When you’re a visitor in a new city, you don’t always know the best place to start. How do you make the most out of your trip to Vancouver? Here are our top tips!
1 | Explore Vancouver by Bike
You’ve just arrived, and you were probably cooped up in a plane or car for hours. Stretch your legs with a bike tour, THE best way to get to know the beautiful city of Vancouver.
Our Grand Tour gets you familiar with downtown Vancouver and surrounding areas. Cycle from the downtown core to Stanley Park while taking in all the spectacular sights of the seawall. Learn about Vancouver’s indigenous people and take in some art, then head through English Bay towards Granville Island for lunch on the famous peninsula.
From there, you head to Olympic Village and Science World, crossing into Chinatown and through Gastown. This introduction to all the famous sites and neighbourhoods in the city is sure to help you get the most out of the rest of your trip.
2 | Get a Taste of Vancouver with a Food Tour
You can tell a lot about a city by its food. Vancouver’s thriving culinary scene is a multi-cultural representation of the city itself. Vancouver Foodie Tours highlights the cuisines by offering walking tours of different neighbourhoods, where you get to try multiple dishes from top restaurants and hidden gems.
If you didn’t get enough of Granville Island on the bike tour, their Granville Island Market Tour introduces you to all the must-try delights (including Seth Rogan’s favourite donut shop!). For a deeper dive into Vancouver’s food culture, try their Authentic Asian Eats tour of Richmond. Ask the foodies where to eat for the rest of your trip!
3 | Sip Locally Made Craft Beer
The craft beer scene in Vancouver is not to be missed. Check out the Craft Beer website to plan which breweries to visit. You’ll see many of the breweries are clustered in the same neighbourhoods.
We suggest visiting a few in the Main Street area for an easy DIY brewery-hop. Start with one of our favourites, 33 Acres, Brewhall, or Brassneck Brewery. There are also lots of great restaurants on Main, so you can make a night of it!
4 | Take in Some Live Music
We’re lucky to be home to so many great live music venues in Vancouver. You could check out concert listings before you visit, but we love dropping by our favourite venue, Guilt & Co, to see what’s playing.
They feature a nightly rotation of talented local musicians in a speak-easy style underground bar and great cocktails. With two shows every night, you’re sure to find something to your taste.
5 | Explore Vancouver’s Mountains
Vancouver’s breathtaking mountain views are known worldwide, and no trip to Vancouver is complete without exploring them. If you’re up for a leisurely hike, we recommend Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. With some of the area’s largest Douglas Fir trees and breathtaking water views, you can hike their easy-to-moderate trails and have a picnic by the water.
Grouse Mountain offers activities year-round, and the view from the top is unreal. If you’ve rented a car, you can take in the mountains on an absolutely epic cruise on the Sea-To-Sky Highway, stopping at viewpoints, waterfalls, or to hike local mountains along the way. It’s also the way to Whistler, if you plan to visit. Make sure to check road conditions before you go.
Most of Vancouver’s best neighbourhoods can be explored by foot, with many hidden gems to discover. Explore the distinct neighbourhoods of downtown, including the West End, Vancouver’s gay district (conveniently near English Bay), Gastown, the original “downtown core” with great nightlife and food, and affluent Yaletown, which was formerly waterfront warehouse buildings. If you have more time, we suggest exploring Kitsilano‘s beach culture, Main Street‘s breweries, record stores, and vintage shops, and Vancouver’s Little Italy Commercial Drive with colourful shopping, nightlife, and “hippie” vibes.
And that’s our top 7 visitor tips for Vancouver! We love the travel hack of taking tours on the first few days of your trip to get insider info from locals. There’s no shortage of things to do in Vancouver, but our guides are always happy to make recommendations to make the most of your trip.
Cycle City’s popular Grand Bike Tour & Stanley Park Bike Tour run daily. Find out more or book a spot on our bike tours page.
With great respect for the original and enduring inhabitants of these lands, we acknowledge that we work, live, and ride on the Ancestral & Unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples.