The coastal city of Vancouver is a must-visit spot for anyone traveling to Canada.
This British Columbian city has so much to enjoy and has consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in Canada and the world.
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In Vancouver, you have the snow-capped mountains close by, you are right on the water and you have some impressive skyscrapers. You really have everything you could possibly want and need from a weekend break.
Because of this, you may wonder, ‘Why visit Vancouver as a tourist?’, or ‘Is Vancouver worth visiting?’
Vancouver also has an abundance of markets to explore, especially around Christmas time, and you’ll find plenty of fabulous parks, beaches and restaurants along the water.
Most travelers find 2 days in Vancouver to be enough time to enjoy all the main sights. So, if you’re wondering how many days in Vancouver you’ll need – 2 days should be enough!
Your first day in Vancouver will consist of lots of fresh air, sightseeing, and food! It’s the perfect introduction to the city.
For your first morning in Vancouver, let’s head to the impressive Stanley Park. This is a 400-hectare national park and green oasis in the middle of the bustling city of Vancouver.
A great way to get out and see the park and get your bearings is to join this Cycling Tour. It’s best to start this tour around 9 am, especially during the Summer, so you are getting out and about before it gets too hot.
This is a 3-hour tour that includes a look through Stanley park and also some time in the city You will have a local tour guide with you on your tour sharing information about Stanley park and its biodiversity.
The cycling tour starts in downtown Vancouver and brings you through some local neighborhoods before reaching Stanley Park. Here you can enjoy the ocean views of English bay while you cycle along the smooth bicycle paths.
This tour is suitable for families with kids as you will be on dedicated and safe cycle paths the entire time. There will be plenty of photo opportunities of views of the North Shore, The Lion’s Gate Bridge, as well as English Bay, and the West End.
Following a morning cycling around and enjoying Stanley Park, it’s time to enjoy even more nature. This time, we are headed to the Capilano suspension bridge. This is a must-do while you are in Vancouver and a really unique afternoon out.
The Capilano suspension bridge is a 137-meter treetop bridge overlooking the Capilano river and surrounded by lush green forest.
This is a really popular attraction with tourists as you can walk across the bridge and enjoy the breathtaking views in every direction while perched above the river.
During the Winter, the late afternoon is the best time to go as there is the Canyon Lights display for tourists to enjoy. All the bridges and surrounding areas are illuminated with a changing multi-color display during this event.
Make sure you book your tickets ahead of time for this as the Capilano Suspension bridge can get very busy.
It’s been a busy day of activities, so your first evening in Vancouver will focus on enjoying some incredible dinner and drinks. Let’s head to Granville Island as this is a great place to visit all year round in Vancouver.
You can reach Granville island by ferry from downtown Vancouver. You can either get the Aquabus or the False Creek ferry that have services running all day. Alternatively, the number 50 False Creek bus stops at Granville island from Gastown in the downtown area.
This is a small island in Vancouver that is bursting with art, history, and food. Granville Island has an eclectic mix of things to do here with markets, theaters, restaurants, breweries, and kids’ shops.
Here you can see all of the original buildings from the industrial age of Vancouver. You will find lots of unique shopping here and a distillery and a brewery if you are looking for some drinks.
We recommend the Sandbar Seafood restaurant to grab some dinner and then head to the Liberty distillery to enjoy its cocktail menu.
After some dinner, it’s time to wander around the Granville Island public market. This is a really popular market with groceries on one side and then a food court with all local vendors. This is a great place to grab some dessert while walking around.
Get ready for your second day of exploring Vancouver. This will be a day of enjoying nature, learning about the history of Vancouver, and enjoying a thrilling ride in the mountains!
Let’s start day 2 off with a relaxed stroll through the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens. This is a 55-acre oasis in the heart of Vancouver and is not to be missed during your time here.
These stunning gardens have plant species from all over the world and you can spend a few hours walking around and soaking up the beauty.
You will see plenty of wildlife while in the park and you can enjoy the Elizabethan hedge maze too. This is the perfect place for some photography all year round.
After some walking, you can enjoy a coffee or some lunch on the patios of Truffles Cafe or Shaughnessy Restaurant.
Next up, we have the spectacular Grouse Mountain Skyride. Grouse mountain is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Vancouver if you rent a car, or alternatively, you can use one of the public transport options available.
Once you arrive, you can hop on the amazing Grouse Mountain Skyride which operates all year round, departing every 15 minutes.
Here you will tower high above the forest on the mountain and have some breathtaking views of Vancouver city. You will also get some views of the Pacific Ocean and the gulf islands while traveling in the largest aerial tramway in North America.
Once you disembark the Skyride at the top, you can enjoy some winter activities such as snowshoeing and outdoor skating.
There are different activities available on Grouse Mountain, depending on the time of year.
Your final evening in Vancouver will bring you to the historic Gastown area. Gastown is the oldest neighborhood in the city and has some phenomenal Victorian architecture.
This area is the oldest commercial district in Vancouver and boasts some quant cobblestone streets as well as the famous Steam Clock which is the perfect spot to get a photograph.
One of the best ways to enjoy all that Gastown has to offer is by joining a Gastown Walking Food Tour. On this food tour, you will have 8 different stops for food and drinks and some history of the area.
To start this tour off, your guide will lead you along the cobbled streets to sample some local craft beer, Canadian poutine, Vancouver’s award-winning cheesecake, and lots of other mouth-watering treats!
This is a great way to explore this area and sample the foods that Vancouver is best known for.
Is Vancouver Worth Visiting?
Without a doubt, Vancouver is worth visiting. There is truly something for everyone here, from incredible nature & sightseeing, skiing and adventurous activities close by, and lots of yummy food and drinks.
Best Time To Visit Vancouver?
Luckily Vancouver is great all year round. There are great beaches and outdoor activities by the coast to enjoy during the Summer.
In the Winter, snowy mountains and ski resorts are only a short drive away. So it depends on your preference for a sunny or snowy weekend.
How Many Days In Vancouver Is Enough?
You can cover a lot in Vancouver in 2 days, however, we think the longer, the better. This way you can really make the most of Vancouver and the surrounding areas.
If you want to plan your Vancouver getaway, you can learn more by reading our guide to figuring out how many days in Vancouver is enough.
Where To Stay In Vancouver For 2 Days?
Vancouver is a big city with a huge variety of accommodations to choose from. We are sure you will find the perfect fit for your budget for your stay here.
Below we are some options for different price ranges for you to take a look at.
Best Budget Accommodation
A great budget option in Vancouver is the Victorian Hotel which is situated a 5-minute walk from Gastown.
This location is one of the best in the city when it comes to sightseeing and being immersed in the history of Vancouver. It is just a 5-minute walk from the Granville Skytrain.
Best Mid-range Accommodation
To suit a mid-range budget, we suggest choosing the Paradox Hotel Vancouver for your stay. This hotel is located in the financial district of Bangkok and is close to lots of restaurants and shopping options.
A bonus of staying in this hotel is the indoor pool and a spa & wellness center on site.
Best Luxury Accommodation
If you’re not on a budget, why not treat yourself to staying at the Rosewood Hotel? This is an incredible 5-star hotel located right across the street from the Vancouver Art Gallery and surrounded by lots of great dining and shopping.
This hotel is just a 5-minute drive from Stanley Park, making it a great base to explore the city.
Final Thoughts On Vancouver Itinerary
Whether you’re traveling through Canada on a summer backpacking trip or planning your next trip to North America, Vancouver is well worth a visit.
With so much culture to explore and cuisine to taste, spending one or two days in Vancouver is bound to be a fantastic experience because there are enough things to do in Vancouver to keep you entertained.
However, be sure to follow an itinerary like ours to make the most of your short trip.
If you’re traveling to other destinations in Canada, consider renting a car for your Canadian adventures.
Traveling to Canada soon? Read one of the following guides: