48 hours in Vancouver will give you a chance to see many of the sights. After following our Iconic Vancouver itinerary on Day 1, it’s time to explore the city more deeply with a mix of sightseeing, shopping and mountain adventures.
Start again in Canada Place, but this time head east into historic Vancouver. The first stop is The Lookout, a high-in-the-sky venue with 360-degree views to Mount Baker in Washington State and across the Georgia Strait (aka the Salish Sea) to Vancouver Island, home to picturesque Victoria and Buchart Gardens.
The cobblestone streets of Gastown (where Vancouver’s earliest history unfolded) are steps away. Shops offer everything from kitsch to clothes; the Steam Clock is Instagram-worthy. For First Nations art, visit Hills Native Arts and head upstairs for noteworthy pieces.
Chinatown, the third largest in North America, lies a couple of blocks further east. It’s home to Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens, the only garden of its kind outside of China, and one of the world’s most beautiful small urban gardens.
Chinatown offers many options. The adventurous and curious take A Wok Around foodie tour with Robert Sung.
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From Canada Place, free shuttles head to the North Shore to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain – it’s about a 25-minute ride. The bridge, which sways 70m/230-ft over the Capilano River, is Vancouver’s oldest attraction and incorporates canopy walks and cliffside pathways. At Grouse Mountain you’ll meet raptors and grizzly bears (“Coola” and “Grinder”), set off on hikes, and choose among restaurants, movie theaters and perhaps a Lumberjack Show. On clear days the views are stunning and the paragliding graceful.
The SeaBus, an alternate way to reach the North Shore, travels between Waterfront Station and Lonsdale Quay Market (worthy of a 30-minute meander) where public buses take you up the mountain. Save the SeaBus for the return trip as it offers a unique view of Canada Place and the waterfront.
Robson Street and Alberni Street are a shopaholic’s Nirvana – many local and international designers hang their shingles here. Pacific Centre Mall, with near to 200 outlets, is anchored by Nordstrom and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Trendy Yaletown has converted New York style warehouses into boutiques, restaurants and bars.
The Vancouver Art Gallery, housed in Vancouver’s original and rather imposing court house, showcases Canadian works, including those of the famed Emily Carr, as well as traveling blockbusters with Monet and Rembrandt. For First Nations enthusiasts, put the nearby Bill Reid Gallery on your list.
Hawksworth Restaurant, located in the Rosedale Hotel Georgia, is among the finest dining rooms in the city; menu combinations are daring, local and mouthwatering. The mushroom ice cream is delicious. Round off the evening at Prohibition, the hotel’s stylish night spot.