Where to Go in Vancouver: 6 Can't Miss Spots
Vancouver receives millions of visitors each year and you'll undoubtedly find guide books repeating the same 'must-see' spots over and over again (not to give them a bad rap, I do love a good guide book - this one is perfect for Vancouver). Having recently spent the last six years living in Vancouver, I wanted to share six of my favorite spots in the city - sure, there are a few that are very much 'on-the-beaten-path', but perhaps you'll also find some surprises and new places to visit.
Read on below for a complete list of six can't miss spots in Vancouver, plus other useful information for visiting this popular destination on Canada's west coast!
Where to go when you're thirsty...
Granville Island Brewery
Located in False Creek, Granville Island Brewery first opened it's doors in 1984 to become Canada's first microbrewery. Today, it's style of brewing hasn't changed all that much. The company focuses on using diverse ingredients to create refreshing locally brewed beers - the seasonal Lion's Winter Ale (creamy, chocolate-y, so so so good!) and the False Creek Raspberry Ale are standouts you absolutely need to try. In the Taproom, you can also sample Granville Island Brewery's Small Batch ales, which rotate on a regular basis.
Important Info: The Taproom is open daily from 12 pm - 8 pm. Weekends are generally busier than weekdays and you may need to put your name down on a wait list on Saturday and Sunday. If you'd like to book a tour of the brewery, you can do so here.
Where to go when you want to get outside...
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Nestled into the North Shore Mountains, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a year-round outdoor destination in Vancouver. Visitors can explore the park and its many amenities: the historic Suspension Bridge, gravity-defying Cliffwalk, and fun Treetop Adventure. From the end of November to the end of January, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park hosts a special annual tradition: Canyon Lights. During this time, the whole Park is decorated in hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights making it an extra festive place to see around the holidays. The Park is open rain or shine.
Important Info: An adult ticket costs $39.95 and all park attractions are included in the price. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park has varying hours of operation throughout the year - check here for the most up to date times. They also offer visitors a free shuttle to and from the Park, which departs from several downtown locations.
If you happen to be a resident of British Columbia, don't foget to take your entry ticket to the Guest Services Desk to sign up for an annual pass. This will grant you free re-entry to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park for a whole year after your initial visit!
Where to go for the best coastal views...
With panoramic views of Vancouver, Burrard Inlet, Howe Sound, and Vancouver Island, Lighthouse Park is the best place to go for beautiful Pacific coastal views - you know the ones, rocky cliffs staggering off into the ocean, seashells littering the pebbly beaches, and plenty of hiking trails to explore the rugged landscape.
Important Info: To reach Lighthouse Park by car follow Marine Drive westbound until you pass Caulfield Cove Marina. Keep your eye out for the Lighthouse Park sign and take a left on Beacon Lane, which will lead you right to the parking lot. The Park is free to visit.
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Where to go when you're hungry...
Sal y Limón
Mouth-watering, delicious, spicy, flavorful - there's no better place to grab something to eat than at Sal y Limón. This lively yet casual restaurant on Fraser Street serves authentic Mexican dishes at reasonable prices and features colorful skull artwork on the walls. Their extensive menu contains items such as tacos and tortas, and they also have gluten free and vegetarian options. The pollo pibil tacos with cheese are absolutely to die for and the self-serve salsa bar (there are at least 10 varieties ranging from mild to super hot) is an extra bonus!
Important Info: Sal y Limón is open daily from 11:30 am - 9 pm. If you arrive during weekday dinner hours you may find a line up out the door as this is a favorite dinner spot for Vancouverites on their way home from work.
Where to go to get your caffeine fix...
Owned by Vancouver-based coffee roasters Milano, Turk's Coffee is a modern hole-in-the-wall coffee shop on Commercial Drive, a cozy hippie-vibe area which was once considered to be the city's Little Italy neighborhood. If there's one thing you get here let it be the Turksicle, a creamy caffeine concoction over ice with just the right mix of sweet and bitter flavors.
Important Info: Turk's Coffee is open daily from 6:30 am - 11 pm.
Where to go for a fun date with your significant other or for an all-ages family outing...
The Vancouver Aquarium
Located in the heart of one of the city's most famous attractions, Stanley Park, The Vancouver Aquarium is a clear favorite of visitors and locals alike, and it makes for a perfect, all-pressure-off day date location or family outing destination. There are plenty of interactive activities and informational shows that take place each day.
Before or after your visit to the Aquarium it's easy to enjoy the nature trails and viewpoints in Stanley Park, and walk or bike the famous Seawall back into downtown.
Important Info: The Vancouver Aquarium is open daily from 10 am - 5 pm and one adult admission costs $36. Wintertime generally brings smaller crowds to the aquarium so you should be able to enjoy all of the facilities, even on weekends. During summer hours, the quietest times are on weekdays, right at opening time or later in the afternoon after 3 pm.