A city where dramatic mountain ranges meet the ocean, Vancouver is frequently named among the world’s most beautiful cities. It’s filled with gorgeous parks, beautiful beaches, world-class museums, art galleries, restaurants and upscale shopping venues.
Hundreds of thousands were drawn here after discovering its beauty on television in 2010 when it hosted the Winter Olympic Games, doubling tourist numbers from the previous year. It may also be what helped to cause a big boost in demand for luxury real estate, with many seeking high-end Vancouver houses for sale in the years following the illustrious event.
If you’re experiencing it for the first time, be sure to put some of these top things to do on your itinerary.
Discover Stanley Park
Those who want a great way to beat jet lag, or just get out and enjoy some exercise and enjoy some picturesque scenery, should head to Stanley Park. Walk, jog or bike (there are multiple shops for rentals nearby) the 5.5-mile-long seawall that winds along the waterfront while enjoying spectacular views of Burrard Inlet, the North Shore Mountains, Lions Gate Bridge and downtown Vancouver. There are some notable landmarks along the way too, like the modern-day mermaid sculpture “Girl in a Wetsuit” and the 32 million-year-old old Siwash Rock. There are more than 17 miles of forest trails further inland that can be traveled, and the park also hosts the Vancouver Aquarium, a heated outdoor pool and a water park.
Check Out the Works at Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery offers an impressive collection as Western Canada’s biggest public art museum with more than 10,000 works. It’s easy to spend an afternoon or even a full day checking out the regional, national and international collections that include everything from 17th-century Dutch paintings to pieces by renowned British Columbia artist Emily Carr. It also showcases one of the most important photographic collections in North America, including Ansel Adams’ work.
Browse and Buy Granville Public Market
One of North America’s top open-air markets, the Granville Public Market is filled with chefs, bakers, butchers, fishmongers, gardeners and other vendors offering everything from artisanal cheeses and homemade charcuterie to rare mushrooms and fresh-from-the-sea seafood. As one of the most popular places for sourcing fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, eateries here often serve dishes inspired by the offerings at the market and many come with a gorgeous water view.
Shop Robson Street
Robson Street is considered the city’s premier shopping street, lined with the flagship stores of international brands along with unique, independent shops. One of the oldest commercial streets in Vancouver, it was once known as Robsonstrasse due to the astounding number of German and other European stores that opened after World War II. Today, its international feel still exists.
Sail Across the Water on a Harbor Cruise
Getting a view of the city from the water is really a must as you’ll be able to take in the skyline and the soaring mountains that surround Vancouver while enjoying a relaxing ride by taking a harbor cruise. There are a wide range of options available, including trips on an authentic paddle-wheeler offered by Harbour Cruises, as well as sunset dinner cruises where you’ll sail under Lions Gate Bridge while dining on a delectable meal that includes just-caught seafood.