Vancouver

Things to do in Vancouver

It’s easy to fall in love with this Canadian city – there are just so many things to do in Vancouver. From exploring the metropolis’s ambitious, adventurous and hands-down delicious culinary scene, to partaking in a host of nearby outdoor activities (kayaking, hiking, skiing, you name it) visitors wondering what to do in Vancouver will be hard-pressed to run out of options.

Culture lovers will find a long list of things to do in Vancouver; the city boasts a lively art scene, and boutique galleries – which display work by local artists – dot the downtown and South Granville districts. Meanwhile, the Vancouver Art Gallery, located downtown, features a permanent collection of classical paintings from world-renowned artists, including British Columbia’s own Emily Carr. The nearby Contemporary Art Gallery displays more modern, cutting-edge art.

Visitors wondering what to do in Vancouver who get overwhelmed by the countless options should consider taking a tour – be it by bus, walking, hop-on, hop-off – to get oriented with the city and all the amazing activities, sights and delights it has to offer.

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.

In a town where martinis and serious conversation are the nighttime norm, this local haunt is—refreshingly—all about beer and laughter.

Set on the main drag of trendy Gastown, this high-end showroom carries contemporary furniture, lighting, and accessories from high-end brands like B&B Italia, Vitra, Carl Hansen & Son, Baccarat, and more.

It’s great fun to watch the takeoffs and landings of Vancouver’s numerous floatplanes (which locals use for quick transport to Victoria—B.C.’s provincial capital—and regional islands). It’s much more entertaining, though, to actually sightsee from one.

Vancouver’s enviable natural setting places this annual fireworks “competition” above most others in the world. International teams light up the sky over English Bay with the latest and greatest in fireworks, all set to music (the soundtrack is also broadcast on local radio).

Every treatment on the menu at this full-service spa lists a duration time—so you’ll know exactly how much pampering you can squeeze in before your plane takes off.

A well-dressed, 40-is-the-new-30 crowd gathers nightly at this slick lounge, set along Yaletown’s trendiest shopping strip.

Girly dresses, fitted tees, tailored suits, and even, on occasion, handmade shoes, from Canadian designers pepper the racks in this Mount Pleasant boutique set in a former mercantile shop.

This self-described "wellness center" in downtown's Shangri-La Hotel offers Asian-style spa treatments in a sensual space. Completed in Vancouver in 2009, the Chinese luxury-brand hotel hosting Chi Spa occupies the first 15 floors of British Columbia's tallest building.

The largest professional Shakespeare festival in Western Canada, Bard on the Beach was founded by artistic director Christopher Gaze in 1990. Every summer, the festival hosts four Shakespearean plays inside red-and-white tents set up along English Bay in Vanier Park.

Regardless of your airline or class of ticket, passengers can have access to first-class facilities at one of YVR’s two pay-per-use lounges.

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.

The namesake owner of this 1995-opened gallery is passionate about the First Nations artists whose work he carries.

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.