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One day in Vancouver itinerary (3 samples + map for 2024)

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Looking for the perfect one day in Vancouver itinerary? We’ve got you covered. Vancouver is a coastal city in southwestern British Columbia and is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life. 

Explore Vancouver in a day – North America Canada

The scenic beauty of Vancouver’s location between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean is undeniable. With its abundant parks, green space, and outdoor activities, Vancouver is an ideal place to live and visit. 

Add in a thriving arts and cultural scene, and it’s easy to see why Vancouver is one of Canada’s most popular destinations; hence, deciding how to spend the perfect 24 hours there is not an easy feat, and its hard not to see why.

One Day in Vancouver itinerary: Explore Vancouver in a day

One day in Vancouver itinerary pin

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Things to do in Vancouver in a day: One day in Vancouver itinerary

  • Breakfast at the Templeton, Granville Island
  • Head to Stanley Park
  • Viist Vancouver Aquarium
  • Hang out at the Granville Island
  • Wander Chinatown and visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s Classical Chinese Garden
  • Soak in the views from Vancouver Lookout
  • Check off the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
  • Grab dinner and drinks in Gastown

Alternate Vancouver one day itinerary (Downtown Vancouver Attractions) 

  • Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Canada Place and FlyOver Canada
  • Seaplane ride over the city 
  • Enjoy lunch by the waterfront and walk to Stanley Park
  • Stop and take a picture at the Gastown Steam Clock
  • Walk to Robson Street and shop
  • Vancouver Lookout for views and Happy Hour
  • Granville Island for dinner 
Beautiful downtown Vancouver

Read: Vancouver bucket list | Visiting Vancouver in winter

Before we begin, we would like to remind you that with just one day in Vancouver, you will have to do a lot of walking, with the occasional Uber or bus ride, to save precious minutes of your travel time.

An alternate option is to ride the hop-on and hop-off bus and then get down at your favorite spots. On our first trip to Vancouver, this is precisely what we did, and it just made navigation easier.

Vancouver Airport
Vancouver International Airport

Living in Alberta, we now travel to Vancouver often and keep adding to our sightseeing experiences in BC. 

Vancouver has a good and appealing transport system in Vancouver Translink in which fares are valid for 90 minutes so that one can get across parts of the town without paying double.

Vancouver public transportation
Vancouver public transportation

Moreover, the city is built on a grid system which makes navigation very easy.

You can also use public transportation or book a private transfer to get downtown from YVR Airport.

YVR Vancouver Airport
YVR Vancouver Airport

Of course, there will be several breaks for food and shopping to slow down the pace and rest your weary legs. So, without any further ado, let’s get going.

1. Start at The Templeton for breakfast (08:30 to 09:30 am)

There is no better way to begin your one-day Vancouver itinerary than with a hearty breakfast to fuel up for the morning.

The highly recommended Templeton has a prime location in Granville Row, close to many popular attractions. This outlet is known for its friendly service and extensive breakfast spreads such as the Big Ass Breakfast ($15.99) or the Farmers Breakfast ($12.99).

  • Address: The Templeton, 1087 Granville St
  • Hours: Opens at 8:30 am

2. Head to Stanley Park (09:30 to 11:00 am)

Take the Skytrain from Granville station ($3), bringing you to Stanley Park in about four minutes.

Stanley Park in winter
Stanley Park in the winter

Exploring this vast urban park will take up an entire day on foot, so consider renting a bike to cycle around the Stanley Park Seawall, a picturesque 5.5 km loop trail.

Some exciting spots you will pass by are Prospect Point (excellent for photos of the harbor and the lighthouse) and English Bay, a family-friendly beach further down. 

View from the Prospect Point (lookout)
View from the Prospect Point (lookout)

Finally, you will reach the most unmissable attraction, the First Nations Totem Poles, which give an insight into the history of the Salish tribes who resided here for centuries. 

While admission to the park is free, expect to shell out as much as $30 per hour for renting a bike.

3. Visit the Vancouver Aquarium (11:00 to 11:45 am)

Whether you ride the Seawall or not, you must visit the 9000 sq m Vancouver Aquarium inside the park to see the diverse range of marine life.

Dolphin performing an incredible jump in the Vancouver Aquarium
Dolphin performing an incredible jump in the Vancouver Aquarium

Make sure to visit Penguin Point to see the penguins and Treasures of the BC Coast for spotting sea urchins and octopuses, among others.

There is an impressive Amazon Rainforest section where you can spot the various rainforest creatures as if they were in their natural habitat. Spend at least an hour here before moving on.

  • Address: 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2
  • Hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Admission: CAD 37.95 – CAD 49.95 (Tickets are timed, and prices vary day to day. You should plan to lock in a particular price for your visit date)

4. Hang out at the Granville Island (12:00 to 3:00 pm)

A three-minute ride by taxi ($10) will bring you to Granville Island, a place with a laid-back vibe and the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver.

Inside Granville Island
Inside Granville Island

The island is full of quaint bars, restaurants, specialty shops, and stalls selling some of the freshest produce possible at Granville Island Public Market.

For lunch, head to the Granville Island Brewing Company for something to munch on and sample as many as ten different brews on their beer flights.

Granville Island Brewing

Since you are already in Granville, hop on for a tour on the zodiac boat for the ultimate waterfront sightseeing tour. This 1.5-hour trip (CAD 75) will provide great views of the Vancouver city skyline, Coal Harbor, False Creek, and other important landmarks. 

The Granville bridge and granville island surroundings, looking north at the Vancouver skyline.
The Granville Bridge and Granville Island surroundings, looking north at the Vancouver skyline

Look for the seals and dolphins you will encounter near the coast.

You might like this tour: Guided market walking tour of Granville Island

5. Wander the Chinatown of Vancouver (3:00 to 4:00 pm)

It will take about 40 minutes to walk from Granville Island to Chinatown, but since time constraints are in place, just take a cab to drop you off via Burrard St in about five minutes ($10). 

Millenium Gate in Vancouver Chinatown
Millenium Gate in Vancouver Chinatown

With a large Asian population, there is always something buzzing in Chinatown, and it is a must-visit place on your one day itinerary to Vancouver.

One of the first things you see here will be the Millennium Gate, flanked by stone lions on either side. There are various shops here where you can buy a souvenir or two, but you must check out the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. 

Dr Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Sun Yat-Sen Garden in Vancouver: See Vancouver in a day

There is an admission fee of $70, but it is worth it as the grounds are full of pagodas, plants, and koi ponds. The gardens are open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm (Monday, and Tuesday closed).

  • Address: 578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2
  • Hours: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
  • Admission: CAD 70

6. Soak in views from the Vancouver Lookout (04:00 to 5:00 pm)

Next, head to the Vancouver Lookout for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. This 553-foot observation deck sits on the 55th floor of the Harbor Center building and is within walking distance of Chinatown.

Vancouver Lookout
Vancouver Lookout

But did you know that besides being a popular tourist attraction during the day, it also offers an unbeatable experience during sunset?

Time your visit to see the stunning sunset views of the North Shore Mountains. If you are lucky, you can glimpse Vancouver Island off the Pacific coast. 

Vancouver Canada City Downtown with Stanley Park and Grouse Mountain Scenic View from the Lookout
Vancouver City Downtown with Stanley Park and Grouse Mountain Scenic View from the Lookout
  • Address: 555, W Hastings St
  • Hours: Daily 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (Oct-May) | 8.30 am to 10:30 pm (June-Sep)
  • Admission: Adults: CAD 13.50 | Child: CAD 9.60

Note that tickets for the lookout are valid for multiple entries for the day of issue. Visitors should use this to re-enter when the views are good or to see the sunset.

7. Check off the Capilano Suspension Bridge (5:00 to 7:00 pm)

After descending from the lookout, head northwest through Seymour St and past Marine Dr by cab to reach the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Fall in north Vancouver
Fall in North Vancouver, Capilano Suspension Bridge

You can spend a whole day here easily, but two hours is the minimum, we recommend. 

If you are an adrenaline junkie, this 450′ long Capilano Suspension Bridge is ideal for extreme adventures and an excellent way to get a canopy view of the forest below through the thrilling Cliffwalk. 

Capilano Bridge Things to do in Vancouver in winter
Capilano Bridge Vancouver in winter

While you are there, check out the Story Center to learn about the First Nations tribes and their traditional totem poles.

Girl at the Capilano Bridge Park in one day in Vancouver
Totem poles at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
  • Address: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1
  • Hours: Daily: 9:00 am-7:00 pm (hours subject to change)
  • Admission: Online rates are $3 cheaper. Book it here
  • Adults (18-64): $ 62.95 CAD | Senior 65+:    $57.95 CAD | Student: $49.95 CAD | Child (6-17): $24.95 CAD

You might like this combo ticket: Floatplane and Capilano Suspension Bridge tickets

8. Grab dinner and drinks in Gastown (after 07:30 pm)

Head back from the bridge park via the lookout to the Gastown neighborhood, one of the most lively spots in Vancouver and an ideal place to chill for a couple of hours. 

Steam Clock Gastown in winter

After taking selfies at the iconic Gastown Steam Clock, grab a table at Guilt&Co for a well-earned cocktail and live music.

You might like this tour: Lost Souls of Gastown walking tour (2 hours)

Gastown is full of vibrant cafes, clubs, and restaurants and is a fun place after dark.

You can go bar-hopping here but must stop at the Royal Dinette to enjoy a drink served by an award-winning bartender of the world, Kaitlyn Stewart. Or just chill out with an ice cream.

Since certain parts overlap with Chinatown, this is always a happening place.

Vancouver one day itinerary sightseeing maps

Click to view the full map with locations + 3 itinerary samples

Alternate One day Vancouver itinerary (in and around Vancouver downtown)

Here is an alternate one-day in Vancouver itinerary focused on downtown attractions. This is perfect if you are visiting Vancouver for consulate or visa purposes (which we often have from Saskatoon and Edmonton to get a Schengen visa, a long visa for Portugal, etc.). 

Vancouver skyline
Vancouver downtown views

From the Vancouver International Airport, ride the SkyTrain and arrive at the Vancouver City Centre station. 

1. Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art Gallery is just a few steps from the City Centre train station and a must-visit destination for art lovers and culture enthusiasts. Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this iconic gallery showcases an impressive collection of contemporary and historical art from around the world.

Founded in 1931, the Vancouver City Art Gallery has been a hub for artistic expression and education for almost a century. During a strike, unemployed protesters occupied the gallery building in the 1930s, but they didn’t damage the paintings and other exhibits inside. 

Vancouver Art Gallery complex
Vancouver Art Gallery complex

The gallery’s permanent collection includes over 11,000 artworks, from paintings and sculptures to photographs and installations. They also host annual temporary exhibitions featuring works by established and emerging artists. 

The architecture of the Vancouver City Art Gallery is also a sight to behold. Renowned architect Arthur Erickson designed the iconic building with a unique mix of modernist and brutalist elements. Its grand and spacious galleries provide the perfect backdrop for displaying art, creating a memorable experience for visitors.

After exploring the gallery, stop by the 1931 Gallery Bistro for a bite to eat or visit the Gallery Store to take home a piece of art-inspired merchandise. Don’t forget to snap a photo before “The Lions,” two iconic lion statues at the gallery entrance, symbolizing the city’s strength and pride in its artistic community.

  • Address: 750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7
  • Hours: Saturday to Monday, Wednesday 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Tuesdays closed. Thursday and Friday 10:00 am-08:00 pm
  • Admission: CAD 18 to 24 adult

2. Canada Place and FlyOver Canada

One of the most famous sights of Vancouver is the distinctive sails of Canada Place, home to two convention centers of the city, as well as the cruise ship and seaplane terminals, the Olympic Cauldron, and the FlyOver Canada attraction.

Canada Place Vancouver bucket list
Canada Place

It is an iconic landmark in the coastal seaport city of Vancouver, British Columbia. You can also take in surreal views of the North Shore Mountains, Lions Gate Bridge, and the busy port of Vancouver.

The structure was built in 1986 for the Expo ’86 World Fair and has become one of Canada’s most recognizable and visited landmarks. 

Canada Place building
Canada Place buiding

The design of Canada Place was inspired by Canadian heritage and features a distinctive white sail-like roof that stretches over five acres. It serves as a symbol of the country’s maritime history and its significance as a trade hub.

You must visit the place for a quick 20-minute FlyOver experience – a virtual flight that takes you on a breathtaking journey through Canada’s most iconic landscapes.

The building complex also houses the Pan Pacific Hotel, which provides luxurious accommodations and stunning views of the city skyline and harbor. 

3. Seaplane ride over the city 

Head out of Canada Place and wander by the waterfront – soak in the views or pose for a photo! 

Vancouver Seaplane tours
Vancouver Seaplane tours

From the waterfront, visit the Harbour Airport. To get a different perspective of Vancouver, opt for a seaplane tour that departs from the seaplane terminal near Stanley Park for a 20-minute loop ride over the city. 

Vancouver Port for seaplanes

Apart from breathtaking views of the city and Canada Place, you will also catch a good glimpse of the North Shore Mountains before landing at the Vancouver Convention Center. 

If you are wondering about a unique activity in Vancouver, this is it.

Price: $500 for up to two. Book it here

4. Enjoy lunch by the waterfront and walk to the Stanley Park

Vancouver has a beautiful waterfront where you can enjoy a delicious lunch. Many restaurants serve fresh seafood and offer stunning views of the ocean. You can also stroll along the seawall, one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions.

Waterfront view and lunch in Vancouver

Vancouver is known for its diverse food scene, and lunch by the waterfront is no exception. You can choose from various cuisines, including Japanese, Italian, and the famous West Coast seafood. 

Aside from delicious food, lunch by the waterfront also offers incredible views of the city’s skyline and mountains. The ocean breeze and scenic landscape create a perfect ambiance for a relaxing meal. Many restaurants have outdoor seating options, allowing you to take in the sights and sounds of the waterfront while enjoying your dinner.

Lions Gate Bridge Entrance in Vancouver BC Canada
Lions Gate Bridge Entrance in Vancouver, BC Canada

After lunch, take a leisurely walk along the seawall. The seawall is an uninterrupted 28-kilometer (17.39 miles) path around Vancouver’s coastline. It offers breathtaking ocean views, parks, and iconic landmarks such as the Lions Gate Bridge and Stanley Park. 

You can also rent a bike and explore the seawall at your own pace.

5. Stop and take a picture at the Gastown Steam Clock

Next, wander around and head to the Gastown Steam Clock. It is a popular tourist attraction in Vancouver, located at the corner of Cambie and Water Street in the historic Gastown neighborhood.

Gastown Steam Clock, Vancouver BC
Gastown Steam Clock, Vancouver BC

The historic Steam Clock was built in 1977 by Raymond Saunders, an eccentric horologist (clockmaker) who combined his love for steam engines and clocks to create this unique timepiece. Initially built to cover up a steam vent used for the city’s underground heating system, it quickly became a beloved landmark.

Visiting the Gastown Steam Clock is free and open to the public. It is a popular photo stop; people usually crowd around the structure, waiting for its hourly whistle. 

You may like this tour: Gastown foodie walking tour

6. Walk to Robson Street and shop

If you’re a shopaholic, Vancouver’s Robson Street is your place! This bustling street in downtown Vancouver is home to some of the best shopping experiences in Canada. 

With big-name brands like Burberry, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, you can find the latest styles and trends on this street. And remember to stop by Holt Renfrew, one of Canada’s most iconic department stores. My favorite store is Lululemon, and I love to shop there!

For a more unique and personalized shopping experience, Robson Street also offers a variety of locally owned boutiques. These small shops feature handcrafted items from local designers, showcasing Vancouver’s vibrant arts and culture scene. You can find everything from clothing and accessories to home decor and gifts in these charming stores.

Besides shopping, you will love to wander around as the street is lined with beautiful trees and flower baskets, making for a picturesque stroll while you shop. Plus, the energy of the street is contagious, with musicians and performers often adding to the lively atmosphere.

7. Vancouver Lookout for views and Happy Hour

Watching the sunset from the Vancouver Lookout is a must-do activity for locals and tourists alike. As the sun dips below the mountains, painting the sky in vibrant hues of orange and pink, you’ll witness a magical transformation of the cityscape. 

Vancouver Lookout

Ride up the glass elevator of this 553-foot observation deck to take 360 ° views of the surrounding areas.

But the Vancouver Lookout is about more than just the views. You can sip on handcrafted cocktails during Happy Hours while enjoying the city’s stunning sights as the sun sets in the background.

From 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily (served till 04:15 pm), you can get discounted drinks and appetizers at the Top Of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant. 

8. Granville Island for dinner 

After a long day of sightseeing, you’ll need to refuel and relax. Head to the Granville Island for some dinner. Here, you will find plenty of options for dining and unwinding. 

From upscale restaurants to trendy cafes, there’s something for every taste bud. You can indulge in fresh seafood, juicy steaks, and other delectable dishes while watching the night lights come to life.

Whale watching – a perfect alternative

Vancouver is considered a prime destination for watching whales in British Columbia. 

If whale watching is on your bucket list, plan to spend 5+ hours on your Vancouver itinerary.

Orca Whale Watching

On a day tour, you can see the resident orcas swimming in their natural habitat against the backdrop of the snow-capped mountains in the distance. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

There are different types of tours, but the orca tour from Granville Island is the most convenient. Your second tour is free if you don’t spot one by chance.

Read: 3 days in Vancouver itinerary

Vancouver layover Itinerary (less than 24 hours): Things to do in Vancouver by night 

Vancouver International Airport is a popular hub for West Coast flyers from the Prairies of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the NWT. 

Downtown Vancouver
Downtown Vancouver

We stop in Vancouver or Toronto whenever we fly to India, New York City, or Europe. If you are on a layover in the city or want to enjoy yourself till the wee hours of your only night in Vancouver, then you may consider the following activities:

Sunset Dinner Cruises

Enjoy a romantic sunset dinner cruise, where you can savor a delectable meal while captivated by breathtaking views of Vancouver’s skyline and the shimmering waters. Immerse yourself in the serene ambiance as the sun sets and paints the sky with vibrant hues.

Sunsets in Vancouver

3-Hour Bowen Island Boat Cruise with Dinner

Join a delightful 3-hour Bowen Island boat cruise with dinner, where you can revel in the scenic beauty of the surrounding islands and coastline. Feast on a sumptuous meal while cruising along the crystal-clear waters, creating unforgettable memories.

Bowen Island can also be explored on a day trip (more details below).

Watch a movie at the 1930s Rio Theatre

Step back in time and relish the nostalgic charm of the 1930s Rio Theatre while watching a captivating movie. Immerse yourself in this historic venue’s unique ambiance and architectural beauty, adding a touch of magic to your cinematic experience.

Outdoor movies at Stanley Park during the summers

During the summer, delight in the outdoor movies held at Stanley Park. Set against the backdrop of nature’s beauty, enjoy a cinematic adventure under the stars, surrounded by lush greenery and the soothing sounds of the park.

Night skiing during winter

Embrace the thrill of night skiing during the winter season. For this activity, you must get to Cypress or Grouse Mountain from Vancouver, so we only recommend this if you have additional time on your layover.

You can experience skiing under the starry sky and see the Vancity lights on a clear day. 

Live music performances at the Commodore Ballroom or Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Book a live music show at renowned venues such as the Commodore Ballroom or Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver at night. 

Richmond Night Market, a busy summer food market

Dive into the bustling atmosphere of the Richmond Night Market, a popular summer food market offering an array of delicious culinary delights from diverse cultures. 

Richmond night market
Since 2000, the Richmond Night Market has grown into the largest Night Market in North America, attracting over 1 million visitors per year.

Go partying on Granville Island

Experience the vibrant nightlife of Granville Island by partying and exploring its lively atmosphere. You will find a plethora of bars, pubs, and clubs where you can dance the night away and make unforgettable memories with friends.

Watch a soccer game at BC Place

Immerse yourself in the electrifying atmosphere of a soccer game at BC Place. Feel the crowd’s energy, cheer for your favorite team, and witness the passion and excitement of the beautiful game in this iconic stadium.

Visit the weekend night market at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver

Discover the vibrant weekend night market at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. This bustling market welcomes you to a world of sights, sounds, and flavors as you explore the stalls, indulge in delectable street food, and uncover unique treasures crafted by local artisans.

Day trips from Vancouver, BC

If you extend your itinerary beyond a day in Vancouver, you may add one or more of the following day trips. Some of these places can be added as a half-day tour from Vancity as well, and we suggest opting for a guided excursion in such a case – a seaplane ride to Victoria from Vancouver and back will be the perfect example. 

Here are some of our favorite day trips that are easily accessible from Vancouver

1. Grouse Mountain 

Head to north Vancouver, and once there, take a left from Capilano Rd till you reach the base of the Grouse Mountain. Take the Red Skyride up to the top for views worthy of travel guides. 

Photo of Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, BC, Canada
Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver, BC, Canada

There is plenty to do here as a Grouse Mountain visit is a half-day activity. Popular activities include skiing, zip lining, and hiking. Not into outdoor activities, enjoy a gondola for stunning views of the city and surrounding areas and activities like skiing, zip lining, and hiking.

Ensure you visit the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife to see the grizzly bears. If you feel your belly rumbling, grab a bite from the street cafes or choose an acceptable dining outlet.

  • Admission: Get tickets here
  • Adult (18-64). $69.00 CAD | Senior 65+.CAD 59.00 | Youth (13-17).  $49.00 CAD | Child (5-12). $36.00 CAD | Family (2+2) $179.00 CAD
  • Hours: Open from 9:00 am to 9:30 pm

2. Victoria

Consider taking a ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island for a more extended day trip. This historic capital city boasts Victorian architecture, charming gardens, and delicious seafood restaurants.

Take advantage of top attractions like Butchart Gardens, the Royal BC Museum, and Craigdarroch Castle.

When short on time, consider this seaplane tour that includes round-trip transportation.

Victoria Harbour Airport is located right at the centre. You can easily walk to attractions such as the Fairmont Express Hotel (for afternoon tea) and Royal BC Museum, take a water taxi to Fisherman’s Wharf and then take a whale watching tour. 

If you prefer a complete day tour, here is a good option that includes round-trip bus and ferry tickets with a local guide below.

Read: One day in Victoria itinerary

3. Whistler

Located about a two-hour drive from Vancouver, Whistler is known for its world-class ski resorts and stunning mountain views. However, even if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, Whistler has plenty to offer year-round. 

In Whistler in summer, you can take advantage of activities like hiking, biking, and ziplining. And no matter what season you visit, take advantage of the picturesque Peak 2 Peak Gondola ride, which offers panoramic views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. 

You can also set aside time for 1-2 hour hikes in and around Whistler town. Our favorite one is the Whistler Train Wreck Trail. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can try mountain biking. 

Girl at the Whistler train wreck hike

Whistler Village is filled with cute cafes and amazing restaurants, making it the perfect place to grab a bite after a day of outdoor adventures. 

Book: Book this day tour from Vancouver to Whistler

4. Squamish 

Just north of Vancouver lies the charming town of Squamish. This outdoor lover’s paradise is a perfect day trip destination for those exploring nature. Some popular activities in Squamish include hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. 

For a unique experience, ride the ten-minute scenic Sea to Sky Gondola to the Summit Lodge and soak in spectacular views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountains.

5. Bowen Island

For a more low-key day trip, head to Bowen Island, just a short ferry ride from Vancouver. This quaint island is known for its picturesque harbors, quiet beaches, and charming cafes. 

The outdoors offers a plethora of activities for nature enthusiasts. You can explore scenic hiking trails, enjoy leisurely walks, or embark on thrilling road and mountain biking adventures. Take to the water with kayaking and paddleboarding, or indulge in a refreshing swim. 

You can participate in yoga sessions on the pier during the summer, stroll along the boardwalk at Snug Cove, or hike up to Dorman Point for stunning views of Howe Sound.

6. Golden Ears Provincial Park

For an off-the-beaten-path day trip, head out to Golden Ears Provincial Park. This beautiful park is one of the largest in the province, and it takes about an hour to get there by car. 

The park offers hiking trails for all levels, stunning waterfalls, and camping options for staying overnight. It’s the perfect place to disconnect and recharge in the great outdoors.

Where to stay for a day in Vancouver?

Choosing the right neighborhood within your budget can be daunting because each place has charm. You can, however, get a reasonable idea by studying these best places to drop dead for one night in Vancouver:

  • English Bay: Waterfront location
  • Downtown: In the heart of the actions (aka attractions)
  • Davie Village: LGBTQ+ community
  • Granville Island: Foodie destination 
  • Kitsilano: Beach hotels 

Some hotels you can consider are:

  • Moda Hotel (under $300): This hotel is located on Seymour Street, an excellent location. The staff is also helpful, and the rooms have all modern amenities. Check availability here.
  • Samesun Vancouver ($50-$150 with complimentary breakfast and WiFi): Samesun Vancouver is centrally located near the Skytrain station and is hardly a fifteen-minute walk from BC Place Stadium. The property is surrounded by clubs, shops, and restaurants, which makes the hotel atmosphere very colorful. Book your stay here.
  • The Cambie ($80+ free WiFi): A typical backpacker’s hostel, The Cambie is situated bang in the middle of Gastown in a bit old and shoddy heritage building—a well-priced hostel enjoying an excellent location. Rooms are basic, with bunk beds and shared bathrooms, but since Vancouver is a costly city, the place is okay for just a night’s stay. Click to view photos and room options.

Read: The best Airbnbs in Vancouver for an epic stay

Additional Vancouver travel tips

Vancouver is a beautiful and multicultural city. The city also offers a great selection of shopping, dining, and nightlife options. Whether you are looking for a relaxing vacation or an action-packed getaway, Vancouver has something for everyone.

Lions Gate Vancouver at night

When visiting Vancouver, pack your rain gear, as the city experiences a lot of rainfall throughout the year. The best time to visit is during the summer when the weather is warm and dry. 

If you want to save money on accommodations, consider staying in one of the city’s many hostels or Airbnbs. Stay around Burrard or Robson Street for standard accommodation. For a tight budget, stay in the West End.

Vancouver is a safe city with very low incidents of violent crime. However, if you leave any item unattended, even for a minute, it is likely to get stolen. Car breaking is also frequent, so keep all valuables in the car. Plus, be sure to take precautions when walking around at night. 

Vancouver Bucket list Gastown Steam Clock
Explore free attractions in Vancouver if traveling on a budget.

Vancouver is tiny, and from one corner to another takes forty minutes by walk. This means everything is within 20 minutes of the city center.

Plan to leave aside 120 CAD per day on your one-day vacation to Vancouver. This assumes you are staying in a hostel, cooking all your meals, using public transport, and limiting your drinking. 

Views of Vancouver Downtown

On a mid-range budget of 240 CAD, you can stay in Airbnb, eat out at fast food places, hire the occasional taxi, go whale watching, or ride the gondola. 

There are over 550 free VanWifi spots in the city, so enjoy free internet and save on roaming charges.

What’s the best month to visit Vancouver?

Vancouver is a popular tourist destination in Canada, known for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant city life. While each season has its unique charm, certain months offer the best experience to visitors.

Spring (March-May)

Spring is a great time to visit Vancouver as the city comes alive with colorful flowers and festivals. The weather during this season is mild, with temperatures ranging from 10-15 degrees Celsius. This makes it perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and sightseeing. 

Vancouver Cherry Blossom
Vancouver Cherry Blossom

Some must-visit places during spring include the famous Cherry Blossom Festival at Queen Elizabeth Park, the Vancouver International Children’s Festival, and the Abbotsford Tulip Festival.

Summer (June – August)

Summer is peak tourist season in Vancouver, with warm and sunny days making it ideal for outdoor adventures. Temperatures during this time range from 20-25 degrees Celsius, perfect for spending a day at the beach or exploring Stanley Park. 

The city also hosts several summer festivals, including the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Celebration of Light fireworks competition.

Fall (September – November)

Fall is a beautiful time to visit Vancouver as the city’s landscape transforms into a stunning mix of red, orange, and yellow hues. The weather during this season is mild, with temperatures ranging from 10-15 degrees Celsius. 

You can enjoy scenic drives along the Sea-to-Sky Highway, a whale watching tour, or hikes in and around the city.

Winter (December – February)

While Vancouver is known for its mild climate, winter brings cooler temperatures and occasional snowfall. This makes it an ideal time for skiing and snowboarding at the nearby Whistler Blackcomb ski resort.

Vancouver downtown
Vancouver downtown in winter

The city hosts several holiday events, including the Vancouver Christmas Market and the Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park.

Which is the best month to visit Vancouver? The answer depends on what you want to experience. If you’re a nature lover, spring or fall would be ideal for beautiful blooms and colorful foliage. For outdoor activities and festivals, summer would be a great choice.

Check seasonal events on the tourism site here

What is the best way to explore Vancouver?

The best way to explore Vancouver is by walking and using public transportation as you plan your one-day itinerary.

Downtown Vancouver Street Views
Downtown Vancouver Street Views: Walking is one of the best ways to explore
  1. Walk or bike: One of the best ways to explore Vancouver is on foot or by bicycle. The city is known for its walkability and bike-friendly infrastructure, making it easy and enjoyable to get around on two feet or wheels. You can stroll along the seawall, which offers breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains, or rent a bike and explore the various neighborhoods and parks at your own pace.
  2. Use public transportation: Vancouver also has a reliable and efficient public transportation system if you prefer to avoid walking or biking. The SkyTrain, bus, and ferry services can take you to all the main attractions and landmarks in the city. You can purchase single fares or opt for a day pass if you use public transportation frequently.
  3. Take a guided tour: To get a more in-depth and informative experience, consider taking a guided tour of Vancouver. Various options are available, from walking to bus and even boat tours. This is what we did when we first explored Vancouver in 2017. 

A car is not required to explore Vancouver, and avoiding it for a short trip is best. If needed, hail an Uber to get around.

How many days in Vancouver is enough? Is one day in Vancouver enough?

One day is great for exploring the prime downtown attractions in Vancouver. For a well-rounded experience, spend at least 2 to 3 days in the beautiful coastal city of British Columbia. This will allow you to explore downtown museums and shopping hit popular restaurants, and then set aside a day for hikes and walks in and around the city. 

Lions Gate Bridge from Prospect Point Lookout in winter
Lions Gate Bridge from Prospect Point Lookout in winter

To make the most of your trip, consider your interests. If you are a nature lover, you should spend extra days exploring the city’s many parks and outdoor spaces. On the other hand, if you’re more of a city person, you may prefer to focus on Vancouver’s urban attractions, such as museums and restaurants.

In addition, the time of year can also affect how many days you should spend in Vancouver. The city experiences four distinct seasons, each offering its own unique activities and events. For example, if you’re visiting during summer, you may want to take advantage of the warmer weather and spend more time outdoors.

Waterfront in Vancouver

Another critical factor to consider is your budget. Vancouver can be expensive, so it’s essential to plan accordingly. If you have a limited budget, you should spend fewer days in the city and focus on more affordable activities.

On the other hand, if your budget allows, you can extend your stay and splurge on some of Vancouver’s luxurious experiences.

Girl at the Capilano Bridge Vancouver 3 day itinerary
Signing off from Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver

We hope these itineraries have increased your admiration for Vancouver. While spending just one day barely does enough justice to this beautiful city, at least it is a teaser.

Read other British Columbia travel guides:

Pin: Vancouver 1 day itinerary with sightseeing map

One day in Vancouver itinerary pin

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