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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Caban, part of the Club Monaco chain, mixes contemporary furnishings, linens, and tableware with spare, sleek designs.
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.
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.