10 Best Things To Do In Vancouver For First Time Travelers


The seaport city of Vancouver seems to have it all – splendid natural landscapes so typical of Canada, rich and diverse culture and beaches that boast the best the coastline has to offer. Not surprisingly, there are numerous things to do in Vancouver whether you love spending hours in nature, love relaxing in beautiful landscaped parks or love taking in the sights of a city.

Vancouver’s incredible music scene also entices with famous festivals like the Vancouver International Jazz Festival where you can see some of the biggest names in the music industry perform. Come nightfall and neighbourhoods come alive with bars and clubs throwing open their doors to party animals. See what more the City of Glass has to offer with our picks of the best things to do.

10 Best Things Thing To Do In Vancouver

1. Experience the Sea to Sky Gondola

Sky Gondola

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South of Squamish offers an unforgettable experience with the Sea to Sky Gondola and is one of the most exciting things to do in Vancouver BC. 10 minutes on a gondola lift open you to Howe Sound, the Coast Range, the Stawamus Chief and the town of Squamish. Once you reach the Summit Lodge, you can walk the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge that hangs 100 meters high. Hiking trails nearby let you explore the backcountry.

2. Spend time at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Beautiful garden

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There are many opportunities for relaxing things to do in downtown Vancouver and one of our favorites is spending time at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Stroll past pavilions, see koi fish and admire the 150-year-old miniature trees and imported taihu rocks. The garden was named the World’s Top City Garden by none other than National Geographic and you can’t afford to give it a miss.

3. Ride the aerial tram to Grouse Mountain

one of the most exhilarating Vancouver activities

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See Grouse Mountain in all its glory with the Skyride Surf Adventure. It’s one of the most exhilarating Vancouver activities to engage in especially if you love a bit of an adrenaline rush. The special viewing platform built on the tram gives you a panoramic look at the mountain filled with stately Douglas firs. Your guide will point out important landmarks about the region and tell you about the Skyride.

4. Visit Nitobe Memorial Garden

green space designed in the style of a Japanese garden

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A hectare of green space designed in the style of a Japanese garden provides an idyllic place to unwind and breathe in nature. Nitobe Memorial Garden is one of the best Japanese gardens outside Japan with its authentic Tea Garden, ceremonial Tea House, maples, cherry trees and koi pond. Visit anytime of the year to see it in its glory.

5. Explore the West End beaches

spending time lazing here is one of the fun things to do

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The West End is home to two picturesque beaches, Sunset Beach and English Bay Beach, and spending time lazing here is one of the fun things to do in Vancouver. Both are tourist-developed with parking, washrooms and lifeguards. Sunset Beach offers access to the False Creek Ferry pier while English Bay Beach has two sand volleyball courts.

6. Go cycling in Stanley Park

most visited tourist attractions

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Stanley Park is one of the most visited tourist attractions and it’s easy to see why. Paved and dirt trails, beaches, entertainment for children including a miniature railway, and gardens in bloom are some of the sights to admire. But if you want to get in a little workout while still taking in the attractions, we recommend cycling around the park. 10 kilometers of trail offer glorious views of Lions Gate Bridge and the North Shore Mountains. Bikes are available for rent outside the park for your convenience.

7. Go on a hop-on hop-off tour

Bus Tour

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One of the top things to do in Vancouver is to go sightseeing on a hop-on hop-off bus. You can get off anywhere along the designated route, hop off to check out the sights and hop on again to move to the next. The open-top buses give you a 360-degree view of wherever you are so you get to really enjoy the ride. Depending on the tour, some of the stops include Chinatown, English Bay Beach and Davie Village among others.

8. Hike the Grouse Grind

Grouse Grind

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There’s nothing like a hike to awaken the senses and Grouse Grind is just the place to head to. It’s one of the best things to do in Vancouver if you love a good challenge. Although just 2.9 kilometers, the trail is tough and takes about an hour and a half to complete. Novices can take up to two hours. There are over 2,800 steps to climb so make sure you’re fit enough to tackle them!

9. Attend the Vancouver International Jazz Festival

Vancouver International Jazz Festival

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Jazz lovers absolutely must include the International Jazz Festival on their what to do in Vancouver list. It’s the largest such festival in British Columbia and takes place in clubs, parks, community centers and other venues. The glittering affair has seen artists like Erykah Badu and Tony Bennett perform and with big names like these, you just can’t afford to miss it. You can log on to the official website to see the list of events for 2018.

10. Go club-hopping


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Party-seekers eager for things to do in Vancouver at night won’t be left disappointed as the city has some amazing clubs and bars. The trendiest spots can be found in places like Granville Entertainment District, Davie Street and Yaletown. Historic Gastown is another neighbourhood you can explore as it boasts a range of options for all kinds of night owls from local pubs to happening clubs.

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