About Vancouver

by SmarterTravel Staff

Visitors who can't choose between an urban destination and an outdoorsy one have a perfect match in Vancouver. After all, few other cities can claim rainforests and beaches within city limits, and mountains just a short drive away.

Even downtown, Vancouver keeps nature close, with the 1,000 acre Stanley Park crowning the high-rise-dotted peninsula with green. Hiking trails offer a quiet respite from the urban bustle, while playgrounds and the Vancouver Aquarium keep families busy. Visitors looking for more ways to experience the temperate rainforests of the region can brave the 230-foot-high Capilano Suspension Bridge or explore the forest canopy along a series of shorter suspension bridges.

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Simply navigating the city provides more chances to enjoy the natural surroundings. Hop a ferry to Granville Island and discover a public market brimming with produce, fresh local seafood, and other edible delights. Granville Island is also home to galleries, shops, restaurants, and even the largest free water park in North America.

First-time visitors shouldn't miss Gastown, with its historic buildings; funky Kitsilano; or trendy Yaletown. Vancouver celebrates its Pacific Rim location with one of North America's largest Chinatowns.

The region around Vancouver offers more highlights. Up in the mountains, Whistler is known as one of North America's top ski resorts. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, has British charm (and tea!) in spades. And Seattle is about a two-and-a-half hour drive from Vancouver.

Home to Canada's second busiest airport, there are always plenty of flights to Vancouver to choose from.

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