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.
Founder Chip Wilson opened the flagship store of his global yoga apparel chain, Lululemon Kitsilano, back in 2000. The brand is known for fashion-forward workout gear that bridges the yoga studio/street wear divide.
The iconic “five sails” of this waterfront, multi-use complex welcome thousands of arriving cruise-ship passengers on summer days—and also serve as a visual anchor for the city skyline.
Located in Kitsilano Beach Park on the edge of English Bay, this seasonal public pool features panoramic views of the downtown skyline backed by the North Shore Mountains.
Outposts of the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park, these two displays are situated inside Vancouver International Airport. The first, located before security at the domestic terminal on level 3, is the largest airport aquarium in the world.
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.