A Weekend in Vancouver
One of the best things about living in Seattle is how close we are to Vancouver, BC. It has definitely become one of our favorite cities we have ever visited. The mix of city life and nature is insanely gorgeous and makes for a fun and diverse getaway. Plus, the currency exchange rate is pretty awesome! Here is our weekend Vancouver itinerary and guide that hits up our must-see spots, especially for first-timers. We always do day-trips to Vancouver to save money (we usually leave around 5 AM to give ourselves enough time to explore) and this guide can be easily modified into two different day-trips if you’d rather do that as well.
Where to stay
We highly recommend Airbnb in Vancouver, as it’s usually much cheaper than hotels. Downtown has the most options for Airbnb, but if you want to stay away from the hustle and bustle (and spend a little less), we’d recommend checking out the neighborhoods surrounding Vancouver. Here are some good Airbnb options:
- Brunch at Jam Cafe–Get here right before they open to avoid long lines, it’s a small little place and it gets busy!
- Get a caffeine boost at Revolver Coffee or Aubade Coffee.
- Rent bikes and explore Stanley Park–We recommend renting bikes from Spokes
- Visit the Prospect Point viewpoint for a nice view of North Vancouver and the Lions Gate Bridge. Tip–take the short trail behind the cafe to walk along the bridge!
- Grab poutine at Fritz European Fry House–Make sure to get pulled pork on your poutine!
- Walk and shop around Granville Island, an island with an indoor public market, plus tons of outdoor vendors. Some good spots to visit:
- Walk through the public market and grab snacks from the different vendors. We love Sen Pad Thai, Lee’s Donuts, Siegel’s Bagels, Stuart’s Bakery, The Lemon Square, and Kaylin & Hobb’s pickles. Note: Make sure you have some Canadian dollars on you. Some of the vendors don’t accept US dollars.
- If you like to drink, take a tour and grab drinks at The Liberty Distillery.
- Explore the many shops on the island. There’s a store for everyone: souvenirs, toy, jewelry, paper items, clothing, and even a broom store where you can see them make brooms!
- If it’s a warm day, head over to Kitsilano beach and catch some rays or the sunset.
- Dinner at La Taqueria Pinche, one of our favorite taco spots!
- Want dessert? (The answer is always yes!) Enjoy some delicious ice cream at Rain or Shine
- Coffee & breakfast at 49th Parallel (we always make a stop here in Vancouver!) or The Federal Store (we recommend their feta & avocado toast!).
- Drive part of the Sea to Sky Highway--This is one of the most beautiful drives and part of what makes the Vancouver area so incredible! Our recommended stops:
- Shannon Falls–A quick stop to see the third highest waterfall in BC.
- Sea to Sky Gondola ($40 CAD/$21 USD if you buy in advance)–You can either hike to the top (4.67 miles one way, 3,012 ft elevation gain) or take the gondola to the top, but either way you’ll have incredible views of Howe Sound and the mountains. There is a suspension bridge at the top and some shorter trails to different viewpoints.
- Don’t want to pay for the gondola? Here are some free hikes in the area that will give you a similar view:
- Porteau Cove–A nice spot to stretch your legs, admire the scenic Howe Sound from ground level, and walk around on the pier. This would be a great spot to have a picnic lunch.
- Head back to Vancouver and explore the Gastown neighborhood
- Make a coffee stop at Timbertrain Coffee Roasters
- Watch the steam clock go off (every 15 minutes)
- Walk the tree lined, cobblestone streets and check out some of the stores
- Grab dinner at The Flying Pig in Yaletown
If you have extra time…
- Medina Cafe–One of the top brunch spots in Vancouver. We have yet to try it, but hear the wait can be crazy!
- Cactus Club Cafe–Great views!
- Meat & Bread
- Tuc Craft Kitchen
- Phnom Penh
- Stuff your face at the Richmond Night Market! The market is only open from mid-May to mid-October every year, so if you’re in town during these months we highly recommend checking it out!
- Lynn Canyon Park–This park has a cool suspension bridge and trails. The best part? It’s free!
- Capilano Suspension Bridge Park ($43 CAD/$33 USD)–home to a suspension bridge, cliffwalk, and treetops adventure. We prefer Lynn Canyon over Capilano because of the price and how less busy it is, but if you want to experience multiple bridge attractions, Capilano is really cool!
- Check out Capilano Park and Cleveland Dam!
- Hike to St. Mark’s Summit (6.84 miles, 1,509 ft elevation gain) or to Bowen Lookout (2.5 miles, 361 ft elevation gain), which an be a side trip on your way to St. Mark’s Summit or a hike of its own.
- Grouse Grind–1.8 miles one way, 2,799 ft elevation gain. This hike is referred to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” due to the 2,830 steps you climb up. You hike to the top and then take the gondola down.
- Lighthouse Park–A beautiful park in West Vancouver with trails, a lighthouse, and views of Vancouver.
- Deep Cove + Quarry Rock— Deep Cove is a cool little area in North Vancouver. It’s also home to Quarry Rock, a popular and easier hike that’s 2.4 miles and has a 328 ft elevation gain.