In recent years, our family has not spent much time traveling to cities, although we have missed everything our urban areas have to offer. So what better city for our first post-pandemic trip abroad than Vancouver, British Columbia, where nature meets the city?
Many Seattle residents take the occasional trip to beautiful Vancouver, as a short drive takes you to a vibrant multicultural city with so much to see and do. We recently spent five days exploring Vancouver and would love to spend more time there.
What to do in Vancouver with kids
Explore the UBC campus, museums and nearby Pacific Spirit Regional Park.
We madeBritish Columbia UniversityOur first stop because our student was looking forward to visiting the university campus - and because I was hoping to see the cherry blossoms! It turned out to be a beautiful campus that had a lot to offer for all ages. Less than a 30-minute drive from downtown, I was reminded of my alma mater, the University of Washington, with its amazing views, gardens, and museums.
See Canada's largest blue whale skeleton and a free "Walk Through Time" outdoor exhibit on a campus tourMuseum of Biodiversity them. Nice. respectedAnthropological MuseumDue to seismic improvements, it is temporarily closed until the end of 2023. However, you can put it on your list for future visits.
Another great benefit of driving west from the city center isPacific Spirit Regional Park, a beautiful rainforest oasis surrounding the UBC campus with plenty of free, multi-use nature trails for all to enjoy. This park is also a great place for a rainy day trip, as many of the trails are under canopy. Dogs are allowed on some but not all trails.
Tips:Along the way we discovered La Win Supermarket (1702 West Broadway), Vancouver's newest Chinese market, where we bought cheap picnic items. Please inquire in advance about the opening hours of the individual museums, as they are not open every day.
Explore the city on foot and discover unique public art at every turn.
We love exploring a new city on foot and making spontaneous discoveries. We enjoyed seeing the interesting outdoor murals and sculptures in the town centre. I learned that the city is known for its vibrant public art scene and has a great VancouverMural festivalsin August. The event has grown from a grassroots summer festival to a year-round non-profit arts organization dedicated to changing the way art is expressed in the city. Mark 4-13 August 2023 in your diary!
Our older children enjoyed the visitAlley-ups(aka "Pink Alley" and "Instagram Alley") between the streets of Seymour and Granville downtown, and we all loved watching"Giants" on Granville Island(360 degree spray mural on 70ft concrete silos). Other nice artistic discoveries were the 5.5 meter high museumGlobe of the Vancouver Convention Center, „Digital orca(also next to the Convention Centre) and the LightShed statue in the Coal Harbour.
Top:We didn't plan a walking tour in advance, but you can do itDownload the free wall map.
Test your fear of heights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
RobiCapilano Suspension Bridge Parkon all the must-do lists in Vancouver? Yes. I wondered how expensive it was and if it would be worth it? Also yes. But when my teenager, who couldn't wait to cross the bridge, gave the bridge a '15 out of 10' for her nervousness, I have to say I agreed it was worth it as it gave us some experimental experiment was.
The 450-meter-long Capilano Suspension Bridge, the main attraction of the park, has a long history. The first version of the bridge was hung in 1889 and later rebuilt. New experiences have been added in recent years, including the award-winning onesAdventure in the treetopsICliff walk. The park is dedicated to environmental protection and sustainability. Guides and interactive exhibits help reinforce environmental values.
Top:The bridge is not suitable for wheelchair users or prams. Although dogs are allowed, make sure your pup gets the job done first. The park can also get quite busy during the peak months, so take the opportunityTransfer for freeService from the center. If you are staying at the hotel, please contact the hotel concierge for entry vouchers.
Learn about the salmon life cycle at the Capilano River Hatchery and explore the Capilano River Regional Park.
Take a short drive north from the suspension bridgeCapilano River hotbed, built in 1971 to help restore depleted salmon stocks following the construction of a dam in Cleveland. Learn about the life cycle of our legendary Pacific Northwest fish with a free guided tour here. The hatchery is located in a beautiful park,Regionalpark Capilano-rivierwhich gives a lotshort, family-friendly routesand picnic areas in the lush coastal rainforest.
Top:Dogs are allowed on the trails (marked with and without a leash), but not in the salmon farm building.
Walk among giant old Douglas firs and enjoy sweeping views of the city in Lighthouse Park.
ExcellentLighthouse park, a 185-acre park on West Vancouver's waterfront about a 30-minute drive from downtown, has something for everyone. to electmany family-friendly hiking trailsStroll among towering mature trees and finally step ashore for a look at the National Historic Site-designated Point Atkinson Lighthouse and spectacular water views. The terrain around the first Point Atkinson lighthouse was set aside to provide a dark background and fuel source for the foghorn. Learn about the park's interesting history and preservationLighthouse Protection Society.
Top:Located on Marine Drive on the south side of Beacon Lane, this very popular park is open from 7am to 10pm. daily. Since parking is limited, consider public transportation from downtown Vancouver.
Hop on the Aquabus and discover Granville Island and Granville Island Water Park.
travel toGranville-InselThis is another Vancouver must-see, and we enjoyed driving into the oh-so-Instagram-worthy (and pet-friendly) RainbowAquabusby False Creek. Enjoy great views of the city and unexpected sights (like the Giants mural) as you cruise on these cute little ferries. Once a brownfield, Granville Island is now a bustling mixed-use waterfront oasis reminiscent of Seattle's Pike Place Market.
The highlight for us was exploring the interiorThe Granville Island Public Marketand have lunch at one of the many eateries. We enjoyed our lunch al fresco by the water and then walked around. We discovered a great hammock shop,HamuhkAfterwards, the kids enjoyed the playgrounds and the quiet little pond nearbychildren market. We also noticed a wonderful entry banGranville Island-waterpark.
Top: There are many ways to get thereGranville-Inselincluding bus, car, bicycle or boat, but we decidedAquabusfrom the Plaza of Nations and back via the Hornby route. This allowed us to explore much of downtown Vancouver by sea and on foot. Well-behaved dogs are allowed on Granville Island and on the Aquabus, but not on the market.
Take a scenic drive through Stanley Park.
Most people reading this are familiarParker Stanley, Vancouver's stunning 1,001-acre urban park that serves as a lush oasis near downtown. You can easily spend a day or more exploring the park and every time we have traveled to Vancouver we will be sure to visit.
We used to love exploring the area by bike, cycling along the seawall just outside the park. Since we were traveling with our large dog this time, we opted for a scenic drive instead, stopping along the way to explore the area.
Our first stop was the journey back to the First NationsTotempfähle at Brockton Pointwhere we explored the surrounding hiking trails. Then we visited Prospect Point Lookout, the highest point in the park, which offers a beautiful view of the ocean and the Lion's Gate Bridge. We also visitedBrockton Point Lighthouse, a 1914 lighthouse you can bypass; ANDA hollow tree, an ancient Western Red Cedar and one of the park's most popular attractions.
Top:to downloadFree printable mapPlan your visit in advance (vancouver.ca). Don't let small children (or a dog) stop you from exploring the area by bike either - local rental companies rent bike trailers for both!
See history come to life at Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site.
We would like to spend more time exploringRichmond, a city south of downtown Vancouver known for its Asian influences and night market. If you have limited time to visit, you should definitely prioritize a stopover in a fascinating placeBritannia Shipyards National Historic Site.
History comes alive in this beautiful eight-acre living museum, just minutes from the popular waterfrontWioska Steveston, where the main building of Britannia Shipyard (1889) serves as the hub of a historic multi-ethnic canning, fishing and boat building community. Learn about the different residents who lived there and visit the last survivorChinese bunkeron the west coast (built 1915) and explorerestored housethe Japanese-Canadian Murakami family who lived there from 1929 to 1942 when its members were interned during World War II.
if you go
Motivation:Most Seattle travelers prefer to drive due to the quick (2.5 hour) ride on Interstate 5 through the Peace Arch border crossing, but there are other optionsVictoria Knipperferry, scenicAmtrak Cascadeby train or even a cheap busFlixBus.
Where to sleep:We went crazy and stayed in the city centerFairmont Wharf, with stunning views, a great heated rooftop pool and dog friendly facilities. We have had a pleasant stay in the pastPinnacle Hotel Harbourfront, located near the seawall, a great place for kids to watch the seaplanes.
Where shall we eat:We enjoyed dinnerDynasty Knoedelhuis(Westend),Guu Toramasa(Westend),Swad Indian cuisine(West-Vancouver) iChinese brasserie Bao Bei. Our favorite place for a snack or coffee was downtownmink chocolate.
Vancouver is a fantastic family vacation destination that offers a range of activities and attractions for kids of all ages. With this 4-day itinerary, families can explore Downtown Vancouver, visit Grouse Mountain and North Vancouver, and enjoy many fun family activities within walking distance. What is this?Is Vancouver worth visiting in winter? ›
Vancouver is an amazing December destination because it has a milder winter than other Canadian cities. But at the same time, you can still expect a beautiful winter wonderland with plenty of fun December activities.What month is best to travel to Vancouver? ›
June to September is the best time to go to Vancouver for mild weather with only a small chance of rain. It's perfect for exploring the city and enjoying some sightseeing and shopping with at least 13 hours of warm sunshine per day.What is a good month to visit Vancouver? ›
March through May and September through November are the best times to visit Vancouver because of the mild weather and reasonable hotel rates.What is the coldest month in Vancouver? ›
August is the hottest month in Vancouver with an average temperature of 18°C (64°F) and the coldest is January at 3.5°C (38°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 13 in July. The wettest month is November with an average of 200mm of rain.Which month does it snow in Vancouver? ›
The first snowfall of winter for Vancouver usually arrives in December, but can show up as early as November or even October. The season's last snowfall typically happens in February or March although in some years a late snow lands in April. Vancouver is normally free of snow every year from May to September.How cold is Vancouver in Christmas? ›
Weather In Vancouver In December
December tends to be one of the rainiest months in Vancouver so you can expect the same. The temperature of Vancouver in December stays around 3-4 degrees Celsius. While it's rare but there is a possibility for a snowstorm and it is suggested that you pack accordingly.
How many days do you need to visit Vancouver properly? A proper visit to Vancouver should take three or four days. This involves getting a hotel in the downtown core and spending one day exploring areas like Gastown, Yaletown, and Stanley Park.Can you see Northern Lights in Vancouver? ›
British Columbia offers plenty of places to see the Northern Lights during the winter months, from December to March. Even Metro Vancouver area witnesses the natural phenomenon a few times per year despite light pollution and a relatively southern location.Do you need a car in Vancouver? ›
Vancouver has an extensive public transportation system that can take you virtually anywhere in the city. Moreover, if you work or go to school in the city, it may be more convenient, and not to mention far cheaper, to take public transit or bike instead of driving due to heavy traffic during peak hours.
How to find cheap flights to Vancouver? The cheapest time to fly to Vancouver from the rest of Canada is in November. October also offers cheap flight tickets. Vancouver flights bought for travel in November are on average 26% cheaper than flight tickets bought for travel in December.What is Vancouver known for? ›
With its scenic views, mild climate, and friendly people, Vancouver is known around the world as both a popular tourist attraction and one of the best places to live.Is Vancouver expensive for tourists? ›
Vancouver is considered one of the most expensive cities in Canada and the world. But compared to other big cities, it is relatively cheaper, and there are ways to cut costs for vacationers planning to explore the city on a budget. Here's a budget breakdown for visiting Vancouver and what travelers can expect to spend.How expensive is Vancouver? ›
A global survey conducted in 2022 names Vancouver the most expensive city to live in Canada. The prices of grocery items are 1.92% higher in Vancouver than in Los Angeles. The rental prices in Vancouver are 64.09% higher than those in California. These are all the information related to the cost of living in Vancouver.Is Vancouver weather like Seattle? ›
Is Vancouver as rainy as Seattle? Both cities have similar climates and are very rainy. It's generally considered to rain more in Vancouver since it's in a rainforest and closer to the mountains. Though both have dry, warm summers which make up for the gloomy winters.Why is Vancouver so expensive? ›
Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in Canada due to the limited availability of land. Land scarcity occurs when there is limited availability of land for development; this means that demand for housing and other developments exceeds supply, resulting in higher costs.Does Vancouver get all 4 seasons? ›
At any time of the year, Vancouver is sure to surprise and delight. Here's a little bit of information about the four seasons Vancouver enjoys and what you can expect when visiting during these times. Also see our What to Wear page for additional weather details and clothing suggestions for our seasons.Which city is more expensive Vancouver or Toronto? ›
Toronto and Vancouver are both expensive places to live when considering the average wage, housing costs and the price of day-to-day living. Vancouver, however, does edge Toronto out when it comes to things like rent, utilities and groceries.Is Vancouver nice to live in? ›
Vancouver frequently ranks highly as one of the world's most livable cities. It was recently ranked as the best city to live in North America. Its scenic location near the ocean, tucked up against the North Shore mountains, makes living in Vancouver an ideal base for year-round exploration.Is Vancouver nice to visit in Christmas? ›
Christmas markets, string lights twinkling, Christmas dress is almost every plaza, red bows on stores. Yes, Vancouver is a special place in North America to visit year-round.
Vancouver is a good base for travel in December. As well as having milder temperatures, the city is near many excellent ski resorts in the mountains, such as Whistler, Grouse Mountain, and Cypress Mountain, among other popular ski destinations.Does it rain a lot in Vancouver in December? ›
In Vancouver in December, there's a 59% chance of rain or snow on an average day. And on the average day it rains or snows, we get 0.86 in (21.8 mm) of precipitation. In more common terms of how much that is, some would describe it as flurries.Is Vancouver a good place for families? ›
Combined with excellent schools across the city and quiet, tree-lined streets just outside of a busy downtown core, Vancouver is truly the perfect place for those with children or pets.Is Vancouver a good family holiday? ›
Vancouver is, without a doubt, one of the best cities in the world to visit as a family. I've been going since I was a kid to visit family and highly recommend it as a family holiday destination. There are so many amazing things to do in Vancouver with kids.How many days in Vancouver is enough? ›
How many days do you need to visit Vancouver properly? A proper visit to Vancouver should take three or four days. This involves getting a hotel in the downtown core and spending one day exploring areas like Gastown, Yaletown, and Stanley Park.Is 3 days enough in Vancouver? ›
Vancouver is an amazing city and while you can't see it all in just 3 days, you can squeeze plenty of awesome things into a short trip. Whether you're out adventuring in the mountains or exploring downtown, you'll quickly fall in love with this beautiful coastal city!Is Vancouver cheap or expensive? ›
Vancouver is considered one of the most expensive cities in Canada and the world. But compared to other big cities, it is relatively cheaper, and there are ways to cut costs for vacationers planning to explore the city on a budget.Can children go in pubs in Vancouver? ›
The B.C. government has poured another round of liquor law reform, with children to be allowed in pubs and restaurants allowed to serve drinks without food.What time of year is cheapest to travel to Vancouver? ›
How to find cheap flights to Vancouver? The cheapest time to fly to Vancouver from the rest of Canada is in November. October also offers cheap flight tickets. Vancouver flights bought for travel in November are on average 26% cheaper than flight tickets bought for travel in December.Can you do Vancouver in 5 days? ›
There are so many things to do in Vancouver that you can easily fill five days. The 5-day itinerary we made is just the tip of the iceberg. We didn't even cover most of the museums and other attractions in Vancouver! Take it from a local Vancouverite, it's an incredible city I know you'll love.
How much does a single person need to live in Vancouver? The approximate cost of living in Vancouver for a single person is 1,200 C$. The approximate cost of living in Vancouver for a single person is 1,200 C$.How much money do you need in Vancouver? ›
The average cost of living in Vancouver is $4,056/month for a single person who rents. This average is based on many factors including the cost of housing, transportation, groceries, and entertainment.Is Vancouver a walkable city? ›
Vancouver is known for being a very walkable city with a compact downtown core, so you'll likely find many of the places you want to go are just a short walk from your hotel.What is the best way to get around Vancouver BC? ›
Vancouver's public transportation is both efficient and convenient. The Translink system includes buses, the SeaBus ferry and the SkyTrain (light rail), all of which are ecologically friendly, reliable and inexpensive. Regular service runs from about 5 or 6 a.m. to around 1 a.m. every day.Is it easy to walk around Vancouver? ›
Vancouver is known for being a very walkable city with a compact downtown core, so you'll likely find many of the places you want to go are just a short walk from your hotel. Visit our Maps section to help plan your route.How do I get from Vancouver to Victoria without a car? ›
From downtown Vancouver, take the SkyTrain's Canada Line south to Bridgeport Station, then transfer to bus #620 to get to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal, then board the ferry as a walk-on passenger. From the Swartz Bay terminal on Vancouver Island, take bus #70 to downtown Victoria.Is Vancouver a cheap city? ›
Vancouver is one of the most expensive cities in Canada. However, if you evaluate Vancouver's affordability and how it compares to other cities in the US, Western Europe, and Asia (instead of the standard comparison to smaller Canadian housing prices).