Vancouver is full of activities and landscapes for you to fall in love with. It has many top-rated tourist attractions, and today we will be diving into the top 15 best things to do while visiting Vancouver. Because of the ongoing pandemic, many tourist attractions have been temporarily closed. At Bagsort, we have curated a list of activities you can do during COVID-19 while being safe within your bubble and visiting all those mesmerizing landscapes that Vancouver has to offer.
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The drive is only 120km and takes approximately one hour and a half, but the beautiful destinations you will encounter along the Sea-to-Sky highway will make you want to make stops along the way. You will come across beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, cultural interpretive kiosks along the way, and the thrilling Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you love nature, culture, long drives, and are visiting Vancouver for even just a weekend, pack a lunch and your camera, and drive up this majestic highway, because you won’t want to miss this. This spectacular drive goes from Vancouver to Whistler.
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Gastown is an essential part of Vancouver’s history. A stroll around Gastown will lead you to find souvenir shops, edgy fashion boutiques, indie art galleries, a wide variety of picture-perfect old buildings, the Steam Clock, and vintage lamp posts. When it comes to food, Gastown has trendy food and drink scenes too, including European eateries and sophisticated cocktail lounges.
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Stanley Park is a great place to walk, jog, run, have a picnic with friends and family, or sit down to watch the sunrise or the sunset. This 405-hectare park is surrounded by the natural West Coast rainforest amid the urban landscape. No matter if you are cycling or walking, you will be able to enjoy many famous landmarks and monuments, including beautiful gardens, First Nations totem poles, and scenic views of the mountains, trees, the beautiful sky, and the water throughout the park.
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Located across False Creek from downtown Vancouver under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge, Granville Island is a shopping district and more of a sandpit or peninsula rather than an island. Besides being rich in history, art, culture, and architecture, Granville Island is where tourists and Vancouverites go shopping for organic produce, eat artisanal foods, sip on premium teas, dine by the waterfront, and have some artisan sake.
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Vancouver has one of the largest Chinatowns worldwide, and it’s the third-largest Chinatown in North America, after San Francisco and New York. Besides being one of the largest, it is also one of the oldest in Canada. Established in the 1890s, Chinatown has been buzzing for more than a century already, with lucid colours, abundant culture, and mouth-watering cuisine. Surrounded by Gastown and the Downtown Financial District, Chinatown has small family-owned shops, Asian food markets, and most importantly, the best Dim Sum restaurants.
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Located at the far eastern edge of North Vancouver, Deep Cove is the perfect place if you are looking to kayak, paddleboard, or even for a walk or a hike. The view is simply breathtaking as well. It is a great place to unwind from a stressful day or week, relax and connect with your loved ones or nature as well. If you want to go on a walk or a hike instead, you can easily head up the hill on the Baden Powell Trail. This hike takes up approximately 45-minutes.
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Located in the heart of Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, Lynn Canyon Park is a fascinating park with an ecology center, trails and waterfalls, and a suspension bridge. Built more than 100 years ago, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is 50 metres high. Besides its mesmerizing landscape, Lynn Canyon Park’s entrance is free and a great place if you want to learn about North Vancouver’s ecosystem.
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Located in the heart of Vancouver, VanDusen Botanical Garden is a 55-acre botanical garden with more than 7,500 plant species. The advantage is that it is open all year round. So no matter the season, you can always go and walk around and enjoy a picnic outing. Along the way, you will find the Elizabethan hedge maze, local wildlife, patios to dine in, and the garden-themed gift shop.
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English Bay Beach, also called First Beach, is located along Beach Ave between Bidwell Street and Gilford Street. It is one of the most populated beach areas in the downtown area. The Stanley Park Seawall is located along the east side of the beach. Before the ongoing pandemic, one couldn’t even tell who was a tourist and who the local was, especially during summertime. If you have the opportunity to experience a sunset in English Bay, do it! You will not have any regrets.
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Vancouver has exceptional restaurants and dishes for you to try. Besides having great restaurants and dishes, Vancouver is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, which only means that whatever the style of cuisine you are craving, you will most likely find it here. With so many choices to choose from and only so much stomach space, it will probably take you a long time to enjoy all of the good restaurants in Vancouver.
The top 6 must-eat Vancouver foods recommended by locals are:
• Holy Trinity from Phnom Penh
• Creampuffs from Beta5 Chocolates
• Ice Cream from Earnest and Elephant Garden Creamery
• Salmon Oshi Aburi Sushi from Miku or Minami
• Tojo Roll (California roll) from Tojo’s
• Fried Chicken from LA Chicken, Wu Fung Dessert & The Frying Pan
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As soon as winter is around, nothing is more popular than hitting the slopes. During winter time, it’s normal for people to head to the nearby mountains for a day to ski or snowboard. Just a short drive from downtown Vancouver, many resorts are ideal for snowshoeing as well, along with trails depending on the skill level one might be at. It goes from beginner to advanced. The next 2 points, we will be talking about some ski resorts perfect for a day in the snow.
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Cypress Mountain Resort is Vancouver’s largest ski and snowboarding resort, located in the southern section of Cypress Provincial Park. The ski resort is 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. Whether you are looking to ski, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tubing, hiking, or even biking, Cypress Mountain is the destination for you. It is open all year-round with approximately 53 named alpine ski runs and 19km of cross-country trails.
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Grouse Mountain is a ski resort located in North Vancouver, just 15 minutes from downtown. It’s open all year-round. During the summer, one can enjoy various activities such as the Birds in Motion demonstrations, the World Famous Lumberjack Show, visiting the Grizzly bears, and more. During the winter, one can enjoy activities including skiing and snowboarding, the outdoor skating pond, snowshoeing, the impressive light installations on the Light Walk, and more.**
**Activities might be subject to change due to the ongoing pandemic.
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Held near Bridgeport Station of the Canada Line and next to River Rock Casino Resort, the Richmond Night Market is a night market that is usually during summertime. More than 50% of Richmond’s population is of Asian descent. Therefore, Richmond Night Market gives everyone a chance to experience the all-night shopping spectacle seen across Asia. You will be able to experience a cross-section of cuisine and cultures (more than 100 food stands and more than 200 retail outlets).
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As you drive up the Sea-to-Sky highway, you will find the Sea-to-Sky Gondola, which is one of the most exciting and newest attractions in Vancouver. It is a 45-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. The Sea-to-Sky Gondola hovers over Howe Sound. It is a 10-minute gondola ride that will take you up and allow you to see some of the most breathtaking views that Vancouver has to offer. In the surrounding areas, you will be able to find cafes, hiking trails, lodges, and a suspension bridge.