Weekend Getaway Guide: Vancouver, Canada

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Written in collaboration with Expedia.ca.

I recently had the chance to spend a quick weekend in Vancouver, Canada as the departure port for my recent cruise to Alaska. I’ve been to Vancouver a bunch before and I love the beautiful waterfront, vibrant neighbourhoods, food scene, and outdoor activities.

Planning a trip to Vancouver or heading there before a cruise? Here’s what to get up to for a few days in this pretty city:

granville island

photo: Dominic Schaefer

GRANVILLE ISLAND PUBLIC MARKET

One of the first places I like to hit up for lunch when I arrive is Granville Island Market. There are SO many vendors serving up all sorts of delicious food – we had homemade mini pierogies from Kaisereck Delicatessenand donut holes from Lee’s Donuts on our visit. Come hungry!

Make sure to also stop by Granville Island Brewing for a brewery tour and tasting flight of their local microbrews. If you’re visiting with kids, be sure to check out the Kids Market for indoor and outdoor play areas.

To get there, hop on the closest AquaBus, enjoy a breezy ride across the water and spend an afternoon after lunch wandering the artisanal shops for cute gifts and souvenirs.

capilano suspension bridge

SEE THE CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the top visitor attractions in the area and it’s totally worth the trek. You’ll get an Instagram-worthy backdrop of evergreen trees, unique footbridges, a pretty cliff walk, and a treetop adventure with your admission. It is totally worth it.

A free shuttle departs year-round from Canada Place or you can take the SeaBus to Lonsdale Quay and hop on a city bus or taxi during rush hour. Build some time into your schedule to grab coffee or a snack at their on-site café.

the douglas vancouver

STAY AT THE DOUGLAS

Check-in to one of the super hip rooms at The Douglas, an Autograph Collection Hotel inside the new Parq Vancouver. I loved the woodsy Pacific Northwest style carried throughout the hotel with dark wood furniture mixed with brass and industrial fixtures, marble counters, and cement walls.

You get access to all the amenities of a big hotel, but with a hip boutique hotel feel, along with the curation of cool toiletries by Aesop, and locally-made drinks and snacks in your mini-bar.

The hotel is part of The Parq Vancouver – a newly opened casino and entertainment complex near BC Place. There are also multiple restaurants to dine at including a late-night quick-serve Asian restaurant, MRKT EAST.

For more hotels in Vancouver, visit Expedia.ca

dim sum vancouver

GO FOR DIM SUM BRUNCH

Vancouver is known for some of the best dim sum in Canada and a trip to Richmond, BC – just outside of the city is where the locals go. Head there early for brunch to avoid a super long wait. Favourite local spots include Kirin Seafood, Yue Restaurant, and Fisherman’s Terrace.

vancouver travel guide

RENT A BIKE + RIDE THROUGH STANLEY PARK

Honestly one of the best ways to see Vancouver is by bike, especially with all the lovely and flat waterfront bike trails. Head towards Stanley Park and make sure to stop at The Teahouse, Prospect Point, The Totem Poles, and The Seawall for photos!

yaletown vancouver

Photo: Vancouver Tourism

SHOP + EXPLORE YALETOWN + GASTOWN

If you’re looking for walkable neighborhoods to explore on foot, my two favourites are Yaletown and Gastown, which are both right downtown.

Gastown has a nice mix of shops, bars, pubs, and restaurants. It’s a great place to go on a little self-guided bar crawl and do a bit of shopping. Do stop in at my favourite gastropub, The Irish Heather– for a pint and authentic Irish eats.

Yaletown is heavier on the nightlife and restaurants. Definitely worth checking out one night for dinner or drinks.

fanny bay oysters

TRY THE LOCAL OYSTERS

We stopped by Fanny Bay Oyster Bar to slurp down some local oysters. You’ll find local Pacific BC oysters, along with oysters from Washington State and New Brunswick. It’s a great place for happy hour with drink and food specials from 3-6 PM daily with lots of local brews on tap.

vancouver canada

So this just scratches the surface of what there is to do in Vancouver during a weekend getaway. I would love to go back when I have more time. I think we definitely got lucky with the weather at the start of June – sunny skies and only one morning of rain.

Have you been to Vancouver? Do you have any favourite restaurants or places to recommend?