Thinking about a trip to Vancouver? We put together what we think would be an amazing 3 days in Vancouver. You’ll be able to use this list to see the greatest things this city has to offer a first time visitor. And be warned, this Vancouver is so amazing that one time Justin and I vacationed here together, and WE BOTH never came back. It’s a beautiful coastal city in Canada, located in beautiful British Columbia. Once you visit, you’ll see why we did what we did 🙂
We could write about Vancouver for forever, but to keep this list short and sweet without overwhelming you with a ton of choices, every category only has 3 suggestions. Trust us, this was super hard to narrow down, but subscribe to our Vancouver Guide if you want the full run-down!
Getting to Vancouver is pretty easy. Tons of ways in on the highways, via boats and cruises, seaplanes, regular planes, trains, and bus. Vancouver is also a complete treat if you come by plane, because there is a train service that runs from the airport directly into downtown. It’s 9.20$ and takes about 30 or so minutes. Depending on how far your hotel is from the various skytrain stations located downtown, it’s worth taking it for the convenience and the ability to avoid traffic. Parking is pretty expensive in Vancouver, and a little pricey at the hotels too. You’ll just want to do valet because the price difference with self park is marginal.
Places To Stay
Definitely stay downtown if it’s your first visit to Vancouver, or if you planned on not having a rental car. We love the Pan Pacific, the Fairmont Pacific Rim, and the Sheraton. All of these hotels are in great locations, the hotels themselves are really nice, and have lots of amenities like a gym, spa, or pool. People like to stay at airbnb but this city struggles with housing affordability, so they crack down often on illegal airbnbs. There are a lot of stratas (think HOA) in downtown Vancouver that do not permit short term stays so your host could cancel your booking without any notice. So in my opinion, it’s too risky to book airbnb in Vancouver.
- Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, central location close to lots of restaurants and shopping. We also love this hotel because its DOG-FRIENDLY!!
- Fairmont Pacific Rim, luxurious stay with beautiful rooms and views, and especially for the the spa lovers. The BEST spa with rooftop lounges, hot tubs, and sauna.
- Pan Pacific, beautiful view and great amenities. Pan Pacific also has a roof top spa and it’s higher and closer to the water views than compared to the Fairmont. Huge hotel and views of the North Shore or city.
Where To Eat
There are so many places to eat! These are the ones I recommend, because I love interesting menus, food quality, and great restaurant vibes.
- Medina, there is no other place for breakfast, lunch, or brunch. It’s worth the lineup, trust us.
- Pier 7 (North Van) – great brunch menu and views of downtown Vancouver.
- The Poke Guy, filling and healthy lunch of poke with your choice of fixings!
- Festal, they call themselves a Paleo cafe. We think healthy comfort food. I like the turkey chilli with the cassava focaccia bread.
- MeeT in Gastown, vegetarian and vegan fare! Nice ambience, great menu selection.
- Nightingale, modern Canadian cuisine. I always order the roasted cauliflower and grilled arctic char
- Copper Chimney, Indian inspired west coast cuisine. Order the platter so you can try all their tandoori.
- Blue Water Cafe, the best place to go for seafood in Vancouver.
Best Places To Eat With A View:
- The Teahouse in Stanley Park, west coast cuisine. You’ll have a view of the water and Burrard Inlet.
- Cardero’s, another seafood restaurant. For a view of Stanley Park and a place to eat nearby.
- Cactus Club Coal Harbour, this is a “chain restaurant” but it started in Vancouver, and their menus are awesome. In the summer this location opens up their windows and you have the most stunning view of Stanley Park, in what feels like a very intimate setting.
I love a good happy hour, especially on vacation. These are my favourites because of the vibes, food menu, buck a shuck (more like 1.50$) oysters, and drink selection.
- Joe Fortes, in the summer be sure to hit up their rooftop patio
- Fanny Bay Oyster Bar, very low key and quiet, a great hidden gem.
- The Keg in Yaletown, again with the rooftop patio! Great happy hour food and beverages.
All Things Sweet (Desserts)
- Thierry Chocolates, hands down my favourite Patisserie. The tiramisu or mille feuille are divine.
- Ladurée Robson, Yes! Vancouver has one! Macarons are flown in from France.
- Nero Belgian Waffle Bar, for authentic Belgian Liege waffles.
Things To Do
- Bike or walk around Stanley Park on the seawall! This is a must-do! Try to hit up English Bay and stay in the seawall and to False Creek and Olympic Village. You could even make it to Granville Market, which is another must-do.
- Granville Island Public Market, a huge farmer’s market. Love this place for food, bread, treats, arts and crafts.
- Steamclock in Gastown, and then then hang out/shop/eat in Gastown too!