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A Weekend Guide to Downtown Vancouver

A Weekend Guide to Downtown Vancouver

Did you know that Vancouver was destroyed in an 1886 man made fire to clear land that spun out of control and burnt down 1000 buildings? Thankfully, the city was rebuilt and now stands as a melting pot of fun activities and cool places to go to. 

You can stroll through vibrant gardens, marvel at world-class art, and embark on aquatic adventures all in the heart of downtown. We unravel the diverse tapestry of fun things to do in downtown Vancouver that’s perfect for empty weekend plans. 

So, whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an art aficionado, or an urban explorer, dive into this immersive journey through Vancouver’s downtown. Let’s uncover the secrets, savor the flavors, and make the most of your weekend escapade in the area. 

Find out How Brave You Are at the Capilano Suspension Bridge

Address: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 985 7474



  • Open from Monday to Tuesday from 10 am to 8 pm 
  • Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm 

A trip to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park was the perfect way to start this list. With a little bit of a drive from downtown, you’ll get a lot of height and elevation. A trek along this bridge, grants you views of the Capilano River running down below. 

This is a great place to go if you’re a thrill-seeker who isn’t afraid of high elevations. This is one of the few places in Canada where you can see the canopy of trees from the top instead of enjoying their shade from the ground. 

The park also offers other exciting activities like the exhilarating cliffwalk and an opportunity to explore the birds of prey center. 

Pro Tip:
Booking your ticket to enter and the round-trip shuttle ride online ensures a more convenient visit to the park, especially if you’re going on your own and not availing of the guided tours. We suggest you visit during the morning for a serene experience. 

Get Visual Treats and Fun Activities at Canada Place

Address: 999 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 3T4, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 665 9000


Hours: Open everyday 24/7

A landmark at the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront, Canada Place stands as a symbol of the city’s maritime charm. The iconic building roofs made from white fabric to mimic sails is a sight to see, especially from across the water. 

But, there’s plenty waiting within. This place serves as the departure point for many cruise ships. The building also holds the Vancouver Convention Center, the Vancouver World Trade Center, and the Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel. 

The Canada Place is also home to the Flyover in Vancouver experience, a 30 minute  flight simulation complete with high quality projections and ride technology. 

Pro Tip:
If you like strolls with scenic views, don’t miss out on embarking on the Canadian Trail which you can access from the promenade located on the west of Canada Place. If you make your way north, you’ll get a view of Burrard Inlet and Coal Harbour. 

Explore the Exotic Grounds of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Address: 578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 662 3207


Hours: Open from Wednesday to Sunday from 9:30 am to 4 pm

The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a mostly underrated gem located towards the edge of Chinatown in Vancouver. Unlike regular gardens, it features authentic Chinese architecture and design elements. 

One of the stand out features of the garden is the house made like the ones seen in ancient China during the rule of the emperors. The house is surrounded by a pond filled with koi fish for luck which you can feed from the equally intricate wooden bridge. 

There are also a variety of plants and trees which were shipped in directly from China, mixed in with a bit of local plants to make up the gardens’ collection. 

Pro Tip:
Since the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is located on the fringes of Chinatown, you might as well make a day of it by exploring the assortment of shops that sell everything from authentic Asian cuisine to traditional herbal medicine. 

Enjoy a Day of Laying out in the Sun and Splashing in the Waters of English Bay

Address: Beach Ave, Vancouver, BC V6C 3C1, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 873 7000


Hours: Open everyday from 6 am to 10 pm 

If a trip without the sound of waves crashing doesn’t feel like a complete weekend chill moment for you, then you should consider adding English Bay Beach to the list of places to go. This is one of Downtown Vancouver’s favorite beaches.

You can rent a kayak or a paddle board for SUP from the many rental shops there. If you prefer to have a more relaxed day, then just laying out in the sand or floating in the water is a great alternative. 

Don’t be afraid to stay there even as it gets dark because the view here during the sunset is one of downtown Vancouver’s best.

Pro Tip:
The peak season for English Bay Beach lasts from July to August when the summer weather brings both locals and tourists to its shores. This is also when the Celebration of Light, a fireworks competition is held. Although the crowds are big, it’s worth a go. 

Explore Historic Gastown and Visit the Shopping District 

Address: Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 696 7557 


Hours: Open everyday 24/7

For a blast from the past, Vancouver’s Gastown offers you a walk down cobbled streets and past historic structures that make this one of the city’s most popular areas. 

There’s plenty to do here aside from the great views and old town vibes. Within the historic building, you can find boutiques that sell clothes, jewelry, accessories, and house decor which are just as unique.

While you make your way down the streets, you’ll also find loads of cafes and restaurants with the Twisted Fork, Nuba, and TacoFino being some of our favorites. There are also bars there like the Clough Club and Steamworks Brewpub. 

Pro Tip:
Getting to and from Gastown is relatively easy by using the public transportation system. Waterfront Stations is close by and acts as a hub for the Skytrain, Seabus, and the West Coast Express. Plus, parking can be hard so it’s best to take these. 

Embark on a Full Day Adventure of Exploring Granville Island

Address: Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 666 6655


Hours: Open everyday 24/7

One of the absolute must go places while you’re in Vancouver is Granville Island. We never miss out on dropping by whenever we’re in the area or just have nothing planned for the weekend. This urban island has every kind of attraction you can think of. 

The star of the show is the huge market that has stalls for farmers, local vendors, butchers and everything else in between. You can buy fresh produce and handmade crafts here. There are also live performers scattered everywhere. 

The island is also where the Emily Carr University of Art and Design is located. You can appreciate works from new artists here or try being one yourself with the art classes. 

Pro Tip:
Granville Island serves as a popular venue for events both big and small. Stay tuned by watching their social media or the website to schedule your visit to coincide with popular ones that range from art shows, performances, or poetry readings. 

Squeeze in an Entire Day of Learning in Science World

Address: 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC V6A 3Z7, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 443 7440


Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm

For some educational fun while in Downtown Vancouver, nothing beats a trip to Science World. Even before entering, you’re greeted by the iconic structure of steel and glass. 

This is a great place to go especially if you’re taking the kids (or kids at heart) with you! There are plenty of interactive exhibits that let you explore various branches of science from biology, human anatomy, geology, physics and many more. 

Some of the popular features include the Body Works exhibit where you can learn about the human body with a realistic replica with removable parts. Another favorite is the Living Lab where you can see what different things look like at the microscopic level. 

Pro Tip:
If you don’t have the kids with you during your visit, then sign up for the Science World After Dark Program. This monthly event lets you explore the museum after closing which is an experience on its own, but there are also food, live music, and speakers. 

Treat Yourself to a Rejuvenating Facial at the Skoah Spa

Address: 1007 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5T4, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 642 0200



  • Open from Monday to Friday from 10 am to 8 pm 
  • Open from Saturday to Sunday from 9 am to 7 pm

For a bit of well deserved rest and relaxation, we highly suggest trying the facials at the Skoah Spa. The skincare produced by this company is what put them on the map. After years of success, they decided to open up a facility too. 

For a girl’s weekend, we always opt to get one of their many facials together for some bonding time that also leaves us rejuvenated after. 

These facials start with a deep cleanse and an exfoliation process. The skilled workers then extract any impurities from your skin and put on a customized mask to address your skin concerns. They then finish with deep tissue massages to increase blood flow. 

Pro Tip:
Although the Skoah Skincare line is available online through their shop on the website, make sure you see the goods they have on hand at the store. Some of the popular products that are always sold out online are kept in the physical store. 

Enjoy a Fun Day out in the Sun at Stanley Park

Address: Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 681 6728


Hours: Open everyday from 9 am to 5 pm

If open air and a brush with nature is your thing, then your weekend is best spent at Vancouver’s Stanley Park. A sprawling oasis within the city, Stanley Park beckons you with its seawall that follows the perimeter of the park for almost 9 kilometers. 

For people who prefer rich greens, Stanley Park has over 27 km of trails that weave through the park’s forest area. Here, you can encounter and see lots of flora and fauna native to the area. Under the trees is a great spot for a picnic outdoors. 

You can also play a round of golf at the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt, let the kids run around the 4 playgrounds, or play tennis at the outdoor courts. 

Pro Tip:
Because of its sheer size, we highly suggest taking your bike to explore Stanley Park. You can begin your adventure at the Rowing Club and make your way through views of Canada Place, the North Shore Mountains, Lions Gate Bridge, and Third Beach. 

Gaze at Some Beautiful Pieces at the Vancouver Art Gallery

Address: 750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 662 4700



  • Open on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm
  • Open from Thursday to Friday from 10 am to 8 pm

Art lovers like me who can spend whole days just getting lost in pieces will have a grand time at the Vancouver Art Gallery with both permanent and rotating exhibits. 

Because it’s the largest of its kind in Vancouver, you can expect to see a massive selection of art. The building itself is a heritage site built in 1906 complete with grand staircases, marble stonework, and an ornate dome. 

The fun starts at the collection of art that totals more than 12,000 individual pieces. This includes historical pieces to more contemporary ones. Some of the most popular ones are paintings by British Columbian Emily Carr. 

Pro Tip:
There are tours that you can sign up for while you’re there. There’s a 30 minute one that centers on the key works, but if you’re a true art aficionado, then we suggest going for the 45 minute one that gives you an overview of the entire collection. 

Get Up Close and Personal with Marine Life at the Vancouver Aquarium

Address: 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada

Phone Number: +1 778 655 9554


Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 5 pm

The Vancouver Aquarium is a top contender for one of our favorite places in the city because you can spend a day here and not run out of things to do. The 65,000 animals that call this home range from sea creatures to cute penguins! 

Over the 8,500 square meters, there are 30 different exhibitions for different groups of marine life. The sea otter area is our favorite, but local favorites are the Axolotl, stingrays, sharks, sea lions, giant Pacific octopus, jellyfish, and nettles. 

Make sure you check the schedule of the live animal feedings and live shows where dolphins perform, right as you enter the aquarium so you don’t miss out!

Pro Tip:
We suggest buying your tickets online. Not only does this guarantee you get one at the date you want, but you’re also more likely to get a discount. They have early bird discounts that vary depending on how far in advance you book!

Have a Relaxing Encounter with Nature at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens

Address: 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 257 8463


Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 2 pm

Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the VanDusen Botanical Gardens in Downtown Vancouver. You can go on a leisurely stroll through lush landscapes that feature more than 7,500 species of plants, flowers, and trees from all over the world. 

There are also wildlife here like bees, butterflies, and birds that fly around the area and call it home. You can challenge friends who can get out of the Elizabethan hedge maze first. Or, you can opt to just have a relaxing day out in nature with a good book. 

There’s also a dedicated area for a vegetable garden where you can see easy to grow plants and tips on boards that you can incorporate into your own home garden. 

Pro Tip:
If you’re too lazy to pack some lunch, don’t worry. The Shaughnessy Restaurant is located right inside and uses ingredients right from the gardens themselves.  Try their warm beet and goat feta salad, steelhead quinoa coupe, and the pesto rigatoni. 

Get Amazing Views of the City from the Vancouver Lookout

Address: 555 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 4N6, Canada

Phone Number: +1 604 689 0421 


Hours: Open everyday from 10 am to 6 pm

Another thrilling experience in Vancouver to do if you aren’t afraid of heights is going for a visit to the Vancouver Lookout. For a panoramic view of Vancouver’s beauty, the lookout lets you see from a height of 147 meters on top of the Harbour Center. 

The height gives you a great panoramic view of the entire city down below. You don’t have to take the stairs, don’t worry. An elevator takes you to the highest point where you’ll find an observation deck. The fun part is that the elevator walls are made of glass. 

Once you get to the viewing deck, look for the information boards that tell you facts about the city and the buildings that make up its skyline. 

Pro Tip:
Try to book your tickets in advance on their website before going. When you get there, make sure you sign up and claim the equipment for an audio tour so you can be guided while you admire the view. Take your time as you can stay as long as you like!