1. Stanley Park
One of the world’s most famous parks, and covering almost 1,000 acres, Stanley Park is central to the soul of Vancouver. Located on an isthmus jutting out into the waters of Elizabeth Bay and Burrard Inlet, the park is surrounded by a seawall that offers joggers, cyclists and rollerbladers a spectacular five mile track with almost uninterrupted waterfront scenery. You can also cycle through the park on one of the many trails, or beach hop First, Second and Third Beaches, stopping for lunch at a cafe, or just to soak up the sun.
Named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, the entrepreneuring English seadog who opened the first pub in Vancouver, Gastown is a picturesque, cobble stoned area, shot through with winding alleys that reward explorers with boutique clothing, vintage shops, galleries and excellent restaurants.
3. Granville Island
Vancouverites like to eat well, and the best place for fresh food is Granville Island Market. Only a short ride on the Aquabus from downtown, Granville Island also hosts handicraft shops and art studios. Perfect to while away a few hours while sampling fresh cherries and ordering sashimi platters to go. Families will find plenty to entertain children, with an Adventure Zone and a water park promising hours of fun.
4. Vancouver beaches
Vancouver has plenty of beaches to suit every type of traveler. The beautiful people hang out at Kitslano Beach, where they can work on their tan in between bouts of volleyball. The beaches in Stanley Park are popular with families; whereas those at Wreck Beach bare all. The largest and most popular beach, English Bay Beach, is close to bars and restaurants and is the perfect place for a sundowner cocktail.
5. Head for the hills
There are three within close striking distance – Cypress, Grouse and Seymour. Of these, Grouse Mountain offers the most options for a little adventure – sleigh rides and skiing in the winter, ziplines and skyrides or hiking in the warmer months – the choice is yours. The most famous trail is the Grouse Grind, also known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” a 3 kilometre trek that ascends 850m up the face of the mountain. Alternatively, take a daytrip out to Whistler for world-class skiing, snowboarding or hiking.