Vancouver is a beautiful city on the Pacific shore of British Columbia, Canada. Cosmopolitan yet close to nature, Vancouver offers visitors many things to see and do. Top attractions include the grand urban oasis of Stanley Park, a must-see with its gardens, totem poles and Girl in a Wetsuit statue. The Museum of Anthropology hosts wondrous totem poles by First Nations and the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park offers thrills of walking on hanging bridges, big and small. Many more experiences beckoned when we were approaching Vancouver on a balmy summer night.
My Vancouver Diary!
Vancouver greeted us with a marvelous moonshine. After seeing Vallea Lumina, a fabulous artwork of light and storytelling in Whistler, when we reached Vancouver by car, we saw the sparkling sea under a full moon night. If Vancouver had been a man then he could have felt the silent applause of my eyes. The scene instantly instilled in me the desire to see the beautiful vignettes of Vancouver. I opened the car window wide open and felt the balmy night and saw the glassy downtown afar. The next day, after a few hours of sleep, all of us, including our three-year-old daughter, were ready to get the wheels of our car rolling and start exploring.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.Vancouver greeted us with a marvelous moonshine. If Vancouver had been a man then he could have felt the silent applause of my eyes. #Travel #ExploreCanada Click To Tweet
Top Things to do in Vancouver, Canada!
Tip: If you want to avoid the hassles of renting a car and paying for a cab several times, then book a hop-on and hop-off bus pass and explore Vancouver at your own pace. On-board commentary inside the bus will help you decide where to hop-off.
The Museum of Anthropology
Museums are special. They are the powerhouse of knowledge. No matter where I go, visiting museums are a must. The museum of Anthropology in Vancouver was invariably our first stop. Beautiful totem poles by First Nations and stories behind each of the totem poles were interesting and gave me a little window to peep into a culture completely unknown to me.
Stanley Park is a green oasis amidst the city whose architect is evolution. Stanley Park exists because of the evolution of a forest and urban space over many years.Stanley Park is a green oasis amidst the city whose architect is evolution. #Travel Click To Tweet
I took a long walk along Stanley Park’s famous Seawall and felt immersed in some kind of visual spa treatment fringed with rain forest, sculptures, and a beautiful water-front. I also witnessed a stunning sunset against the silhouette of a beautiful cityscape while walking along the seawall.I took a long walk along Stanley Park's famous Seawall and felt immersed in some kind of visual spa treatment fringed with rain forest, sculptures, and a beautiful water-front. #Travel Click To Tweet
Sunset in Stanley Park
When I watched the sunset I felt as if the sun had dropped and was resting a while like those boats.
The illuminated cityscape in the golden hour was a treasure for the eyes.
Tip: If you love taking sunset photographs like me, then embark on this 1.5-Hour Guided Sunset Tour. Take in the cityscape and landscape views as the sun sets.
When I walked a bit more and came across the statue of Harry Jerome, one of the greatest Canadian track athletes of all time, the sun had dropped below the horizon. The sight of this beautiful sculpture full of enthusiasm and aim inspired me.
Tip: I totally recommend the Stanley Park Bicycle Tour to enjoy beautiful ocean views. Ride at a relaxed pace to take in the sights, smells, and sounds of the park.
Girl in a Wetsuit in Stanley Park
The very first sight of the sculpture – Girl in a Wetsuit, located on a rock in the water along the north side of Stanley Park reminded me of the little mermaid in Copenhagen. When I looked more closely, I understood a subtle difference between the two sculptures. It is not a mermaid, but it is really a girl in a wetsuit!
By that time, the sun was nowhere to be found. I could feel a pinch as a draft of cool air started blowing. Therefore I headed towards the hotel, to come back again the next day to Stanley Park and enjoy its greenery.
Greenery in Stanley Park
Except for a few lucky ones, most of us are used to seeing berries in grocery stores. Needless to emphasize, while walking in Stanley Park, when I came across trees laden with juicy raspberries and blackberries, I was thrilled. The sight filled me with delight. Now while writing this, I realized that with time and the dominance of a global market economy, a wide gap has evolved between the consumers and producers of food. Most of us know not who are producing our food.
The greenery in Stanley Park is not just a land of green trees and leaves and berries. It also acts as a meeting and melting point of friends, lovers and also strangers much like the European city squares. Luckily, I also heard a woman playing a traditional Chinese instrument and singing a beautiful song. Soon we were in the bracing harmony of the park.The greenery in Stanley Park is not just a land of green trees and leaves and berries. It also acts as a meeting and melting point of friends, lovers and also strangers much like the European city squares. #Travel Click To Tweet
Totem poles in Stanley Park
Just before the sunset, when I arrived in front of the Totem Poles in Stanley Park, I felt as if I am standing inside a library where the totem poles are books and the carvings are the pages. Each carving has a unique story to tell.when I arrived in front of the Totem Poles in Stanley Park, I felt as if I am standing inside a library where the totem poles are books and the carvings are the pages. Each carving has a unique story to tell. #Travel #ExploreCanada Click To Tweet
The totem was the British Columbia Indians’ coat of arms. Totem poles are unique to the northwest coast of B.C. and lower Alaska. They were carved from western red cedar and each carving tells of a real or mythical event. They were not idols nor were they worshipped. Each carving on each pole has a meaning. The eagle represents the kingdom of the air. The whale, the lordship of the sea. The wolf, the genius of the land, and the frog, the transitional link between land and sea.
Stanley Park Horse-drawn Tour
Trees were a blaze of color, the breeze gentle and fresh, and the horse clip-clopped along the sea-side road. I watched the beautiful Stanley Park pass by slowly and felt that I am living a scene out of a novel. I sat beside the horse-man and enjoyed learning about Stanley Park. Among many interesting facts, one that surprised me was that of the squirrels – one of the most beloved features of Stanley Park. Every grey squirrel that lives in the park today is a descendant of one of the eight pairs of squirrels offered as a gift from New York City in 1909.Trees were ablaze with colors, the breeze gentle and fresh, and the horse clip-clopped along the sea-side road. I watched the beautiful Stanley Park pass by slowly and felt that I am living a scene out of a novel. #Travel… Click To Tweet
Whenever I get an opportunity to look inside the world deep below the ocean, I take it. I find infinite wonder when I watch colorful fishes swim silently through the water. My daughter too loves watching the colorful world under the sea. So when we were exploring the beautiful Stanley Park and came across the Vancouver Aquarium, we didn’t miss it. This aquarium brought back memories of our visit to Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.
Tip: If you are visiting Vancouver with kids, then I suggest booking the tickets to the Vancouver Aquarium and skipping the line.
My most memorable moment inside the Vancouver Aquarium was the time when I saw the butterfly emerging from a caterpillar.
Vancouver Harbour Cruise
The soothing sea breeze, summer, and ship awaken a special kind of emotion in me. The obnoxious details of lives take a back seat and I plunge into a world that thrives in beauty and balance. In Vancouver, such an opportunity came when I embarked on a beautiful boat cruise and set sail. A relaxing way to see and perceive a city from afar.
Tip: Book the Vancouver 1-hour scenic Harbor Tour. From the spacious open-air decks, you can enjoy a drink while watching the picturesque city skyline and gliding relaxingly. I enjoyed this tour greatly and totally recommend it!The soothing sea breeze, summer, and ship awaken a special kind of emotion in me. The obnoxious details of lives take a back seat and I plunge into a world that thrives in beauty and balance. #Travel Click To Tweet
I saw the beautiful skyline of Vancouver while cruising and appreciated the different architectural designs from afar. By virtue of being a daughter to an architect, I have seen building plans and designs from a very young age. Hence cityscapes and its innumerable designed-buildings lure me.
Until that day, I had not seen a plane land on the ocean. I loved watching the seaplanes and realized for the umpteenth time that travel is indeed one of the best ways to know the unknown and see the unseen.
Tip: If you like adventure then book the Classic Vancouver Panorama Tour by Seaplane. I am sure the thrill of flying will really carry you away. Make a special memory!
Vancouver Convention Center
The Drop – A beautiful sculpture near Vancouver Convention Center!
Under the blue summer sky and beside the percussion of waves in the sea, while taking a leisurely stroll, I saw a large sculpture in blue that resembles a water-drop. We all have seen water in various forms; sometimes as a waterfall, sometimes as the ocean, sometimes when emotion flows through our eyes in the form of tears and always as a blessing in a glass for a thirsty person. In all these forms a single water drop is omnipresent.
The main power evolves through the equilibristic balance of the sculpture culminating at the very point where it touches the ground, as well as the dynamic diagonal it establishes. The sculpture resembles a known feature of Vancouver, water and rain, and is an homage to the power of nature. It functions as a laconic and surprising landmark – high-tech meets nature.
– Inges Idee, 2008
Vancouver Convention Center at night!
This place is a hive of activity and is full of energy from people around. This is the kind of place where one can sit and relax and not think that time is fleeting.
I loved listening to the fleeting sound of violin, played by an unknown student. This place is like a cup of coffee, always keeping one alert and immersed at the same time.
FlyOver Canada utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give the feeling of flight. I enjoyed every minute here while my feet were dangling before a 20-meter spherical screen. The beautiful sceneries whisked me away on an exhilarating journey across Canada, from east to west. Special effects, including wind, mist, and scents, combine with the ride’s motion created an unforgettable experience. The FlyOver Canada experience is a perfect example of a show where technology evokes an irresistible lure to experience Canada in person.
Tip: Book tour tickets for FlyOver Canada in advance and skip the line. This sublime experience without language barriers lets you feel like you’re flying through breathtaking Canadian landscapes and scenery.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
My visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park gave me room to get lost amidst the sea of green and came back with fresh inspiration. I walked slowly, taking one step at a time across one of the world’s longest (140m) and highest (70m) pedestrian suspension bridges, swaying gently over roiling Capilano Canyon. Capilano Suspension Bridge is naturally thrilling.
While walking on the elevated canopy trail through the trees I felt like I am bathing in greens. The quiet and green morning went through me so deeply, that now when I close my eyes and try to think about that day, I feel refreshed almost instantly. This place is like a temple to which we offer poems and prose. If you love going on a hike, then explore many of the beautiful and easy North Vancouver trails.This place is like a temple to which we offer poems and prose. #Travel #ExploreCanada Click To Tweet
Tip: Book tickets for Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Self-Guided Tour and skip the line. You will not only enjoy the tree-top adventures but will also get amazing angles to take beautiful photographs. Don’t miss crossing the world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Small water bodies and boardwalks beside them, streaming lights through the trees created an atmosphere that helped me comprehend how best to dissolve a sense of self within something larger and less temporary.
Best Hotels to Stay in Vancouver
Vancouver has a wide range of hotels in all price ranges, including luxury, mid-range, boutique and budget. If you are on a short trip, it is best to stay close to the city center or Canada Place. My recommendations for the best hotels to stay in Vancouver are –
Best Luxury Hotel in Vancouver
Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel – Located close to Canada Place, this luxurious hotel features modern comforts with sweeping city, harbor or mountain views, a wellness spa, restaurant, and cocktail bar located on site. One of the best hotels in Vancouver where city meets the harbor.
Book your stay at the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Vancouver
Sunset Inn and Suites – A refined hotel located close to the downtown in West End and Sunset beach, this fabulous place offers complimentary breakfast, fully equipped kitchen and free Wifi. A perfect home for your vacation.
Book your stay at the Sunset Inn and Suites
Best Budget Hotel in Vancouver
Victorian Hotel – Start your day in this charming Victorian style boutique hotel in downtown Vancouver with a free continental breakfast. Minutes away from everything, this hotel is the best value for money in Vancouver.
Book your stay at the Victorian Hotel
Packing Essentials for Vancouver
I visited Vancouver in August and enjoyed three beautiful, long, warm, and sunny days. Here are my tips for travel essentials.
Anti-theft day pack or handbag – Carry one anti-theft bag-pack or a mini-backpack whenever you travel, especially in a large city. I highly recommend you to safeguard your essentials. They are equipped with anti-cut and RFID technology. Click here for the backpack. Click here for the handbag.
Summer dresses -Try packing some beautiful summer dresses for comfort and style. I wore full-sleeve summer dresses and loved the comfort. During the day I didn’t have to put sunscreen on my hands at regular intervals. During the evening time, when it gets a bit cold, I was still warm. Click here for a beautiful summer dress.
Sunglasses – I always carry one or two stylish sunglasses. Click here to see a few beautiful sunglasses.
Light Cardigan – I always carry a light cardigan in a neutral color. It comes handy if the temperature fluctuates. Click here to find out a warm and cozy cardigan.
Waterproof and packable jacket – Carry a waterproof jacket or a trench coat to protect yourself from rains. The weather can be unpredictable in Vancouver. Here is my favorite trench coat!
Map of Attractions in Vancouver
I tried to select some gorgeous and beautiful photographs of Vancouver from our 3-day trip and write about them so that someone known or unknown in a distant land can enjoy a few pieces of Canada. Vancouver is a charming city with greenery, squares for meeting and melting and beautiful seafronts. I walked on its streets, I went on a cruise and remained lost amidst its people and art. When I travel, I find life – a constant delight!Vancouver is a charming city with greenery, squares for meeting and melting and beautiful seafronts. I walked on its streets, I went on a cruise and remained lost amidst its people and art. #Travel #ExploreCanada #wanderer Click To Tweet When I travel, I find life – a constant delight! #Travel #ExploreCanada #wanderer Click To Tweet
Travel Guides – No matter how long you stay in Vancouver, you will enjoy its cultural vibrancy, and will find yourself immersed in the breathtaking rugged coastline and wilderness of nearby Vancouver Island. You can choose to keep this pocket travel guide with you, You will find your way around Vancouver and Vancouver Island with absolute ease. I absolutely love this book. Click here for the book.
Travel Insurance – I highly recommend insuring your Vancouver trip. Book your travel insurance for Vancouver and Canada here.
Disclosure: While this post was in partnership with Vancouver Tourism, the opinions expressed are my own.