2 Days In Vancouver Itinerary – How To Plan The Perfect Trip!
Vancouver sits nestled on the west cost of Canada, amidst coastal temperate rainforests, sandy beaches and magnificent mountains. As the biggest city in British Columbia, Vancouver is the perfect blend of city life and outdoor lifestyle. There is so much to explore in Vancouver, from natural wonders to a thriving food scene. If you’re looking to spend a couple days in the city and want to know how to make the most of your time, this 2 days in Vancouver itinerary hits the cities main spots!
Vancouver offers an array of activities for city lovers and outdoor enthusiasts (it’s no wonder I like the place so much!) There’s far more to do in this city than you might think but you can still squeeze in quite a bit during your 2 days in Vancouver.
Vancouver is the perfect place to adventure deeper and venture off the beaten path. One of the things I love about this city is that I can go hike a mountain in the morning and explore an art museum in the afternoon. There’s no reason not to love Vancouver!
If you are returning to this amazing city and are looking for other things to do in the city, I have included more activities at the bottom of this post for you to check out.
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Essential Links For Planning Your Trip To Vancouver
Top Vancouver Tours & Attractions:
Top Rated Vancouver Hotels:
Don’t Forget to Pack: Packing Cubes / Travel Wallet / Vancouver Travel Guide
How To Get Around During Your 2 Days In Vancouver
Vancouver is a very pedestrian friendly city and many of the best sights are within walking distance of the downtown core. Vancouver also finally caught up to the rest of the world and now offers both Uber and Lyft (yayyy!!!).
You can also take advantage of the easy SkyTrain and bus systems. If you are spending a lot of time outside of the city centre, the SkyTrain is a great budget option. Compass cards are sold at every train station in the city. A compass day pass will give you unlimited access to all buses, all zones on the Sky Train and the sea bus. Check the website for current prices.
If you want to make the most of the city opt to take a Hop on-Hop off bus for 24 or 48 hours for all your Vancouver sightseeing. Walking is one of the best ways to get around Vancouver, familiarize yourself with the city with a self-guided walking tour of Vancouver.
Vancouver 2 Day Itinerary Overview
Before you start planning your trip to Vancouver you may be wondering things like what to do in Vancouver in 2 days? Or how many days in Vancouver is enough? This post details all you need to know when planning a 2 day trip to Vancouver.
Vancouver Itinerary Day 1
- Grab a morning coffee and pastry from Tim Hortons or 49th Parallel.
- Spend the morning exploring Grouse Mountain.
- Explore Canada Place & Coal Harbour.
- Bike around Stanley Park.
- Go Shopping at the Pacific Centre.
- Explore Historic Gas Town.
Vancouver Itinerary Day 2
- Capilano Suspension Bridge.
- Take a ride on a False Creek ferry.
- Have lunch at Granville Island.
- Spend the evening brewery hopping.
- Eat all the food at the Richmond Night Market.
Where To Stay In Vancouver
If you like to be close to and within walking distance of the main Vancouver attractions, then anywhere in Downtown Vancouver would be ideal. I really like the neighbourhood of Coal Harbour as it’s the best area to stay in Vancouver without a car. There are hotels for every budget but prices can get steep, book ahead to get your hotel of choice!
- Ultimate Luxury – Fairmont Pacific Rim: The ultimate experience in luxury, the Fairmont brand of hotels knows how to wow its guests. This modern hotel located in the heart of Canada Place boasts some of the most lavish guest rooms in downtown Vancouver.
- Mid-Range – Listel Hotel Vancouver: Located close to Coal Harbour, this artsy hotel offers stylish guest rooms with unique artwork in each. This boutique hotel is also pet friendly.
- Budget – Coast Coal Harbour Hotel: Coast hotels offers guests plush and comfortable rooms. The rooms are incredibly clean and come equipped with all the necessary amenities for a great stay.
Day One of Two Days in Vancouver
I always start a day in Vancouver with coffee. I have a few favourite coffee shops in Vancouver which include Parallel 49th, Bean Around The World Café, Honolulu Coffee, and of course a Tim Hortons. It’s hard to find a bad coffee in Vancouver. Grab a to-go coffee and pastry and head out for the day.
Spend The Morning Exploring Grouse Mountain
A trip to Vancouver would not be complete without having experienced the beautiful coastal mountains. The first stop on this Vancouver itinerary is Grouse Mountain. This is one of the top attractions in Vancouver and a great option if you are traveling with a family.
If spotting a bear during your weekend in Vancouver is on your bucket-list, Grouse Mountain is the place to do so. There is a Grizzly Bear sanctuary on Grouse Mountain where resident bears Grinder and Cooler hang out. After getting a glimpse of Grouse Mountains furry residents, it’s time to watch the Lumberjack show.
Before you head back down the gondola, make sure you check out the Beavertails cabin. What is a Beavertail you say? It’s one of the yummiest treats you can get in Canada. It is a fried pastry (kind of looks like the shape of a Beavertail) which is then covered in your choice of topping.
If you have decided to visit Vancouver without a car, Grouse Mountain offers a free shuttle from Canada Place. The return journey to Canada Place is also free.
Explore Canada Place & Coal Harbour
After returning back to Canada Place it’s time to explore Coal Harbour and the Vancouver Sea Wall.
Canada Place is a central hub of Vancouver and easily recognizable by its white iconic flags. It also houses the Vancouver Convention Center, Pan Pacific Hotel and the Fly Over Canada attraction. I really enjoy walking around Canada Place in the summer when the cruise ships are docked. It’s also great for the panoramic views of the North Shore mountains.
From Canada Place head West and enjoy a stroll along the Sea Wall to the Coal Harbour Neighbourhood. Coal Harbour is one of the best places to see in Vancouver and a great area to grab lunch or dinner. Here you can experience some of Vancouver’s best public art pieces including the Digital Orca and The Drop. Make sure you Catch a glimpse of the Olympic Torch while you are in Coal Harbour too.
Take a walk or bike through Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a Vancouver must see and without a doubt my favourite place in the city. For anyone visiting the Vancouver I highly recommend a visit.
A National Historic Site, Stanley Park is a part of Vancouver’s coastal temperate rainforest. Stanley Park is to Vancouver what Central Park is to New York. In fact it’s actually bigger than Central Park. Spanning an impressive 405 hectares, it’s possible to spend an entire day at Stanley Park.
While there is much to see and do in Stanley Park, I recommend researching this park ahead of time so you have a game plan. It is so easy to get lost in its beauty that you could be here all day. The Totem Poles are what draws most visitors to Stanley Park, and I must admit they are my favourite part of the park too. I always stare in awe at them. But there are many more sights to see along Stanley Park’s Sea Wall including Girl in a Wet Suit, SS Empress of Japan Figurehead and Siwash Rock.
Besides the historic landmarks in the park, the Vancouver Aquarium is housed in the park or stop by the Stanley Park Pavilion for a beer.
The most efficient way to get around Stanley Park is by renting a bike. You can also explore the park by walking or opt to take the horse drawn cart. If you only have a short trip to Vancouver, make sure you prioritize a visit to Stanley Park – you won’t regret it!
Retail Therapy at the Pacific Centre
After a long morning exploring mountains and rainforests, it’s time to hit up Vancouver’s best mall, the Pacific Centre. Shopping is one of the best things to do in Vancouver when it rains (or in my opinion, any time) and the Pacific Centre has all the stores you could need. If you want to bring home a unique Canadian souvenir for loved ones, head to Hudson’s Bay department store for their trademark “stripes” collection.
Explore Historic Gas Town
Gas Town is a tourist hotspot, but for good reason, you won’t find anywhere else like it in Vancouver. Since it is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, it’s charming streets and Victorian buildings make you feel as though you’ve walked back in time.
The main attraction here is the Gas Town Steam Clock, an iconic Vancouver attraction. Built in 1977 the Gas Town Steam Clock is relatively young compared to its surrounding buildings. But it’s old world Victorian style means it fits in perfectly!
What makes this clock unique is that it is powered by a steam engine and every hour, on the hour, the whistle will blow. Built and designed in Vancouver by horologist Raymond Saunders, the Gas Town steam clock was the first of its kind.
Gas Town is home to a multitude of bars, restaurants and gift shops for all your souvenir needs. You’ll also find some of the best native art galleries here. Since Gas Town is home to a diverse range of eateries, the best way to experience it is through a walking food tour!
Sample The Dim Sum In China Town
Vancouver’s China Town is the biggest in Canada and one the best places to visit in Vancouver. This animated neighbourhood is the place to come for the best Dim Sum in Downtown Vancouver.
Switch out the hustle and bustle of the city with a tranquil oasis by visiting The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. It’s the perfect way to escape the concrete jungle.
Experience Your First Hockey Game
One of the most Canadian things to do in Vancouver is watch the Vancouver Canucks play at Rogers Arena. If there’s one place to watch the Hockey it’s right here in the great white north! If visiting in Winter, you’ll be able to catch games anywhere from October to April.
Day Two of Two Days in Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Bridge
If you are searching for outdoor activities in Vancouver, look no further than Capilano Suspension Bridge. At 460ft long and sitting 230ft above the Capilano River, The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the best Vancouver tourist attractions. It was originally built in 1889 and brings in just over 1million visitors per year.
Although the Capilano Suspension Bridge is located on Vancouver’s North Shore, it is easily accessible via the free complimentary shuttle from Canada Place. This makes it great for those visiting Vancouver without a car.
Besides the main suspension bridge, there are several other attractions within the park including the Treetop Adventure, The Living Forest and the Cliff Walk. It’s also home to one of the largest privately owned collection of Totem Poles, which are displayed in the Kia’palano exhibit.
The park is beautiful both in the daytime and at night. In the Christmas season the forest comes alive with twinkly lights at the “Capilano Lights” event.
Capilano is beautiful no matter the time of year. Each time I have visited it has been busy, but I would recommend getting there for opening if you want to avid large crowds.
Ride the Aquabus to Granville Island
After getting dropped off at Canada Place, catch a bus or Uber to the Hornby Aquabus Terminal. The Aquabus boats can be seen sailing up and down False Creek all day long with their vivd colours brightening the waterways.
Granville Island is a short ferry ride from the Hornby Terminal but I think getting to experience riding on one of Vancouver’s water taxi’s is a unique thing to do in Vancouver.
Granville Island Public Market
Granville Island is located across False Creek under the Granville Island Bridge and a must do in Vancouver. The area Granville Island now sits on was once just a sandbar that was used as a fishing area by local First Nations people. In the late 70’s it was revived from its previous industrial state into Vancouver’s ultimate culinary destination.
Once you arrive at Granville Island, it’s time to explore. The biggest attraction on the island is the Granville Island Public Market, home to over 50 independent food vendors. Here you can find all kinds of cheeses, fresh produce, ice cream, fish and chips and more.
If it’s not obvious, I really like public markets. I often find that if there’s a public market in a city, there’s a high probability you’ll find some of the best food there. Granville Island Public Market is no exception!
End your time on Granville Island by sampling a cold beer from Granville Island Brewing Company. Their flights range in tastes from year-round staples to seasonal delights.
Go on a Brewery Hop
If you didn’t already know, Vancouver is home to a plethora of craft breweries. Since you have already started at Granville Island Brewing, you may as well continue the night trying out some other Vancouver Breweries.
Some of my favourites include 33 Acres Brewing Company, Faculty Brewing and Main Street Brewing. If you’re unsure which spots to hit first, take a Vancouver Brewery tour and discover some new brews. No Vancouver trip itinerary is complete without hitting up a craft brewery!
Eat All The Food at the Richmond Night Market
The Richmond Night Market is runs from mid-April to mid-October and is one of the best things to do in Vancouver at night. This event is incredibly popular with locals and it’s easy to see why. People flock here from all over the city to sample the amazing food, shop and enjoy live music.
The night market is I finally made it out to the Richmond Night Market in 2022 and I highly recommend making the trip out here.
Other Things To Do In Vancouver
Like most places, two days in Vancouver is a very short time to see everything the city has to offer. Plan your time accordingly and you’ll be able to see the cities top sights and attractions. Vancouver is an amazing place for food – so make the most of your time exploring it’s different culinary scenes. Get in touch with nature while you’re here, take in the amazing views of the mountains and soak in the fresh air.
Vancouver may be a small city but it’s packed full of activities. Here are a few more ideas for your trip:
- Vancouver Art Gallery
- Museum of Anthropology
- Queen Elizabeth Park
- Science World
- Vancouver Lookout
- Whale Watching
Where To Eat in Vancouver
Take advantage of Vancouver’s thriving food scene while you are in the city. You can find just about any cuisine in the city, below are just a few of my favourites.
- Japadog – Imagine eating a hotdog topped with seaweed, teryaki sauce, or kimchi! Sounds odd? Sounds yum! Japadog takes hotdogs to the next level, combining North America’s love of hotdogs with the founders home country cuisine of Japan.
- Medina Café – Snug spot for coffee, & an eclectic daytime menu including waffles with unique toppings.
- Tacofino – This chain of taco restaurants first started out in a food truck in Tofino on Vancouver Island. They have since expanded their operations all over Vancouver. I really recommend the fish tacos – so good!
- Glowbal – Global fare & lots of cocktails served in a glitzy, sprawling space with a long, sleek bar.
- Sushi – There are sushi restaurants all over Vancouver, I haven’t specified a particular restaurant and I have never had bad sushi anywhere in Vancouver.
Is Vancouver Worth Visiting?
Vancouver is absolutely worth visiting. This city is like no other. It may not have the big bright lights of New York City or the historical significance of London, but it does have it own character. This is modern city that has found its own identity. I love the laid back west-coast vibe of Vancouver and the fact that it is a smaller city and therefore less crowds!
Is Vancouver Expensive?
In terms of living in Vancouver, yes it is expensive, as most major cities are. However as a visitor I would say that it is no more expensive than any other city. This is all dependent on where you are coming from of course.
The only thing that I find quite expensive in Vancouver is accommodation. My biggest tip if you are wanting to visit is to book your hotel well ahead of time. Because Vancouver is a small city, there are only so many accommodation options, and the more budget options sell out fast.
Vancouver is also a great place to base yourself for any day trips. Day trips to Victoria and Whistler are very accessible from the city. If you’re staying longer than two days you might want to venture further afield.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Vancouver?
Vancouver is known for its rain, but that’s not to say it rains all the time (Just a lot of the time!) I like to think of Vancouver as the London of Canada, if you’re used to any kind of British weather, apply the same rules in Vancouver. I never left my house in England without an umbrella, and I don’t here in the Pacific Northwest either.
The summers in Vancouver can be really nice, blue skies and sunshine most of the time, while the autumn/fall brings the rain. Don’t let the weather stop you from visiting. Vancouver can be beautiful in the rain, especially at night when the city lights reflect off of the rain drops. So put on your sexiest raincoat and live a little!
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Oh I used to live in Toronto. This made me miss going to the hockey games. I never made it to the west coast of ?? so I’m putting in on the bucket list.
It’s very different from Toronto, but still very Canadian, and beautiful landscapes!
Love this Vancouver guide! All the food looks so good! Stanley Park is definitely a must-do, I loved biking along the sea wall when I visited.
There’s nowhere else like Stanley Park!
Great guide for Vancouver. Stanley Park is also one of my favourite places in Vancouver, I love walking along the seawall. You have some really yummy sounding food on here, the Japadogs sound very unique!
I’m definitely a foodie! Experiencing food is a big part of travel for me haha
This looks so fabulous. I really love the idea of the company that provides the picnic in the park. That is so awesome. I am going to have to see if we have something like that near me.
I’ve never done it personally, but I really really want to! Coming from the UK we always picnic in the city parks in the summer, and this looks super cute! I found them on a Vancouver Food instagram
This looks like the perfect Vancouver Itinerary! I only had a day to spend in the city when I visited but looks like I waws able to cover almost everything you mentioned in this post!
That’s awesome Miranda! Glad you enjoyed Vancouver 🙂