Vancouver really caters to all different kinds of travelers—cruisers, families, couples, groups of friends, and even solo vacationers. While you definitely could spend a full week exploring the city and its surrounding towns, it’s also easy to pack in some highlights into just a few days. While the city is sometimes referred to as “Raincouver” (and there’s plenty still to do indoors if that’s the case), the city shines—no pun intended—year-round with its outdoor activities.
Here’s how to do a weekend in Vancouver no matter what type of traveler you are and what time of year you visit.
The Hotel: OPUS Vancouver
If you’re looking for a local experience, your best option is OPUS Hotel Vancouver, in the city’s trendy Yaletown neighborhood. You’re close to the False Creek Ferries, plenty of outdoor green spaces, bars, shopping, restaurants, breweries, and the train station is literally across the street. One of my favorite parts about the OPUS is the #OpuswellnessLovesLocal package, which offers a 20 percent discount on your room as well as access to a “wellness concierge” who will book a variety of experiences for you with the hotel’s local partners.
The hotel has hearty and healthy breakfast options at the onsite restaurant, La Pentola, and the OPUS bar is a trendy hangout for locals and visitors alike. Other details like a Dyson hair dryer and Saje diffusers make this hotel stand out. OPUS also offers other packages, like one for cruisers, which includes a drop off to/from the cruise terminal, late check out, and breakfast.
Weekend in Vancouver: Friday
Arrive in the early afternoon—after checking in to the hotel, treat yourself to a facial, hair styling session, or spin class with one of the hotel’s local wellness partners. Grab a drink for happy hour at one of Yaletown’s bars or breweries (there’s plenty of options within walking distance) and then head to dinner at Hawksworth or Nightingale depending on your travel style. Both restaurants are by chef David Hawksworth. His Nightingale venue offers a more casual vibe while Hawksworth (located in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia) is a more upscale, but not intimidating, restaurant that any foodie would love.
Weekend in Vancouver: Saturday
Have breakfast at the hotel and then head out to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (P.S. check out our video of it). Make sure you explore all aspects of the park. There’s the actual bridge, but also a series of catwalks called the treetop adventure and the canyon cliff walk, which are walkways that are suspended off the canyon cliff over the rushing river below. An alternative option to Capilano is Lynn Canyon Park, which is a free park in North Vancouver that has a mini-suspension bridge as well as hiking trails and swimming holes.
Enjoy dinner back at the hotel at La Pentola (or if sushi is your thing, check out the close-by Minami) and head out for a night in Yaletown or travel to the emerging neighborhood of Strathcona to check out the brewery at Strathcona Beer Company, where the pizza makes for a great late-night bite.
Weekend in Vancouver: Sunday
Grab one of the False Creek Ferries over to Granville Island for some pastries and coffee at the public market. The views on the ferry are spectacular, so do this activity when you know you’ll have good weather. Enjoy a leisurely day around the city’s smaller parks and check out any other sights on your Vancouver bucket list, like the Vancouver Art Gallery or any other museum of choice.
If you’re visiting in summer head to Kits Beach for some urban sunbathing; or if you’re visiting in the winter, book an extra night in nearby Whistler and get some skiing, snowboarding, or another snow-activity in.
Restaurants & Cafes
- Strathcona Beer Company
- OPUS Bar
- La Pentola
- Hello Goodbye Bar
- Richmond Night Market (May thru October)
- Vancouver Chinatown
- Miku Vancouver
Things to Do
- Kits (Kitsilano) Beach
- Stanley Park & Seawall
- Granville Island
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Grouse Mountain (Grouse Grind)
- Lynn Canyon Park
- Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory
- Vancouver Art Gallery
- Queen Elizabeth Park and Bloedel Conservatory
- Vancouver Canuck’s Hockey Game
- Science World
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Best Things to Do in Vancouver
- Vancouver Destination Guide
- 10 Secret Places to Visit in British Columbia