Vancouver, British Columbia

How to Spend 2 Days in Vancouver: British Columbia’s Coastal Gem


The city of Vancouver is a great first-time destination for travelers to start their exploration into Canada. Surrounded by gorgeous mountains and serene beaches off of the Pacific coast that is great for sightseeing, it’s no wonder that this place has become so immensely popular even for such a young city. This multicultural hub has set itself up for many adventures outdoors, an amazing foodie scene, historical connections of art and traditions of the indigenous people, and has been deemed one of the safest cities in the world.

When to go to Vancouver

Just because Vancouver happens to be located in the northern part of Canada, don’t expect it to rain and be cold throughout the year. There is not a bad time to come visit this city so it depends on your schedule and time. The weather in Vancouver is surprisingly mild, even in the wintertime. The summers are very cool with long daylight hours which is nice and helps to make the most of your time here. The nearby mountains and coastal waters may keep it a little brisk, but the shining sun will not want to keep you indoors for long.

Things to do in Vancouver

Granville Island Market

Vancouver Granville Public Market

Located right by the waterfront of Vancouver, Granville Island is most recently known as a cultural hub of the city. It’s a must-stop for any person traveling through here or even if you are a permanent resident. Getting to this destination by transit is fairly easy. Ride sharing, public bus, you can even take small ferries across. Or if you are up for it rent a bicycle and enjoy the cool breeze as you make your way here. Once you arrive take a moment to enjoy the splendor of the area. From here is one of the top scenic viewpoints of Vancouver you can find.

Its most famous attraction is its Public Market which has over 50 different eateries so you will have plenty of food options. The stalls feature all the tasty baked goods, amazing fresh produce, upscale gourmet meats, and cheeses. At the end of the market is an amazing food court and it’s always lively here. Great place to enjoy people watching while enjoying multiple delicacies or grab a seat outside to enjoy the waterfront with possibly some live musical performers. Expect medium to large crowds throughout the day.

Gastown

Gastown

This is Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood which grew from a single local tavern in 1867. Because of its historical and unique appeal, it has become a center for locals and tourists both. Filled with a mix of boutique shops, restaurants, and art galleries it has a vibrant charm to it, especially at night. The trees light up and you’ll find the lamps giving it an almost traveling back in time moment for you. The old architecture and cobblestone pathways show how the neighborhood has managed to combine old with new in keeping the city moving forward.

Take a haunted walking tour where you get to learn about the history of Vancouver, from its founding to the great fire, visit the city’s oldest hotel, and hear the history of the infamous locals who helped make the city what it is. It is a fun way to make your way around Gastown’s highlights and neighborhood.

Stop at the iconic antique-style steam clock, built in 1977 that whistles to announce the time. This is one of the most popular Instagram spots in Vancouver.

Gastown Steamclock

Chinatown

Sadly, Vancouver Chinatown has seen better days. With this city having the largest Chinatown in all of Canada and the third largest in all of North America, it is no surprise it is still an active hub of color, tasty cuisine, and cultural destination. Make your way through the local apothecary and see how Eastern medicine continues to be a popular choice with herbal ingredients and remedies.

Vancouver Chinatown Apothecary

You can take a walking food tour around Chinatown. Starting at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. It is the first Chinese botanical garden in Canada. It is easy to enjoy the tranquility here with calming green ponds and colorful scenery you will be taken through the area by a professional chef. You will be given a short history of Chinese culture and how it evolved in Vancouver.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden

From there you will take a stroll through the Chinatown market, making several stops at key buildings that were famous in Vancouver Chinatown for its membership and involvement in building up Chinatown businesses and infrastructure into what it is today. You will finish with a delicious meal of dim sum.

Tip: Do not just stick to Chinatown for your Asian cuisine fix. You can find a lot of other good restaurants to eat in the Westend along Robson St. from tasty Korean BBQ to Thai and Vietnamese.

Museum of Anthropology

Vancouver Museum of Anthropology

Overlooking the mountains and ocean, just being here is enough on its own but this museum is a great part of Vancouver. If you are interested to learn more about the First Nations’ multiple cultures and people, this is a great stop and a must-see on your list of museums. This museum is located on the campus of the University of British Columbia.

It is a massive collection of artworks, sculptures, and clothing, all with a particular focus on the Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest. Many of these are on your loan or donated by the current descendants of these peoples looking to inform us of their history and cultures. This is why you will see also more recent creative works from local and abroad artists using some of the same techniques used decades ago. You will find massive totem poles. It also deviates into other cultures from around the world. This is where you can broaden your horizons.

Additional Activities in Vancouver

Other things you can do if you have time include:

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – This impressive high bridge in the Canadian outdoors has become a star attraction for every local Vancouver resident and traveler. You can spend part of your day here and hiking around the parks other pathways and trails to enjoy the rainforest wilderness outside of the city. If you are a thrill seeker for heights this is where you need to go.

Whale Watching – March to October is prime whale watching time. You will find them migrating their way near Vancouver in the northern passageways. This means you will find plenty of different tours to choose from in Vancouver’s harbor. See Orca, Minkes, Gray, and Humpbacks along with a plethora of other marine life. Do not miss out on doing this as catching site of a massive whale is pretty rare.

Parks, Parks, Parks – There are so many parks scattered in and around Vancouver that it will be hard to pick just one for your time here. Acres of wild forest, well-traveled paths, and trails for walking or bicycling. You have the famous Stanley Park, Pacific Spirit Regional Park, and Queen Elizabeth Park just to name a few. Any one of these can make your day and your trip so find out which one may best suit you.

Tip: What makes Vancouver so great is how easy it is to just walk around and explore the city at your own pace, so enjoy the freedom by taking your own guided tour. Many of the best parts of downtown Vancouver and the waterfront have easy walking paths so you can get the most out of your day.

What to eat in Vancouver

This city has an amazing food scene. It’s been given positive and amazing reviews with numerous food awards. Part of every trip you take has to involve the food and Vancouver is no exception. The streets are filled with food trucks, aromatic delights, and festivals to indulge your growing appetites.

Even if you are only here for a day or two you can find yourself on a Vancouver foodie tour or just explore on your own and discover something completely new and relatively unknown. Nothing is better than finding a local spot many may not know about that you can make your own. Have it as your regular spot for the next time you visit the city.

In the summer between May to October, you can stop at the annual Richmond Night Market. Owing to such a large Asian-Canadian population you will find a wide variety of Thai, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese options here. This event has become so popular that it has reached international attention and started to spread over other parts of Canada with smaller similar events.

So do not delay in visiting Vancouver. And if you want to live in Vancouver, even better. It’s a great idea if you want to make this place your permanent home. Pack your bags, grab your gear, and head out to this wonderful part of Canada. And don’t just stop there! This country has enough¬†attractions and experiences¬†that will make your time in this country one of your best memories.

This article originally appeared on The World Overload. Featured Photo Credit: Unsplash

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