When to visit
A city for all seasons
A city for all seasonsVancouver beckons all year round, and each season has its own allure. Winter invites you to ski in the morning and shop in the afternoon, with snowy slopes just 15 minutes from downtown. In spring, cherry blossoms bloom as animals come out of hibernation. Black bears, grizzlies, orcas and humpbacks can all be spotted from May to November. As the green spaces of summer give way to the reds and rusts of autumn, a public space bigger than Central Park comes into its element.
In summer, the temperate rainforests will have atmospheric mist and drizzle, while the beaches and downtown bask in sun - but it never gets too hot. This is the perfect season to watch wildlife like whales and bears, and you’ll find plenty of tours operating. North Shore is ideal for walking and hiking; as is Whistler a little further afield. Head to English Bay or Stanley Park to explore the beaches like a local, and makes the most of al fresco dining in Gastown.
Vancouver’s mild autumn climate lends itself to long walks punctuated by spectacular colours and fresh autumn air. But in a city where culture and nature coexist, you’ll want to make time to immerse yourself in Vancouver’s arts, shopping and culinary scenes. From festivals to fashion, autumn is a great time to find yourself in Vancouver!
Vancouver’s mild ocean climate means it avoids the more perishing winter temperatures experienced in much of the rest of Canada. It doesn’t get too cold here, so you can easily enjoy festive Christmas shopping in the city's boutiques and malls. On the mountains of Vancouver’s North Shore, the snow is perfect for skiing, just 15 minutes from downtown. You’re also only 90 minutes from Whistler, the ski capital of Canada.
What to do
Why we love Vancouver
Why we love VancouverVancouver represents the perfect fusion of culture and nature. And better still, the compact city centre is quick to walk or navigate by bus. Energetic downtown has cultural gems like the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Totem Poles of Stanley Park. Granville Island is perfect for foodies, while Stanley Park and its beaches offer a taste of the outdoors. You’re only a short drive from adventurous North Shore and Whistler is just 90 minutes away. You can easily hop on a ferry or floatplane to Vancouver Island, too.
Culture vultureVancouver is bursting with galleries, gardens and cultural attractions that will suit all ages. Inside the iconic dome of the Science World are interactive displays and jaw-dropping demonstrations, as well as an OMNIMAX® Theatre. The Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a beautiful and tranquil location in the heart of Chinatown. The award-winning Museum of Vancouver and the Museum of Anthropology are well worth a visit. A sightseeing tour stops off at all the must-visit places.
Vancouver’s unique perch between the Pacific Ocean and Coast Mountains makes the natural world easily accessible. The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is just a short drive or bus ride away, where you can learn about First Nations Culture and walk across the iconic rope bridge. The North Shore also offers fantastic hiking with views worth the effort. The ocean is a great way to explore Vancouver, whether on a harbour boat tour or a whale watching tour. A short cruise takes you to Vancouver Island.
Where urban meets wilderness
Where urban meets wildernessThere’s more to Vancouver than meets the eye. From chipmunks and ground squirrels in Stanley Park to eagles and harbour seals on the waterfront, the region is teeming with wildlife. Ride in a zodiac across English Bay to see the resident orcas. Take a trip to Vancouver Island to watch black bears forage along the coast and humpbacks breach in the open ocean. One of British Columbia’s crowning jewels – the Great Bear Rainforest – is home to grizzlies just a few hours away.
Black bears and grizzlies live in Vancouver's outdoors. From May to October, bear watching opportunities are endless. From Vancouver Island, tours look for coastal black bears foraging along the shoreline. The Great Bear Rainforest is an unparalleled wilderness just a floatplane ride away, where grizzlies and rare white “spirit bears” live. Drive to Garibaldi Provincial Park to spot more black bears in the wild.
Vancouver is right by the Strait of Georgia, Haro and Juan de Fuca. Here, three resident orca populations live year-round, which means good odds of seeing dozens of orcas on your trip. Spot humpback whales during their migration in the summer months, while minke, gray whales, porpoises, seals and sea lions are also regular sights. Tours like Prince of Whales, Orca Spirit and Wild Whales Vancouver leave from Vancouver or Victoria.
Where to stay
Meet Vancouver’s neighbourhoods
Meet Vancouver’s neighbourhoodsVancouver’s compact centre is just a 30-minute walk from end to end. Wherever you stay, you’ll be in the heart of the action. Robson Street runs from the BC Place Stadium to Stanley Park and is home to the best shopping. The waterfront provides the perfect view to watch floatplanes and cruise ships go by, with some of the city’s most luxurious hotels here. Gastown’s chic eateries make it a foodie favourite, while the rainbow colours of Davie Village welcome you to the West End.
Downtown is Vancouver’s hub, containing so much of its arts, entertainment, sports and shopping. As a peninsula, Downtown is bounded by Burrard Inlet to the north, and False Creek and the popular district of Yaletown to the south. The West End and world-famous Stanley Park are to the west, while the historic districts of Gastown, Chinatown and Strathcona are to the east. Downtown is home to the Waterfront and the best shopping.
Historic Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, and one of its most vibrant. It borders on the Waterfront area and the edge of downtown. Victorian architecture and the famous steam clock form the backdrop to a vibrant dining and nightlife scene. The streets are interspersed with independent boutiques and galleries, stylish cocktail bars and Vancouver's best culinary fare. Bohemian, upmarket, relaxed, stylish…Gastown is a lot of exciting things.
Find your adventure
Find your adventureVancouver was always destined for excitement. It’s a city nestled between mountains and ocean, in tantalisingly close reach of the wilderness. The urban centre is rich with museums and galleries while its North Shore is an outdoor playground. It promises skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer, cycling the seawall and visiting totem poles. The Capilano Suspension Bridge challenges the brave, while paddle boards and kayaks beckon the chilled. There’s truly an activity for everyone.
Activities are so close at hand in Vancouver. A relaxed cycle around the seawall in Stanley Park is a rite of passage and is perfect for all ages. Over on the North Shore, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Parks has boardwalks through old growth cedar rainforests. The star attraction of the rope bride itself isn’t strenuous, but does require a head for heights! Summit Grouse Mountain - without a punishing hike - by gondola and enjoy stunning views from the top.
If you’re after big thrills, you won’t need to look far. North Shore is a mecca for downhill mountain bikers, while the “Grouse Grind” to the top of Grouse Mountain is a challenging climb for keen walkers. Squamish and Whistler offer more hiking and biking in summer, or world-class skiing in winter. If you’re a water baby you’ll find kayaking and paddleboarding in Vancouver’s harbours, scuba diving in Deep Cove, and white water rafting in Squamish.
We tailor-make our holidays and curate the best experiences for you, all using our unmatched Canada Know-How.
Rail & Cruise Holidays
Ride the rails from the Rockies to the coast before cruising to Alaska. Two great experiences, with a stay in Vancouver in between.Browse Holidays
Fly Drive Holidays
From the Rockies to Vancouver Island, the Coast Mountains to Whistler; Vancouver’s Pacific perch makes it perfect for road tripping.Browse Holidays
Departing from Vancouver, a cruise along Alaska’s glacier-strewn Inside Passage is one of the most beautiful journeys in the world.Browse Holidays
Make Vancouver your starting point, with unrivalled whale watching and bear watching on the city’s doorstep and just a short ride away.Browse Holidays
Get off the beaten track, stop where you want and stay as long as you like. A motorhome opens up the Pacific Coast.Browse Holidays
Explore Vancouver - our top tips
Enjoy the gems Vancouver has to offer with our insider knowledge. Here are our top things to see and do.
Why We Love Vancouver
Nestled in an idyllic setting between the Pacific Ocean and the Coastal Mountain range, the green and leafy city of Vancouver deserves its accolade as the best place in the world to live. Countless visitors love it so much that they move here for good – and you might be tempted to stay yourself. Vancouver has a golden reputation for friendly locals, clean public areas and safe streets, which all add up to a very warm welcome. Diverse and multicultural, it caters well for all visitors from families with little ones to groups of friends to LGBT travellers.
The biggest city in British Columbia is the perfect choice for a city break with a twist. Glamorous city chic meets outdoor adventure in this active centre. Spend your days sailing on the Strait of Georgia, shopping on Robson Street, hiking Cypress Mountain, cycling the seawall, exploring Granville Market, indulging in Chinatown... the list of things to do and see is endless. It's also a gateway city with easy access to the Rockies, Vancouver Island and BC’s other vibrant cities. With its Rocky Mountaineer train terminal and Alaska cruise port, it’s the best start or end to your trip.
Vancouver has three faces. To really understand the city, you must embrace them all.
With the wilderness on your doorstep, it’s time to breathe in some mountain air.
Discover Vancouver - the beating heart of BC with adventure in its blood.
Just across the water is an island the size of Scotland, home to bears in abundance.