Vancouver is a city of diversity; there are beautiful parks, fab restaurants, some nice day trips out and fun hikes all whilst being surrounded by valleys and mountains. The city itself has a really nice, clean and safe feel to it and it definitely has the feel of being somewhere that you could even move to and settle there! The only downside to Vancouver for me was the homelessness problem, one wrong turn towards Chinatown and we were confronted with a huge street and parks full of tents and the homelessness we encountered was a stark reminder that no city is all bells and whistles.
Wander The Streets of Gastown
Gastown really is the heart of Vancouver and has such a cute feel to it as you wander around. There are so many yummy restaurants, gift shops, art galleries, decor shops to poke your head into, with all the buildings having a Victorian style architecture and lovely vintage style lamps in the streets. In the middle of Gastown there is the Steam Clock that whistles every 15 minutes and the Gassy Jack statue that pays homage to the original settler to Gastown.
Take a Hike Up Lynn Canyon
There are 2 suspension bridges in Vancouver but we only visited the one at Lynn Canyon which is supposed to be less crowded and is free! Follow the trails through Lynn Canyon to take you to the suspension bridge and along the way, you will see flowing lakes and waterfalls surrounded by the tallest trees I’ve ever seen! If you’re afraid of heights, the bridge may be a bit scary for you as it does feel rickety when you cross but it’s worth it to see all the nature.
Stroll Stanley Park
We only spent about an hour walking through Stanley Park but really you could spend a whole day here as there’s alot to do and it’s a huge park! There’s green space (obviously!), a brach, lakes, lagoons, and the other suspension bridge and a really popular thing to do here is hire a bike and cycle around the whole park.
Eat Your Way Through Granville Island Public Market
This food market is a little bit out of the centre of Vancouver; I believe some people get an aquabus there but, after Vancouver, we were road-tripping up to the Rocky Mountains, so we actually drove to Granville Island which is a foodies heaven. It has industrial vibes and there are 3 gas tanks that have some cool artwork on them but the main attraction is the public market where there are so many food stalls as well as artisan shops, all on the waterfront. Grab a bit to eat and take yourself to the picnic benches by the water for a relaxing afternoon.
Day Trip Out to Vancouver Island
Whilst in Vancouver, you can take a ferry over to Vancouver Island – this is possible as a day trip as this is what I did when I was there but I think it would be better to stay a night on the island to have time to see it all as the ferry does take a few hours. We arrived into Downtown Victoria and had a walk around the centre and then started our tour of the island – we headed to Thunderbird Park which is home to some aboriginal totem poles, then Beacon Hill Park where there is a giant sleeping buddha, then walked along the harbour front and explored Chinatown (Fan Tan Alley was particularly cool) before getting the ferry back.
Take Shots at Alley Oop
If you’re into basketball, or just getting a cool instagram shot, Alley Oop is a great place to stop for 10 minutes. This is a basketball court mural in an alleyway between 2 building in the centre of Vancouver but to add a bit of flare to it, it’s painted in pink, orange, purple and yellow tones making it really eye catching as you walk past.
Where To Stay
I always prefer to stay in hostels when travelling about – not only to save money but to meet people too! I stayed in Cambie Hostel which is in a great central location and is nice and comfortable and had a nice restaurant where we got food a few times.