Best Things to Do in Vancouver on a 2 Day Vancouver Itinerary

by | Last updated Nov 25, 2022 | Canada Live Work and Play

One of the best things to do in Vancouver on a 2 Day Vancouver itinerary is to enjoy the Vancouver City views surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

 

Your first two days in Vancouver are exhilarating. You might be tired from travelling a long distance to get here, but you want to see and do everything! How will you fit it all in? While there is always so much to do in Vancouver, here is your beginner’s guide to your first two days in Vancouver. I’ve included the top tourist destinations with some local tips so you can get a good grounding of the city in the limited time you have. Or you might have more if arriving for a Canada Working Holiday as you work abroad and travel the world. Without further ado, here is a 2 day itinerary in Vancouver for First Timers.

 

About Vancouver

 

Vancouver in the province of British Columbia is the largest city on the west coast of Canada. It takes its name from George Vancouver, who explored the inner harbour. Vancouver is a bustling seaport surrounded by mountains. You could be having a cup of coffee by the waterside one minute and an hour or so later you could be having another cup of coffee in a resort on a snow capped mountain. It is a very diverse place just waiting for you to discover it.

 

When is the Best time to visit Vancouver

 

You can visit Vancouver anytime though the best times for weather is to visit from March to May and from September to November when the weather is mild. However, summers can be hot and the winter time will be very cold but Vancouver in winter can be a great base for skiing in the local mountains. So when to visit will depend on activities you might be doing in the city. And if you have come to Canada on a working holiday you might experience Vancouver in all seasons.

 

Where to stay in Vancouver?

 

Whether visiting Vancouver by yourself, with the family or for romance, the best place to stay in Vancouver is downtown. From here, you’ll have immediate access to the top sightseeing of English Bay, Stanley Park, Granville Island, and Gastown. And there are a number of accommodation options available in Vancouver ranging from hostel dorm rooms to 5 star hotels. If you are looking for somewhere to stay check out:

Hostels: HI Hostels Vancouver, Samesun Vancouver Hostel. For more hostel options including their cost and to book check out HostelWorld.
Budget-mid range Hotels:  Barclay Hotel, Days Inn By Wyndham

For more accommodation options check out the options on the map.

 

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How to get around Vancouver?

 

The best way to get around Vancouver is often by foot as many major attractions are located within walking distance of one another. However, you can also ride a bike and use the plus transportation. As you only have 2 days on this trip you might want to purchase a 24 or 48 hour pass for the Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus. Taking this bus on your first trip to Vancouver will take you to all the best sites that can help you decide which things you would like to revisit. You can book your 24 or 48 hour pass for the Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Bus here.

 

Day One

 

Get a Bird’s Eye View of Vancouver

 

Start your time in Vancouver by getting an overview of the city. Located in the Harbour Centre building in downtown Vancouver, take a fast glass elevator up to the 55th floor for panoramic views from the Vancouver Lookout. From up above you will get a view of the North Shore and Olympic Peninsula Mountains. To learn more about the city book a tour at the Lookout as well. Pro tip: only go up on the Vancouver Lookout on a clear day so that you can see everything. An adult tick costs CA$17.50.

 

Stanley Park 

 

Totem Poles In Stanley Park In Vancouver Canada.

Totem Poles in Stanley Park

 

Once you’ve scoped out Vancouver, you’ll be ready to head to Stanley Park. This 400-hectare park nestled in urban sprawl is a natural West Coast rainforest where you can enjoy the natural beauty of Vancouver: oceanfront, mountain views, and beautiful old trees. For the best experience, rent one of the many bikes at the park and soak in the beauty. 

For lunch, stop at the Prospect Point Bar & Grill in Stanley Park. This Canadian pub and eatery is a great place for west coast Canadian vibes with its craft beer brewery, beautiful ocean views, local seafood, and original non-seafood and vegetarian items. 

 

An Afternoon at Granville Island

 

After that head to the maritime island of Granville. This historic little island has turned its factories into trendy restaurants, galleries, and theatres. The best part, however, is the Granville Island Public Market. This huge open-air market is choke-full of everything that you could imagine and more. From baked goods and ethnic snacks to local crafts and souvenirs, Granville Island Market is as beautiful as it is eclectic. Grab a snack after perusing what the market has to offer and sit by the water. Sometimes while watching boats come into the harbour, you can enjoy the live music of buskers, who often play for the crowd. 

 

Yaletown in the Evening

 

Next up is Yaletown. Take a photo under the many colourful umbrellas in the Bill Curtis Square, behind the SkyTrain. The umbrellas are always being changing based on the season and are a tribute to how rainy Vancouver can be. They make for a fun and original photo op.

Once you snap some photos, pick one of the many choices for fancy cocktails and classy restaurants in Yaletown. For high-end Canadian cuisine try Brix and Mortar. This restaurant boasts 60 wines by the glass, local food, and a photo-worthy ambience. For a bit cheaper Canadian cuisine try The Flying Pig Yaletown or MeeT, a vegan restaurant in Yaletown.

 

Nightlife in Gastown

 

For the nightlife scene, head to Gastown. While there are many bars and pubs to choose from, check out Alexander Gastown, a 3-storey bar that has comedy, live music, and/or DJs depending on the night. There is plenty of seating, away from the action, if you’d prefer a cozy corner to the dance floor. And so ends day 1 of this 2 day Vancouver itinerary.

 

Day Two

 

Brunch

 

After such a busy day, you will probably wake up hungry. Head to Brunch at the Mexican and American breakfast restaurant with the original name of Brunch on Granville Street. Make sure to order a Caesar, Canada’s spin on a Bloody Mary.

 

The Suspension Bridge

 

Capilano Suspension Bridge From A Distance In The Forest In Vancouver Canada.

Capilano Suspension Bridge – it can be scary when you look down!

 

Standing On Capilano Suspension Bridge Outside Vancouver In Canada. It Is A Long Way Down.

Then hop in the car or bus to check out the oldest tourist attraction in the city, the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Test your fear of heights on the 450-foot-long, 230-foot-high bridge. Be prepared for crowds and expensive prices since this is a hot tourist destination. Pro tip: go in the morning to beat the school field trips. Prices are $42.95 for adults and parking is $5. 

 

Take a Scenic Drive

 

If you want a more affordable thing to do, take one of the beautiful scenic drives in and near Vancouver. Marine Drive on the North Shore is a lovely route to take. Starting at Lion’s Gate Bridge, cross over it and get onto Marine Drive in North Vancouver. Follow this twisting road through amazing views of the sea, marinas, and Vancouver, as well as passing by the Capilano Suspension bridge. Follow the road until the Bowen Island (about an hour) and then turn back for lunch in North Vancouver. If you need to rent a car check out pricing and availability here.

 

Lunch in North Van

 

Head to Lonsdale Quarry, snap a few pictures and pick from one of the many restaurant choices. Pier 7 Restaurant and Bar boasts waterfront dining. Or try some delicious Greek food at Anatoli Souvlaki.

 

An Afternoon at the Museum

 

With stomachs full again, head to one of Vancouver’s many museums. The museum of Anthropology, located on the University of British Columbia’s campus has one of the most extensive collections of art and artifacts from the Northwest Coast First Nations. From ornate canoes, ritual masks, and highly decorate totem poles, you will be immersed in Vancouver’s earliest history. There are also 14th-century artifacts to feast your eyes upon, ensuring that there is something of interest for everyone. Wander the halls yourself or join one of the three tours a day to get the inside scoop.

 

Take a Hike

 

If museums aren’t your cup of tea, go on a hike or take the Blue Skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain, a ski resort with stunning views of the city and natural scenery. Or shop and grab a snack in Vancouver’s vibrant Chinatown.

 

Sunset at Kit’s

 

When you’re done hiking or enjoying the museum, soak in the city’s natural beauty at Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver’s favourite beach. Watch the sunset from this lovely viewpoint, either on the sand or at the Boathouse Restaurant overlooking the water.

For a cheaper dinner, grab a snack or even take-out lunch at the middle eastern restaurant Best Falafel Kitsilano. Then head to the beach to watch the sunset. After watching the sun disappear into the ocean, go to Grapes & Soda for a night cap to wrap up a jam-packed two days of sightseeing in Vancouver.

 

Final Words

 

There you have it: two full days in Canada’s biggest West Coast city. I hope you have had a great time exploring Vancouver over the 2 day itinerary. Is there anything you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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Vancouver Has Lots To See. Totem Poles In Stanley Park. Capilano Suspension Bridge. Views Over Vancouver City Surrounded By Snow Capped Mountains.

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Sharyn McCullum Travel Writer and Founder Of Live Work Play Travel, Work Abroad, Work Online, Travel Blog Enjoying At Beer At The Coldstream Brewery In The Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia.

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to live work play travel around the world with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.

15 Comments

  1. Krista

    I still haven’t made it to the west coast of Canada yet, but Vancouver is definitely on my list for when I do. Lots of great tips here that will help me plan my itinerary!

    Reply
  2. Hannah

    I’d love to visit Vancouver! It looks like such a beautiful area! I’d definitely be exploring Stanley Park. That suspension bridge looks incredible too but I’m not sure I’m brave enough for it! Thank for the great guide!

    Reply
  3. Charu Goyal

    Such a great guide about Vancouver. I had no idea that the best way to see it is on foot- I love walking around in a new place so really hope to get to go there one day.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Glad to hear you like walking around a new place too! It is a great way to see a city.

      Reply
  4. Catherine @ Savvy Family Travel

    It’s such a wonderful city to explore by foot, beauty around every corner and the locals are just so kind! Thanks for sharing this guide for a well planned 2 days in Vancouver!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I think walking is a great way to see a city. You never know what you might see! Or step in!

      Reply
  5. Helena

    Vancouver is one of my favourite cities, this is such a great itinerary. Cycling around Stanley Park in my favourite thing to do there, I haven’t been to Prospect Point Bar and Grill yet though , will have to check it out next time

    Reply
  6. Courtney

    Your first photo is absolutely incredible! What a view! The suspension bridge looks like a cool experience, too. We’ll probably plan to spend a few more days in the city so that if weather isn’t cooperative we have a better chance of taking in these gorgeous views. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Thanks. Vancouver is a great place to get some good photos. I hope the weather improves for you.

      Reply
  7. amy

    I am finally going back to Vancouver this/ next year and am so excited. Man, it’s such a beautiful city!!

    Reply
  8. elyse

    Canada is definitely on my bucket list and this guide has awesome info and suggestions on Vancouver, will be saving 🙂

    Reply
  9. Ashlee Fechino

    We want to visit Vancouver soon! Thanks for sharing what to do in 2 days!

    Reply
  10. Mayi

    Thanks for sharing your itinerary to Vancouver. It’s a city I have yet to visit, and this post makes me want to visit even more. The suspension bridge looks incredible; would I be okay walking on that?

    Reply
  11. Lisa Manderino

    This is a great Vancouver itinerary! I really want to go!

    Reply
  12. Renee

    We visited the West Coast (I live in Ontario) and loved it! Vancouver is definitely a top city for everyone to visit. We loved Stanley Park, and many of things on your list. What we didn’t get to do was the Suspension Bridge. Next time!

    Reply

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