Vancouver itinerary in 6 days
Including Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
It had been many years since I visited Vancouver. The last trip was with my husband and two of our sons during the summer months. At that time it was part of a long road trip beginning in Banff and driving through to Kelowna, Vancouver, Tofino and Victoria. Our kids were young so it was a different kind of trip. This year we really wanted a place to get away after a long couple of years of Covid. We decided travelling domestically was a good idea.
Vancouver is a beautiful city on the west coast of Canada. It has city attractions and lots of nature activities making it easy to please everyone. I didn't realize that October/November is rainy season so keep that in mind when booking a trip. We had mostly overcast and drizzly weather. But that didn't stop us from doing most things (although it would have been nice to do more nature activities).
As far as cities go, Vancouver is very walkable. We stayed in downtown and felt most areas in downtown were not longer than a 15 minute walk away. We are fine to walk distances so walked to most places even a little further out.
The restaurant scene is very good. Friends had recommended many restaurants and we looked some up as well. The food was very good everywhere we went.
This hotel, conveniently located in downtown Vancouver, happens to be the oldest running hotel in the city. The common areas and the hotel rooms are renovated, lovely and very comfortable. Bonus, there is free breakfast with your stay which is a great way to start your day.
After spending a week in Vancouver my husband and I both thought that the restaurant scene is very good. Every place we ate had delicious, fresh food and very good service.
Kirin Dim Sum Restaurant. Located just a few blocks from our hotel in downtown Vancouver, this is a great spot for dim sum. The restaurant is more upscale than the dim sum restaurants in Chinatown, but the food is authentic and delicious.
Cafè Paris Faubourg. On vacation we like to treat ourselves to afternoon tea and sweet treat. This cafè has beautiful French pastries that are delicious and decadent. It is located in downtown Vancouver.
The Greek in Yaletown. The Greek is a small chain of restaurants with three locations in downtown Vancouver. We chose the one in Yaletown. The food is typical delicious Greek fare, the quantities are generous and the prices are very reasonable. The restaurant is casual and has a fun atmosphere.
Tacofino. This cute Taco Bar, located in a small alley in Gastown, is lively. We were there for lunch and had a mouthwatering tortilla soup and a small taco. They both hit the spot on a rainy day. It's a great spot in Gastown.
Cactus Club Cafe. This is a chain of casual fine dining restaurants which originated in British Columbia. They offer a large menu focusing on fresh food with several vegetarian options. I had a tuna poke bole which was delicious.
Lee's Donuts. This donut spot in the Granville Island Market was made famous by Seth Rogan. There is always a line up out the door. The donuts are light and luscious and simply melt in your mouth.
Fable Diner. Located in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in east Vancouver, this diner was featured in Diners, Drive Ins and Dives for its roast duck pancake. It is a popular spot with a classic diner menu. We had a tasty and satisfying lunch there.
CinCin Ristorante and Bar. This classic and upscale Italian restaurant has been around for many years and continues to be popular and busy. They serve delicious Italian cuisine including lots of seafood and fish.
Cartems Donuteries. Vancouver has several small boutique donut shops and this is one of the best. They have unique flavours such as Earl Gray, London Fog and even have some vegan and gluten free donuts. They use fresh and mostly organic ingredients which are sourced close to home.
New Town Bakery. If you're visiting Vancouver's famous Chinatown you need to stop at this bakery for their award winning apple tart. It is crispy on the outside with soft apples on the inside. They have all sorts of Chinese and Philipino baked goods.
Floata Seafood Restaurant. This dim sum restaurant is located in a large hall on the second floor of a plaza in the middle of Chinatown. The dim sum is delicious and they have a huge variety to choose from.
Robba da Matti. If you like Italian food as much as I do, you should definitely try Robba da Mattie. While they have several locations, we chose the Yaletown location. It is a small, casual restaurant but has a large patio. The menu isn't extensive but the food is delicious and the service is very good.
Nightingale. Named Canada's Best Farm To Table Restaurant, their food is delicious. We tried their pizza and salads and they were extremely flavourful. Best pizza I've had in a while. It is located in downtown not far from Canada Place.
MILA. If you are in search of creative plant based food, this restaurant is for you. It is located in Chinatown and offers casual dining. The food is quite tasty.
Paul's Omelettery. Located on Granville Street in South Vancouver, this is a good spot for comfort food. We had a nice lunch there. They serve all-day breakfast and brunch.
Homer Street Cafè. We were in the mood for a French bistro and Homer Street Cafè hit the spot. They are known for their succulent rotisserie chicken and it did not disappoint. Their salads and sides are also delicious.
Tutto. We can never get enough Italian food so decided to try Tutto for our last night in Vancouver. It is a very nice restaurant with good service and delicious food.
We arrived in Vancouver mid-day and checked into our hotel, The St. Regis. This boutique hotel is conveniently located in downtown Vancouver. While it's the oldest running hotel in the city, the common areas and the hotel rooms have been nicely renovated and are very comfortable. Bonus, there is free breakfast with your stay which is a great way to start your day.
After settling into our room we were hungry and decided to walk out for lunch at Kirin Dim Sum Restaurant. Vancouver is known for it's large Asian population, including a large Chinese community, so when in Vancouver, you definitely need to have dim sum at least once! Kirin is a little fancier than the dim sum restaurants in Chinatown. We tried several dumplings and dishes that were delicious.
After lunch, we headed to the Vancouver Art Gallery. This is Vancouver's main art gallery and is located in downtown. Currently there is an interesting and moving display on the front steps leading into the museum in memory of the victims of the Residential Schools in Canada. The gallery has several floors of temporary exhibitions as well as a nice permanent collection of paintings by Canadian artist Emily Carr.
Due to jet lag, we decided to head back to the hotel. We stopped for a coffee and sweet patisserie treat at Cafè Paris Faubourg and walked through the Pacific Mall on route home.
This evening we had a dinner reservation at The Greek by Anatoli in Yaletown. This fun restaurant serves delicious Greek food and large portions at a reasonable price.
Vancouver Art Gallery. This is Vancouver's main art gallery and is located in downtown. It has several floors of temporary exhibitions as well as a nice permanent collection of paintings by Emily Carr.
Bill Reid Gallery. Located in downtown Vancouver, this gallery is named after the acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid (1920 – 1998) who was a master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer and broadcaster. It features many of his beautiful works as well as works by other contemporary Indigenous artists.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. This is the first Chinese garden built outside of China, and is located in Chinatown. It is beautifully landscaped and contains cultural artifacts and buildings.
The Polygon Gallery. Located across from downtown, in the Shipyards area, this contemporary gallery has temporary exhibits by emerging artists.
Contemporary Art Gallery. This small gallery in downtown houses temporary exhibits by emerging artists. It's easy to just pop in there for a short visit if you're passing by.
Museum of Vancouver. The museum is a civic history museum located in Vanier Park. It is the largest civic museum in Canada and the oldest museum in Vancouver. It has interesting exhibits about Vancouver's history, immigrants and pop culture.
Museum of Anthropology. Located on the University of British Columbia campus, it is renowned for its displays of world arts and cultures, in particular works by First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest.
After breakfast today, we met Ali, our guide from Vancouver DeTours, who led us on a very informative morning tour of downtown Vancouver and the Gastown area. Ali was an excellent guide who had a vast knowledge of the history of the city, was able to explain the development that took place from an urban planning perspective, showed us some of the unique architecture and design of several buildings (both interior and exterior) which we would have otherwise missed. He talked about the various waves of immigration that have made Vancouver such a cosmopolitan city. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour.
Our tour ended in Gastown where we had lunch at Tacofino. This cute Taco Bar located down a small alley is lively. We had a mouthwatering tortilla soup and a small taco. They both hit the spot on a rainy day.
On our way back to the downtown area, we walked by the Vancouver Public Library to see it's unique design, and then headed to the Bill Reid Gallery. This gallery is named after the acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid (1920 – 1998) who was a master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer and broadcaster. It features many of his beautiful works as well as works by other contemporary Indigenous artists.
From there we headed down to Canada Place, located on the waterfront, to take some scenic photos and then back to the hotel for a rest.
This evening we went to the Cactus Club Cafè for dinner. This is a chain of casual fine dining restaurants which originated in British Columbia. They offer a large menu focusing on fresh, local food with several vegetarian options. I had a tuna poke bole which was delicious.
Guides and Tours
We did several interesting walking tours of Vancouver.
Vancouver DeTours. We did two private half-day tours with Ali of Vancouver DeTours - one of downtown and Gastown; and the other of the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood including the famous murals. Ali was an excellent and knowledgeable guide - especially in terms of history and urban development in Vancouver. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with him.
A Wok Around Chinatown Tour. This three hour tour of Chinatown with Robert Sung is fun and interesting. We learnt about the history of the Chinese community, many of their cultural traditions and also got to taste good food along the way. The tour began with a walk through the Chinese Gardens and culminated with a lunch at an authentic dim sum restaurant.
This morning we headed down Hornby Street to the Aquabus which took us on a very short ride across False Creek to Granville Island. The Aquabuses are colourful little boats that take passengers to various stops along False Creek. They are a great way to get around that area and offer beautiful views of the city skyline.
Granville Island is a peninsula which is known for it's lively food market and artist galleries. It's a nice spot to walk around and grab a bite to eat or some snacks. After walking around, we had to stop at Lee's Donuts. This donut spot in the Granville Island Market was made famous by Seth Rogan. There is always a line up out the door. The donuts are light and luscious and simply melt in your mouth
From there we hopped onto the Aquabus again and took it to The Village. This area was developed in 2010 for the winter olympics. Built on the last remaining large tract of undeveloped waterfront land near downtown, it is now home to a condominium complex, as well as restaurants and breweries.
We walked in this neighbourhood and made our way to Fable Diner on Broadway East. Located in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood in east Vancouver, this diner was featured in Diners, Drive Ins and Dives for its roast duck pancake. It is a popular spot with a classic diner menu. We had a tasty and satisfying lunch there.
After lunch we walked along Main Street and met up with our guide, Ali, once again. This afternoon he took us on a tour of the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood and, in particular, a tour of the famous murals in the area. Each summer Vancouver hosts a mural festival with artists coming from around the world. The neighbourhood landlords and community groups work with the festival organizers to sponsor artists to paint walls and buildings throughout the area. Ali is one of the official guides of the festival and knows many of the artists personally. This was a fascinating and colourful tour.
Tonight we went to CinCin Ristorante and Bar. This classic and upscale Italian restaurant has been around for many years and continues to be popular and busy. They serve delicious Italian cuisine including lots of seafood and fish.
This morning we had a walking and food tour of Chinatown booked with Robert Sung of A Wok Around Chinatown. Since we were ready a bit early, we decided to meander through downtown on our way to the meeting spot. On route we stopped at Cartems Donuterie, a small boutique donut shop on West Pender. They have unique flavours such as Earl Gray, London Fog and even have some vegan and gluten free donuts. They use fresh and mostly organic ingredients which are sourced close to home. We shared a Vanilla Bean since we knew there was lots of eating to come!
We met our guide, Robert, at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. This is the first Chinese garden built outside of China, and is located in Chinatown. It is beautifully landscaped and contains cultural artifacts and buildings. Robert gave us a nice tour inside and explained some of the meaning behind the plants and architecture in the garden. From there he led us through Chinatown, explaining the cultural traditions of the community and pointing out various produce, baked goods, and teas. We got to sample items along the way. The tour ended with a dim sum lunch at Floata Seafood Restaurant which is located in a large hall on the second floor of a plaza in the middle of Chinatown. Robert ordered the food which was delicious.
We walked back to the hotel through downtown for a rest.
This evening we had reservations at Homer Street Cafè. This cozy French bistro is known for its rotisserie chicken. Delicious comfort food and nice atmosphere.
We woke up this morning and after so many rainy days it actually looked clear so we decided to head to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This park was on my to-do list and I'm so glad we had a chance to get there despite the weather.
We walked over to the Hyatt Hotel around the corner from our hotel and got on the free shuttle that goes to the park. It was really easy and convenient. The park is located about twenty minutes north of downtown Vancouver.
Due to the weather and since we we arrived just as it opened, there were very few people at the park which was wonderful as I hear it can get very crowded during tourist season.
The Park consists of a large suspension bridge which crosses the Capilano River into a rainforest. Once on the other side of the bridge, there are a series of treetop bridges and paths which give you beautiful views of the thriving coastal rainforest. It is really a site to be seen and experience. On the main side of the bridge there is a Cliffwalk which follows the side of a granite precipice - this is not for those with a fear of heights.
While we were there, they had started to install the beautiful canyon lights for the holiday season. As it was a dreary day, the lights were on and it looked like a winter wonderland. It was a great morning in nature and a bit of an adventure!
After our walk through the park we took an Uber to the Lonsdale Quay on the north side of the Burrard Inlet, where we walked around the Shipyards development area with it's restaurants, shops and market. We went into the Polygon Gallery to view the photography exhibit on display. We then took a Seabus back to Canada Place.
Once back in downtown, we walked to Nightingale restaurant for lunch. Named Canada's Best Farm To Table Restaurant, their food is delicious. We tried their pizza and salads and they were extremely flavourful. Best pizza I've had in a while. It is located in downtown not far from Canada Place.
On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the Contemporary Art Gallery for a quick view of their current exhibition.
Tonight we walked to Robba da Mattie, a small, casual, Italian restaurant in Yaletown. The food was delicious and reasonably priced.
Today we decided to spend time in two of Vancouver's museums which are near Kitsilano and UBC. The first was the Museum of Vancouver which is a civic history museum. It has exhibits about the history of the various immigration waves arriving in the city, the city's development and growth, as well as pop culture over the years.
The second museum we visited was the Museum of Anthropology which is located on the campus of the University of British Columbia. It has a wide-ranging display of world arts and culture with an emphasis on works by Canadian and BC First Nations. It houses the famous sculpture of The Raven and the First Men by Bill Reid.
After the museums we took a taxi to 4th Avenue in Kitsilano which has nice shops and restaurants. We made our way to Granville Street and had lunch at Paul's Omelettery. Located on Granville Street in South Vancouver, this is a good spot for comfort food. We had a nice lunch there. They serve all-day breakfast and brunch.
We walked back to downtown via Granville Island, took the Aquabus and headed to the hotel for a rest. After a couple of hours we noticed the sun peaking out of the clouds and headed over to Canada Place for a beautiful walk along the Seaside Greenway which is the world's longest uninterrupted waterfront path. The path winds along the water and also in Stanley Park.
For our last night we had dinner at Tutto which is a lovely and delicious Italian restaurant.