With its glittering waterfront and a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, Vancouver is easily one of Canada’s most alluring cities. This urban playground in British Columbia attracts travelers of all interests with its endless outdoor activities, quirky attractions, craft beverages, art, shopping, and a dynamic food scene. There are so many things to do in Vancouver, we can’t promise you’ll be able to see and do them all in one long weekend getaway. Thankfully, three days in Vancouver is just enough time to get a taste of all this exciting city has to offer — but don’t worry, we’ve mapped out the perfect trip itinerary for you with the best six highlights.
Friday Trip Itinerary
1. Stanley Park
Drop your bags and head straight to Vancouver’s iconic Stanley Park. One of the largest urban parks in North America, Stanley Park is famous for its natural beauty, wildlife, and numerous landmarks.
The Stanley Park Seawall is a must. Walk or rent a bike to explore the 5.5-mile trail, which winds its way along the park’s rugged coastline and grants stunning views of the waterfront and mountains. If the weather cooperates, stop at Third Beach to hang out with local Vancouverites in the sunshine
Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood is also one of its liveliest. Highlights from historic Gastown include quirky cafes and independent boutiques, as well as landmarks like the Steam Clock and Victory Square.
When the sun goes down, Gastown’s cobblestone streets come alive with buzzing bars, exceptional dining, and live music. Start happy hour with a few cocktails or beer flights at Alibi Room, then head to L’Abbatoir for a French-inspired dinner that feels fancy, but relaxed.
Saturday Trip Itinerary
Fuel up for the day with a quick coffee and breakfast sandwich at Tim Hortons — the Canadian fast-food classic has locations all over downtown Vancouver. Opposite Robson Square, the Vancouver Art Gallery features an extensive collection of historical and contemporary exhibits by Canadian artists, housed within the city’s old courthouse. Now through August 2021, look for Pictures and Promises, a highly anticipated photography exhibition focused on mass media, fashion, and advertising.
Along the Pacific Boulevard waterfront, the retractable roof at BC Place makes it a famous fixture of the Vancouver skyline. If you can’t catch a live concert or soccer game at the stadium, check out the BC Sports Hall of Fame instead. Then wander into nearby Yaletown, another popular destination for hip restaurants and cocktails bars.
4. Snacking & Stargazing
Take the Aquabus public ferry from downtown Vancouver to Granville Island. Have a walk around the area to browse all sorts of artisanal shops, from flowers and baked goods to pickles and fresh pasta.
For evening sightseeing, nothing beats the Observatory at H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. Entry to the Observatory is free on Saturday nights (donations are encouraged), with the chance to view the stars up close through the half-meter telescope.
Sunday Trip Itinerary
You’re spoiled for choice with delicious weekend brunches in Vancouver. Cafe Medina is one of the most popular, serving their Moroccan-style brunch downtown on weekends only. Over in Gastown, Catch 122 and Jam Cafe both offer brunch and breakfast cocktails in stylish settings, while Acorn on Main Street is considered one of the world’s best for creative vegan and vegetarian fare
Most of the bigger brands and high-end designers can be found at Pacific Centre or Robson Street. To shop small and local in Vancouver, head to Main Street. Here, you’ll find a mix of quaint boutiques and cozy shops like The Soap Dispensary, Welk’s General Store, and Nineteen Ten homewares. Window shop and find that perfect souvenir to end your weekend getaway in Vancouver.