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What to do in Vancouver - Your Ultimate Guide

Vancouver lays claim to being one of Canada’s densest and most ethnically diverse cities, and it’s blessed with pleasant weather pretty much all year round.

If you’re planning to live and study there, good for you! Make full use of your study abroad experience by checking out some of the city’s unique sights and sounds.

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What to do in Vancouver

We’ve curated an itinerary that includes a good mix of historical buildings, natural attractions, and commercial areas, and we’ve ordered the items on the list in a sequence that’s easily walkable.

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Because you’ll be on your feet for most of the day, be sure to pack a pair of comfy walking shoes. You might want to get the TransLink Daypass, which gives you unlimited travel over Vancouver’s three zones for 24 hours.

#1: Stanley Park

Start off your day by taking a stroll in Stanley Park, which is home to an impressive 500 wildlife species, including bald eagles, beavers, bats and raccoons.

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Keep your eye out for the indigenous totem poles located within the park. These were created by the First Nations (the Aboriginal people of the Pacific Northwest) to commemorate their ancestors and significant events

#2: Granville Island Public Market

Next, make your way to Granville Island Public Market. This place houses an extensive array of stalls selling crafts, agricultural products, food and fresh produce, and it’s popular with both tourists and locals.

Once you’ve done your shopping, settle down for an early lunch. There are several bars, terraces, and waterfront restaurants in the area, so you’ll be spoilt for choice!

#3: Gastown

Gastown is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Vancouver, and it’s outfitted with charming brick buildings, vintage street lamps and old-school cobblestone streets.


At Gastown, you’ll find modern cocktail bars, stylish restaurants, and local boutiques and art galleries.

Treat yourself to a midday snack or a cocktail, and don’t forget to get a picture of the Gastown Steam Clock, which is one of the world’s only remaining steam clocks.

#4: Capilano Suspension Bridge

After all that eating, head to Capilano Suspension Bridge to walk it all off.

The bridge spans 137 metres, and it’s suspended 70 metres above the Capilano River, so it’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.

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Pro-tip: There’s a Capilano shuttle bus that will take you to the suspension bridge for free. Pick up points are at Library Square, Canada Place, Hyatt Hotel and Blue Horizon Hotel.

#5: Queen Elizabeth Park

Next on the itinerary is Queen Elizabeth Park, an absolutely stunning park that’s a hotspot for Canadian couples taking their wedding pictures.

At the highest point of the park, you’ll find a plaza which houses a courtyard of dancing fountains and a conservatory where you can ogle at 120 free-flying exotic birds and 500 exotic plants and flowers.

Once you’re done exploring the plaza, follow the winding paths down to the quarry gardens and the 1,500-tree arboretum.

#6: Robson Street

To end off your day with a spot of shopping, head to Robson Street, which is where all the high-end international brands are located.

If shopping’s not quite your thing, there are also plenty of restaurants and eateries in this area. We particularly like the quaint sidewalk cafes, where you can grab a bite and people-watch at the same time.

A Final Word On Covering Vancouver In A Day

While it’s possible to cover Vancouver in a day, you’ll obviously get to see a lot more if you stay for a longer period of time.

For instance, those studying in Vancouver get to experience the transition of the different seasons, and they can also check out the various things to do in Vancouver in winter (eg going skiing and snowboarding at Grouse Mountain). Pretty cool, right?

Want to study in Vancouver, and get to experience the city like a local?

Get in touch with IDP, and we’ll walk you through the process of applying to study overseas.

Here at IDP, we’ve helped countless students realize their dream of studying in Vancouver and colleges from across the world, and we can do the same for you!

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