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2 weeks in Vancouver, any tips?

Travel Forums North America 2 weeks in Vancouver, any tips?

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1. Posted by wheeelo (First Time Poster 1 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

we're heading to Canada in August, flying in and out of Vancouver, we plan on staying a few days in Vancouver and then might rent a car to head up or down the coast. Does anyone have any tips on where to go and sights worth seeing?

Cailin Maith

2. Posted by Buzzcock (Full Member 178 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

At the risk of stating the obvious, spend at least a couple of days in Victoria and if you've never been whale watching before cost it in to your itinerary (at about $100 each).

3. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Yes, Buzzcock is correct--Victoria (on Vancouver island) is a "must" see. Also, plan on visiting Butchart Gardens while on Vancouver Island. I suggest you go visit Grouse Mountain if you are there in the summer--and go north to see Whistler if there in the winter.

Another few things to do are to go over to Jasper (on the British Columbia/Alberta border) and to take the ferry out of Victoria through the San Juan Islands (in the state of Washington in the US), and then to go south and visit the Seattle area which is quite beautiful and has lots to visit. You can check out threads on Seattle here on Travellerspoint if you need more info on that city.


4. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

In Vancouver itself, the shopping district near downtown is the best and has lots of small coffee shop places--and there is an events center in the center of town that is surrounded by very unusual looking silver-colored high-rises. Vancouver probably looks more like a space-age town than anyplace in the world for this reason. (and makes it look very similar to the large cities in Brazil for this reason, also).

5. Posted by Piecar (Travel Guru 1030 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

My cheap tip is to take the ferry to Bowen Island with your car and drive around there. The trip is farking gorgeous and pretty cheap and is like a boat tour and a transport at the same time. It leaves out of Horseshoe Bay, across the Lion's Gate from Van, and is easy to get to. Just follow highway one, and you'll most likely ACCIDENTALLY find Horseshoe Bay.... Bowen island is both a town and an island....Nice little community. Home of such crappy movies as "The Fog" and "Wicker Man" The drive around it is nice...Stop in at the pub and have a pint...or at the coffee shop and talk to the owner about how he got out of the movies all together.

Also, take a drive PAST Horseshoe Bay up the Sea To Sky highway to Whistler...or, shorter to Squamish....I swear, it is a gorgeous drive...and the trip is FAAAARRRR more important than the destination. You'll want to stop every twenty five seconds to take a picture.

Go to the foot of Grouse Mountain and take the Gondola up to the top and you have yet more nature and a beautiful view of the Lower Mainland.

Do NOT pay to take the Capilano Suspension Bridge! That cut is beautiful...but you can go two minutes farther and see a sign leading to a placed called Fish Hatchery....Take that exit, and you get all the same views and easy hikes for free....
Beware, the turn is somewhat unwieldy.

Drive, again on the North Shore, and go east to Deep Cove. Rent a canoe or kayak and take a paddle up the mostly flat Indian Arm. Buy overpriced baby clothes. (There are like three fucking stores of overpriced baby clothes....I guess it's where the rich go to whelp.)

Nat Bailey Stadium and good old fashioned Single A ball.



6. Posted by Buzzcock (Full Member 178 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Piecar

Do NOT pay to take the Capilano Suspension Bridge! That cut is beautiful...but you can go two minutes farther and see a sign leading to a placed called Fish Hatchery....Take that exit, and you get all the same views and easy hikes for free....
Beware, the turn is somewhat unwieldy.

Agreed, the Capilano Bridge is definitely an overpriced tourist trap. Lynn Canyon Park, also to the north of the city has a rope bridge which is free to use and just as good. If you are on a budget you could stay at either of the main youth hostels where there is a sprightly old Danish bloke called Erik who does cheap guided tours of the city, including the above park. Grouse Mountain is worth going to if you've never seen a grizzly bear before (I hadn't) as there are two orphaned bears who live there and who probably get fed up of being photographed. Be warned about Whistler that even in low season (May/June) it is expensive and you'll be lucky to find any double room for less than $100 a night.

7. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I have lived most of my life in Vancouver so I can add someting here:

1. I totally agree with Capilano Suspenson Bridge. Save your money and go to Lynn Caynon Park. Theres a small one there but just as good. Its off of Mountain Highway and at least you can go for a hike there. But south of Capilano is the fish hatchery. Its free and worth looking at alll the salmon going up the ladders.

2. In respect with Grouse Mountain. I agree that Grouse is a great place for pictures and to walk around. But that costs 30 dollars each. My suggestion is to drive to Cypres Bowl ( off of highway 1) and drive to the first vista point. Again its free and just as good as Grouse, but you need a car. Best time to go is sunset. The walking part, u can go all the way to the ski resort ( another 10 mins) and walk around there and pick some blueberries ( free

3. Bowen Island. Another good choice. But instead of driving the car onto the ferry, which isnt cheap, walk onto the ferry (9 dollars r/t i believe) and walk around town and then walk around crippen park/lake. I have done this many times.

4. Vancouver looking like a space age city is nonsense, nor does it look like a Brasilian city. I live in Brasil now and its farther from the truth, so dont be

5. I would also drive up to Whistler. Shannon Falls is on the way and is a great day trip.

6. Driving into the interior is also a great option. Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and even further is fantastic. No matter where u go is good. Go to the Okanogan, great lake district but will be HOT!

7. Seattle is ok after spending time in Vancouver. Theres no place like Vancouver!

8. Going to Vancouver Island is also a great choice. Butchard Gardens is a great place if youre female. Victoria is ok at best. Its nice but its for old people. driving up the coast to Nanaimo is fantastic. theres also a ferry terminal there back to West Van.

if you have any questions, especially about IN Vancouver, let me know.

have fun

8. Posted by rbyslipahs (Respected Member 349 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

If you're up for a bit of a splurge, Bucket of Fish has great seafood in a fun garden atrium-type setting. There's also a fantastic French bakery (cafe/patisserie) on Burrard Street, somewhere near Christ Church Cathedral (intersection at Georgia??, halfway down block). I didn't like croissants until I tried their heavenly almond croissants! I took several back with me. There's also a nice tea room on either Cordova or Hastings (maybe at about Abbott St.). I wish I could recall the name and location, but ask around, and you'll be sure to find it -- or I'm sure someone else on here knows the place!

There are some great sushi restaurants on Georgia about five to ten blocks NW from Burrard. Chinatown also has some good eats and sights. Some of my friends also liked the Museum of Anthropology.

And take a few minutes to check out the amazing and free view across the bay from the convention center. It's stunning.

Stanley Park is a beautiful place to walk out to and around. The aquarium is well worth seeing, but the road around the island/peninsula is beautiful enough to warrant a visit. I loved the entire city for how accessible most of the main area was on foot. If you feel like leaving the car in place for a bit and walking around, it's a good city for eats, sights, and stretching your legs.

Make sure you bring appropriate rain gear and clothing for it, though! The weather can turn in an instant. It will be nice one second, and the next, not just snowing, but pelting you with clumps of ice. Good waterproof boots are great on a longer walk out to Stanley. Can you tell this happened to me? It took my coat two days to dry completely. Fortunately, my walking companion and I had a good sense of humor about it and laughed most of the way (although she had to stop at a shoe store and get a new pair, as her only walking shoes were unwearable for a few days).

9. Posted by DaveinMD (Full Member 199 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I was going to mention the Lynn Canyon Bridge, it is really spectacular but be aware that it is very scary for those with a fear of heights. The running joke in the family is that my dad always takes visitors to the fish hatchery, even if they have no interest in the fish hatchery. I'm not one of them and really liked the place.

As mentined Victoria is a must see, the gardens specifically, but it can possibly be done on a day trip. Cal mentioned Jasper in the Rockies. It is a day drive just to get there but the drive from Banff to Jasper is one of the best drives of my life. Not sure you will have the time but you may want to consider it. We drove to just outside Jasper, spent the night in a cabin, then did the drive I just mentioned with a few stops (Peyto Lake, Lake Louise, the Ice Fields) then stopped at a beatiful spot called Emerald Lake on the way back. So it can all be done in under 3 days.

If you find this is too much time then go north, there is plenty to see up there. Visiting the ski resort, specifically Whistler, will be a great time.

[ Edit: Edited on 01-Jun-2009, at 11:14 by DaveinMD ]

10. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

There's some spectacularly bad advice here not sure where to start.

First off you can only drive 'Up the Coast' to Lund BC-after that it's rocks/trees/mountains/fjords and more of same.

If you're visiting the city there's no need for car at all-transit is cheap reliable and well organised.

My deepest scorn is reserved for the foolish suggestion to visit Bowen Island for a drive-Bowen Island is a distant suburb of West Vancouver that has been cut over/built up/and made into surburbs-an altogether unremarkable place.

If you're really interested in the place take the Water Taxi from Granville Island over and rent a Kayak for an afternoon-Howe Sound is a lovely place for a paddle.
Bowen Island Express
Bowen Island Kayaking

However Kayaking is only one of the many outdoor activities that Vancouver is famous for, you can go sailing @ Jericho Sailing Centre hiking in the local mountains Hiking info here Club Tread Here

Victoria is a nice little place-lots of 'shoppes' selling 'olde this and 'olde' that but there's so much more to see why waste you time fighting middle aged tourist hordes?

Vancouver Island is 300 miles long and 50 wide/has a mountain range down the middle and offers a world of options for visitors interested in the outdoors far too may to list here but if you're at all interested I'll post some links.

Also check your Private Messages