Vancouver offers a fresh perspective on what it means to visit a city: all of the urban adventure of a modern metropolis with the great outdoors right on its doorstep. It’s truly a “city of nature,” with views of temperate rainforest and majestic peaks reflected on glass skyscrapers; bustling markets and restaurants paying homage to the farms and ocean that surround Vancouver; and days that can start with wildlife-watching on the water and end with a round of bespoke cocktails at the latest lounge, and still include boutique shopping and a mountain hike in between. It sparkles with sophistication and energy, yet feels relaxed and laid back. Vancouver is quite simply a city like no other.
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Vancouver has an “it” factor, and “it” is all about the lifestyle. Vancouverites value balance in their life, which is to say that outdoor adventure, stimulating culture and sumptuous cuisine are all celebrated here. Whether your visit is paired with a cruise to Alaska or a train to explore the majestic Canadian Rockies, it’s easy to authentically experience the charm of Vancouver’s lifestyle firsthand. And there is such an array of things to do, from festivals to live theatre, musical concerts, trendy nightlife venues, recreational activities and visiting awesome attractions.
Stanley Park is a magnificent park located near downtown Vancouver and is the gem of the city. Whether you choose to explore the inside of the park or the stunning seawall, either by foot or by bike, or take in many of the live events such as Theatre Under the Stars, the Outdoor movies in the summer months or the many live concerts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. You may want to join the locals for some lawn bowling or a game of tennis or simply sit and watch the world go by while soaking up the stunning mountain and ocean vista. For that special photo opportunity make sure to visit the First Nations totem poles or stop down at English Bay Beach to watch a brilliant Vancouver sunset. This beach has a volleyball court, BBQ’s and kayak rentals for you to also enjoy the summer sunshine.
Grouse Mountain is a great destination in summer or winter. For snow enthusiasts, this is the highest peak in Vancouver with 26 runs available, each applying to a different level of experience. But don’t worry; if you have never skied before, there is a ski school and many experts available on the hills or you could try your hand at snow shoeing or ice-skating in this pristine winter wonderland or take a spectacular helicopter ride to enjoy the mountain and city views. In summer be sure to visit the wildlife refuge, which is home to endangered animals such as grizzly bears and the grey wolf.
For the history buffs, be sure to visit the Museum of Anthropology. There are over 13,000 artifacts from around the world and visitors can view these artifacts according to the culture they are in and can read about them in data books. There is the Koerner Ceramics Gallery which has a collection of 600 pieces of pottery from between the 15th-19th century. Even the landscape outside of this building has a lot of history to offer with 10 massive totem poles located just outside. The Vancouver Art Gallery has a huge collection of art and art from Vancouver artist, Emily Carr can be found here.
If you’re looking for a little retail therapy, Vancouver is sure to please even the most ardent shopper, with everything from artisan markets to international designers. Browse the offerings on your own, or take a guided shopping adventure. Downtown’s Robson Street and Pacific Centre mall offer well-known brands and high-end boutiques, while Gastown is home to some of the city’s hippest new ateliers and galleries. Colourful markets such as Granville Island will find you shopping for culinary finds alongside the locals. Shopping is a great excuse to further explore one of Vancouver’s friendly and unique neighbourhoods: Yaletown with its interior décor stores and patio-lined streets, Kitsilano for wholesome yoga-inspired outlets, and Main Street where independent and vintage shops reside.
With over 50,000 animals from across the world, there’s no shortage of incredible things to see at the Vancouver Aquarium. This vast variety of animals makes up a tableau of ever-changing activities and behaviours, so no two visits are ever the same. But the Aquarium features more than just animals—they also do groundbreaking marine research and have incredible conservation initiatives to help protect the marine world. The Beluga Whale and dolphin shows are key highlights and new to the Aquarium this year are penguins! This attraction is wheelchair accessible and provides many amenities to any visitor. Be sure to check out the ClamShell Gift Shop before you leave.
Any visit to Vancouver wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge. The Suspension bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River giving spectacular views down the canyon and at the far side you can experience Treetops Advenutre. This includes seven suspension bridges through the evergreens taking you up to 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor, offering a unique squirrel’s eye perspective of the forest. New to the park is Cliffwalk, a cantilevered walkway clinging to the granite cliff high above Capilano Canyon!