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How to Tackle Vancouver as a First Timer

How to Tackle Vancouver as a First Timer

With its natural landscapes, hip neighborhoods, and cosmopolitan vibe, Vancouver attracts visitors with both urban and nature appeal. From biking, hiking, and skiing to food tours, craft beer tastings, and cable car rides, the city offers a wealth of activities. Here are our tips for first-time visitors to Canada’s west coast metropolis.

Explore Stanley Park

Hemmed in by the waters of Vancouver Harbor and the Burrard Inlet, this vast public park beckons visitors with its myriad beaches, rainforest trails, monuments, and artworks. It’s a rite of passage for first-time visitors to stroll, rollerblade, or cycle along the Stanley Park seawall, soaking up the scenic waterfront views along the way.

Visit the North Shore

Just a short drive from Downtown Vancouver, the North Shore is the place to go for fresh air and dramatic mountain and forest scenery. Tread among the treetops at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, or board the Skyride aerial tram and ride up to the peak of Grouse Mountain. 

Taste Culinary Delights

Vancouver competes with Toronto and Montreal for the title of Canada’s culinary capital. Take a food tour to taste the delights from one or more of Vancouver’s best dining-out districts: Granville Island, Chinatown, and Gastown are all foodie paradises.

Take to the Water

The island-speckled waters around Vancouver are ripe for exploration. Opt for a high-speed Zodiac boat ride and search for dolphins, harbor seals, and bald eagles, or drift by downtown skyscrapers during a romantic dinner cruise around Vancouver Harbor.

Experience FlyOver Canada

This attraction in Downtown Vancouver takes passengers on a simulated flying ride across Canada, showcasing staggering natural wonders on a huge dome screen. The ride makes use of mist, wind, and smells—as well as 3D images—to make the experience feel even more real.

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9 Tours and Activities | All Vancouver Tours

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North Shore Day Trip from Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge & Grouse Mtn

North Shore Day Trip from Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge & Grouse Mtn

star-4.5
Fit some epic natural sightseeing into your Vancouver vacation on a half-day tour of the area’s gorgeous North Shore. Your personal guide escorts you over the Lions Gate Bridge to the Capilano Suspension Bridge for an exhilarating walk along the cliff-hanging footpaths. Then ride the Grouse Mountain gondola high into the alpine forest to see native grizzly bears.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$160.15
From
$160.15

Vancouver Harbor Sunset Dinner Cruise

Vancouver Harbor Sunset Dinner Cruise

star-4.5
Looking for an enchanting and unusual way to spend an evening in Vancouver? Take a leisurely dinner cruise along the city’s gorgeous waterfront. Listen to live music and savor delicious Pacific Coast-style cuisine as you float through Vancouver’s Inner Harbor. Stroll the deck at sunset, indulge in a freshly prepared buffet, and take in the beautiful sights including Canada Place, the North Shore Mountains and the West Vancouver skyline after dusk.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$81.68
From
$81.68

Vancouver Highlights Bike Tour - The Grand Tour

Vancouver Highlights Bike Tour - The Grand Tour

star-5
Discover the beauty and culture of Vancouver on a small-group bike tour—great for riders of all levels. Accompany your guide on a leisurely ride along dedicated bike routes. Explore the city’s natural wonders like Stanley Park's rain forest and historic neighborhoods like Gastown and Chinatown. Cruise along the seawalls for gorgeous views of the North Shore Mountains, False Creek and more.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$77.73
From
$77.73
Taking safety measures

Grouse Mountain Admission

Grouse Mountain Admission

star-4.5
Escape to the picturesque alpine landscape just outside Vancouver with this admission to Grouse Mountain, a cultural and outdoor park that's perfect for the whole family. Enjoy the chance to observe endangered animals like owls and bears, or watch the park's collection of birds of prey as they soar through the air. You can also enjoy a ride on one of the longest aerial trams in North America, go snowshoeing, and watch a lumberjack show, plus much more. Along with your Grouse Mountain admission, a shuttle is available (first-come first-serve basis) from downtown Vancouver and ride on the park's peak chairlift.
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  • 1 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$49.70
From
$49.70
Taking safety measures

Small-Group Granville Island Market Tour

Small-Group Granville Island Market Tour

star-5
Give your Vancouver trip a twist with a 2-hour walking tour of the vibrant Granville Island Public Market. Head to the island and get ready to learn about Vancouver’s eclectic food culture, browse diverse products and meet local artisans and vendors. In a small group, taste regional foods from fine cheeses and meats to local wine and fresh baked goods. Get a dose of culinary education as you explore, sample and get insider tips on the area's best eateries from your expert guide.
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  • 2 hours
From
$77.94
From
$77.94

A Wok Around Chinatown: Culinary and Cultural Walking Tour Led by a Chef

A Wok Around Chinatown: Culinary and Cultural Walking Tour Led by a Chef

star-5
Spend a morning in Vancouver’s Chinatown with an off-duty chef on this food and cultural walking tour. With the help of your expert, taste delicious barbecued crispy duck and other savory delights, as you learn about Chinatown’s historical landmarks and local cuisine. Drink tea, enter cookware and herbal medicine shops, and visit the tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. A dim sum lunch is included in this small-group tour limited to 10 people.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$88.79
From
$88.79

Gastronomic Gastown Walking Tour

Gastronomic Gastown Walking Tour

star-5
Get to know Vancouver’s famed food scene on a 3-hour walking and food tour of historic Gastown. Admire the architecture as you stroll through the cobbled streets with a small group. Learn about the neighborhoods storied past from your informative guide and sample Canadian classics such as tempura bacon scotch eggs, pork belly crackling, and British Columbia wine.
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  • 3 hours
From
$147.24
From
$147.24

Sea Vancouver Waterfront Sightseeing

Sea Vancouver Waterfront Sightseeing

star-4.5
See Vancouver's dramatic skyline from the water on a small-group cruise in an inflatable Zodiac boat that accommodates 12 passengers. You'll navigate Vancouver Harbour, Burrard Inlet, English Bay, and False Creek, spotting some of the city's top sites and landmarks along the way. And since Vancouver Harbour is home to bald eagles, harbor seals, and dolphins, keep your camera ready and watch for wildlife as you hit speeds up to 30 mph (48 kph).
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$45.51
From
$45.51
Taking safety measures

Stanley Park Bike Tour

Stanley Park Bike Tour

star-5
Discover one of Vancouver’s natural wonders by bike on a morning or afternoon tour of Stanley Park. Enjoy a relaxing guided ride through the 1,000-acre (405-hectare) park—the city’s ‘Green Heart.’ Cruise by Third Beach, view First Nations totem poles in Brockton Point, and catch great views of the city skyline, mountains, and local wildlife. Along the way, learn about Vancouver’s rich history as a logging center and the park’s complex ecosystem.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$56.16
From
$56.16
Taking safety measures