Welcome to Vancouver!
It is located on the West Coast of Canada, with a population of around 2.5 million, making it the third-largest city in Canada. Vancouver, BC, has been consistently ranked high in the most livable cities around the world, according to CNN and Business Insider.
Breathtaking views, nature hikes, ancient rain forests, water and mountains on all sides, not to mention a beautiful city core. Vancouver is a city with nature, as well as a strong urban vibe. The city has a broad international presence, which has provided fantastic new dining opportunities you must check out.
Vancouver has caught the eyes and hearts of many wandering travelers. With awesome parks and green spaces, mountains for skiing and snowboarding, and the nicest and friendliest people. It’s no wonder why so many people are drawn to it.
The city is beautiful all year round. With rainy winters and mild summers, it has something to offer no matter what the season.
Read on to discover places to stay, where to eat, things to do, and how to get around.
With so many great neighborhoods in Vancouver, it is hard not to name them all. Here are just a few of our favorite neighborhoods in Vancouver.
Kitsilano, otherwise known as Kits, has got that beachy, yoga vibe with amazing views of downtown, Stanley Park, and the north shore mountains. It is a place to enjoy the summertime rays and play some beach volleyball or go for a swim in the longest pool in North America. Get some shopping done along West 4 Ave, enjoy tasty restaurants, or watch the game at The Local. Kits is most enjoyable in the summer, but there is fun to be had no matter the time of year.
See what it looks like covered in snow.
East Van is one of the most happening parts of the city with neighborhoods like Commerical Drive and Main street, to name two. East Van is the area east of pretty much Main Street till you hit Boundary Road. East Van is full of hidden gems and is a sought after a place to live. The whole area feels as though you are walking through a giant park with people’s homes dotted within.
A hub for diversity in Vancouver; it is in the heart of Vancouver’s art culture scene and is a thriving young community that is teeming with life. With hipsters, hippies, punks and everyone in between there’s a place for everyone here. Head over to the Libra Room to enjoy some live jazz or play board games at The Stormcrow. Take a walk around Trout Lake and watch the dogs play; it’s a great place to get a breath of fresh air.
A great place to grab a coffee and people watch. It’s a fun and trendy spot to hang out for the locals and tourists alike. Choose from many restaurants with cheap eats and unique spins on traditional meals. There are lots of veggie options for our vegetarian and vegan friends as well as lots of options for our carnivore readers. Chickpea and Meet on Main are popular veggie/vegan friendly spots.
The downtown core is where the action happens. English bay for beach hangouts and Stanley park for strolls in an enchanted forest and breezy seawall bike rides. Vancouver is where nature and the city meet side by side. Bars and nightclubs all nights of the week. Yoga studios to get your meditation fix during the day. Downtown is a great place to stay while in Vancouver. Tasty restaurants, live music, and chic shopping areas, you will have endless things to do with your time.
More Downtown Neighbourhoods
One of the oldest areas in Vancouver with cobblestone streets and drinking and dining establishments aplenty. With the iconic Steam Clock and waterfront building like Canada Place and the Vancouver Convention Center, Check out Steamworks for a drink, Lamplighter for a night out, and Gringos for a taco.
Highend shopping and expensive dining experiences in the city. Old warehouse buildings converted into homes and restaurants, and this is a fast-paced neighborhood. Check out Yaletown Brewing Company for a local beer and Rodney Oyster House for an aphrodisiac oyster.
Home to Davie Street and a large number of the LGBTQ community, this is an excellent neighborhood for drinks out on the town, or relaxing days down at the beach. Check out Celebrities for a night of dancing and the Score for an epic caesar.
The Granville Entertainment District is the nightlife center of Vancouver in the heart of the city. With lots of clubs and bars to choose from, it’s a great place to find a hostel, drink, eat or catch a show. It’s an excellent choice for travelers because of its walkability. Check out the Warehouse and Moose restaurants for a cheap bite to eat. Dance at The Roxy Cabaret on ladies night Thursdays or any other day of the week. Catch a show at The Commodore Ballroom.
Vancouver has over 25,000 places to stay while you visit. Hotels, guesthouses, hostels, and so much in between. With the majority in the downtown core. Whether you are looking for a luxurious hotel or just a bed in a hostel, finding a place in Vancouver is easy, no matter your needs.
Samesun Vancouver – 1018 Granville St, Vancouver
One of the top-rated hostels in the city. A great location close to the action as well as nearby plenty of transit stops. It makes for one of the most enjoyable hostels to stay in while in Vancouver. Located on Granville Street, the party street of Vancouver. It is a fun area that has tons of things to do, all within walking distances.
HI Vancouver Hostels 1114 Burnaby St, Vancouver / 1025 Granville St, Vancouver / 1515 Discovery St, Vancouver
A favorite spot for backpackers around the world with 3 locations, Central, Downtown, and Jericho beach. You are sure to find your home away from home here. It is one of the nicer hostels in the city.
Cambie Hostels 310 Cambie St, Vancouver / 515 Seymour St, Vancouver
Another hostel with multiple locations. They are close to each other in the downtown area, in Gastown and Seymour. These hostels are where the parties happen as they are both connected to popular bars. Travelers and locals alike visit the pubs so you can meet some locals to help guide you around town or find some fellow travelers to adventure the city with.
Both of the Cambie Hostels are great places to meet some new fun strangers and have a drink.
For more places check out booking.com click here.
Food, Eating, And Alcohol
Where to Shop for Groceries
The average Canadian family spends about $200-250 a month per person on groceries. This can vary widely depending on location, province, and family size.
In Vancouver, there are many different grocery stores, some more expensive than others. We have a quick breakdown in this chart.
|Superstore / No Frills||Safeway||Choices|
|Costco / membership needed||IGA||Meinhardt|
Vancouver has a wide variety of different styles of food from around the world, with world-class restaurants. From international people who have brought their cuisines to Vancouver to local chefs coming up with new trendy foods, most places are amazing. Even if you walk into a run-down looking restaurant, you are sure to find an excellent dining experience.
Some of the local’s favorite places are:
Bons off Broadway – Get breakfast for under $6
Old Spaghetti – Full meal for $15
Les Faux Bourgeois– High end French cuisine
Phnom Pen – Top rated Cambodian cuisine
Sal y Limon-Great Mexican, great salsa selection
Toshi Sushi – High end Japanese restaurant Try the Eggplant!
Any Sushi Restaurant – Vancouver is littered with sushi restaurants, most are a pretty safe bet for a great meal.
Jinya Ramen – Popular Ramen restaurant chain
Acorn – Vegetarian/vegan restaurant
Chickpea – – Vegetarian/vegan restaurant
Meet – Vegetarian/vegan restaurant
The Naam – Vegetarian comfort food
AnnaLena – High-end contemporary food
Any Pho restaurant -similar to sushi, they are all pretty good. Look to locals for what’s good and how they do it.
There are thousands more restaurants to choose from in Vancouver. So go out and eat to your heart’s content.
If you are in Vancouver between mid-January to February be sure to check out Dine-Out Vancouver for a tasty tour of everything food Vancouver.
Prices for food in Vancouver vary drastically. On the cheaper end, you can feed yourself for about $10-15 a day, that would be preparing most, if not all, of your meals at home and not eating out. On the higher end of the middle scale, you could be looking at $50-100/day per person.
|Cooking||Eating Out Cheap||Eating Out Mid - Expensive|
|$10.00 - $40.00 /day x 3 meals||$20.00 - 100.00+ / day x 2-3 meals W/ limited alcohol||$35.00 - $250.00+ / day x 2-3 meals W/ limited alcohol|
In Vancouver, Alcohol only available for purchase at cold beer and wine stores or the government-run liquor stores know as the BCL or BC Liquor Store. The BCL is the cheapest store to buy your alcohol from, such as spirits, liqueurs, wines, and beer.
There are very few grocery stores that sell wine.
No alcohol is sold anywhere else.
Vancouver has consistently been ranked as the #1 most walkable city in Canada for years. You can walk almost everywhere in the downtown core within 20-30 minutes.
The city feels like a giant park, which makes walking through the city even sweeter. With many walking paths and bike routes, it is easy to wander.
Check out walking score for more information about which areas are the most walkable and have things to see and do in each corner of the city.
Check out one of these spots for a walk:
Located below the Granville Street Bridge, Granville Island is a must-see. Peruse unique boutiques, laugh at improv or grab a bite and watch the street performers.
Granville Island is a bustling area of town with live street performers, fresh fish, and an impressive food court of a variety of local favorites.
Watch out for the seagulls; they have been known to steal your food and hit you with one of their missiles, bird poop.
Fun place to sit around and people watch or grab a book and enjoy the Vancouver waterfront from another angle.
Steveston quaint old fishing town, this neighborhood is located in Richmond.
This area is nothing like any other part of the city. From old heritage homes to sea walks along the sea wall, Steveston is famous for it’s small-town like feel, just minutes away from the bustling city. It is also known for its fish markets, the fish and chips are a must-have.
Fun fact: One Upon a Time was filmed in Steveston as well as many other shows you may recognize while walking the streets.
Just a heads up, this area is a little far from the downtown core, so we recommend a car for this trip.
Vancouver has one of Canada’s best transit systems. With a metro, buses, and sea bus, the whole city is very well connected. According to this article on Redfin, Vancouver is among the top 3 cities in Canada with the best transit system.
Fairs start at around $3.00 for a 90-minute trip. Make sure you buy a COMPASS CARD, it’s the transit card that allows you to hop on and off the busses and on to the metro without any headaches; otherwise you need to get another ticket with each transfer. The system has yet to become streamlined; they still have a few hiccups.
For more information, either talk to a skytrain attendant or check out TransLink’s website; they are the company that provides the service in the city.
Vancouver is very bike-friendly, with several bike routes and paths that get you most anywhere in the city.
The city has a bike-share program through MOBI. MOBI bike stations are easily found along the bike routes throughout the city. Prices range from $12 for one day of unlimited 30-minute rides to $160 for a year-long pass of unlimited 60-minute rides. You can also rent bikes by the day at various bike shops throughout the city.
According to this article on Redfin, Vancouver is the 2nd top city in Canada for biking.
Vancouver is a relatively easy city to drive in. The drivers aren’t overly aggressive, and the roads are generally easy to navigate.
Vancouver does have a reliable transit system, but there are destinations off the beaten track that will require a vehicle.
There are many options for drivers in the city, car shares, renting, and owning.
Renting a car
Things to see and do
Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4
Stanley Park is the centerpiece of Vancouver. Located on Vancouver’s downtown peninsula, Stanley Park has many things to offer, from magical forest walks to ocean breeze bike rides. The park has something for everybody in the city, whether you are going for a workout run or just a walking date. The park itself will always give you something to talk about. It lets you easily escape Vancouver’s bustling city hustle to a tranquil wilderness paradise.
Stanley Park is free to explore.
845 Avison Way, Vancouver
Located in Stanley Park, the Aquarium is a nature reserve with an emphasis on aquatic life. They have many different interactive nature areas. You can walk through a rainforest and spot the sleepy sloth or watch the dolphins or sea lions. The Aquarium is a great place to learn about the Pacific North West Coast. Make sure to check out the octopus!
Rates:$21-48 per person
The Capilano Suspension Bridge
3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver
Located in North Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension bridge is a beautiful sight to see year-round. In the winter months, they string the trees with Christmas lights. There’s more to the park than just the suspension bridge. There is a treetop adventure, a cliff walk as well as an education center about animals and nature conservation.
Rates: $17-54 per person(child-adult) or $100-110 for a family pack.
The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is a free alternative.
6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Grouse Mountain is located in North Vancouver. It is one of the three ski mountains that dot Vancouver’s skyline. Grouse Mountain is easily accessible by public transit or car. The gondola will take you up and down the hill. During the summer months, it offers the Grouse Grind and the views from the Mountaintop restaurant, Altitudes. In the Winter, skate and ski or snowboard to your heart’s content. It is an absolutely breathtaking vantage point view of Vancouver.
Rates:$25-59 per person
1455 Quebec St, Vancouver
Built for Expo 86, Science World is an iconic part of Vancouver’s skyline. Science World offers a variety of activities such as fun days learning with children to adult wine parties, where learning as an adult is made fun. Science World is consistently offering different exhibits throughout the year. See what’s showing here.
Rates:$18-34 per person
Queen Elizabeth Park
4600 Cambie St. Vancouver
One of Vancouver’s larger parks, Queen Elizabeth Park, has a lot to offer. A beautiful garden, pitch and putt, a bird sanctuary, and an off-leash dog park, the park is centrally located in the city, on top of a little lookout giving you mountain views.
Home to Lululemon, Vancouver is a beacon to yoga enthusiasts around the world. With a yoga studio on every major street, it seems this city has been grasped by yoga mania. From hot yoga to free yoga at the beach, this city has definitely immersed itself in yogi culture with no signs of letting up.
Surrounded by forests and mountains, there are a million and one places to go for a hiking adventure. Check out the UBC Endowment lands for a more leisurely flat trail walk or challenge yourself with the steep stairs on the Grouse Grind. There is something for all levels here in Vancouver.
With vast amounts of beaches in the surrounding areas, Vancouver has a beach for everybody. Parents with small kids can find a fun time at Kitsilano Beach. While Wreck Beach attracts a more mature crowd as Vancouver’s only clothing-optional beach. Spanish Banks or English Bay are perfect for barbeques and date nights. People are taking in the sites relaxing on the beach year-round. The beaches are a popular spot to go to watch the firework in the summer.
We all know Canada has become one of the first countries in the world to legalize recreational cannabis for those over 19 years of age. British Columbia, home to Vancouver, has always been a haven for the hippies who smoke daily to the business professional that enjoys a toke on the weekends. Vancouver has been called “Vamsterdam” in relation to Amsterdam and its famous “coffee shops.”
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street, Vancouver
The Vancouver Art Gallery has been a cultural hot spot of Vancouver for years, with many exhibits within the walls of the art museum itself to outside in it’s two famous squares where people congregate. It is one of Vancouver’s premier locations to chill, hang out, and people watch.
Entrance fee is between $18-24/person
Tuesday nights from 5-9 pm, the entrance fee is by donation
The Museum of Anthropology
6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver
The Vancouver Museum of Anthropology is known specifically for its displays of First Nations artifacts from the Pacific Northwest. As well as other cultures around the world.
The Museum offers a discounted rate on Thursday evenings between 5-9 pm for $10.
General admission is $16-18/person
Vancouver Maritime Museum
1905 Ogden Ave, Vancouver
The Vancouver Maritime Museum displays the maritime history of the Pacific Northwest. They have some fascinating exhibits. The museum holds a collection of world-renowned artifacts and images given to the museum, mostly by donations.
General Admission rates are $10-14/person
The Roxy Cabaret
932 Granville St, Vancouver
The Roxy Cabaret is one of Vancouver’s oldest running nightclubs. It has been a beacon of Vancouver’s nightlife for over 30 years. Sunday night is country night, so get your cowboy boots on and prepare to dance!
Fortune Sound Club
147 E Pender St, Vancouver
Fortune Sound Club has a reputation for having one of the best sound systems in the city. This lively spot has a large dance floor as well as many booths for sitting back and enjoying the music over a drink with friends.
1022 Davie St, Vancouver
Once Vancouver’s hottest gay club, Celebrities has since changed to just a great dance club. It hosts some of the best electronic acts from DJs such as Kaskade, Feed Me, Nicky Romero, Skrillex, and many more.
881 Granville St, Vancouver
Often packed on the weekends, Venue is a mix between nightclub and concert hall. With a large open dancefloor, it has played host to many sold-out shows for a variety of music types such as EDM, indie rock, and hip hop.
The Red Room
398 Richards St, Vancouver
The Red Room offers live music from DJs from around the world and the odd live band. Enjoy one of the best sound systems while dancing your heart out. Make sure to check out the graffiti in the alley out back.
Bars and Pubs
92 Water St, Vancouver
Located in the heart of Gastown, The Lamplighter has a large variety of beers on tap. It’s always a fun place to watch sporting events or to hang out and chat with the bartender.
300 Cambie St, Vancouver
The Cambie is a local watering hole welcoming everyone. It’s a great spot to meet and chat with new people. The tables are big picnic benches, so expect to cozy up to your neighbors.
608 W Pender St, Vancouver
Malone’s has a great selection of craft beers with lots of local options. They have lots of TV screens, so you won’t miss any of the action while watching any sporting events.
The Blarney Stone
216 Carrall St, Vancouver
The Blarney Stone is home to the Irish in Vancouver. With a dance floor, an in-house live band, pool tables, and all-around good fun. The Blarney Stone is a must.
1619 Broadway St, Vancouver
The Stormcrow is a nerd bar. The walls are lined with Sci-Fi and Fantasy characters from all your favorite shows, movies, and games. They have an array of board games to play while you down that pint of butterbeer.
Make sure to also check out some of the local Micro Breweries around the city.
The Commodore Ballroom
868 Granville St, Vancouver
The Commodore Ballroom hosts a number of bigger international and smaller local shows. By far, one of the best venues in Vancouver to catch a show.
2321 Main St, Vancouver
The Fox Cabaret used to be a bustling theater. It now hosts live music and performance shows.
1608 Commercial Dr, Vancouver
The Libra Room is a fun place for a date night out. A variety of music with a focus on jazz and good food. You can’t go wrong.
Guilt & Co
1 Alexander Street, Vancouver
Guilt & Co is a trendy bar with a stage for live entertainment. They have something different going on every night, so make sure to check their calendar. Don’t be thrown off by the unisex washrooms!
2755 Prince Edward St, Vancouver
The Biltmore hosts an array of live music and shows from DJ’s to punk music and everything in between.
Dine Out Vancouver
Runs from mid-January to Early February, Dine Out Vancouver offers the opportunity to try a fixed menu at various restaurants with various cuisines for a reasonable price. Prices range from $15-45CAD per person.
Richmond Night Market
Held in Richmond, the night market is open from May to October. With hundreds of different food vendors and retail stalls as well as some live entertainment, it is an excellent place for a night out with the family or a fun date night.
PNE at Playland
The PNE Fair is on for three weeks every summer from early-mid August until labor day weekend in September. The fair consists of rides, food, exhibits and live shows such as super dogs and music concerts.
Fright Night at Playland
The few weeks leading up to Halloween, Playland puts on Fright Nights, where you can go on rides and walk through various haunted houses, it’s loads of fun and slightly terrifying.
Festival of Lights Fireworks
Vancouver puts on The Festival of Lights every summer, where 3-4 different countries put on their own fireworks display that is orchestrated to music. Watch out for large crowds of 100,000+ (Tip make a night of it and check out some local bars and entertainment.)
Sports – Hockey Canucks
While in town, make sure to check out a Canucks game. Try to catch a prize from Fin, the Vancouver Canucks mascot, or see how lucky you are and try your hand at a 50/50 draw.
Sports – Soccer White Caps
The White Caps are Vancouver’s MLS Soccer team, they always put on a strong showing, and BC Place is a great place to watch the game as well as the die-hard soccer fans.
Sports –Football BC Lions
The BC Lions are one of the teams in the CFL. Though the last few seasons have seen them struggle, they are still a strong team and worth the watch. It is always a fun time inside BC Place, Vancouver’s largest stadium. Have fun, and remember Go LIONS.
Sports –Baseball Canadians
Ah sweet, sweet baseball, America’s past time. Wait, what?! The Canadians, yes, that’s right, Vancouver has their own baseball team. They may not be in the majors, but it is a great place to grab a hotdog and a beer and enjoy a good game in the sun.
Vancouver Culture Crawl
Four wonderful days in November when all the artsy people come out from hiding and all assemble in a few locations in Vancouver. Showcasing all of the top artists in Vancouver, fun times for all. Who knows, maybe something will catch your eye that you can’t live without and speaks to you like no other art piece ever has.
Canada Day Fireworks
The Canada Day Fireworks is a free fireworks show on Canada’s independence day. Check it out if you are here on July 1st.
Car Free Day on Commercial Drive
Car Free Day, they close down the street to vehicles along Commercial Drive in Vancouver and have it open up to shops and food trucks. Fun for the whole family with lots of free little goodies.
Khatsahlano Street Party
Khatsahlano street party, they close down the street of West 4th Ave in Vancouver to all vehicles and have it open up to shops and food trucks. Similar to Car Free Day on Commercial Drive. Fun for the whole family with lots of free little goodies.
Gay Pride Parade
Vancouver has one of the largest gay pride weeks in the world. It is a week of inclusivity and acceptance. Thousands of people from all reaches of the globe come to Vancouver for our week-long celebration of everything gay. It is a great experience, and it is incredible just for the people watching. Some of the outfits are over the top! It is an excellent time for all.
Clothes / Gear
- Lululemon Leggings
- Plaid Shirt
- Yoga Mat
- Blundstone Boots
- Arcteryx Clothing
- High Guy Glass
- Toque (Beanie)
- Rain Coat
Vancouver Travel Guide by Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet is one of the most trustworthy travel guides around the world. We use lonely planet books for all of our travels. Their guides are the best known for being accurate. Their team of worldwide travel writers always makes for a quality read about any destination. Vancouver’s was no exception.
Stanley Park by Timothy Taylor
Stanley Park is about a man and his struggles with running a restaurant and his relationship with his father. His father is an anthropologist studying the homeless in Stanley Park in Vancouver. The homeless live in the park, eating raccoons and anything else they can get their hands on.
Check it out here!
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood, a Canadian author, has won multiple literary awards for many of her books. All of her books are a great read, and Oryx and Crake is no exception.
Oryx and Crake is a story about the end of the world, and how it has affected the mind of our protagonist. With two storylines, one of Snowman and his struggle to survive. And the other about Jimmy, who becomes Snowman, and his relationship with the scientist who put an end to human life, Crake. This book dives into human and animal experimentation and relationships between friends and lovers.
Check it out here!
One Hundred Days of Rain by Carrelin Brooks
Carrelin Brooks, a Vancouver local, won multiple awards for her prose in this novel, One Hundred Days of Summer.
After a devastating breakup, our narrator must go through mourning while also living her everyday life in rainy Vancouver. Looking up at the sky every day to see gloomy grey clouds and endless rain starts to wear her down. Follow her story as she navigates through her life.
Check it out here!
Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson
Eden Robinson is an Indigenous author from Kitimat, BC. Monkey Beach was nominated for multiple awards.
Based in an Indian Reserve 500 miles north of Vancouver, Monkey Beach follows Lisa Marie Michelle Hill, as she retells stories of her childhood and how her brother Jimmy went missing on a fishing trip when they were young. This book has a special mix of mysticism, spirituality, and culture.
Check it out here!
Vancouver is a very safe city. The downtown eastside, mainly Main & Hastings, is known worldwide for the homeless and drug addicts living in the area. Though it is not the most delightful place to be, the people mainly keep to themselves, and it is heavily policed. You aren’t likely to find trouble if you aren’t looking for it. Don’t keep any belongings visible in parked cars as they will likely get broken into.
Thank you for making it this far.
Vancouver is a super special place to us here at LyfePyle. We are a little bias when it comes to our home city. The city is one of the most wonderful cities. With beauty around every corner from scenic views to the citizens, it has been a great place to call home for so many years. We are fortunate to call it home.
Overall the city is one of beauty and nature all in an urban environment. It is has been a great place to grow and make friends. It needs to be a city that is on your list of places to check out at least once in your lifetime.
Overall Rating for the city is
We gave it this because there are still some problems that the city is dealing with.
It is a fantastic city with beautiful views, friendly people, and you always feel safe.
Check our city!
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