Trip ideas for a three day stay in Vancouver
The largest city in Western Canada is also one of the most beautiful, in fact, Vancouver is considered one of the world’s most stunning cities, surrounded by soaring snow-capped mountain peaks and a dense waterfront forest. But beauty isn’t all it has to offer. Whether you’re a food and wine connoisseur, a culture vulture or an outdoor adventurer, you’ll find plenty to indulge in – and, we’ve got some great ideas for a three-day stay in Vancouver to suit each travel type.
Food & Wine Lovers
The ultimate food and wine lovers’ trip in Vancouver, starts with a stay at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, which is not only renowned for its exceptional service, luxurious rooms and elegance that gives it the feel of an English castle, but for its acclaimed restaurant. The glamorous Notch8 Restaurant & Bar was inspired by the romance of travel in the 1930's, named after a train’s top speed and paying homage to the property’s place in Canadian history as one of the iconic railway hotels built by the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways. The menu offers dishes designed around items featured on menus from the hotel’s early days. You’ll find items like spruce roasted pheasant with forest mushrooms, and juicy prime rib with creamed kale, garlic mash and marrow roasted vegetables.
Vancouver's wine scene is characterized by a diverse and thriving wine culture that reflects the city's cosmopolitan and sophisticated atmosphere. The region boasts an impressive array of wine bars, restaurants, and wineries, offering an extensive selection of both local and international wines. With its scenic surroundings and a focus on sustainability, the Vancouver wine scene provides an excellent opportunity to enjoy exceptional wines while taking in the city's stunning natural beauty.
Vancouvers culinary scene is widely regarded as one of the most exciting and varied in the world and recently announced its second addition of the MICHELIN Guide Vancouver. From multi-course Chinese feasts and the best sushi outside of Japan, to farm-to-fork, ocean-totable, and molecular gastronomy. Inspired by flavours and techniques from around the world, yet grown, farmed and foraged with local secret ingredients.
Vancouver's craft beer scene is a dynamic and rapidly growing part of the city's culture, with a strong emphasis on innovation, quality, and a sense of community. Vancouver is home to a multitude of craft breweries, each with its own unique style and offerings. These breweries range from small, family-owned operations to larger, well-established players. Some notable breweries include Red Truck Beer Company, Parallel 49 Brewing, and Steamworks Brewery. Most craft breweries in Vancouver offer tours and tastings, providing visitors with the opportunity to learn about the beer-making process, sample different brews, and gain insights into the brewery's history and philosophy.
You may want to spend an afternoon or even an entire day on Granville Island. A must for foodies, it offers the chance to sample the very best the city has to offer, with everything from small ethic restaurants to upscale waterfront eateries, and the highly popular public marketplace, the Granville Island Public Market. The market offers a diverse range of eats as well as meals that can be enjoyed outside along the water. As one of the most popular places for sourcing fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, the restaurants here tend to serve dishes inspired by the market’s offerings, and, right situated right on the water, you can expect plenty of fresh seafood too – try the Vancouver Fish Company, known as the “premier hook-to-plate” seafood destination.
Cap off your three-day food and wine experience with one of the many excellent food tours, like the Gastown Tasting Tour which will allow you to dine your way through the historic Gastown district, acclaimed as the city’s most vibrant restaurant scene, and the cocktail capital of Canada. It includes stops at a trendy brew pub, an elegant craft cocktail bar, a ‘hidden gem’ serving local farm charcuterie and cheeses with B.C. wines, and a high-end Chinese dining lounge.
To start your explorations, spend a day visiting the many offerings located right downtown. The Vancouver Art Gallery houses over 10,000 works of art, from historic masters to contemporary selections, including the most extensive collection of paintings by the renowned British Columbia artist Emily Carr. The UBC Museum of Anthropology is outside the downtown core so we should move this to the end and preface that for those looking to further emerge themselves and learn about the indigenous cultures and communities of Bristis Columbia they can had out to the University of British Columbia campus where the museum is located.
Harbour Air Sightseeing Tours offer a unique and memorable way to experience the stunning natural beauty of Vancouver and its surrounding areas. Panoramic tour is a favourite for guests looking to see Vancouver from above - Seaplane sightseeing tours provide passengers with breathtaking panoramic views of the city of Vancouver, the surrounding mountains, and the pristine waters of the Pacific Ocean. You'll get to see the city from a perspective that few others experience.
Immerse yourself in Vancouvers diverse and captivating culture through its thriving arts and culinary scene....Vancouver is a stunning mosaic of people, cultures, customs and neighbourhoods, each with its own character. If there’s one thing each share, it’s that they’re different. Vancouver doesn’t just embrace diversity, it exists because of it, and celebrates it proudly. With deep Indigenous roots and a close geographical connection to the East and South (and North and West), it is a city shaped by the many cultures and customs of those who call it home. From the bursting flavours of Little India, to the live music echoing down Commercial Drive, to the vibrant bars and bookstores in the LGBTQ2s+ hub of Davie Village. If you’re looking for history, head to the heritage warehouses of Yaletown. Gastown is home to more historic buildings, pubs, shops and bistros. And deeper still, are the exciting flavours and rich cultural history of Chinatown. Plus, from concerts and galleries, to live shows and endless nightlife options, whatever your thing is, chances are there is a neighbourhood devoted to it.
One of Vancouver’s culturally historic neighbourhoods, Chinatown has an appeal that draws both locals and visitors alike, especially when it becomes the heart of Vancouver’s vibrant Lunar New Year celebrations. The distinctive character of Chinatown's buildings are preserved by a heritage designation, with murals and window art telling the stories of early Chinese pioneers. Canton Alley served as a point of convergence for trade, political, and cultural activities, helping Chinatown grow and prosper. Today, Chinatown is still growing and changing, with a number of renowned restaurants, emerging chefs, artists and small business entrepreneurs. Bring an appetite for learning and eating.
Delve into the city’s Chinese culture with a visit to Chinatown, the second largest in North America. It’s also home to the biggest classical Chinese garden outside of China itself. Dine on dim sum for lunch, take a guide walking tour of the neighbourhood, check out the interesting herbal shops and stroll through the beautiful garden.
Outdoor adventurers will find Vancouver and the surrounding area to be a true outdoor paradise. A stay at the Fairmont Waterfront is ideal – not only does it offer breathtaking views from every window, it’s within walking distance of Stanley Park, which offers a host of activities right in the city.
Begin by spending a day in this 1,000-acre park – you can walk or bike the more than five-mile-long seawall that follows the waterfront to see many of its highlights and soak up jaw-dropping views that include soaring mountains, the downtown Vancouver skyline, and Lions Gate Bridge. Watch for the “Girl in a Wetsuit” sculpture and other landmarks along the way. There are nearly 20 miles of forest trails for exploring the interior of the park, as well as a heated outdoor pool for swimming. In between activities, you can stop at the teahouse for a cup of tea while taking in the uninterrupted views of English Bay, or lunch on the sunny patio at the Waterfall Café.
We also recommend spending one day on Vancouvers North Shore – visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. Tip – take the free complimentary shuttle from Canada Place to Capilano Suspension Bridge. Afterwards you can take public transit from Capilano up to Grouse Mountain with the bus stop being right outside the park. Following Grouse Mountain visit Londsdale Quay via public transit and enjoy the colourful area known as the Shipyards. You can then take the SeaBus back over to waterfront which is also on the public transit system.
In Londsdale Quay you will also find the Museum of North Vancouver where you can learn stories and history of the area as well as the Polygon Art Gallery
The North Shore - North Van and the North Shore are easily reached via the Lions Gate Bridge. For an equally scenic journey, hop on the SeaBus at Waterfront Station. Nature lovers gravitate to the North Shore to maximize their play time. A launchpad for enjoying the great outdoors, it's easily accessible to world-class mountain biking, stunning hiking and ocean paddling during the summer, and in the winter, skiing, snowboarding and general mountain mayhem prevail. Check out Lonsdale Quay’s Public Market, the vibrant nightlife in the recently revitalized Shipyards district, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, and take the gondola up Grouse Mountain.
Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park are just minutes from each other, and less than a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver and offer complimentary shuttles from Canada Place. Grouse Mountain towers over North Vancouver, offering awe-inspiring views and a variety of outdoor adventures, including ziplines, and the locally famous Grouse Grind, a nearly two-mile trail nicknamed ‘Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.” Head to lush Capilano Suspension Bridge Park afterward to take a heart-pounding walk across the bridge that dangles high above the rushing Capilano River, and meander along the Cliffwalk, which follows the edge of a canyon along a granite precipice through a series of platforms, bridges and stairs. If you have more time, the Capilano Salmon Hatchery nearby also offers some incredibly scenic trails for hiking, a picnic area and the opportunity to marvel at the vibrant red Coho salmon that jump and fight their way upstream.