Your Foolproof Guide to Visiting Vancouver

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Known for both its towering buildings and lush, green scenery, Vancouver can be an overwhelming place to visit. This guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of the city to make the most out of your trip!

Top Three Neighbourhoods

  1. ​​West End

Often referred to as the ‘best end’, the West End Vancouver district is an area of the city you don’t want to miss. Located near the center of the city, you can stroll the endless streets and alleyways discovering shops and restaurants outside of Downtown Vancouver. It is also home to beloved attractions like English Bay and Stanley Park. The West End delivers the perfect balance of skyscrapers and coastal breeze.

  1. Granville Island

Vancouver is a beautiful city filled to the brim with the arts and Granville Island is a great spot to explore for just that. This area is concentrated with all kinds of music, visual arts, theatre, and more. It is also the location of the Granville Island Public Market, as well as a plethora of other eateries and stores. If you’re looking for a lively, energetic day, this is the place to visit!

Granville Island. Photo: Oliver King/Pexels
  1. Gastown

The cobblestoned streets and brick buildings of Gastown are a must-see in the city. This neighborhood is most known for its famous whistling Steam Clock. Here, you can also explore the many souvenir shops, art galleries, and trendy restaurants, bars, and pubs. Heading to Gastown is the best way to enjoy any day or evening.

Top Three Attractions

  1. Vancouver Aquarium

With over 65,000 aquatic animals and a variety of 4D immersive experiences, there’s nothing quite like the Vancouver Aquarium. They have also been a leader in marine mammal rescue for over 60 years! Combining inspiring and thrilling ways to educate the public, this is just the place for children and adults alike. 

  1. Stanley Park

After your visit to the aquarium, you’ll be stepping out into the beautiful landscape of Stanley Park. It is Vancouver’s largest urban park, filled with towering evergreens and trails to make you forget you’re just a stone-throws away from the city. Explore its inner forestry, or walk along the seawall for a scenic coastal view.

Stanley Park. Photo: Photo by Javon Swaby/Instagram
  1. Science World

Science education made simple and easy! Science World is a great way to spend your day, exploring and learning about the wonders of our natural world. There are exciting and fun interactive displays for all ages, that are sure to keep you engaged and interested.

Science World. Photo: Photo by James Wheeler/Pexels

Top Three Restaurants

  1. Sushi Aboard

Price Range: $

Serving Japanese cuisine and located in West End Vancouver, this restaurant takes a new spin on the dining experience. Their unique service begins with ordering on a tablet, and the food is delivered by a bullet train conveyer belt right to your table. Sushi Abroad surely brings a fresh and exciting take on your favorite Japanese dishes.

  1. Como Taperia

Price Range: $$

For Spanish tapas lovers, Como Taperia is the place for you! They are a tapas restaurant and bar located in the neighborhood of Mount Pleasant. The environment is welcoming and authentic due to them having classic Spanish dishes and serving them on tapas cases imported directly from Barcelona.

  1. The Sandbar

Price Range: $$$

If there’s one thing better than great seafood, it’s a breathtaking view. The Sandbar on Granville Island has both, and more! They serve quality seafood dishes and even offer vegetarian options. You can enjoy your food in the indoor or outdoor seating, while they serenade you with live music every night. 

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know to Travel to Canada

Best Ways To Get Around

Public Transportation

Vancouver has a convenient and efficient public transit system. With the Skytrain and many bus lines, it’s easy to get around the city and explore the rest of the Lower Mainland. The best ways to track the Translink schedules and plan your route is through their website or by downloading the app Transit.

Taxi

Taking a cab is another useful way to move about the city. It’s best to call or order a taxi ahead of time to ensure you’ll make it to your destination! The most convenient way to do so is through the Vancouver Taxi website or app.

Lyft and Uber

Ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber are great alternatives and are slightly less costly than taxis. Lyft operates within the City of Vancouver, while Uber is available both in and outside of the city. Both of these services have great, user-friendly apps, making commutes that much easier!

Best Time Of The Year To Visit & Weather

To make the most out of your stay, the spring season is the best time to visit Vancouver. As the flowers begin to blossom, so does the city, making March to May ideal. There are several events around this time like the Vancouver Sun Run or the Cherry Blossom Festival. The weather is also the most pleasant, with the sun shining above and a cool spring breeze traveling in the air. Visiting the city during these months also means you get to avoid the tourist crowds of the summer and the downpour of rain in the fall. Vancouver is an all-seasons type of city, meaning the temperature ranges from 32°F (0°C) in the winter, to 77°F (25°C) during the summer. During the springtime, you’ll need nothing more than a light jacket. But be prepared for the cold temperatures, rain, and sometimes snow, during fall and winter!

READ MORE: Canada to Reopen Border to Fully Vaccinated Travelers

Language

Vancouver is a diverse city, home to people of any and all kinds of backgrounds! Strolling along the streets, you are sure to hear people speaking in Punjabi, Cantonese, Spanish, Tagalog, and more. However, English is the most prominent language spoken with the occasional French, as these are the two official languages of British Columbia. 

Tipping Customs

When traveling to a new city, it’s important to know standards such as tipping customs. Tipping in Vancouver is commonly done for service roles like in restaurants, salons, or taxis, and is a way to show appreciation for their efforts. The amount is up to your discretion, however, individuals generally tip 15-20 percent.

Emergency Numbers & Most Popular Pharmacies

In the case of an emergency that requires immediate assistance, the best thing to do is call 911. Vancouver also has an 811 number, designated to help people with health-related issues that are not as urgent. Here, you can receive assistance from trained professionals. There are also countless pharmacies in Vancouver, the most common ones being Pharmasave, Shoppers Drug Mart, and London Drugs. In the event that you need to take a COVID-19 rapid test, select pharmacies or local medical centers will carry them.

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