Your guide to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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About Vancouver, Canada

British Columbia is a beautiful province in Canada located along the West coast. Packed with forest lands backed by mountain views, rocky coastlines & sandy beaches, and lakes galore, this region is a nature lovers paradise! In the far Southwest corner, on an inlet from the Pacific ocean sits the great city of Vancouver.

Vancouver, Canada things to do. Flag on the waterfront part of the city.

Language: English

Money: Canadian dollar (CAD)

Conversion Rate: 1 USD= 1.30CAD (as of May, 2022)

Tipping: Although it’s not required, it is customary to tip 15-20% when paying for meals or drinks.

Outlets: 120V If you are traveling from the US, you don’t need an adapter or converter.

People: Canadians are, in most cases, very friendly and willing to help!

Safety: Generally, I have always felt safe in Vancouver. However, like any major city, crime occurs. I recommend sticking to main streets and well lit areas if out at night.

Water: Tap water in the city is safe to drink.

Things to do in Vancouver

Granville Island– This is an upscale area of town to the South. Lots of little boutique shops, cafes, higher end restaurants, and big fancy houses. Note: Granville is also the name of a major street that heads through the city.

Burrard Dock Pier & Coal Harbor- Out on the 700ft long pier, you will find plaques to read about the history of Vancouver, a beautiful view of the woods across the water, and a great place to watch cruise ships and water planes come and go. (The photo above was taken from the pier). There are some food options along here, but they won’t be as cheap as you will find away from the harbor. It’s a ‘pay-for-the-view’ type thing.

Jelly fish at the Vancouver Aquarium

Stanley Park & Aquarium– Stanley Park is a great place to escape to nature, enjoy a picnic, and read a bit about the totem poles in the park. The aquarium is an absolute must if you have kids. Even if you don’t, I still highly recommend checking it out! It’s about $35 per ticket, but is absolutely worth it. They are doing great conservation and rehabilitation work and the aquarium itself is not only a place to see cool underwater life, but also become educated about it all.

*Note: tickets must be purchased online in advance. Click the button below to find more information and book a time slot for your visit!

Historic Gastown– Around this area of the city, you will find tidbits of information and history among thriving bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops. There are some must-stop tourists spots like the Steam Clock and many statues.

Watch a whitecaps game in Vancouver

See a show or game– Nothing like seeing the Canucks or the Whitecaps play on their hometurf. Tickets to these events can be really affordable and found both online and at tourist information spots in the city. There are so many music venues around Vancouver that there is sure to be a show when you are in town!

(I’ll admit in the pic above, we were supporting our local team, but it was fun to watch the Whitecaps rival unfold.)

Where to eat in Vancouver

Bars in Gastown– This area of the city is stocked with fun and funky bars, most boasting great deals during happy hour and weekly specials. I recommend finding one with seating near the window to people watch!

Bars in Gastown
Sushi on the waterfront

Sushi on the waterfront- Miku Sushi has killer views and the taste is worth the pricetag. Or, take your pick of the nearly endless options of international food! Everything from Middle Eastern & Asian to African and European…all calling your name!

Dark Table-This place is so much more than just a meal. It’s an eye-opening experience. It’s a must when in Vancouver! Be ready to set aside about an hour & a half for the full experience and I recommend making reservations in advance. Sometimes they book up for weeks.

Grab a coffee- British Columbia is very similar to the Pacific Northwest of the USA, and a huge part of the culture here is coffee and coffee shop vibes. There are so many to choose from, but one of my personal favorites is Nemesis Café. The coffee is fantastic and they offer delicious options for breakfast, brunch and lunch!

Nemesis cafe, Vancouver, Canada

Insider tips for visiting Vancouver, BC

1 The tourist info building in downtown is a good place to check out if you are looking to do a tour or just wanting to grab some pamphlets. If you’re looking to talk to someone about what to do in the city, find a local on the street, so you don’t feel pressured to book.

✴ They offer half price tickets for day of shows and games though, so it’s worth going in just for that.

2 Skytrain. We did a lot of walking, but a skytrain day pass is only $9 and has stops all over the city so you can get on and off anywhere you want. It is also partnered with some busses, (but you can ride a bus anywhere), not many places can you see the city from up high! I definitely recommend it, if even just for the experience.

✴ If you have a car, park out of town and walk in! Parking in the city is crazy expensive. Most of the signs we saw were saying “$13.75 per hr”. Woah.

3 If you happen to be in the city around the holidays, be sure to walk around gastown at night (on main streets). The trees are wrapped with lights & you might run into some carolers!

Christmas lights in Gastowne.

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