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What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit

Although figuring out what to do in Vancouver isn’t hard, the range of fun options may be overwhelming when planning your first visit. The city is home to a ton of vibrant neighborhoods, cute places to walk, wonderful parks, delicious places to eat, public transport and more. If you are able to rent a car, you have even more options at every turn! Well, what are you waiting for? It is never too early to start planning what to do in Vancouver!

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit

Walk, bike, or drive around Stanley Park

We love epic nature and we really underestimated the grandeur of Stanley Park! Located right in the heart of Vancouver [literally], this park is surrounded by water and full of old-growth trees, moss, an aquarium, traditional totem poles and more. The best way to see the park is to walk or bike and it is a great activity for all seasons! If you are looking for what to do in Vancouver on a budget, this park is perfect!

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Say hello to all the sea creatures at the Vancouver Aquarium 

Located in the heart of Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is one of the premier aquariums in the world! Part of the aquarium is outside, so make sure to dress appropriately for the weather. The amount of animals and exhibits is beyond impressive and it is well worth the price! We had never seen more different species of jellyfish in our lives and spent a great deal of time watching these magical creatures!

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Walk across Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and skip Capilano Bridge

If you rent a car, drive about 20 minutes outside of Vancouver to Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Unlike the overcrowded and very expensive [$40…eek!] Capilano Bridge, Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is FREE and much less touristy. It hangs right over a waterfall and is very secluded so you feel like you are walking among the treetops! It is just a short walk from the parking lot and parking is free as well [a rarity in Vancouver]. This is one of the top things to do in Vancouver and we think you shouldn’t miss it!

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Experience the thrill of Fly Over Canada

Similar to “Soarin” at Disney’s Epcot, Fly Over Canada was an epic and memorable experience! Essentially, it is a ride where you “hang glide” into an Imax-size screen across Canada. You move slightly and smells and sea spray are everywhere around you. The movie itself lasted 8 minutes which is very long compared to Soarin at Disney which lasted just 3. The sights you fly over make Fly Over Canada a “must do” when figuring out what to do in Vancouver.

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Best Things To Do In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Itinerary | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Vancouver Canada Travel Tips

Where To Stay In Vancouver

The Fairmont Waterfront Hotel

If you are looking for a luxury getaway in the city, the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel is the place for you! It is perfectly located next to public transportation, the waterfront, downtown, Fly Over Canada, and more. The views, like the one below taken from out guest room, offer sweeping vistas of the city. It is also just a short bike ride away from Stanley Park and you can even use the hotel bikes to get around. This four-star hotel offers ultimate luxury by way of design, location, views, and amenities. If you are looking for the best hotel in Vancouver, you found it in the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel!

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What To Eat In Vancouver

Try Glowbal if you are looking for the best in North American Cuisine

Glowbal is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver and the restaurant itself is a favorite for architecture lovers. Glowbal serves “stripped down North American cuisine” sourced from all over the continent as well as locally. When we arrived, we were immediately impressed by the large Robata grill and fire which created a warm and inviting environment.

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We loved that Glowbal’s menu had something for everyone. Glowbal is a meat-lovers heaven and they serve up steaks and seafood of the highest possible quality. Glowbal Vancouver is one of the only places in Canada to serve these top grade meats and quality makes all the difference. Glowbal’s Canadian Striploin was cooked to perfection and practically melts in your mouth. If you are visiting

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Restaurants | Top Restaurants in Vancouver

If you are visiting Glowbal as a vegetarian, their Wild Mushroom and Truffle Risotto is to die for. The dish we had was topped with truffles that had just arrived and were beyond fresh. We had never tried risotto before, but Glowbal totally changed our mind with their rich, creamy, and delicious dish.

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Restaurants | Top Restaurants in Vancouver

Whether you are looking to kick back and enjoy some unique cocktails [or mocktails..they have a large offering], dinner, or dessert, Glowbal is the perfect pick for a night out on the town if you are looking for what to do in Vancouver for dinner!

Try Miku Vancouver if you are looking for sushi and seafood

Miku Restaurant Vancouver is located just steps away from the Fairmont Waterfront and Canada Place and offers stunning views of the waterfront. The floor to ceiling windows allow you to dine on sustainable dishes while watching float planes land in Vancouver Harbor! The restaurant was bustling and full of diners even on a Monday night. Miku’s specialty is grilling and the chefs all work seamlessly together in the open-air kitchen. Just watching the chefs will make you hungry for the delicacies they are cooking up.

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Restaurants | Top Restaurants in Vancouver

Miku offers only the highest quality sushi in Vancouver and all fish is sustainably procured. Miku chefs grill many sushi dishes adding depth to flavors that may already be familiar to sushi lovers. Miku strives to provide enough flavor in each bite of sushi that you won’t have to dunk every piece in soy sauce. Each sushi roll we tried had a different sauce topping it allowing us to enjoy a range of unique flavors. If you are a sake lover, Miku’s options pair well with their sushi.

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Restaurants | Top Restaurants in Vancouver

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Restaurants | Top Restaurants in Vancouver

If you are looking for something extra to start your dinner, Miku’s seaweed salad is deliciously crisp and every bite lets you enjoy multiple types of seaweed all in one salad. Finish off the meal with their “Green Tea Opera” dish which expertly pairs green tea and matcha flavors into a sweet dessert. If you are looking for sushi and waterfront views of Vancouver, book your reservation at Miku!

Figuring out what to do in Vancouver is only hard because there are so many fantastic options! Have you had the chance to visit this beautiful Pacific Northwest city? Let us know in the comments!

Special thanks to Tourism Vancouver for providing us with an experience pass for the purpose of this post. 

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What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Best Things To Do In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Itinerary | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Vancouver Canada Travel Tips

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Best Things To Do In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Itinerary | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Vancouver Canada Travel Tips

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Best Things To Do In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Itinerary | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Vancouver Canada Travel Tips

What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit | Best Things To Do In Vancouver | Best Vancouver Itinerary | Where To Eat In Vancouver | Vancouver Canada Travel Tips

10 thoughts on “What To Do In Vancouver On Your First Visit

  1. Albert Trotter

    what an amazing article .. amazed to see all your collection of pictures…sounds like heaven on earth..food,hotel,flyover.aquarium all are best…please describe what was your hotel charges per day??

  2. Claudia

    I havent been to Vancouver yet but that suspension bridge might be the reason that makes me do the journey there! And that Avocado sashimi is calling my name… yummy yummy

  3. Christina

    I LOVE Vancouver! I grew up in Seattle, so it was always a quick and easy weekend vacation 🙂 I will need to go back and check out the Fairmont and Fly Over Canada. That experience sounds so unique and fun!!

  4. Izzy

    OMG I’m visiting Vancouver this summer for one of my friend’s weddings and had NO idea Capilano was that expensive! Definitely taking your advice and going for the less crowded and touristy bridge. Stanley Park is seriously beautiful and I love that shot of the two of you on the park bench. Great advice!

    1. Follow Me Away Post author

      YES!!! Please go to the Lynn Canyon one! Same distance and secluded and FREE and less busy and just more fun and unique!

  5. Ryan Hedger

    I’ve always wanted to visit Vancouver! I’m loving this comprehensive “first time visitor” list and how extensively you’ve thought out your suggestions! We weren’t aware of how green this city is and how many different types of activities there are. Now I’m trying to imagine the next time we’ll be in North America and if we’ll be near that corner of Canada!

  6. Samantha Elisabeth

    Ahhh this is perfect! One of my best friends from Korea is In Vancouver, and I’m eyeing flight deals to go see her. Good note on skipping Capilano for Lynn Canyon! $40 for a bridge?!

  7. Val

    Hi! I live in Vancouver and as a traveller myself, am always interested to learn what outsiders appreciate about our wonderful city. I agree that Lynn Canyon is a good option, whether or not you are on a budget. It is also accessible by public transit. Yes, Capilano Suspension Bridge is pricey, however there is much more than the bridge for your admission. The Skywalk is very cool and there’s many opportunities to learn about local fauna/flora/First Nations culture. If you’re pressed for time, I’d go for Capilano as they provide free shuttle buses from downtown.

    I appreciate the good recommendations for downtown restaurants, and also encourage visitors to get outside of downtown and explore. Many interesting restaurants along Commercial Drive, for instance, and a quick Skytrain ride to Richmond gives you access to all sorts of Asian cuisine.

    So much to do in Vancouver, I agree! Welcome to our city. 🙂

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