You are currently viewing 14 must-see places in Vancouver recommended by a local

Located on Canada’s southwest coast, along the Pacific Ocean in British Columbia, Vancouver stands out as a cosmopolitan metropolis, often ranked among the world’s most pleasant cities. Its perfect balance of dynamic urban life and breathtaking natural scenery makes it a popular destination for both expatriates and travelers. 

Charlotte, one of Flytrippers’s writers, fell in love with this big Canadian city like no other, so much so that she decided to make it her permanent home! 

You too will be charmed by its mild coastal climate, the active lifestyle of the locals, and the many iconic landmarks for which the city is famous.

Here’s a brief introduction to Vancouver and 14 must-see places to visit. We’ve even added a few bonus places for you to enjoy.


Overview of Vancouver

With an estimated population of nearly 3 million in 2024, the Vancouver metropolitan area is the most populous in British Columbia (and the 3rd in Canada).

Known for its rich history, the region was first inhabited by the Salish, a First Nations people. The city then became highly cosmopolitan after several waves of immigration, notably Asian (mainly Chinese) and European. 

So how do we explain Vancouver’s excellent reputation? First of all, the city is surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes.

Mountains ocean around Vancouver
Mountains and ocean around Vancouver (photo credit: Matt Wang)


Between the impressive North Shore mountains, the pretty beaches and vast forests nearby, and the glass skyscrapers, Vancouverites enjoy a picturesque and diverse setting. 

If you’re a fan of outdoor activities like skiing, biking, and paddle boarding, it’s the ideal place to visit. 

What’s more, the West Coast is the only region in Canada where the average temperature remains in the positive range, even in winter. Although precipitations are frequent, Vancouver is the only major Canadian city to escape freezing winters and heavy snowfalls.

The city also offers diverse employment opportunities, a vibrant cultural scene, and one of the country’s top universities (UBC). The city’s economy relies mainly on the technology sector, the film industry, tourism, and the green economy.

However, all these positive aspects don’t erase the reality of exorbitant housing costs, the city being one of the most expensive in the country.

But don’t let that put you off. This list of places to visit and things to do is proof that the beautiful city is well worth a visit.

Flytrippers also regularly spots plane tickets from Toronto to Vancouver for $120 roundtrip on ultra low-cost carrier Flair. And there’s accommodation for $37 a night, if you want to save!

Discover these 14 must-see places during your stay in Vancouver.


1. Stanley Park

Stanley Park
Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Luc Tribolet)


This immense park, nestled in the heart of the city, is the equivalent of New York’s Central Park.

Much more than just a green space, Stanley Park is beloved by locals for its waterfront promenade, which offers incredible views of the Pacific Ocean, the mountains, and the city.

You can explore the park on foot, in a horse-drawn carriage, or cycle along the Seawall.

There are also impressive Indigenous totem poles, a lake, an aquarium, and several beaches.


2. Granville Island

Granville Island
Granville Island, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Efemena Egona)


This lively area is ideal for shopping or enjoying local specialties. 

You can spend an entire afternoon discovering the public market, artisan shops, art galleries, breweries, and numerous restaurants.

It’s also the starting point for boat tours or marine safaris to observe orcas.


3. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Capilano Suspension Bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Unsplash+)


For a view from above of North Vancouver’s majestic forests, you need to visit at least one of the two great suspension bridges. 

You have two options: the Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

Access to the first one is subject to a fee and is rather expensive, at $66.95. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the city, highly appreciated by travelers. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is 140 meters long and sits 70 meters above the river.

The Lynn Canyon Park suspension bridge is free of charge. It’s a good alternative for travelers on a budget. However, it’s shorter and lower, standing 50 meters above a valley.


4. Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Susan Flynn)


Accessible by cable car or hike, Grouse Mountain, nicknamed “The Peak of Vancouver”, is best known for its unrivaled views of downtown.

Every season has its own activities to offer. In summer, visitors can enjoy the Wildlife Refuge, home to 2 orphaned grizzly bears, owls, and hummingbirds. Lumberjack shows and ziplines also delight both young and old. 

In winter, you can go skiing and snowboarding, snowshoeing on trails, or ice skating outdoors. 


5. Gastown

Whistling Steam Clock
Whistling Steam Clock, Gastown, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Lucy Claire)


This historic district near the center is one of the oldest in the whole city. You can find many souvenir shops, small independent art galleries, cafes, and restaurants housed in Victorian buildings

Gastown is best known for its steam clock. Even if the structure isn’t very impressive, you can’t leave Vancouver without taking a picture of it… It’s a tradition! 

The old-fashioned look of the place adds to its charm, but also its reputation as a haunted neighborhood. If you like ghost stories, you can take a guided tour to discover all the spooky secrets of the area, including The Old Spaghetti Factory, known as the most haunted building in the whole city.

Flytrippers co-founder Andrew stayed at The Cambie Hostel – Gastown as an affordable accommodation option ($52 a night) and certainly recommends the location even if the hostel isn’t the best!


6. Kitsilano

Kitsilano Beach
Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Vlad D)


Often called “Kits”, it’s one of the most popular neighborhoods, thanks in part to its relaxed lifestyle and its proximity to downtown.  

In summer, especially on weekends, Kitsilano Beach is packed. Locals come here to picnic, swim, or play volleyball, a sport played on many of the city’s beaches. There’s also a superb swimming pool right next to the water, perfect for cooling off on hot summer days.

Still close to the ocean, West 4th Avenue is Kitsilano’s main shopping street, ideal for window shopping or enjoying a cocktail on a terrace. 

During the sunny months, Vanier Park hosts outdoor movie screenings and the Shakespearean festival Bard on the Beach. It’s also where you’ll find The Museum of Vancouver, to learn more about the city’s history.

A little further on, towards the University of British Columbia (UBC), Jericho Beach and its park are also worth a visit, especially since you’ll find an impressive number of wild rabbits there. 

There’s another affordable hostel, the HI Vancouver Jericho Beach, for as little as $45 per night. That makes for a budget-friendly getaway with affordable flights!


7. West End

English Bay
English Bay, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Albert Stoynov)


The West End is a trendy waterfront residential neighborhood, characterized by very tall buildings. Just steps away from downtown, it’s also the gateway to Stanley Park.

It’s a great place to live, with the large English Bay beach, the smaller Sunset Beach, and the Robson shopping street nearby. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating all kinds of cuisines and enjoying reduced prices during happy hours.

Davie Village, located in the southern part of the West End, is known as Vancouver’s LGBTQ+ street. Here you’ll find many restaurants, bars, and trendy nightclubs. If you like to party, you know where to go.


8. Coal Harbour 

Olympic Cauldron
Olympic Cauldron, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Alexandra Tran)


Just meters from Canada Place, Coal Harbour, a gorgeous marina, is known for its luxurious condominiums and restaurants.

Canada Place houses the Convention Centre, FlyOver Canada, an immersive virtual flight attraction over Canadian landscapes, and the iconic white sail that dominates the skyline.

As you stroll around the area, you can spot several super cool artworks, including the Olympic Cauldron built for the 2010 Winter Games, the Digital Orca made of LEGO, and The Drop sculpture.

If you’re there during the holiday season, be sure not to miss the must-visit Vancouver Christmas Market.


9. False Creek

Science World
Science World, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Albert Stoynov)


The Aquabus and False Creek Ferries are 2 water taxi companies that make it easy for you to travel between the various stops along this inlet.

It’s a mode of transportation you absolutely must try out, as the view of the city from the water is captivating. 

On your itinerary, don’t hesitate to stop at Granville Island to shop at the public market mentioned earlier.

You can also visit the Science World Museum, stroll through the trendy Yaletown neighborhood — perfect for happy hours  — or visit the Olympic Village.

You can also take the water taxi to Rogers Arena to watch the Vancouver Canucks playing hockey, or head to BC Place if you prefer football or soccer.


10. Granville Street 

Granville Street
Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Gabe)


Undoubtedly the most emblematic street in the downtown area, Granville Street charms with its multitude of restaurants, bars, theaters, and boutiques.

If you’re looking for a festive atmosphere to dance until dawn, that’s the place to go!

Historic establishments such as the Irish pub Dublin Calling or The Roxy have stood the test of time and the COVID-19 pandemic, still offering a memorable nightlife experience.

Good to know: Most nightlife establishments in Vancouver close their doors at 2 or 3 AM.

For a more premium lodging option, Flytrippers’ co-founder highly recommends the Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites. He loved the hotel and it’s just a block from Granville Street.


11. Commercial Drive

Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Stephen H)


Located east of downtown, “The Drive” is also worth a visit. This bustling street is renowned for its cultural diversity, with a variety of restaurants, stores, and markets reflecting the influences of different communities.

The neighborhood hosts several festivals in the summer, including Italian Day, where you can enjoy delicious Italian street food.

Commercial Drive is a little way from downtown, but you can get there easily by using the SkyTrain, Vancouver’s rapid transit system.


12. Chinatown


Founded in the 1890s, Vancouver’s Chinatown is the talk of the town.

You absolutely must see its traditional Chinese gates, and its magnificent Dr. Sun Yat-sen Traditional Garden and dine in one of the many authentic restaurants

However, before you go, it’s important to note that Chinatown is adjacent to East Hastings, a street where, unfortunately, homelessness and drug addiction have persisted for many years.

It is, therefore, recommended to visit Chinatown safely during the day.


13. Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park
Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Yuta Koike)


When you visit this iconic green space in the city, you’re in for a treat with breathtaking panoramic views and magnificent botanical gardens. 

The Bloedel Conservatory is a dome housing a vast collection of tropical plants, exotic birds, and beautiful butterflies. 

At Queen Elizabeth Park, there is also a golf course, a performing arts venue, and several trails for running enthusiasts.


14. VanDusen Botanical Garden 

VanDusen Botanical Garden
VanDusen Botanical Garden, Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Jeffrey Eisen)


A must-see for nature lovers in every season, the VanDusen Botanical Garden offers an exceptional experience, especially during the Festival of Lights in winter.

From late November to early January, the garden is transformed with dazzling illuminations and a festive soundscape atmosphere to celebrate Christmas. It’s a truly magical experience not to be missed.



  • Vancouver Art Gallery, a must-see for art enthusiasts. The museum exhibits a vast collection of Indigenous art, as well as contemporary international artworks.
  • Vancouver Public Library (the one located downtown) is a true paradise for book lovers. Its remarkable architecture evokes a Roman amphitheater. Enjoy the free rooftop terrace for stunning views of the city.
  • If you have time, don’t hesitate to venture out of the city, as the surrounding area is just as spectacular. Whistler awaits you for unforgettable skiing adventures. You can also visit Squamish or take the ferry to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia.


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Featured image: Vancouver, Canada (photo credit: Mike Benna)

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