With 3 days you can explore much of Vancouver. Follow the Iconic Vancouver itinerary on Day 1 and the Downtown & Mountain Adventures itinerary on Day 2, and then use this itinerary on Day 3 to explore more far-flung neighbourhoods, gardens and First Nations heritage.
Vancouver’s beauty and vibe really start to shine away from the downtown core. This itinerary showcases vibrant communities with an easy-going, eco-conscious lifestyle that thrive against a backdrop of beach and rainforest. All are within a 20-30-minute transit ride from Canada Place.
The University of British Columbia sits on the headlands at the entrance to Vancouver Harbour. More than 60,000 students roam the expansive campus, home to the elegant Chan Performing Arts Centre and most notably, the Museum of Anthropology, widely considered the finest First Nation collections in the world.
UBC Botanical Garden and Nitobe Memorial Garden are on the opposite quadrant of the university, and worth a look-see even for non-garden enthusiasts. The Botanical Garden is lined with bark-mulch paths, lush, coastal forests and canopy walkways suspended from one Douglas fir to another. The Nitobe Memorial Garden echoes the grace and serenity of traditional Japanese design that shifts dynamically with every season. The cherry blossoms in spring are magical.
Start at Seasons in the Park at Queen Elizabeth Park (the highest point in the city).
Bloedel Floral Conservatory, with tropical climes, plants and wildlife, is within a few minutes walk of Seasons in the Park. Queen Elizabeth Park also features a beautiful quarry garden, tennis courts and a pitch ‘n put gold course. Views of Vancouver and mountains follow you wherever you go.
Van Dusen Botanical Garden is a 10-minute drive. Formerly the golf-course for high society, its accessible pathways curve around rolling lawns to hidden grottoes, an Elizabethan maze (one of only six in North America), unexpected garden art and more. In December, the landscape glows with an impressive Festival of Lights.
===> See the RELATED links below to explore deeply.
Had your fill of gardens? Drive 30 minutes to the historical village of Steveston on the Fraser River for fun-time fish ‘n chips, and an offbeat afternoon. Stroll the boardwalk, watch locals buying fish straight off the boat, catch a whale-watching trip, or people-watch.
Check out the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and Britannia Shipyard National Historic Site – National Historic sites offering excellent glimpses of early life in this once rough-and-tumble, multi-racial community.
Steveston is also accessible by public transit: take the Canada Line skytrain to Richmond-Brighouse station and transfer to a No 402 bus.
TIP: Steveston is near the airport so it makes a great last-minute stop for late-day flights.
Keeping with our neighborhood theme, stylish Kitsilano offers sweeping sandscapes, gentrified beach houses, and many dining options. The Naam speaks to the ‘hood’s hippie origins; it’s been the vegetarian choice since the sixties. Bishops is the choice for regional, haute cuisine, and Salmon ‘n’ Bannock features traditional First Nations dishes.
TIP: In the summer, eat early and take in a performance of Bard on the Beach. Shakespeare beneath canvas high tops rivals those staged at Stratford.