So, you want to head to the great North… ALASKA, don’t let the opportunity to see Vancouver slip past!
Vancouver has so much to offer and is a wonderful city to visit before or after your Alaska cruise! If possible try to give yourself a few extra days to explore this amazing city! If you can stay 2 to 3 days before or after your cruise, you will definitely be thankful you did!
Once you are there, what to do?
There are many areas around Vancouver to find a hotel but the best area to be able to see everything is to stay near Canada Place (the cruise port) which is in the downtown area. There are many great hotel options that offer easy walking distance to many of Vancouver’s great sites!
Also, by staying near the port, many hotels offer room options that have incredible harbor views. A few of those options are, The Fairmont Waterfront, The Pan Pacific, The Westin, the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle.
The downtown area is very walkable and pedestrian friendly. There are also taxis readily available. One of the most popular ways around town to tourists is the hop on hop off bus options. There are many stops around the downtown area. If you are going to be in town for at least 1 full day, I highly suggest checking out these options.
Many of the sites that you will want to see are too far to walk to, so having the hop on hop off bus option works great!
There are several ticket options to choose from. You can choose the best option for your time there. Also, with the Gray Line Hop On, Hop Off Bus, they run two different routes. The city route starts at Canada Place and goes around the downtown area and also over to Granville Island. The Park route runs from Canada Place and goes around Stanley Park. The best way to see everything is to have at least 2 days to see both routes. One day for each.
One place mentioned above and definitely not to be missed is Granville Island!
Granville Island is a great place to walk around, eat, and check out the local shops and to get a great view of the downtown skyline! The Granville Public Market is an indoor market featuring a great assortment of colorful foods and produce stores. It has many handcrafted products. All foods are fresh from the ocean, the oven or the field.
One of my favorite shops to check out while I’m there is the Granville Island Broom Company. It is a neat place to go in and watch these amazing masterpieces being constructed and no, these aren’t your normal household kitchen brooms!
One of my favorite areas in Vancouver to visit for shopping and great food is Gastown!
Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood and only a short walk from Canada Place. It grew from a single tavern founded by John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton back in 1867. Today, the district retains its historic charm and independent spirit. Cobblestone streets, vintage lamppost and old buildings, turned into charming shops make for a great area to visit! One of the jewels of Gastown is the steam clock. Built in 1977, the very well known clock whistles and steams every 15 minutes to tell the time. If you are visiting the city, make sure to check out this historic landmark!
Near the steam clock you will also find a statue of “Gassy Jack”. The statue pays homage to the 19th-century founder of the city’s original Gastown settlement.
Like I mentioned before, if you are looking for a bite to eat, then Gastown is a great place to go! My favorite is The Old Spaghetti Factory! Yes, I know it’s a chain restaurant, but this one is a bit different. I promise you won’t be sad or hungry leaving this place!
Another great food option is The Flying Pig Gastown. It offers great food and a bustling atmosphere!
After you’ve had a day to checkout all that Vancouver’s downtown area has to offer, it’s time to head to the park.
Stanley park isn’t just a park, it is a forest, a beach, lookouts, an aquarium, rose gardens, totem poles and much much more! You could spend days in Stanley Park and still not see everything! Here are my top 5 suggestions to see in Stanley Park…
- First Nation Art & Totem Poles
The nine totem poles at Brockton Point are BC’s most visited tourist attraction. This area is a great place to learn about the First Nation Peoples and to marvel at these incredible artworks! Also, the gift shop here is a great place to checkout and great prices!
- Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is Canada’s largest aquarium and one of the most visited sites in Stanley Park. It is home to more than 70,000 creatures including dolphins, sea otters, anacondas, three-toed sloths, eels and more. *Admission required
- Rose Garden
The Stanley Park Rose Garden, first established in 1920 by the Kiwanis Club, boasts over 3,500 rose bushes. Floral display beds slope downward toward the causeway and extend up to the Stanley Park Pavilion, providing seasonal spectacles of color with annuals and perennials from June to October and flowering bulb displays from March to May.
- Prospect Point
Prospect Point is the northern tip of Stanley park. Here you can get incredible views of Burrard Inlet as well as great views of Lion Gate bridge. One thing that is a must do for my family while in we are in Stanley Park is to eat at the Prospect Point Bar and Grille! They have an amazing outdoor deck dining area that offers stunning views with incredible food! If it’s a bit cold, no worries they offer heaters on the deck.
- The Seawall
For jaw dropping views of Vancouver’s inner harbor head to the seawall! You can walk or bike (bike rentals available nearby) the seawall and don’t forget your camera! Sunset is a great time to take in the views!
If you have the time, another wonderful place to check out is Grouse Mountain!
Rising 1,250 meters (4,100 feet) above Vancouver and just 15 minutes from the city’s downtown core, is the vast alpine playground of Grouse Mountain. After taking the Skyride up to Grouse Mountain you will find so much to do! Grouse Mountain features year round activities, such as wildlife refuge, lumberjack shows, zip-lining, dining, snow skiing in the winter, and much, much more! *Admission Required
With so much to offer, Vancouver is a wonderful city to checkout! Don’t let the opportunity go by! Stay a while and see what all this amazing city has to offer!
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A little about myself, the guest blog writer… Danielle Hupp
Wife, mother, traveler and planner. Travel is not just something we do, but a passion and a must! My favorite place to go is Alaska! I absolutely love the mountains, wildlife and people of the Pacific Northwest! I love to help others create memories through travel to last a lifetime! My motto for life is… Don’t wait for tomorrow, go today!
You can learn more about Danielle here.