Cities British Columbia, Canada

Vancouver BC Travel Guide. Budget, Weather, Entertainment

Vancouver BC travel guide. First-time visit: best time, food, accommodation, how to get around. When, how, what to look for. Why biking is so cool here. Map

Vancouver BC travel Guide is a short post with the most useful information we have learned in 4 years of traveling there. Accommodation, food, the best way to see the city, transportation, entertainment, weather, and time to book. Enjoy!

Our love-hate relationship with Vancouver

We fell in love with Vancouver but it did not happen at the first sight. After our first visit, we had mixed feelings. Partly because of the weather: it was cold, damp, and dark.

That impression changed after we met our friends – a lovely family from our homeland. They showed us Vancouver as they know as locals; not only fascinating places but also the best time and ways to explore them.

After seeing the city from their perspective we keep coming to Vancouver even during the dark and rainy season 😉

Capilano River, Vancouver, our first meet 🙂 Love you guys and miss you very much!

The best climate and worst weather

Among Canada’s large cities, Vancouver is the only one granted with a mild climate.

Summers are warm and winter temperatures rarely dip below freezing. Snow is a big deal in Vancouver. In the picture below you can see “one of the biggest snowfalls in years” in Vancouver:

Rare sight: snow in Vancouver. Kitsilano Beach
Rare sight: snow in Vancouver. Kitsilano Beach

The rain season lasts from October to March, with mostly overcast skies, light rain or drizzles, and very little sunshine. As somebody said, “Vancouver has the best climate and worst weather”.

Our most memorable visit to Vancouver was in summer when we finally enjoyed the warm sunny weather. We were hiking, biking, swimming, and making the most of what outdoor Vancouver has to offer.

Vancouver BC travel Guide. A day out at Belcarra Regional Park, Vancouver
Vancouver BC travel Guide. A day out at Belcarra Regional Park, Vancouver

Vancouver BC Travel Guide. Budgeting


No matter what time of the year you plan to visit, it will be hard to find a decent place if you don’t start looking in advance.

Booking two weeks ahead is not enough for Vancouver. It’s a popular destination year-round. The average price for a 3-star hotel room is 100+ CAD per night. Book early!

Burrard Hotel is a nice place to stay in Downtown Vancouver. It is historical yet modern with a lush courtyard garden:

Vancouver BC Travel Guide. Martin Tessler / The Burrard
Vancouver BC Travel Guide. Martin Tessler / The Burrard

We found renting an apartment/house through Airbnb/VRBO to be more competitive compared to hotels. For the same or lower price, you can get more space and a full kitchen to cook some meals.

Vancouver BC Travel Guide. Food

Asian influence made Vancouver one of the greatest places to try Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Thai cuisine without breaking a bank.

The average meal and coffee/tea will cost you around 20 CAD per person. Sushi rolls are both cheap and tasty in Vancouver: as low as 4 CAD for a roll is a norm for the city.

Our first-ever Vietnamese Pho soup (11 CAD per portion):

Vancouver BC Travel Guide. Asian influence in local food
Vancouver BC Travel Guide. Asian influence in local cuisine

Seafood is another local specialty: fresh west coast oysters, shrimps, salmon, and Dungeness crab are easy to find in the city. Don’t forget to try local coffee and pastries!

Vancouver BC. Entertainment

Canada is famous for its nature and Vancouver is an excellent place to discover some. We spent little money during the summer for bike rentals, swimming pool fees, and had amazing memories.

Biking Vancouver Seawall in late August was one of the most memorable things for me:

Vancouver Seawall: the stunning place to walk/bike/stroll for hours along the Pacific Ocean

Lynn Canyon Park: another favorite in Vancouver for hiking, swimming, and enjoying nature:

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

During the winter in Vancouver, we switch mostly to indoor activities. Prices for tickets and entrance fees are slightly higher than in the US.

Science World is a great place to visit with a family on a rainy day:

Science World, Vancouver

Vancouver BC Travel Guide. Transportation

Vancouver has great, user-friendly public transportation. Locals use it a lot. Although we never tried it, our close friends from Vancouver said that it would easy to try for visitors.

We always arrived in the city by car, which is also a convenient way of getting around in Vancouver and vicinity. Parking was not an issue.

The two differences in driving between the US and Canada are km instead of miles and the flashing green light at some intersections (indicates that pedestrians have the ability to stop traffic to allow a safe crossing).

Our most favorite transport in Vancouver was biking. The city has more than 450km of dedicated bike lanes and plenty of rentals around. We used English Bay Bike Rentals and liked it a lot:

On bikes, we could get around the most desirable places much faster than on foot. Stanley Park, English Bay, Granville Island, Kitsilano Beach – these are popular bike routes and cover most of the must-see places in Vancouver.

Top sights in Vancouver on the map

One sunny morning, Leo made a casual bike ride with our friend from their house in Vancouver straight to Crystal Falls. He was so fascinated by nature and its accessibility within the city limits that he said he would love to move to Vancouver. 🙂

Atop Crystal Falls, Canada
Atop Crystal Falls, Canada

P.S. Movies and books about Vancouver

Vancouver often referred to as “Hollywood of the North” and for a good reason: countless movies were shot there and in British Columbia. Percy Jackson, Juno, 50 Shades of Grey, Godzilla, The Twilight Saga, Mission Impossible IV, and I, Robot, just to name a few 🙂

There are also numerous good books about Vancouver: An Ocean Apart: The Gold Mountain Diary of Chin Mei-Ling, Girl Overboard by Justina Chen, and even Hollywood-inspired Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom.

Thanks for reading friends and have fun in Vancouver!

Read next:
Our most favorite places and things to do in Vancouver, BC, Part 1. And Part 2. Amazing Canada: Day trips from Vancouver

Hawaii On a Budget 2021. Save On a Trip During Pandemic

Canada gems: Banff, Jasper National Parks with kids. Banff trip planning: budget, the best time to visit and why, wildlife, gas, groceries, etc

By Mrs. Grazy Goat

I am Ira, the author behind Grazy Goat. My husband and I run this blog and share our experiences about thrilling places and cultures. Our son Artem recently joined us and helps with editing.

We are very happy to have YOU here 😻

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