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12 Best Things to Do in Vancouver

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12 Best Things to Do in Vancouver

Looking for the best and most fun things to do in Vancouver?

Vancouver is one of my absolute favourite cities to explore in Canada.

It has the city life I adore, paired with beautiful nature parks just some short drives away, and it’s just such a great city to wander around!

Adam and I visit at least once or twice a year, and we absolutely love it.

There are so many cool and fun places to visit in Vancouver, whether you’re in the mood for some hearty brunch or an epic hike!

If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver, here are some other posts to help you plan your perfect trip:

If you’re looking for even more fun activities and things to do in Vancouver, be sure to check out some local tours!

Here are some of the best and most fun things to do in Vancouver, British Columbia!


Where to stay in Vancouver


If you’re looking to book your flights and hotels for Vancouver, I’d recommend booking on Expedia, so you can collect points towards free rewards and discounts!

Hotels can be pretty pricy in Vancouver, but they’re great if you plan on only staying downtown and walking around without a car – Downtown Vancouver is very walkable!

Here are some of the best hotels to stay at in Vancouver:

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Hilton Vancouver Downtown, British Columbia
Inside the chic Hilton Vancouver Downtown.

I also love staying in Airbnbs when I visit Vancouver, though I usually stay in Burnaby as it’s a little more budget-friendly.

If you’re interested in staying in Airbnbs, I have a separate blog post all about how to find the best Airbnbs!


Fun things to do in Vancouver


Chambar Belgian Restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia

Get in line for brunch

If there’s one thing Vancouverites love lining up for, it’s brunch.

The food scene in Vancouver is pretty dang fantastic, and the brunch is definitely worth the line-ups.

Jam Café, Chambar, and Medina are the top 3 best brunch spots in all of Vancouver – in my personal opinion, of course!


Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden | Vancouver, British Columbia | best things to do in Vancouver, BC

Stroll through Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens

Looking for fun and free things to do in Vancouver?

You can wander around a portion of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens for free, but you have to pay an admission fee to see the rest of it.

My sister and I were unable to find the paid part of it when we visited, but at least we did get to enjoy some of the beauty!

It’s actually the first Chinese garden built outside of China, which is pretty cool.

Chinatown is a gorgeous little area in the city – I was completely in awe by all the gorgeous red structures and the historical signage.

It’s a nice spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver!

LOCATION: 578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC | Website


VanDusen Botanical Garden | Vancouver, British Columbia | best things to do in Vancouver, BC
VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia

Wander around the VanDusen Botanical Garden

The VanDusen Botanical Garden is an absolutely beautiful place.

In addition to all the pretty florals and greenery, there is a waterfall, maze, stone park, and so much more to explore!

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There’s so much to see in the garden, and it’s definitely worth the trip here.

We took a cab from our hotel downtown and it was about a 10 minute drive.

LOCATION: 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC | Website


Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park Seawall | Vancouver, British Columbia | best things to do in Vancouver, BC

Bike along Stanley Park

This ain’t a ride for the faint hearted.

It takes about an hour to ride a bike along the Stanley Park Seawall, not including any stopping for photos.

It’s completely worth doing, even if you’re not really into biking – the views are absolutely stunning!

Rent a bicycle from Spokes or Yes Cycle, or do a guided 5-hour bicycle tour if you’d rather have a guide with you!

Biking along Stanley Park is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Vancouver for a reason.


Granville Island | Vancouver, British Columbia | best things to do in Vancouver, BC

Explore Granville Island

Looking to do a little sightseeing while exploring Vancouver?

Granville Island is a cute little area to explore, and there are tons of adorable art galleries, restaurants, and shops for you to take a look around.

You can purchase some local art to take back home with you as well!

Oh, and don’t forget to pick up some sake ice cream at Artisan SakeMaker while you’re there.


Museum of Vancouver, Kitsilano | Vancouver, British Columbia | best things to do in Vancouver, BC

Dive into history at the Museum of Vancouver

Walking through the Museum of Vancouver is a wonderful and emotional experience.

The permanent collection focuses on the history of Vancouver by the decades, and it’s fascinating, heartbreaking, and fabulous – not all during the same periods, of course.

The exhibits are super interactive, and they’re a lot of fun to go through.

Alongside the permanent collection are some temporary exhibitions, including the Haida Now exhibition and the c̓əsnaʔəm exhibition.

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Both are just as awesome as the permanent collection.

The Museum of Vancouver is actually the oldest in Vancouver, and it was founded in 1894!

LOCATION: 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC | Website


Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver Art Gallery, British Columbia

Check out art at the Vancouver Art Gallery

If you’re looking for fun indoor activities to do in Vancouver, you’ll definitely want to check out the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The Vancouver Art Gallery is a small but mighty gallery filled with cool exhibits that switch up every so often.

Grab some clean shots with the art deco-style interior, or snap some photos of the artwork.

It’s located in downtown Vancouver, and Tuesday evenings are pay-what-you-can by donation!

Things to note: $24 per adult for tickets online, $18 for students

LOCATION: 750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC | Website


FlyOver Canada, Canada Place | Vancouver, British Columbia | best things to do in Vancouver, BC
Mountain views from Canada Place in Vancouver, British Columbia

Take a ride at FlyOver Canada

Some people may find this too touristy an activity, but I actually find it a lot of fun.

FlyOver Canada is like a movie theatre and rollercoaster in one.

They even do themed rides during special occasions like Christmas and Chinese New Year!

It’s located right at Canada Place, so you can take a walk around and gaze at the gorgeous mountainous views afterwards.

LOCATION: 201 – 999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC | Website


Bean Around the World, Gastown | Vancouver, British Columbia | best things to do in Vancouver, BC

Go café hopping in Gastown

The coffee scene in Vancouver is amazing, and there are tons of unique coffee shops located in the Gastown area.

Bean Around the World, Revolver, and The Birds & The Beets are all worth adding to your café hopping list!

If you’re looking for even more cute cafés in Vancouver, I’ve got a blog post all about the most Instagrammable Vancouver cafés.

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Gastown Steam Clock | Vancouver, British Columbia | best things to do in Vancouver, BC

Take a walking tour with Forbidden Vancouver

My sister and I wanted to take the Prohibition Tour, but it sold out by the time we wanted to grab tickets.

We did the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour instead, and it was so much fun!

We learned all about the history behind Gastown and some of the history behind Vancouver itself.

If you’re looking for fun and unique things to do in Vancouver at night, the Lost Souls of Gastown Tour is definitely worth going on!


Urban Thai Bistro, Yaletown | Vancouver, British Columbia | best things to do in Vancouver, BC

Have patio drinks in Yaletown

Yaletown and Gastown both have great restaurants and patios, but Yaletown was definitely my favourite spot to grab dinner and drinks.

Hamilton Street and Mainland Street are lined with restaurants, so if you’re stuck on where to eat in Vancouver, just drop into this area and walk into wherever catches your eye (or rather, your stomach)!

Urban Thai Bistro (now closed) and Minami were my top two fave restaurants there.

Wherever you decide to go, be sure to grab Mister ice cream afterwards – it’s one of the best dessert places in Vancouver!

If you’re a big foodie, you might also want to check out this guided 3-hour food and history tour or this 2.5 hour Gastown food tour!


Tornado potato at Night it Up! Asian night market in Markham, Ontario

Eat street food at Richmond Night Market

If you’re visiting Vancouver from spring through fall, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to Richmond Night Market.

You can enjoy all of the Asian street food, desserts, and drinks to your heart’s content.

It’s actually located in Richmond, which is just south of Vancouver, and it’s actually right by the airport.

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The Richmond Night Market is the largest night market in North America, and it attracts 1 million visitors each year!

LOCATION: 8351 River Rd, Richmond, BC | Website


Fun things to do in Vancouver:

  1. Get in line for brunch
  2. Stroll through Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Gardens
  3. Wander around the VanDusen Botanical Garden
  4. Bike along Stanley Park
  5. Explore Granville Island
  6. Dive into history at the Museum of Vancouver
  7. Check out art at the Vancouver Art Gallery
  8. Take a ride at FlyOver Canada
  9. Go café hopping in Gastown
  10. Take a walking tour with Forbidden Vancouver
  11. Have patio drinks in Yaletown
  12. Eat street food at Richmond Night Market

While Vancouver is very similar to Toronto, it has its own little quirks.

I definitely love living in Toronto, but I love visiting Vancouver to get a taste of the west coast lifestyle!

If you’re looking for even more fun activities and things to do in Vancouver, be sure to check out some local tours!

What’s on your list of the best and most fun things to do in Vancouver? Do you prefer to explore like a local or hit up all the touristy spots? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver, here are some other posts to help you plan your perfect trip:

Be sure to keep up with me on InstagramTwitter, Facebook, and Pinterest if you aren’t already!

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

Vancouver is one of my favourite cities to explore – there's so much to see and so much to do! Here are some of the best things to do in Vancouver, Canada.
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