Vancouver’s Best Tourist Attractions: Part 1

A summer continues to roll around, I’ve been receiving a flurry of e-mails on what I think are some of the best tourist attractions to visit in Vancouver.

Some requests were received from out-of-towners and some from locals – both trying to narrow down some of the city’s best outdoor spots.

While there are dozens of great places to see in Vancouver, I have narrowed down a few of my favorites in this 2 part post on some of the best tourist attractions in town.


If your into doing touristy stuff in Vancouver, a good idea might be to start in Gastown.

Gastown Steam ClockGastown Steam Clock | Photo: bluegoose0fox

This was Vancouver`s first downtown core and it offers a wack load of historical buildings and monuments to check out. Take a stroll down the cobbled streets to find some of Vancouver’s newest and trendiest places to eat, shop and people watch.

A few of the more popular sights include the famous Gastown Steam Clock, the Gassy Jack Statue and the Hudson Bay Warehouse.

There also plenty of cool places to get your eat and drink on. Two of my favorites include:

  • The Chill Winston: A relaxing restaurant lounge with a killer patio in the core of Gastown.
  • The Irish Heather: An authentic Irish House with the best drink menu in the city. A great atmosphere to have a pint with friends.

Robson Street

No visit to the city can be complete without a trip down Robson Street – the heart of Downtown Vancouver. Robson is a great place to walk on sunny day and take in the sights and sounds of the city. This area is infamous for its high end designer shopping boutiques and trendy retail outlets.

Here you can find: BEBE, A|X, Danier Leather, and Zara to name a few. Even if you can’t afford some of the high ends boutiques, join the thousands of window shoppers and people watchers as they cruise the streets.

You can also find countless patios and restaurants overlooking Robson with plenty of local and international flavours to choose from.

I would recommend the Cafe Crepe for lunch or a quick snack and the Tropika Restaurant for dinner.

Stanley Park

This is Vancouver’s version of Central Park….only better!

stanleypark Stanley Park Seawall | Photo: PabloTrejo

Stanley Park is arguably Vancouver’s defining outdoor playground with a vast 1000 acre urban park located smack in the middle of Downtown.

Known for being one of the world’s best parks and hosting over 8 million visitors per year, Stanley Park has a lot to offer. Enjoy the views as your roller-blade, bike or walk around the famous 9 km seawall which circles the park.

The park also contains tennis courts, an 18-hole pitch and putt golf course, a seaside swimming pool at Second Beach, and the Brockton Oval for track sports, rugby, and cricket.

For entertainment, there’s the Vancouver Aquarium, Canada’s first and largest aquarium since it opened in 1956, and the Malkin Bowl – home to the local Theatre Under the Stars.

Granville Island

A living, breathing urban oasis filled with fine waterfront restaurants, theatres, galleries, studios, unique shops, cafes, and a famous fresh food market.

granvilleislandGranville Island Bridge | Photo: bridgepix

The Granville Island Market has fresh local ingredients to choose from as well as dozens of arts and craft stalls where you can find unique clothing, jewellery designs and fine art. Be sure to check out the the famous Granville Island Brewery, where you can take guided tour and sample some of the latest and freshest brews.

The Island is also a true fun for the whole family hot spot with aKids Market, an indoor Adventure Zone and Canada’s largest free outdoor Water Park.

The Public Market is open until 7pm, 7 days a week.

Grouse Mountain

Known as the Peak of Vancouver, Grouse Mountain offers a ton of interesting activities to choose from.

grousemountain Grouse Mountain | Photo: blind puppet

In the winter you can pound the slopes on your skis or board and hit over 26 local runs. If you want to try something different, you can try snowshoeing, take a sleigh ride or even go ice skating on the outdoor pond.

Now that the weather is a little warmer, I recommend taking a hike up Vancouver’s favourite trail, the Grouse Grind.

The Grind is a 2.9 km trail which runs up the face of Grouse Mountain, commonly reffered to Vancouverites as “Mother Natures Stairmaster”. More than 100,000 hikers a year take on the challenge of the rugged terrain and steep climb, up an approximate 56% slope (30°), which starts at the Valley Station of Grouse Mountain and finishes at the Peak’s plateau.

The average hiker takes approximetly 1.5 hours to complete the Grind and for a $5 fee, you can take the tram on the way down.

Be sure to check back next week for Part 2 of the Best Tourist Attractions in Vancouver.

If you’d like to see your favorite spot included, let me know in the comments!