British Columbia - CANADA
MUST SEE - MUST DO
The following is a list of locations and activities that we feel should be the considered for inclusion in any visitor's itinerary. This combination of choices provides quality OPTIONS for any season or weather condition. This list is especially valuable to those who may have limited time available for sightseeing because of the duration of their stay in Vancouver or due to other commitments during their stay.
Several criteria were used to come up with this list.
1) Proximity to the downtown core resulting in minimizing travel time to and fro. 2) Accessibility by public transport to minimize the cost of travel especially for families or groups. 3) Exceptional value while experiencing Vancouver. 4) Appropriateness for a mixed group which might include seniors and/or young children with respect to physical demands and relative personal safety. In most cases there will be an opportunity for sightseeing, shopping and dining at each location.
Whether you choose all or just a couple of the suggestions your time will be well spent. These locations are not presented in any way to imply one is preferable over the other. It depends on season, weather and the interests of the individuals involved. We hope you enjoy our choices.
For our purposes the centre of downtown Vancouver is the intersection of Burrard and Robson. From this intersection everything that is considered to be downtown is within a 30 minute walk or a short bus/cab ride.
Please keep in mind that The Lookout, Canada Place, Gastown and the Seabus terminal are all within 5 minutes walk of each other. Chinatown is on the other side of Gastown(add 10 minutes)
The BEST transportation deal in town is the public transit DAYPASS. For $8 (adult) you can travel all zones all modes (bus, seabus and skytrain) for all day. Follow instructions on the DAYPASS carefully so you don't scratch the wrong day or month.
For information on itinerairies and cost of sightseeing, including hop on hop off options to suit your priorities we invite you to visit our friends at "Big Bus".
Just click on the bus.
CANADA PLACE - TRADE AND CONVENTION CENTRE
Location:Waterfront between Granville and Burrard Streets
Access:A 10 minute walk from Burrard and Robson
Suggested Duration:About 1/2 hour
Why:The views, architecture of the structure, promenade, check out the lobby of the Pan Pacific Hotel (part of the complex) the most impressive in town. Since this is also the main cruise ship terminal various levels of the promenade are along the sides of the docked ships.
More info:Cruise ships in Vancouver and Canada Place
Location:3 blocks southeast of Gastown
Access:20 minutes walk from Burrard and Robson, 5 minutes from Gastown
Suggested Duration:1-2 hours
Why:Stores with intriguing products, colour, culture, history, architecture, food
ENGLISH BAY and BEACH
Location:South west corner of downtown
Access:30 minute walk from Burrard and Robson. #5 or #6 bus along Granville Street or Robson. Both end up at Davie and Denman - English Bay
Suggested Duration:If you include cafes or restaurants in the area and some beach time could be a half day excursion At least 1 hour.
Why:One of the prettiest downtown (urban) beaches anywhere. Lots of benches on the promenades. Sand is cleaned often. Lots of logs to sit against on the beach itself. Refreshed by the tides twice a day. Fantastic for the kids especially at low tide.
More info:English Bay/Beach at seethewestend.com
Location:Two blocks east of Canada Place
Access:about 15 minute walk from Burrard and Robson
Suggested Duration:1 hour
Why:History, architecture(early 1900's), shopping for souvenirs and unique gift items, First Nations galleries, lots of different food options and THE STEAM CLOCK, you must check out the steam clock a Vancouver landmark.
Location:Across from the southern edge of the downtown peninsula at the entrance to False Creek
Access:This is a unique situation. By bus take the #50(False Creek) on Granville Street(downtown). It will let you off at the entrance to Granville Island. If you walk it is 20 minutes south from Burrard and Robson and a 5 minute mini ferry ride across False Creek. There are several mini ferry docks close to the Granville and Burrard bridges.
Suggested Duration:Half day at least.
Why: Lots of arts, crafts, studios, specialty shops, recreational marine related suppliers. Great for the KIDS with a separate KID'S MARKET, playground, water park. One of the best places for food with a view. Fantastic public market and food court. (yes, I am crazy about this place). Plenty of benches to rest and people watch. There are several locations where street entertainers do their acts.
VANCOUVER LOOKOUT - HARBOUR CENTRE
Location:Downtown across from the waterfront, see Canada Place image
Access:A 10 minute walk from Burrard and Robson
Suggested Duration:1/2 hour
Why:The views, the views the views and a great staff to answer your questions. Your admission includes re-entry privileges for the day of purchase, so you can see the views in the evening as well. There are food(snack) and drink items available to enjoy in a seating area as well.
More info:Lookout at seegastown.com
More info:to visit the lookout website - www.vancouverlookout.com
LONSDALE QUAY - SEABUS
Location:On the North Shore opposite Canada Place
Access:Since it is located on the North Shore in North Vancouver you get to experience one of Vancouver's least expensive tours, a ride on the Seabus. The Seabus terminal is across the street from the Lookout and at the entrance to Gastown. A ticket that lasts for 1 1/2 hours (this could allow you to come back as well) provides you with an exceptional water level view of downtown Vancouver, the harbour, the north shore and shipping activity in Burrard Inlet.
Suggested Duration:2 - 3 hours
Why:The trip back and forth. The Quay has an outdoor plaza for eating and viewing. Climb the tower with the rotating sign for a great view. The kids just love the climb. They should be supervised. Indoors there are two floors of shops, some very unique, lots of fresh foods, meats, fish, baked goods and more. Very colourful. Check out the shops outside the Quay. Can be just a relaxing ride and walkabout. On a sunny day it is spectacular.
More info:Lonsdale Quay at seethenorthshore.com
Location:Robson Street runs east-west two blocks south of Georgia Street from BC Place Stadium to Stanley Park
Access:0 minutes from Burrard and Robson. You are there.
Suggested Duration:1 hour
Why:The key blocks on Robson are from Granville Street to Bute Street. This is where most of the brand name stores strut their goods. On good weather days Robson Street is busy from morning to late at night. It is the centre of Vancouver's outdoor cafe and dining society. A great variety of restaurants to sample. This is the place to see and be seen walking or cruising (car or motorcycle). Very international crowds. This is where credit card limits might be tested. Don't forget to check out some cross streets around the corners as well. A landmark location is the Virgin Megastore (music and entertainment) at the corner of Burrard and Robson.
More info:Robson Street directory by address
Location:Along the water's edge of almost the complete downtown peninsula.
Access:Several options.To Coal Harbour or False Creek 10 minutes walk. To Stanley Park 20 minutes walk. The seawalls are all connected (except for some minor detours due to construction). You can start just west of Canada Place and go to Stanley Park, walk around the edge of Stanley Park, proceed along English Bay and Beach and contine to Science World at the eastern end of False Creek. Past Science World you have the option of continuing on the other side of False Creek to Granville Island, Vanier Park and finally Kits Beach. All together there are about 15 miles of almost continuous seawall to choose from.
Suggested Duration:Depends on how fast and far you wish to walk.
Why:The most exciting, visually stimulating, healthy and least expensive tour of Vancouver. If you were to take in the complete seawall there is very little of downtown Vancouver you would not see to some degree. There are several aspects to the views from the seawalls. One is the physical views of Vancouver and the spectacular North Shore. Another is the marine activity on the various bodies of water along the seawalls. The natural environment of tides, waterfowl, weather, sunrises and sunsets can manifest a spiritual experience. Be prepared to join a varied population of users, walkers, joggers, dedicated runners, bladers, boarders, cyclists, young or old and all genders.
More info:Seawall at seestanleypark.com
More info:Check the False Creek galleries at seegranvilleisland.com
More info:Coal Harbour at seecoalharbour.com
Location:The western end of the downtown peninsula
Access:A 20 minute walk from Burrard and Robson. Local bus service (#19) along West Pender from Main to Georgia and then along Georgia will take you right into the park. Taking a tour with on off options is recommended. Within Stanley Park there is a FREE shuttle stopping at various points of interest. For more info on the shuttle service go to shuttle link.This shuttle service operates only during the summer.
Suggested Duration:At LEAST half a day.
Why:Stanley Park is the crown jewel of Vancouver. One of the largest and most beautiful urban parks in the world. There is something here for all ages and interests relating to natural environments. See more info for an extensive photo essay on the park.
More info:Stanley Park at seestanleypark.com
Some insights about the North Shore
West Vancouver & North Vancouver
Please note: These comments are personal and subjective
Even though the North Shore is a very attractive and interesting destination, only Lonsdale Quay (see above) is a sure bet in terms of TIME and MONEY management. There is simply no way to make a trip to the North Shore a reasonable choice by going for only one (1) destination. The investment of time is just too great. There is a tendency to stretch the truth about how easy it is (timewise) to get to the other side. If traffic is light then OK, but any traffic build up at all can double or triple the time element, it is the nature of The Lions Gate Bridge. If the choice were to be made of more than one destination then it becomes a full day affair (at least 4-6 hours). This may not be appropriate if the visitor has only a day or two to spend in Vancouver. A motor vehicle (car or tour provider) is the only option from a time point of view. Local transit is available but much too cumbersome, transfers and bus schedules can use up a lot of valuable time. If your time frame is a week or more then the North Shore can become a good choice. Since the North Shore attractions are best visited in good weather (all to some degree need good weather) it is important to keep an eye on weather conditions in the area at all times. Keep in mind that it can be sunny in downtown Vancouver but be rainy or cloudy on the North Shore. The backdrop of mountains create this situation. Consider the fact that even though it is only 45 minutes from Downtown Vancouver, Deep Cove is by far the rainiest community in the Lower Mainland.
If you have access to a vehicle and the weather is good the website provided below will guide you to appropriate choices based on your personal preferences. Better yet the destinations we have identified are all free of charge to access.
More info:the North Shore at www.seethenorthshore.com
One of the best souvenir shops in downtown Vancouver
If you are in the area of Burrard and Hastings Streets, just one block west at 1138 Hastings is a great souvenir and gift shop, Ultimate Gifts and Jewelry. Check it out, I find the selection of interesting items on display quite amazing.
More info:pictures of Ultimate Gifts
Photographer: Maurice Jassak
Web page design: Maurice Jassak
Images West Marketing