Vancouver City Travel Guide

Last updated at July 03, 2022

Vancouver claims an undisputed first place as the most beautiful city I have ever traveled to in Canada. Flaunting the natural beauty of their region, Vancouver and its neighboring cities are pioneers in maximizing the efficiency of their urban landscaping environment, creating this amazing symbiotic relationship between man and nature. This is the perfect paradise for nature lovers and active travelers, with plenty of activities including adventurous hiking trails and scenic biking paths.

Parks You Must Visit

Because of the annual rainfalls, the parks in Vancouver flourish in a spectrum of color.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

A great place to challenge your fear of heights with family or a group of friends! The Capilano Suspension Bridge park has plenty of popular attractions like the suspension bridge hundreds of feet over the river, a cliff walk on the edge of a canyon, and a treetop overpass.

Treetop adventure
Cliffwalk with Emai
Treetop adventure (left) and the cliffwalk (right)

Reviews online have mentioned that the park can indeed get very crowded, especially during sunny summer days when tourists run amok. The crowd can definitely affect your experience and might even prevent you from taking that iconic bridge pose picture. If you truly want to have a more private and unique experience, I recommend going on cloudy/rainy days! My group went during an overcast during peak hours and the park had an underwhelming number of visitors. The grey clouds and passing rain created the perfect ambiance befitting for a rainforest, and it also gave us plenty of time to explore the park free of the crowds.

LQ and his oppa uwu
Capilano Suspension Bridge

Unfortunately, this park requires entrance fees, but the price is totally worth for the experience and the pictures! For students or new grads, I highly suggest bringing your student IDs for a nice markdown when you buy your tickets.

Stanley Park

Biking is the best option to explore everything this park has to offer. With a 10km seawall and dedicated biking lanes, you can easily spend a one to two hours taking in the views of the harbor and letting the gentle breeze along the shoreline ease your mind.

Kevin Sie on Stanley Park seawall bike path
Beautiful views along the Stanley Park seawall bike path

That being said, I suggest taking time exploring some key landmarks around the park, including Brockton Point Lighthouse, Third Beach, and the beautiful Gardens that require a detour from the path but are worth seeing.

LQ on the Lighthouse Pathways
Outdoor Gardens of Stanley Park
Stanley Park's lighthouse pathways and outdoor gardens

Bike renting services are located near the park with plenty of competitive options. My recommendation is to try for services a little further down along Denman Street. My group ended up renting from a nearby shop but found that options a couple minutes down the road were selling up to ten dollars cheaper.

David Lam Park

Clean, open and scenic, David Lam Park is a great place for groups to have picnics or simply settle down after their adventure in the city. The wide open space is also great for recreational activities and had me craving for a Spikeball net. This park was also very pet-friendly with plenty of dog walkers.

David Lam Park Creek's Edge
David Lam Park Creek's Edge

There is a ferry from Granville Island that takes you to a dock nearby, so feel free to shop for food there and settle down at the park to enjoy your snack.

Sunset Beach

The perfect coda to an adventurous day. This beach is a wonderful place to gaze at the horizon of a setting sun with some chill Canadian geese. It also wasn't very touristy at all and can definitely serve as a good location as an intimate or private setting.

Sunset Beach
An Evening at Sunset Beach

It is also worth noting that Sunset Beach is part of the ferry system that connects to both David Lam Park and Granville Island, so plan accordingly!

Where to Spend Your Loonie

Vancouver has plenty of locations to shop for souvenirs and delicious foods. Browse these places if your looking to spend your spare Canadian Loonies and Toonies!

Granville Island

This peninsula south of Vancouver is home to dozens and dozens of small boutiques and eateries. Despite having 'island' in its name, it is completely accessible by car, public transportation, and even a ferry system through False Creek. It's very family-friendly where you can explore the stores emphasizing on local businesses: artisan crafts, organic produce, and open-air cafes.

Granville Island Entrance
Ukama Art Gallery
Granville Island Entrance (left) and Ukama Art Gallery (right)

The most popular destination here is the Public Market. Located near the north side of the island, the market has plenty of fresh produce sold at a discount from local vendors. There were also plenty of bakeries and cafes stocked full of pastries and gelato ice cream if you are craving for something sweet.

Emai holding some coffee
LQ and Kevin in front of Public Market
Public Market on Granville Island

Edgemont Village

Located just a short walk away from Capilano Suspension Bridge, Edgemont Village gives off that atmosphere of cozy and friendly vibes. With many hiking trails and nature walks to do around, you can always return to the bustling cafes for a sweet snack or a delicious coffee.

Edgemont Village Entrance
Krave Kulture Frozen Yogurt
Edgemont Village and Frozen Yogurt at Krave Kulture

There were also plenty of independently owned businesses around selling souvenir gifts, books, postcards and more!

Night Market

The Night Market is located in North Vancouver, just across the Vancouver Harbor. Completely accessible by the Seabus Ferry from the mainland, the night market consolidates hundreds of different local vendors and businesses every season to bring the very best Vancouver has to offer. The evening is adorned by live music and extravagant lights, giving off this hip atmosphere perfect for young adults to grab a drink and enjoy the Vancouver city skyline across the harbor.

Vancouver Market Outpost
Fun Alley
Vancouver Night Market Outpost (left) and Fun Alley (right)

Garabaldi Lake

One of the biggest highlights in my trip was definitely Garabaldi Lake. Forking over the young driver's fee when we rented our Turro was 100% worth making this grandiose trip to Whistler. The hike was quite demanding; rushing torrents, slushy mud, and snow 3 feet deep stood between us and the absolutely breathtaking views Garabaldi Lake.

Chillin on the Bridge of Garabaldi Lake Hike
Mountainside Garabaldi view with Emai
Kevin looking cool 😎
Garabaldi Mountainside view (left) and Lakeside view (right)

When we went in the summer, the temperature was on the warmer side and it never really got too cold. I would invest in several pairs of dry socks and and a good pair of hiking boots.