Your Vancouver Bucket List

There are a few things you need to do while you’re in Vancouver to make the most of your stay. With great food, gorgeous sights and fun activities to do, you’ll never get too bored in this gorgeous city. Here is a list of 20 things to do while you’re in Vancouver!

 

Food You Should Try

This needs its own section just because there are so many delicious iconic Vancouver eats. 

1. Aburi Oshi at Miku and Minami 

Vancouver did not invent oshizushi or aburi, but the distinct aburi oshi you can find at Miku and Minami was created by Chef Seigo Nakamura. These rectangular sushi pieces are topped with sashimi, a creamy sauce and then flame seared to create a smoky finish. The result is the most delicious bite or seasoned, buttery rice with the tenderness of the fish that is just perfectly complemented by the sauce and the sear.  It is a must try in Vancouver. 

2. Lee’s Donuts

If you haven’t had a freshly made donut before, you’re missing out. We have some great donut places like Cartems and Lucky’s, but Lee’s is the best when all you need is a simple glazed donut. Go early in the morning to get a warm donut and stroll around Granville island – it will change your life.

3. Japadog

It’s on every list but it’s a classic. Japadog started as a small food cart created by a couple from Japan and has grown into the iconic eatery it is today. You can find their carts around town, or head to their storefront at 530 Robson Street. While the Terimayo is the classic (Teriyaki Sauce, Japanese Mayo and Nori), the Okonomi is another delicious option for the Okonomiyaki fans. 

4. Dim Sum 

This might seem silly, but if a trip to China isn’t in the books, Richmond is one of the best places in the world for dim sum. Check out Fortune Terrace or Chef Tony if you want experimental, Instagram worthy eats, Empire Seafood for a classic experience that won’t break the bank or Kirin for an elevated traditional Dim Sum. If you’re intimidated, Har gow (shrimp dumplings), siu mai (pork and shrimp dumplings), cha siu bao (BBQ pork buns) and sticky rice are always good places to start. 

5. Brunch 

If Vancouverites are into anything, it’s brunch. Brunch is a magical time because it’s the best meal to catch up with people. Most people are free on weekends,  and brunch is meant for that! There are a ton of spots in Vancouver to grab your Egg’s Bennies and waffles such as Jam Cafe, OEB, Yolks and Medina Cafe. Now this won’t be a one time thing, once you get into brunch there’s no going back.   

 

Places to See

We’ve already covered some great places to go in Vancouver, but here are all the other necessary spots in Vancouver to see. 

1. Van Dusen

We’ve talked about Van Dusen before, but it’s just such a neat spot year round! Throughout the year there are different events such as the Christmas Lights and the Halloween Glow in the Garden (health order dependent of course). But you can still visit when there aren’t events and stroll around this beautiful garden. 

2. Queen Elizabeth Park 

Another gorgeous park with a rose garden, the Duck Pond, lovely paths to stroll through and even a little pitch and putt spot. Hidden inside is also the Bloedel Conservatory, a fun little activity to take you away to a tropical oasis. 

3. Kits Beach 

Recently named one of the Top 10 Beaches in Canada, Kits Beach is a popular spot for its mix of grassy parks and sandy beaches, complete with beach volleyball nets and an outdoor swimming pool. 

4. Granville Island + False Creek

A classic on every Vancouver bucket list, Granville Island is a great place to hang out for first-time visitors and locals alike. The food is incredible, the stores are fun and there are gorgeous views all around. If you want to take it a step further, hop on an Aquabus and see all of False Creek!

5. Stanley Park 

Another one on every Vancouver bucket list (for good reason) is the gorgeous Stanley Park. There’s an aquarium, theatre, a few beaches, little lagoons all in this gorgeous forest! Stanley Park is well known around the world for its beauty. 

 

Activities To Do

Every bucket list needs ideas of things to do! Here are some Vancouver classics. 

1. Take a Hike 

With so many gorgeous hiking trails in Vancouver, it’s no wonder why it’s one of the most popular activities in town. This list gives some great recommendations, but be aware that the Public Health Order is constantly changing so going to Whistler, for example, is off limits at the moment. 

2. Bike the Seawall

A classic Vancouver activity, biking the seawall along Stanley Park is a gorgeous and active way to spend a day. If you’re not a big cyclist, there are other paths such as the one along False Creek that might be a little less intimidating. 

3. Walk Across Suspension Bridges

There’s of course the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, but there’s also the Lynn Canyon one if you don’t want to spend! While the Lynn Canyon one is closed at the moment, it should be open again later. And of course visiting both parks is a great way to experience the lush Vancouver temperate rainforests

4. Whale Watching 

Just a short boat ride away and you can be out in the open ocean with whales! There are lots of whale watching companies around town with guarantees of whale sightings (or a voucher to go again!) This is a once in a few years at most activity since it is so expensive, but is a wonderful experience. 

5. Visit Museums

There are lots of museums to check out in Vancouver. The Art Gallery, Museum of Anthropology, Maritime Museum are just a few of the spots to visit. Here is a full list. And as local travel opens up again, the Royal BC Museum in Victoria is another incredible spot to visit. 

 

Weekend Getaways

We’re just dreaming of the day that local travel is open again, so here are a few spots you should visit when we’re able to! Reminder: travel should only happen once Provincial Health Orders recommend it. 

1. Tofino

Tofino is not only the best place to surf around BC, but it’s a beautiful outdoorsy spot perfect for a weekend away. You can book a cabin and stay secluded from the world. Or you can take the more natural route and set up a tent! Tofino is another great spot for whale sightings. 

2. Victoria 

Victoria is the capital of BC and a lovely city to visit. It’s smaller and slower paced than Vancouver with people who are happy to see each other. A weekend getaway gives you enough time to see the main attractions like the museums and gardens – you can even get a tour of the Parliament House!

3. Bowen Island

Another easy trip to take that is very transit-friendly for those without cars. Bowen Island is a gorgeous small island just off the coast of West Vancouver with a population of under 4,000 people! Bowen Island is full of wildlife with deer abound. Bowen is a great place to hike, kayak and soak in nature. 

4. Whistler 

A must visit while you’re in Vancouver. Whistler is of course known for skiing, but there is also ziplining, snowshoeing, bobsledding, biking and more! When you’re tuckered out from all the activities, Whistler has some great spots to eat at as well. Even just strolling through Whistler Village and checking out the shops is a great way to spend an afternoon!

5. Harrison Hot Springs

Another BC spot with lots of biking, hiking and more but with Hot Springs this time! The Hot Spring Pool is sourced from the naturally warm Hot Springs nearby and cooled just a touch to make it comfortable for people. Besides the pool, there are also fun water parks around, seadoo rentals and BBQ Boat rentals to make the most of your water adventures!

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