Pick the most dramatic setting you can think of to build a city and it might look something like Vancouver. Lapped by the Pacific Ocean on one side and overlooked by the colossal Mt Baker on the other, Vancouver isn’t your average grid-iron sprawl. This Canadian city is both historically interesting and cutting edge, five minutes from the ski slopes in the winter months and a gateway to the beach during summer. Here are five essentials for 24 hours in scenic Vancouver.
Start the day in Gastown – Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood
Vancouver grew from humble beginnings as a frontier town in the latter half of the 19th century. The city’s strategically important position on the coast meant that it acted as a hub for trade and meetings for centuries. Spend your morning touring Gastown to get a flavour of these earlier times.
Hudson House recreates what it was like when fur trading dominated this part of Canada. Historic Gastown is also home to Blood Alley, a place that has some chilling historical anecdotes attached to it, plus Vancouver’s famous Steam Clock, an ingenious contraption that has inspired others like it around the world.
Ride the Stanley Park Train
Around 30 minutes’ walk from Gastown, Stanley Park adds to Vancouver’s scenic credentials with 1,000 acres of trees, trails, beaches and wildlife on the edge of Vancouver Harbour. The park is also easily reached by public transport. If you are visiting in the summer months or around a special event like Easter, the Stanley Park Train Ride is a lovely opportunity to explore Vancouver on a miniature train. You’ll travel through the forest on a short 2km journey, enjoying the view – perfect if you are making a flying visit to the park.
Lunch at Granville Island
From Stanley Park, make your way to Vancouver’s atmospheric Granville Island, a leading centre for the arts and modern cuisine in the city. The public market here will keep foodies happy for hours, and it’s a great stop for lunch.
From Canadian fish & chips to traditional homemade cheeses, you’ll find some interesting food and drink to sample. There are also plenty of cafes nearby should you fancy a brew.
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Watch a Vancouver Canucks hockey game
After a short break at your hotel, you will be refreshed and ready for an evening in the city. Ice hockey is a wildly popular pastime in Canada and the Vancouver Canucks are the local NHL side. If you are lucky enough to secure tickets to a game you will be treated to an exhilarating evening. The Canucks enjoy passionate local support and the atmosphere is friendly. This fast-paced and physical game will keep you on the edge of your seat!
Dine at the Richmond Night Market
After a fun-filled day in Vancouver, there are plenty of entertaining ways to spend an evening and round off your itinerary. During the summer months, one of the local highlights is the Richmond Night Market, a vast collection of stalls that draws thousands of patrons every night. Fun, food and fantastic shopping are guaranteed. Sample everything from fresh seafood to rotato (deep fried potato on a stick).
Vancouver is a city used to welcoming travellers with all kinds of activities, attractions, tours and events – not to mention luxury hotels. Even if you are only in this captivating place for 24 hours, you won’t forget it in a hurry. Find out more about our Canadian tour holidays.