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  • birdseye-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A birds-eye view of Vancouver, British Columbia, on a beautiful morning.
  • night-panorama-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A nighttime panoramic view of Vancouver, British Columbia, from Fairview Slopes.
  • stadium-Vancouver-British-Columbia - BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • view-Vancouver-British-Columbia - View of the seawall and part of the downtown high-rise buildings in Vancouver, British Columbia during autumn.
  • Kits-Beach-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Kits Beach (formally, Kitsilano Beach)  with downtown Vancouver, BC, and mountains in the background
  • day-panorama-Vancouver-British-Columbia - View of Vancouver, British Columbia from Fairview Slopes
  • dusk-lionsgate-Bridge-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Lions Gate Bridge, opened in 1938, connects Vancouver to the North Shore in British Columbia.
  • aerial-science-world-Vancouver-British-Columbia - An aerial photo of Science World in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • VanDusen-Botanical-Garden-Vancouver-British-Columbia - An Impressionist painting? Nope. A couple walks through VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • cruiseterm2-Vancouver-British-Columbia - An aerial view of the Vancouver cruise ship terminal.
  • kayak-ganville-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Ecomarine kayaking at Granville Island in British Columbia
  • rainforest-park-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A trout pond in the rainforest at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Sea-Safari-Christie-Island-Vancouver-British-Columbia - On a Sea Safari tour at Christie Island, a bird sanctuary with the peak of Diamond Head in the background.
  • rockwood-adventure-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Head to Rockwood Adventures in Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC, for guided tours of the flora.
  • view-bc-place-Vancouver-British-Columbia - The skyline of Vancouver, British Columbia, at dusk
  • Cliffwalk-Bridge-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Children play in the forest at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • low-tide-view-of-skyline-Vancouver-British-Columbia-1 - Vancouver, British Columbia, skyline at night
  • food-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A food triptych in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • cruiseterm4-Vancouver-British-Columbia - The Vancouver BC cruise ship terminal with  Holland America Line's Zuiderdam cruising into port
  • cruiseterm1-Vancouver-British-Columbia - The Vancouver BC cruise ship terminal with the ships Coral Princess and Holland America's Zuiderdam
  • pool-fairmont-Vancouver-British-Columbia - The Pacific Rim pool at the Fairmont in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • craft-beer-platter-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Locally cured meats from Two Rivers and assorted local cheese served with crostinis, preserves and mustard in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • false-creek-skyline-Vancouver-British-Columbia - False Creek, BC Place and downtown Vancouver high-rise buildings under a blue sky
  • jazz-festival-Vancouver-British-Columbia - The crowd at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival dances and sings with Yaletown in the background.
  • totem-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A view of totem poles or story poles in Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • flight-harbour-air-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A Harbour Air Floatplane flies past waterfalls near Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • ecotour-Sewells-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A Zodiac wildlife eco tour at Sewell's Marina in Vancouver
  • salmon-miku-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A chef flame-sears salmon oshi sushi at Miku restaurant in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • low-tide-view-of-skyline-Vancouver-British-Columbia - The view of the Vancouver skyline from Kitsilano at low tide
  • zipline-Grouse-Mountain-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Visitors go hands-free on a zipline at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • fisherman-Sewells-Marina-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Nice catch! A local fisherman shows off a salmon he caught at Sewell's Marina in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • orcas-paddleboard-Howe-Sound-Vancouver-British-Columbia - An experienced stand-up paddle boarder gets a surprise visit from an orca and her baby in Howe Sound, West Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • treetop-capilanopark-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Treetops Adventure walkway at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • winter-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A winter view across to West End in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Capilano-Bridge-Vancouver-British-Columbia - Visitors walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge above the Capilano River and surrounding rainforest in Vancouver, BC.
  • Ponant-Vancouver-skyline.jpg - A Ponant ship passes the Vancouver skyline.
  • girl-harbour-air-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A young woman checks out the pilot's seat inside a Harbour Air Floatplane in Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • cruiseterm3-Vancouver-British-Columbia - A Celebrity Cruise ship coming into port in Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Diamond-Princess-Vancouver-Canada - Diamond Princess in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Vancouver travel guide & photo tour

our guide

The vibe

Vancouver offers an exciting mix of natural beauty and urban sophistication. Start with the stunning harbor and glorious mountain setting. Spend time checking out the locally sourced dining options and dig into the region’s diverse cultural heritage.

Whether you’re visiting for just a few hours on a cruise stopover or staying longer, there’s plenty to explore. Places to ski, cycle, hike, sail or kayak are minutes from great shopping, restaurants, museums and spectacular urban parklands.

Cruise Lines that call on Vancouver

Top reasons to go

  • One of the world’s most spectacular settings, with its harbor ringed by towering mountains
  • A diversity of attractions within a compact area known as the downtown peninsula, including the historic Gastown district and Stanley Park with its green spaces and cultural attractions
  • Wonderful dining stemming from a multicultural population and locally sourced produce, seafood and wines
Impressionist painting? Nope. A couple walks through VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver.
Al Harvey / Tourism VancouverImpressionist painting? Nope. A couple walks through VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver.

Top things to do & see

Stanley Park

A 1,000-acre green space bordering the harbor, Stanley Park is a great area to explore by bike. Or,  take the free shuttle that stops at wooded glades, the Vancouver Aquarium, historic totem poles and other delights.


Gastown, the city’s original settlement, is just a short walk from the Canada Place cruise pier. It’s a lively enclave of cobblestone streets, Victorian-era streetlamps and historic buildings housing pubs and smart shops. Gastown's centerpiece is the Steam Clock with its steam spouts and whistle chimes.


The second largest Chinatown in North America is a pedestrian-friendly area of herb shops, produce stalls, dim sum restaurants and street markets. Take time out to wander through the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, an authentic depiction of a classical, Ming Dynasty garden.

Ecomarine kayaking at Granville Island.
Tourism Vancouver/ Coast Mountain PhotographyEcomarine kayaking at Granville Island.

Granville Island

The star attraction at Granville Island is the wonderful public market, offering not just local produce and food products like sea salt and honey, but studio shops where artisans demonstrate glass blowing, pottery making and other crafts.

Grouse Mountain

For fabulous views of Vancouver and its harbor, take the Sky Ride tram up to the 3,700-foot summit of Grouse Mountain. At the top are observatories, restaurants and the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, a habitat for orphaned wolves and grizzly bears.

UBC Museum of Anthropology

The UBC Museum of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia campus offers a stunning collection of authentic totem poles and exhibits on the history of the region.

Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver’s major art museum, the Vancouver Art Gallery, is housed in a handsome 1911 courthouse and features changing exhibitions as well as works by British Columbia landscape artist Emily Carr.


British Columbia wines, including ice wine, are among distinctive local products to look for, as are Inuit and First Nation artwork. The Gastown and Yaletown districts are especially good places to find distinctive shops, boutiques and galleries.

An aerial photo of Science World in Vancouver, British Columbia
TM / Tourism Vancouver/ Science World British ColumbiaAn aerial photo of Science World in Vancouver.

Family-friendly options

Best bets for dining

  • Casual lunch: For a quick and delicious on-the-go-meal, try the gourmet Japanese-style hot dogs available in flavors such as teriyaki or tonkatsu and sold by Japadog vendors on street corners around the city. The Granville Island Public Market is the place to find the fixings for a waterfront picnic, while Hon’s Won-Tun House in Chinatown is popular for dim sum.
  • Fine dining: Vancouver is known for its fresh Pacific Northwest seafood. Some standouts include Joe Fortes Seafood and Chophouse, a downtown landmark serving towers of shellfish, salmon from the Queen Charlotte Islands and other delicacies. In Stanley Park, Fish House serves seafood and other dishes in a garden setting.
  • In its February 2015 issue, Travel + Leisure magazine named these as Vancouver's "hottest restaurants": Pidgin, with Canadian-meets-Japanese cuisine; Rodney's Oyster House, a classic seafood shack; L'Abattoir Restaurant in Gastown, dating to the 1800s, serving French-influenced West Coast fare; the stylish Hawksworth, featuring the city's top chef; Morning Shanghai (125, 8291 Alexandra Road, Richmond), with great Chinese fare, and Guu With Garlic, serving "Japanese tapas."
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver.
Tourism Vancouver/ Capilano Suspension Bridge ParkCapilano Suspension Bridge Park in Vancouver.

YOLO (You only live once!)

Capilano Suspension Bridge: North of downtown, this bridge spans 230 feet above the Capilano River, swinging back and forth as visitors make the walk across the canyon. Adjacent is Treetops Adventure, where visitors traverse from one tree to another on suspension bridges, and Cliffwalk, which has cantilevered walkways high above the river.

Best time to go

High season: June to August

Shoulder seasons: April to May; September to October

Low season: November to March

Vancouver offers a relatively temperate climate year-round, but winters can be chilly and rainy. Summers bring long, sunny days, while spring and fall are crisp and pleasant.

Fun facts

  • Vancouver is one of the world’s most culturally diverse cities, with a population that is 35 percent foreign-born. It has the highest population of Asians per capita than any city in North America.
  • Vancouver ranks behind only New York and Los Angeles as a film location site in North America.
  • The city’s West Vancouver neighborhood is the wealthiest in Canada.

When you arrive

Docking information

Vancouver has two main cruise ship terminals: Canada Place, located downtown and steps away from shops and restaurants, and Ballantyne Pier, a 10-minute drive from the city center.

Getting around

Central Vancouver is easily explored on foot, but the city has an efficient bus system and a light-rail transit system called SkyTrain. Hop-on, hop-off tours are offered by Big Bus and the Vancouver Trolley Company. Another option are the harbor ferries, operated by Aquabus and Blue Creek Ferries, which stop at Granville Island, Yaletown and other points of interest.

Need to know

Documents: U.S. citizens will need a valid passport.

Language: English is the official language.

Currency: The Canadian dollar is generally on par with the U.S. dollar. The major difference is that there is no one-dollar paper bill. Instead, there are one- and two-dollar coins.  

Your take

Have you been to Vancouver? Please share a story, tip or discovery. What was the highlight?

See anything wrong? What did we overlook? Be a co-creator!

miles to go!

click map for travelers' photos

Maria Lenhart
I am a veteran travel writer who has enjoyed reporting on destinations far and near for many publications. My favorite way to travel is on board a ship, no matter where it's going. 

User images


“If Tim Burton travelled back in time to the 19th century with a troupe of burlesque dancers, Hyde would be the fabulously irreverent outcome. This small, sexy restaurant on Main & 14th (in Mount Pleasant) looks the fever dream of the eccentric filmmaker and the mad doctor, with equally wicked treats on the menu.”

BC Living

“Many local restaurants are passionate purveyors of local wines, and wine bars pairing B.C. vino with artisanal cheeses and house-cured charcuterie are all the rage.”


“Granville Island: To get to this peninsula, hop a water taxi at the south end of Hornby Street. After disembarking, tour the nearby small art galleries and craft studios, stroll through the daily Public Market, or go for a beer tasting at Granville Island Brewing.”

Travel + Leisure


Your take: share your experience