Three Perfect Days in Vancouver
The beauty of British Columbia is that you don’t have to journey far outside its main cities to enjoy national parks, historic towns and endless wineries. Nestled amid the mountain ranges and cedar forests, Vancouver is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife loves and cultural connoisseurs alike. It’s the starting point for the iconic Rocky Mountaineer, but we recommend adding three extra days to your itinerary and checking out our favourite attractions in this Canadian city.
Day 1: Stanley Park and the waterfront
Stanley Park starts at the edge of Downtown Vancouver and can be reached by walking, cycling or by car. It has been voted the best park in the world by TripAdvisor and is over 10% larger than New York’s Central Park. It is home to many beaches, walking trails, an aquarium, and beautiful gardens. The park’s most famous feature is the 8.8km seawall that loops around the park, fantastic for walkers and cyclists. Along the seawall there are some great viewpoints out to the city and also nine replica Totem Poles. The poles all represent real or mythical stories from First Nations peoples or symbolise a crest telling their family or tribe’s history.
Make your way to the waterfront and experience the ‘Flyover Canada’ simulator for a quick taste of the ultimate cross-Canada road trip. The ‘ride’ is about 20 minutes long and the journey takes you from East to Western Canada, through the Arctic, the Prairies, Rocky Mountains, vineyards and over the ocean. You even ‘swoop’ down into the mountain ranges and feel the air on your face. This is a truly unforgettable experience that will stay with you for days.
Day 2: Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge
A 10-minute drive from downtown Vancouver and you will arrive at Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you do not have a car, there is a free shuttle service from the city that runs every 15 minutes. The suspension bridge is one on Vancouver’s top attractions, arrive before 11am to avoid the majority of crowds.
In the First Nations language, Capilano means ‘Beautiful River’ and there is a strong focus on the First Nations’ history, with a story centre, totem poles and daily performances on offer.
The bridge itself was originally built in 1889 by George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and park commissioner for Vancouver who purchased the land and needed a bridge to cross to the other side of his property. The bridge was completely rebuilt in 1956. It stretches for 137 metres and suspended 230 feet above the Capilano river, perfect for those looking to reach new heights.
From Capilano head to Vancouver’s most accessible mountain playground; Grouse Mountain only 20 minutes from downtown.
Grouse Mountain offers many walking trails so you can take in the breath-taking coastlines and scenic view but it’s the orphaned grizzly bears that captured our hearts. Called Grinder and Coola, the bears were taken in as cubs as unfortunately their mothers were killed, and they have stayed at the mountain ever since.
Day 3: Granville Island and Gastown
Start your day with a culinary feast at the public market on Granville Island. Strawberries straight from Fraser Valley, fresh Coho salmon and live Dungeness crabs. This urban island is a delight for the senses as you wander through the streets, gyro in hand, saxophone melody ringing in your ears. Granville Island radiates a dream-like quality that you will just have to experience for yourself.
Finish your day with a trip to the city’s oldest district, Gastown. Dating back to 1867, you’ll find some of the best boutique restaurants, cafes and cocktails against the cobblestone walkways and heritage buildings. Toast the end of you perfect three day Vancouver adventure with a Surfer Rosa at Acorn Restaurant, from our glass to yours…cheers.