All of my Alaska cruise clients ask me if it’s worth adding an extra day onto a cruise to visit Vancouver. O Canada! Yes, indeed it is. Vancouver, BC is a fantastic coastal seaport city set against an amazing backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Add two days if you can, there’s so much to see and do.
First stop, the Vancouver Seawall, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. Walk it, run it, bike it. Just don’t segway (that’s so American).
The city is a great craft beer destination with a number of microbrew tasting rooms downtown. If that’s of interest, make sure to check out Joyce Chua’s article in Vancouver Foodie Tours.
Save room for some amazing local seafood: wild British Columbian salmon, lingcod and local oysters. The city also has a number of highly-rated sushi and sashimi restaurants. Again, Joyce Chua has done the homework for us and has pulled together a great list of the best restaurants in Vancouver.
Explore Stanley Park – a 1,000 acre forested park surrounded on three sides by water with miles of trails, beautiful beaches and a number of landmarks.
Drive north of downtown to walk across the 460 foot long Capilano suspension bridge strung 230 feet above the Capilano River.
Stay in the Granville Island neighborhood to be near shopping, the (foodie-fave) Public Market, art galleries and artist studios.
Head down to the Vancouver Harbor to mull over whether to rent a kayak or go for an afternoon sail or whale watch.
The Vancouver Art Gallery has a number of exhibits and art from the First Nations as well as the Asia Pacific region.
A visit to the VanDusen Botanical Garden or the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden are both highly rated, but if you can spare a second day, take a ferry out to Vancouver Island near Victoria to visit the superior Butchart Gardens – a world heritage site with 55 acres of breathtaking gardens. (Vancouver Island is worthy of its own blog post. I’ll add that to my to-do list).
Take a look at the entertainment calendars to see who’s performing at the Orpheum Theatre while you’re in town – a stunning venue built in 1927. Other cool downtown spots (with some real history and style) to catch live music include the Fabulous Commodore Ballroom and the Vogue Theatre.
Download one of AAA’s International Travel Destination Guides for Vancouver for even more helpful tips on what to see and do in this lovely city.