British Columbia

Things to do in British Columbia

For winter sports lovers, Whistler is one of the most popular destinations not just in British Columbia, but in all of North America. Visitors can ski, snowboard, zip-line, ice skate, bungee jump and more in this lovely town, the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. After hitting the slope, there’s a wonderful array of activities, too: from shopping to dining to dancing the night away at a club. Adventurous travelers looking for things to do in British Columbia will also love the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, (where they can walk along the 230 ft tall and 450 ft long bridge above the river) and the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, a gorgeous hiking route lined with beaches, tide pools, picnic areas and breathtaking landscapes.

Speaking of great views, don’t miss Glacier National Park, where mountains, caves, rivers and active glaciers create a spectacular experience. For a more low-key approach to nature, spend the day at one of Victoria’s pretty beaches, like Cordova Bay and Gonzales. For a taste of British Columbia’s most vibrant side, head to the beautiful city of Vancouver. With a rich cultural side (expect opera, theater, and film happenings, as well as art and design fairs throughout the year), excellent restaurants and bars, and an eco-friendly lifestyle, it brings together all of the greatest things to do in British Columbia.

In the Victorian neighborhood of Gastown, this three-story Native American art gallery showcases ceremonial masks and totem poles, limited-edition prints, and bentwood boxes. The beaded moccasins and hand-carved “talking sticks” make for great souvenirs.

What started as a tiny consignment shop in the indie district around King Edward Avenue has grown into the neighborhood’s premiere boutique for all things antique and secondhand. Find vintage leather clutches and bags alongside baby toys, kitchenware, printed stationery, and more.

This short-haul ferry service/mini tour offers an easy and inexpensive way to take in Vancouver's False Creek waterfront with stops in trendy Yaletown and the foodie Mecca Granville Island Market.

Every night starting at 9 p.m., top-notch jazz performers riff in this intimate restaurant/lounge on the ground floor of the arty Listel Hotel.

Sample local products at the Duncan Farmers’ Market, held every Saturday in Duncan, the valley’s workaday hub.

Situated in waterfront Vanier Park, this educational center houses interactive space-related exhibits that include a virtual voyage to Mars, a touchable moon rock, and computer programs that enable visitors to maneuver a lunar robot or see what they might look like as an alien.

This Vancouver International Airport (YVR) shop is located pre-security on level three in the international departures wing. The open-air retail space is museum-like, with wooden ellipses, structural steel “totems,” and common materials from the region used throughout.

This boutique in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood carries a carefully selected collection of jackets, knits, dresses, and other casual wear for women. The petite shop's tightly curated inventory means clothing is often stocked just one-per-size so popular items are snapped up quickly.

At the forefront of Main Street's growing reputation as a design Mecca, this quirky Mount Pleasant clothing boutique stocks locally made art-house designs with Socialist tendencies.

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the second busiest airport in Canada and welcomes millions of travelers each year. The airport is serviced by 68 airlines, which connect passengers to 121 destinations around the globe.

Vancouver’s closest mountain for skiing and hiking sits eight miles north of Downtown, and it’s open year-round. A modern tram brings visitors to the summit, some 3,700 feet above the city (be sure to bring your camera—the views are stunning in every season).

North America’s oldest corporation—established in 1670!—Hudson’s Bay Company (known locally as just The Bay) has long been known for its iconic, cream-colored wool blankets, boldly striped in yellow, red, navy, and green.

Hike through the orchards of Merridale Ciderworks, seven miles south of Cowichan Bay. Rick Pipes and Janet Docherty make their cider from English and French heirloom apples and distill a fine Calvados-style brandy using a traditional copper still.

What to Expect: Backed by the snow-capped North Shore Mountains, this stretch of gray sand is a haven for active types looking to do more than just lie on a towel and contemplate the universe.

A pleasant alternative to the ubiquitous newsstands of airportland, this shop has a sizable stack of fiction by Canadian authors (including Carol Shields, Douglas Coupland, Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, and many others) as well as nonfiction and Vancouver- and Canada-themed coffee-table books.