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Visiting Vancouver for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do


Visiting Vancouver for the First Time? Here's What to See and Do
Hi, I'm Mandy!

Mandy Hegarty is a writer who specializes in food and travel. Currently based in Dublin, Ireland, she’s previously lived in New York, London, and Montreal. She has written for the likes of Time Out New York, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines.

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With its natural landscapes, hip neighborhoods, and cosmopolitan vibe, Vancouver's urban and natural appeal attracts visitors. From biking, hiking, and skiing to food tours, craft beer tastings, and cable car rides, the city offers a wealth of activities. Here are our tips for first-time visitors to Canada’s west coast metropolis.


Explore Stanley Park

A quintessential Vancouver stop.

Hemmed in by the waters of Vancouver Harbour and the Burrard Inlet, this vast public park beckons visitors with its myriad beaches, rainforest trails, monuments, and artworks. It’s a rite of passage for first-time visitors to stroll, rollerblade, or cycle along the Stanley Park seawall, soaking up the scenic waterfront views along the way.

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Cycle by the water in Stanley Park for a quintessential Vancouver experience. Photo: Mike Kane / Viator

Sample the food scene

Vancouver has plenty of culinary delights.

Vancouver competes with Toronto and Montreal for the title of Canada’s culinary capital. Take a food tour to taste the delights from one or more of Vancouver’s best dining-out districts: Granville Island, Chinatown, and Gastown are all foodie paradises.

Related: Why Vancouver Has the World's Best Dim Sum (and Where To Find It)

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Visit the North Shore

For a breath of fresh air.

Just a short drive from Downtown Vancouver, the North Shore is the place to go for fresh air and dramatic mountain and forest scenery. Tread among the treetops at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, or board the Skyride aerial tram and ride up to the peak of Grouse Mountain

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The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a must-visit for first-timers in Vancouver. Photo: Photo: Mike Kane / Viator

Experience FlyOver Canada

Explore the country.

This attraction in Downtown Vancouver takes passengers on a simulated flying ride across Canada, showcasing staggering natural wonders on a huge dome screen. The ride makes use of mist, wind, and smells—as well as 3D images—to make the experience feel even more real.

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Take to the water

Get a new perspective.

The island-speckled waters around Vancouver are ripe for exploration. Opt for a high-speed Zodiac boat ride and search for dolphins, harbor seals, and bald eagles, or drift by downtown skyscrapers during a romantic dinner cruise around Vancouver Harbor.

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Take to the water for a spot of whale-watching off the Canadian coast. Photo: Mike Kane / Viator

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Hi, I'm Mandy!

Mandy Hegarty is a writer who specializes in food and travel. Currently based in Dublin, Ireland, she’s previously lived in New York, London, and Montreal. She has written for the likes of Time Out New York, Air Canada, and Singapore Airlines.

Keep exploring
See all Vancouver tours
520 tours & tickets
Things to do in Vancouver
See all things to do in Vancouver
Where to Find the Best Views in Vancouver
Where to Find the Best Views in Vancouver