Just an hour north of the Washington state border you’ll find a place that perfectly meshes city and nature. Cyclists, dog lovers and hikers unite, this city is for you! Vancouver, B.C. is one of the more beautiful cities I’ve ever seen. In just 15 minutes you can go from downtown skyscrapers to strolling across suspension bridges in the tree tops. If you’re wondering what to do in Vancouver in 24 hours, you’ve come to the right place!
Vancouver is a popular city for cruise ships to take out of in the summer. You may find yourself with a day or even just a few hours to explore Vancouver and thanks to how easy it is to get around, you can see a lot!
Capilano Suspension Bridge
I cannot recommend this place enough! We arrived right around 10 in the morning and this place was already buzzing with people. The earlier you arrive, the better chance you’ll have to explore the park without too many people.
Capilano is so much more than a single suspension bridge. There are all kinds of pathways to explore and there are breathtaking views around every corner! The main bridge is huge! I’ve seen photos but they just don’t quite convey how large this bridge is. It is truly a suspension bridge meaning the more people that are on it, the more it swings!
We spent an hour and a half exploring this park but you could easily spend 3+ hours here if you take your time and explore every pathway. They do have places to eat and get coffee on both sides of the main bridge and they’re souvenirs are adorable! I found their main shop to have a refreshing selection of souvenirs that were not cheesy. You can check out a video compilation of our time spent at Capilano HERE.
You could easily spend a full day exploring everything Stanley Park has to offer. You can bike through it, ride a hop on hop off bus or drive. We chose to drive because we were short on time. There are horse drawn carriage rides, a lighthouse, an aquarium, totem poles, beaches and so much more.
By driving we were able to hit all of the main attractions in about two hours but we did not go in the aquarium. The road that goes around the outer part of the island is a one way road so if you just want to see one or two things, you may have to go past a few other things to get to it!
The cruise port terminal (also known as Canada Place) and the large building next to it are both parts of Vancouver’s Convention Centre. They are right on the water in the heart of downtown. They’re both great buildings to explore, there are plenty of food options and the views could not be better! Take in the sights of North Vancouver across Vancouver Harbour and the mountains just behind them.
If you walk the boardwalk of Canada Place all the way to the end you’ll find FlyOver Canada. It’s a fun hang-gliding style ride that shows you tons of aerial footage of various places in Canada. If you’ve been to Disney, it is almost identical to their Soarin’ ride.
Just a few blocks from the heart of downtown is a neighborhood they call Gastown. It is a charming, trendy neighborhood full of local shops, hip restaurants and plenty of souvenir shopping. Their streets are lined with antique light posts and hanging baskets full of flowers. They feature a clock tower that runs completely on steam. It goes off every 15 minutes with a more lengthy display every hour. Since it was so close to downtown, it was easy to fit this into our day!
The island itself is not super large so park anywhere you can find a spot and walk. There’s plenty to see! We happened to visit on a Sunday when there was a children’s festival going on and it was packed full of people! We still managed to find a spot close to the market but it took us quite a while just to travel a few blocks. There are tons of galleries and unique shops full of local goods. The Granville Island market is a gorgeous farmer’s market with tons of options for meat, produce and baked goods. They have an entire section for little restaurant stalls so come hungry!
Overall, we did a lot of walking and it made for a long day. But, we were short on time and we managed to see it all! There are tons of other sites to take in around Vancouver but for only having one day, we crammed in a lot of the best Vancouver, B.C. has to offer! We certainly made the most of our 24 hours in Vancouver, Canada!
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