*Last updated June 24, 2021*
Long time no blog post. But I’m back (temporarily LOL) with a very highly requested post on what to do/eat/etc in one of the best cities in the world… Vancouver!! If you don’t already know, yours truly grew up in Vancouver and therefore knows all the ins and outs to that city (just kidding, I left when I was like 18 – but I do have friends that know the ins and outs to that city…) so together, these are my personal recommendations (and my really good friends Yannis & Eric’s recommendations).
Hopefully this blog post can help you plan your trip if you’re ever planning on visiting or this can help you plan WHEN to go. In general, I recommend going to Vancouver in the summer time (if you can only go one time in the year) because Vancouver rains about 2/3 of the year and most of that will be in the winter. Unless your purpose is to ski/snowboard, summer is definitely a better choice to visit the city itself. But of course, if you can afford the time and $$$, I would definitely recommend both summer & winter. Either way, I’ve separated this list to Summer and Winter so you can plan your activities and food schedules accordingly.
Without further ado, here goes:
PS: Whatever is in bold is my FAVOURITE and things you should NOT miss!!!!
(Please keep in mind some of these may be impacted by COVID restrictions)
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Biking along seawall / Stanley Park – This is my FAVOURITE activity by far in the summer!!! This is where you should rent your bike (the other places are really expensive)
- Fireworks – I love when it’s fireworks time in Vancouver!! I spend the whole day at English Bay (that’s where the fireworks will be) and hog my spot until the fireworks come around. Check around for their dates! This is also completely free (obviously because economics taught us this is a public good)
- Richmond Night Market – usually on Friday & weekends, go for Asian street food & cheap goods! If you’re from Toronto – this is better than the ones that are being hosted!
- Granville Island
- Improve Theatre (never tried but my friend Eric recommends it!)
- Vancouver Theatre Sports League (recommended by Eric as well!) These are cheap on late nights or Sunday nights
- Hiking (hikes below)
- Paddle boarding (check it out on Groupon for deals!)
- Jet skiing (check it out on Groupon for deals!)
- Cultus Lake Waterpark
- There’s also a lake there if you want to spend the day
- You can also go camping in this area!
- Beaches (play spikeball, volleyball, sunbathe, watch the sunset etc)
- Rec Beach (by UBC)
- English Bay (and all the surrounding beaches: 1st beach, 2nd beach…)
- Spanish Banks
- ATV (Whistler – I LOOOOVED this!!!!)
- Moped around the city (only $22 an hour at some places)
- one of my favourite activities as well! Made me feel like Lizzie McQuire 😉
- Take a picture at the Steam Clock in Gas Town!
Overnight Trips (most of these you can also do in just 1 day)
- Vancouver Island
- Visit Victoria – the capital of BC!
- Cultus Lake (for camping)
- Tofino (very north of Vancouver Island) to go surfing (you can also camp as well!)
- this is REEEEEEEALLLLLYYY far from Vancouver. If you don’t have time/if you’re not a fan of camping/surfing, then this might not be worth it for you.
- Must be overnight, you cannot do this in one day
- I recommend camping if you like that – accommodations here are really expensive so be prepared for that as well!
- Whistler – just because you’re there in the summer doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do!!!
- Ziplining – home of the longest zipline in North America – I did it myself and it was one of the most thrilling experiences
- Bungee Jumping
lol tbh I don’t go out anymore but my 19 year old self gives you the following recommendations:
- Celebrities on Tuesdays (LOOL this was my favourite place to go when I was 19)
- All the bars/clubs on Granville Strip including:
Not gonna lie this portion kinda sucks just because it could either be outdated or because I’m just a grandma now =)
Some of my favourite must-do hikes for the summer!
- Joffre Lake (moderate level) – PS this one is near Whistlerish
- If I had to pick one hike in Vancouver this would be it
- The Chief (moderate – more difficult) – this one is before you reach Whistler (in Squamish) but still quite a drive from downtown
- Quarry Rock (easy) – this one has a great view and it’s situated near Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver so if you’re planning on being in this area I would recommend kayaking this day and visiting those other places as well!
- Garibaldi (never done this one but heard it was difficult, make sure you have proper hiking shoes)
- Grouse Grind (this isn’t really a hike – it’s basically just stairs and a direct route to the top of the mountain but it’s definitely a work out!)
- St. Mike’s Summit
- This hike’s pretty hard and it’s not my personal fave but I know so many people that like this hike!
- Catch 122
- Medina Café
- The Oakwood
- Jam Cafe
- Bells & Whistles
- Water Street Cafe
If you are not from Vancouver… you may not know this but… YOU NEED TO DO HAPPY HOUR. Vancouver happy hour is another level and they offer the best price AND quality for food and drinks.
- JOE FORTES – $1 oysters and their lobster roll is to die for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fun fact: the HSM cast loves coming here
- You better go here. this is the best place in the world
- Ebisu – $1 oysters, Izakaya-type food, and their sushi is also amazing!
- one of my favourite Happy Hours!
- Provence Marinaside
- Black & Blue
- This has one of the nicest patios and best happy hours!!!
- Dockside in Granville Island
- The food/drinks itself is meh but it has one of the best views
- Fanny Bay Oyster
- Pier 7
- The Roof
- Black & Blue
- Momo sushi (downtown) (affordable & big sashimi pieces!)
- Sushi California (several locations)
- Miku (and other sushi restaurants owned by the same parent company). If you’ve been to Miku in Toronto, the Vancouver one is where it was first created. Also try their other sister restaurants such as
- (that ramen place)
- Victoria Sushi (far from Vancouver but worth the trek)
- Green Leaf Sushi
- Ora Sushi
- Poke Time
- Black Rice
- Gami Sushi
Thanks Yannis for these recommendations!
- House of Tofu
- Big Chicken Town
Other Asian Food
- Phom Pen (Cambodian Food) –
- they have “the best chicken wings in town” (but in my opinon I like this other place way better which is right below)
- Truong Thanh
- This 24 hour Viet restaurant is actually one of my favourites in Vancouver – their BBH is amazing and also their chicken wings are better (IMO)
- Japadog – Japanese hot dog: try their BUTTER FRIES (I’m drooling as I’m thinking about it). Fun fact: there were line ups for at least 6 blocks during the 2010 Olympics)
- The Asian Heritage Eatery
- Boiling Point
- Top Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant
- Linh Café
- Lunch Lady
- Anh and Chi
- Banana Leaf
- One of my favourite Malaysian restaurants!
- Lucky Donuts
- Cartem Donuts
- Passion8 (loooove their mango shaved ice!)
- Honey & Salt
- Dragon Ball Tea House
- Breka Bakery
- Milk Cow
- Lee’s Donuts (one of the most famous places in Granville Island!)
Check out my entire ALMOND CROISSANT recommendations here!!!
- The Sand Bar
- Crab Park Chowdery
- M Cafe
- The Rise Eatery
- Ask for Luigi
- Sopra Sotto
- Steveston Pizza Company
- This is where I got that crazy pizza on my Instagram. I got so many questions about it and this is where it’s from!
- Capilano Suspension Bridge (they decorate it with Christmas lights during this time of year!)
- Light Show (in the past there has been a couple: “Enchanted” and “Glow” – not sure which one, if any, will come back!)
- Stanley Park (there is usually a light show here as well, really pretty and you can also ride a Christmas train)
- Christmas Market (last time I went it wasn’t thaaaaaaaaaaaat great – if you’re from Toronto, the one in the Distillery is way better but if you’re running out of things to do or you want to do something Christmas-y, there you go)
- Skiing/snowboarding in Whistler (I assume that’s why youre in Vancouver in the winter??)
- If you cant make Whistler, go to Cypress or Grouse – they’re closer and will still be better than your mountains!!!!!!!!!
I hope this list was helpful!!! I will continue to come back and modify it. If you’re from Vancouver and you think there’s something worth putting on here that I’ve missed please let me know!
Most importantly… enjoy your trip!!!! <3