Confession: I Don't Love Granville Island
I used to love going to Granville Island. I really did. Not so much anymore. Let me explain...
On a sunny day you will find half of Vancouver wandering around the public market, eating ice cream in the sunshine, and ducking to avoid the aggressive seagulls. Oh wait. It’s not half of Vancouver, but rather half of the rest of the world. That’s right, Granville Island is a tourist haven. It’s one of the main attractions that our beautiful city offers to nearly nine million annual visitors.
Prepare to be pushed around in huge throngs of people while fighting to get a glimpse of the produce or handmade arts for sale. Still want to go? To avoid this hassle, head to Granville Island on a weekday and try to get there early in the morning. That way you’ll actually be able to check out some of the vendors.
The market has some excellent produce for sale, but DON'T buy anything here! You're going to have some serious buyers remorse when you see the same produce for sale elsewhere for half the cost. The prices have been jacked up here so much in recent years due to the market's popularity among international visitors. Handmade arts and crafts are a different story, as these are usually one of a kind items that you won't find anywhere else.
The one thing that I will recommend you try is a piece of fresh smoked salmon or some candied salmon nuggets from Seafood City, a friendly vendor located just inside the market by the south doors. Take your salmon to go and enjoy it outside on the pier, but be prepared to defend your food from swooping seagulls!
Afterwards, have some fun trying on all the hats your heart could ever desire at the legendary Granville Island Hat Shop.
Best time to go
If you have the opportunity to visit Granville Island on a weekday morning, you’ll find it to be pleasantly quiet. Even I would like to go during that time! Try to be there by 9am, which is when the public market opens, and you’ll have enough time to check out the whole place before the huge crowds arrive.
Avoid visiting on weekends at all costs, unless you want to be pushed, shoved, and herded through the market like cattle!
It's a bit quieter at the market during Vancouver's off-season, roughly October to April, so that would also be a better time to visit.
Granville Island is located on the south side of False Creek. Public parking is available, but don’t expect to find a parking spot on a sunny summer day. The island can easily be reached by aquabus or public transit (#50 bus). You can also rent a bicycle for a day and ride along the seawall.