I’ll be honest: we feel fond of Vancouver, British Columbia. (Sorry, Seattle, you didn’t win our hearts). Smart urban planning, wild nature, and a sense of calmness – it didn’t change in 5 years since we first stopped there. This post is about fascinating places we’ve discovered thanks to our local friends. (First part is here).
Below you’ll find a little bit of everything: fun historical sites, food, nature, and seasonal fun (cool beach or a place for snow play/skiing).
Vancouver British Columbia: places we love and recommend to visit
Vancouver has a strong Asian influence and is even called “the most Asian city outside Asia”. Local Chinatown is one of the largest in the entire world. Being also one of the oldest neighborhoods in town, it’s been busy for more than a century, since the first Chinese immigrants arrived in the late 1800s.
Walk past red lamp posts, try local cuisine, wander at the local markets, – it’s a really authentic experience, especially for the first time:
2. Richmond Fisherman’s Wharf
Another authentic place worth visiting – Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf, a floating seafood market. We got Dungeness crabs and shrimp, but also saw sharks, sea urchins, sashimi-grade fish, and many more. I liked the idea of buying it super fresh, right from the fishing trawlers and people who caught it:
Also not to be missed in Richmond:
- Murakami House (museum) and Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site
- Lamajoun, the best Armenian food we have ever tried
- Terra Nova Adventure Playground
3. Vancouver British Columbia: Science World, rainy day escape
Science World is a fun and educational center for kids of all ages and a great place to spend time during a rainy day.
Besides the museum, we enjoyed the waterfront views and watching kayakers paddling through downtown (from the museum cafe). In addition, there is a small but interesting playground right beside the museum (last picture):
4. More than the public market: Granville Island
Granville Island is always a huge draw for tourists and locals. Once a polluted industrial wasteland, the Island now is a charming spot with a public market, bike paths, paddling club, playground, amazing food, and occasional seals passing by 🙂
5. Vancouver’s Gardens
For a quiet time, try one of the several Vancouver gardens. One of the most famous is Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Classical Garden, built in 1986, and the first Chinese garden built outside of China. In the garden, you’ll find traditional buildings and plants similar to gardens in China:
6. Vancouver British Columbia: Public Library
We have a family passion for exploring local libraries any places and countries we go to. Vancouver Public Library happened to be one of the largest we have ever seen. Other than that, it was a great place for browsing the childrens section and warm up on a chilly winter day:
7. Deep Cove: for superb kayaking or hiking
Vancouver is one of the best “urbanist” paddling destinations. On our bucket list now: exploring the urban area at the English Bay or False Creek (the area near the Science World Museum, Granville Island). If you are looking for a more natural, raw experience try Deep Cove:
8. Kitsilano Beach
Kitsilano is one of the most beloved beaches for weekend outings among locals in Vancouver. There is a playground, heated saltwater pool, spacious beach, floating platform, and tidepool creatures. Fly a kite, swim if you dare (water is cold), or explore low tide with kids:
9. Vancouver British Columbia: sunset at the Burnaby Mountain
Many places in this post and in the 1st part of the top sights to visit in Vancouver we discovered thanks to our local friends. One of them was watching the sunset from Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area:
Make sure to stop at the rose garden: it isn’t big but is beautiful. And if you are with kids, let them stretch their legs at the playground (pictured above).
10. Winter Wonderland: half hour driving from Downtown Vancouver
There are three mountains in the northern part of Vancouver, where you can ski, play in the snow, and enjoy the views, – Grouse, Cypress, and Seymour. We visited only Seymour and liked it a lot:
In the dark, you can watch Seymour ski and snowboard night runs hanging above Downtown Vancouver. WOW!
Vancouver British Columbia Essentials
- Make sure to check hours, fees, and Covid regulations before you go
- Tips and useful information about budget, weather, transportation, entertainment, and accommodation in Vancouver is here
- Rain jacket, umbrella, and comfy shoes are useful in Vancouver year-round 😀
- We visited Vancouver with me being pregnant, with a baby, toddlers, pre-teen kid, and grandparents. I love the city as there is so much for everyone!
- Book accommodation in advance for the best and cheapest rates: Vancouver is a popular destination year-round!
Must-see in Vancouver on MyMaps
Vancouver Like a Local. Vancouver top sight we liked visiting with kids, Part 1 and Part 2. Mountains, island, lakes, hot springs, National Park: 4 hard-to-miss day trips from Vancouver.
The Hawaiian Islands and why you need to visit them at least once in a lifetime: Oahu, Big Island, Kauai, Maui, volcanoes (active included)
More cities: Munich, Amsterdam, Reykjavik, Portland, Washington DC