Top 5 Things To Do in Vancouver, BC

Once a rough-hewn sawmilling settlement, today’s Vancouver glistens with glass skyscrapers and thrums with tech energy. Outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to this city, as mountains, ocean, and old-growth rainforest are nearby. They aren’t the only ones. Movie and TV producers like to use Vancouver as a stand-in for film settings, earning it the nickname “Hollywood North.”

Before your Alaska cruise, check out some Vancouver attractions. Book hotel packages as part of your cruise and stay downtown to explore Gastown, Chinatown and Stanley Park and to be near the Vancouver cruise terminal.

Here are the top 5 things to do in Vancouver, B.C.

1. Go to Granville Island

Hop on the Aquabus and zip to Granville Island, a bustling marketplace with stands selling fresh produce and handcrafted wares. One of the top things to do in Vancouver for kids, the Kids Market features enchanting restaurants and candy shops the little ones love. There are various performing arts centers, should you have time to catch a show. The city views are a big bonus of this short trip from downtown.

2. Explore Stanley Park

Ranking high on the list of top parks in the world, Stanley Park has it all. A sandy, California-like stretch complete with sunbathers and frisbee throwers (Third Beach). Paddle boarding and kayaking on the smooth English Bay. Forests, lakes, playgrounds for kids and the Vancouver Aquarium. A stone seawall traces the perimeter and begs for a stroll. The perfect place to spend a few hours or a whole day before your cruise.

3. Brave the Capilano Bridge

While Vancouver attractions are mostly clustered downtown, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is a short shuttle ride away. The forest scenery is remarkable. Take time to breathe in wafts of fir-trees. Dare to wobble across the suspension bridge. Look down. You are swaying 230 feet above a rushing river. After you cross the bridge, take the Treetops Adventure and the Cliffwalk, a narrow path that juts out over a sky-high cliff.

4. Wander Chinatown

Chinatown is a vital part of Vancouver and a good place to deepen your understanding of the city’s history and culture. A dizzying maze of shops and restaurants that serve everything from traditional fare to groundbreaking fusion food. Once filled up on soup dumplings, bao and sweets, head to Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and savor some peace in the middle of the city. The garden was designed as a “bridge of understanding” between Chinese and western cultures.

5. Check Out Gastown

While Vancouver teems with sleek modern offices, Gastown is all about old school charm and new school gastronomy. One of the most popular things to do in Vancouver, Gastown took off from a single tavern founded by John “Gassy Jack’ Deighton in the late 1800s. Chic shops and bistros are on every corner, housed in Victorian buildings. Enjoy a pint on an open-air terrace and watch the passersby. Stop by one of many wine or craft cocktail bars.

Vancouver is a city we love and a great one to explore before setting out on an Alaska adventure. View all Alaska travel articles and videos. Or find out more about Alaska cruise ports.