley Park VancouverThis public park in downtown Vancouver is almost an island as 90% of it is surrounded by water.  There are so many things to see walking through this large city park.  Cyclists & runners are the usual suspects, but people just strolling through and taking in the sites are everywhere.

There is so much on offer in this lovely park that you may want to spend a few hours soaking it all up.  Among many things to do, the park boasts beaches, lakes, a miniature railway, an aquarium, volleyball courts and even horse-drawn carriages.

One from the “Vancouver things to do and see” list that could really take up a whole day.





Lionsgate Bridge

lions gate bridge vancouver

A lovely suspension bridge, connecting Stanley park and North Vancouver

Granville Street

granville street vancouver

A lively street at night containing pubs, clubs & dining into the small hours

Steam Clock

A steam-powered clock found in Gas Town which hoots every 15 mins.

Sea Bus

Take this 25 min cruise across to North Vancouver taking in some wonderful views

Hop on, Hop off Bus

big bus vancouver

Great way to see the city.
Best to do a full round trip first as it really helps to see where all the stops are.

Rogers Arena

rogers arena vancouver

Home of the Cannucks ice hockey team and top concert venue. Check the schedule before you leave


Other Cities in this list

Chicago Tourist Attractions

San Francisco Tourist Attractions

Sydney Tourist Attractions


  1. Finding this page on Vancouver things to do and see could not have come at a better time. I am planning a trip to Canada within the next year so the timing is perfect.

    I would love to go down a zip line over the Canadian country side, that would be amazing as Canada do offer some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen.

    The Capilano suspension bridge also looks like something I would love to do and not to forget the whale watching in Vancouver.  Which time of the year would be the best to be able to both whale watch but also be able to do the other outdoor activities without freezing to death?

    Anticipating your reply.

    • Hi Alexandra,

      We went in May and saw plenty of Orcas. I believe the season for viewing is from May through to October.  The weather was fine for us in May although I would expect it to get hotter in the later months.  The mountains were  a lot colder but no surpise there!



  2. I love your post, I always wanted to visit Canada, it is in my bucket list of places to visit. A dear friend of mine went last summer and she loved everything about the country, the food, the people, the scenery…I think she wanted to love to Canada after visiting.
    Summer is coming up soon and I live in Spain and we always go somewhere special when the kids are off for school holiday. Indeed you might have just persuaded me that Vancouver should be our next destination

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for your kind feedback.  Hope you find yourself in Canada soon.  It is lovely place to visit.


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