There are many reasons to love Vancouver: trendy neighborhoods, dining hotspots, idyllic waterfront, urban parklands, and nearby mountains and lakes. No wonder Vancouver has been rated as one of the most livable cities in the world. From outdoor adventure to gastronomic delights, you won't run out of things to do in this vibrant multicultural city.
Vancouver has one of the longest waterfront paths in the world - the Seawall.
One of my favorite things to do in Vancouver is cycling around Stanley Park on the Seawall. Starting near the Convention Centre, turn right toward Coal Harbour. Near the totem pole, there's a lookout point, and from there you'll have an amazing view of the CBD (on a gorgeous day). Continue cycling and you'll see Lions Gate Bridge connecting Stanley Park to North Vancouver. The next half of the route is probably my favorite part. I find the quiet surrounding and the gorgeous backdrop soothing and relaxing. And if timed perfectly in the afternoon, you can watch the sun set over the horizon. When you've finished the loop, you can continue until you get to English Bay. If it's sunny, you can always stop and rest while getting a dose of Vitamin D.
Gastown and Yaletown
If you're looking for a place that has a bit of character, then head to Gastown, the city's historic district.
Gastown has retained its historic charm with the cobblestone streets and beautiful Victorian architecture. There are also plenty of restaurant and bars in the area. My favorite neighborhood is Yaletown, just a few minutes' walk from Gastown. Yaletown has undergone a facelift in recent years, and has now become a stylish neighborhood of choice for trendsetters. From chic galleries, swanky restaurants and hip fashion brands, you'll find them in Yaletown.
Vancouverites love being outdoors. And during summertime, Kitsilano (or Kits) is a popular hangout place.
Head to beach and you'll find locals running with the dogs, tossing Frisbees, playing volleyball, and chilling with friends or stand-up-paddle boarding. If the ocean gets a bit too cold for a dip, check out the heated pool instead. You can also catch the breathtaking view of the city here – waterfront with the glimmering city and North Shore mountains in the background. Drive around Kits, and you'll stumble across hip cafés and restaurants. Or for retail therapy, head to West 4th Avenue, and you'll find some interesting indie retailers.
This island in the middle of the city is a foodie's paradise.
It's hard to visit Granville Island, and not check out the food scene in this urban oasis. With a buzzing fresh food market, fine dining waterfront restaurants, ethnic food stalls, and hip cafés, you won't know where to start. There's also an eclectic mix of festivals, street performers and art galleries that make this colorful community so vibrant.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
One of the most popular activities for travellers is a visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
Stretching at 137m across and 70m above Capilano River, the long suspension bridge will take you to more adventure in the national park. Cliffwalk will take you through the rainforest on a series of unobtrusive cantilevered and suspended walkways jutting out from the granite cliff face, and it offers a panoramic view of the rainforest and canyon below. Treetops Adventure offers a unique experience as you will venture from one Douglas fir tree to another on a series of suspension bridges. The visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park will definitely make you appreciate nature from different breathtaking perspectives.
Grouse Mountain is an outdoor wonderland. Just half an hour's drive from downtown, this North Vancouver Mountain offers a plethora of activities for visitors year-round.
Take the famous Grouse Mountain Skyride for the picture perfect aerial view of Vancouver. As you journey up the mountainside, the views of towering Douglas firs, the Pacific Ocean and snowcapped mountains unfold. On the mountain, there are guided eco-walks for you to learn about the local flora and fauna of the mountain. For adrenaline junkies, try the zipline. The dual-line, five-line circuit will take you across the peaks and canyons of Grouse and Dam Mountains. Another unique experience is the glass-enclosed view pod at the top of the wind turbine tower. Of course, in Winter, you can always come up here to ski or snowboard.