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How to Spend One Day in Vancouver

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1 Day Vancouver Itinerary

Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada is a city where there are so many options for things to do both in and out of the downtown area.

Vancouver is famous for its food, its beaches and of course its outdoor adventure activities.

So what if you only have 24 hours in Vancouver? Is one day enough to see and do it all?

I always find it hard to pick and choose what to do in a new place when I don’t have much time. That’s why I am going to help you plan the perfect day in Vancouver where you won’t feel like you have missed out and you will have gotten a real taste of the city.

This 1 day Vancouver Itinerary will provide you with the must-see spots in the city as well as where to stay, where to eat and where to adventure to outside of the city! I will also give you the exact instructions of how to travel from place to place so that you barely need to do any additional research after reading this guide!

Your one day in Vancouver will be the best adventure ever!

Vancouver in Winter

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📍 Where is Vancouver

Vancouver is located on the West Coast of Canada, right next to Seattle in Washington State, USA.

Click here to open the map in Google Maps!

How to Get to Vancouver

Vancouver has its own International Airport. To get to Vancouver from most places in the world you can fly into Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and then get the SkyTrain or a taxi or Uber to your hotel Downtown.

If you are in Washington State in the US, you can also cross the border by car into Canada.

Stanley Park Bike Ride

📆 When is the Best Time of the Year to Visit Vancouver?

Deciding on when in the year to visit Vancouver, really comes down to personal preference, but personally I love Summer in Vancouver! There are so many outdoor activities to do both outside and inside the city. Downtown Vancouver really comes alive in the Summer with people crowded onto outdoor patios at restaurants and at the beaches enjoying the sun.

Couple standing in front of Siwash rock in Stanley Park at sunrise

Vancouver usually sees a lot of rain during Spring and if it’s not raining, it’s just cloudy.

Winter is a great time to visit Vancouver if you love festive vibes and skiing. Even though it doesn’t snow very often in the city, there are 3 local mountains, Grouse, Mount Seymour and Cypress Mountain, that get lots of snow and have activities such as sledding and skiing available.

Vancouver gets some Fall colours during the Fall season but nothing like other places like Quebec. There are some fun festive activities that you can do in Vancouver during Fall.

🍂 Looking for a road trip in Canada to see some incredible Fall colours? Check out our Quebec Fall Road Trip Itinerary! 🍁

🚗 Do I need a car to visit Vancouver?

There are lots of places to see in and around Vancouver that can be visited without a car. Everything in this itinerary, you can reach without a car, although for some of them, having a car might make the trip a little faster.

Lynn Canyon Hike on a foggy day

If you have longer than 1 day in Vancouver, I recommend hiring a car for a day or 2, so that you can get out of the city and explore more of the outdoors.

I always use which is great for comparing vehicle prices to find the best deal.

❓ How Many Days Should You Spend in Vancouver?

You can spend as little as 1 day and as many as 4 days in Vancouver. After 4 days, you will most likely begin growing tired of the city and I would recommend visiting other places nearby such as Squamish or Whistler.

Lynn Canyon Hiking Trail

🛌 Where to Stay in Vancouver

There are lots of different areas that you could choose to stay in in Vancouver. These are some of our favourite and the ones I would recommend looking into.

North Vancouver

North Vancouver is close to the 3 local Vancouver mountains, Grouse, Seymour and Cypress. This area is located a Seabus ride across the water from Downtown Vancouver, but has its own restaurants, pubs and breweries located on the water at Lower Lonsdale Quay.

Dave and I absolutely love North Vancouver and know that you will too!

Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier
Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier is a harbour-front North Vancouver hotel with a 25m swimming pool and gourmet restaurant on-site! As it is located right on the harbour, it is easy to hop on the Seabus to get across to Downtown Vancouver.

Photo of room at Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier - North Vancouver
Credit: Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier (via

Check prices!

Grouse Cheerful large private bedroom, bath, shared deck, pool, hot tub

This gorgeous residence is an Airbnb type of accommodation and it has an amazing swimming pool, hot tub and shared kitchen! It is about 4 km from Lonsdale Quay and 4.7 km from Capilano Suspension Bridge, has free parking included and city views from the rooms!

Photo of Grouse Cheerful large private bedroom, bath, shared deck, pool, hot tub
Credit: Grouse Cheerful large private bedroom, bath, shared deck, pool, hot tub (via

Check prices!

Crystal’s View Bed & Breakfast

If you are looking for a place to relax and get away from the business of the city, this Bed and Breakfast is for you! The rooms are gorgeous, the garden is stunning with fountains and a gazebo and a full breakfast is served in the dining area each morning. Tea or coffee with home-baked cookies is also offered each afternoon.

Photo of Crystals View Bed and Breakfast in North Vancouver
Credit: Crystals View Bed and Breakfast in North Vancouver (via

Check prices!

Downtown Vancouver

If you are a fan of the city and being around the hustle and bustle then Downtown Vancouver is for you!

The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver

We stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel on our very first night in Vancouver when we landed. It was a gorgeous hotel with great views outside of the city and located very centrally near some great shops like Lululemon.

photo of the outside of the Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver
Credit: The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver(via

Check prices!

GEC Granville Suites Downtown

The GEC Granville Suites Downtown is a great place to stay if you want to be central but are looking for more affordable accommodation. We stayed here for about 2.5 weeks while we were looking for an apartment and it had everything we needed and was very clean.

photo of a room at the GEC Granville Suites Downtown Vancouver
Credit: GEC Granville Suites Downtown (via

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Do you love the ocean? Vancouver seriously has everything! You can stay near the beach in the Kitsilano area which is an area by the ocean with amazing vibes! During Summer, there are loads of people picnicking all along the beach, playing volleyball and just hanging out with friends.

Rare find in Kitsilano – 2B Apartment

This 2 bedroom apartment is only 1.2 km from Kitsilano Beach and 1.8 km from Jericho Beach.

Photo of terrace at Rare Find in Kitsilano 2 bed apartment
Credit: Rare Find in Kitsilano 2 bed apartment (via

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Beautiful, Quiet 3BR in Posh Kitsilano

This 3 bedroom apartment is only 1.2 km from Kitsilano Beach and 1.7 km from Jericho Beach! This is a great place to stay if you want to cook your own meals as it is a house with a full kitchen and dining area.

Photo of accomodation - Beautiful quiet 3BR in Posh Kitsilano-min
Credit: Beautiful quiet 3BR in Posh Kitsilano (via

Check prices!

Vancouver 1 Day Itinerary

This one day Vancouver itinerary includes everything that Dave and I would personally do if we only had one day in Vancouver. If know us, you will know that we love the outdoors, walking, sunrises and sunsets.

This itinerary will also focus on getting around the city without a car, as usually when we travel to a city, we don’t feel the need to hire a car unless we are wanting to drive out of the city.


Go for a sunrise walk or bike ride at Stanley Park

Stanley Park is absolutely gorgeous at sunrise. The Stanley Park loop is 9km long and is a very popular cycling or running spot in Vancouver.

photo of the Stanley Park Seawall and Siwash Rock at Sunrise

The seawall makes up a large part of the loop which is a great place to watch the sunrise. There are some great viewpoints like Prospect Point and Siwash Rock. You will also pass Vancouver Aquarium, Brockton Point Lighthouse and the totem poles.

Stanley Park is HUGE and is actually larger than Central Park in New York! It can be easy to get lost wandering around in the beautiful gardens and along the Sea Wall.

Photo of Lions Gate Bridge in the snow
View from Prospect Point in Winter

If you decide to walk through Stanley Park, I recommend walking the Seawall around the right-hand side of the park. This way, you will be able to see Brockton Point Lighthouse, the Nine-o-clock gun and the Totem poles before making your way over to Prospect Point. 

If you would like to rent a bike to ride around Stanley Park, which is a great way to see the sights of Vancouver in a fun and fast way, you can do so from a place called Stokes.

How to get to Stanley Park from Granville Station (10-15 minutes)

Granville Station is quite a central spot in Downtown Vancouver and so I am going to use it as our starting point for the day.

To get to Stanley Park, you can catch Bus 257 (Horseshoe Bay Express) from WB W Georgia St @ Seymour St. Once you get off the bus, you can walk the rest of the way into Stanley Park which should only take a couple of minutes.

Grab Coffee and Breakfast

Once you have had enough of walking and your tummy is starting to grumble, its time to grab some breakfast!

Depending on where you are in the park, I can recommend:

Prospect Point Café – Prospect Point Café is located in Stanley Park and has amazing views! The café opens from 9:30am daily and serves coffee, breakfast sandwiches and a croque monsieur croissant.

Breka Bakery on Denman (821 Denman St, Vancouver, BC) – Breka Bakery is a bakery chain that is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day! When we first moved to Vancouver, we had Breka for breakfast and coffee almost every single day so I can rate it!

The Breka Bakery Cafes are ALWAYS busy which shows just how great their food is. It is sometimes hard to get a seat inside the café but you can always get your breakfast and coffee to go and eat it outside.

How to get to these cafes

I recommend walking to each of these cafes.

Prospect Point Café is located on the Northern end of Stanley Park up near the Lions Gate Bridge.

Breka Bakery, on the other hand, is back towards the bus stop you would have gotten off at to get to Stanley Park.


Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a must-do activity in Vancouver for anyone who loves magical forests. This is one of my favourite things to do during Winter in Vancouver because the forest gets decorated by thousands of fairy lights, making it even more magical.

If you go during the period when the fairy lights are up, I recommend switching this activity out from midday to later in the day, closer to sunset so that the lights stand out more.  

Capilano Suspension Park is a paid entry activity. You will need to pre-purchase your tickets for your chosen timeslot here.

How to get to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park from Stanley Park

To get to Capilano Suspension Bridge from Stanley Park, you can catch either Bus 246 (Highland) or Bus 247 (Grouse Mountain). Bus 247 will be the slighter shorter of the two, with less walking time. Both of these buses leave from the same place that you get dropped off at when first arriving at Stanley Park.

If you decide to have breakfast at the Prospect Point Café, you will need to walk back to the original bus stop, or alternatively, walk back to Vancouver Aquarium where you can catch Bus 019 (Pender/To Main St Station) back to the original bus stop where you will then need to get off and onto either the 246 or 247.

couple standing on bridge in the forest at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park


If you are hungry by now, you can grab some lunch from one of the cafes at Capilano.

The Bridge House – located across the road from the park and serves wraps, sandwiches, daily-baked muffins and scones and of course coffee.

Loggers’ Grill – located in the park and serves burgers and hot food.

The Cabin – located in the park on the far side of the Capilano Suspension Bridge and serves hot drinks and sweet treats. The hot chocolates from here are DECLICIOUS!


Canada Place

Catch the SeaBus (aka the ferry) back over to Canada Place. Canada Place is one of the most iconic spots in Vancouver. Canada Place is a cruise ship terminal, convention Centre and home to the Pan Pacific Hotel.  

I’m sure you have seen a photo of the orca whale that looks like it is made out of Lego somewhere on the internet before. This famous Lego looking sculpture looks like a digital orca made from pixels and is located next to the Convention Centre at Vancouver’s Canada Place.

From Canada Place, you will get amazing views looking back out over the water towards the North Shore Mountains which is where you would have just come from. You will be able to see the 3 North Shore Mountains, Grouse, Mount Seymour and Cypress Mountain.

Canada Place is also home to Vancouver’s FlyOver Canada experience which is a fun immersive simulated flight ride that takes you over some absolutely incredible landscapes throughout Canada.

How to get from Capilano Suspension Park to Canada Place

From Capilano, you will want to catch Bus 236 (Lonsdale Quay) which is a 20 minute bus ride to Lonsdale Quay. Once you get off the bus, walk towards the SeaBus terminal and get the SeaBus to Waterfront Station which is about a 12 minute trip across the water.

From Waterfront Station, it is about a 650m walk to Canada Place.

Vancouver Lookout

Vancouver Lookout is one of the best views in Vancouver! To get up to the lookout you will travel in a glass elevator for 40 seconds to 168.6m above ground to the panoramic deck above Vancouver. There is also a gift shop and a restaurant.

From the top you will have unobstructed views of Vancouver, Gastown, Coal Harbour, Stanley Park and even all of the way out to Mount Baker in the US!

Book your ticket to Vancouver Lookout here!

How to get from Canada Place to Vancouver Lookout

Vancouver Lookout is not too far from Canada place. It is about a 9 minute walk. You will need to walk towards Waterfront Road and then turn left followed by a sharp right onto Howe Street. Then turn left onto Cordova Street and right onto Seymour Street.

map of how to get from Canada place to Vancouver Lookout


Once you have finished enjoying the incredible views from Vancouver Lookout, you can take a stroll through Gastown before heading to Granville Island.

Gastown is known for its whistling Steam Clock, fun souvenir shops and art galleries all set in Victorian style buildings. There are also lots of nice cocktail bars and restaurants.

Some of the restaurants to try are Tacofino, which is a taco bar originally from Tofino on Vancouver Island and the Old Spaghetti Factory. The Steamworks Brewpub is also a good microbrewery to try out if you have the time.

How to get from Vancouver Lookout to Gastown

From Vancouver Lookout to Gastown, it is only a 4 minute walk, so you may as well stop by and see the Steam Clock. You will need to get back onto Cordova Street, before turning onto Water Street. As soon as you turn onto Water Street, you have essentially entered the Gastown area.

Granville Island

Granville Island has become a pretty famous spot for Vancouver due to popularity of the Granville Island Public Market. At the market you will find some great gifts to take back home to friends and family, fresh produce, baked goods, clothing and more!

Even though it is called an “island,” it is accessible by car, boat, bus or by foot. It is still connected to the mainland but is located on the water.

There are lots of great food and restaurant options on Granville Island so it makes for a good place to be for dinner.

How to get to Granville Island from Gastown

To get to Granville Island from Gastown, you could either walk across Downtown Vancouver, which would take around 40 minutes or you could catch Bus #050 (South False Creek via Granville Island) from Waterfront Station at Bay 2.

This bus ride will take around 20 minutes and you will get off at W 2nd Ave @ Anderson St and walk 5 minutes to Granville Island.

Amazing Vancouver Tours

If you don’t want to galivant around the city by yourself, you can join a tour which might make your day a little more relaxing. There are some really fun ones out there!

Grouse Mountain & Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Cost: CAD 200 – 250
Duration: 5.5 hours

Grouse Mountain is one of Vancouver’s 3 local mountains and the views from the top are incredible! This tour takes you to Capilano River Hatchery to witness the salmon leaping up the river on their way to their annual spawning beds, following by Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain.

Book Tour Here!

Vancouver City Tour Including Capilano Suspension Bridge

Cost: CAD 140 – 150
Duration: 5 – 6 hours

This half day tour takes you to all of the best sights in Vancouver including the beautiful Stanley Park on a bus tour. Then you will make your way to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and enjoy the beauty of the forest and hopefully the fairy lights if they are on!

Book Tour Here!

Seaplane Flight to Victoria and Whale-Watching Cruise

Cost: CAD 600
Duration: 10 hours

This is a once in a lifetime tour and something that we have been dying to do for a while now! This tour will take you to Victoria by seaplane! You will then join a boat cruise and travel through a place called Haro Strait, which is home to Orcas (killer whales), sea lions and seals.

Book Tour Here!

Vancouver Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise

Cost: CAD 200 – 220
Duration: 2.5 hours

If you are done with walking around Downtown Vancouver and want to finish your day with a bang, why not book a Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise? On this boat cruise, you will listen to live music and eat delicious Pacific Coast-style cuisine as you watch the sunset from the deck and get take in the views of Canada Place, the North Shore Mountains and the West Vancouver skyline.

Book Tour Here!

More things to do in Vancouver

If you get through the itinerary above and still have time to spare, you are must be CRAZY fast at sightseeing, but don’t worry! If you still have energy to see more, there are more things waiting for you to check out!

Visit the VanDusen Botanical Gardens

The VanDusen Botanical Gardens are beautiful and worth a visit! They are located at 5151 Oak Street Vancouver and from Downtown, you can get there on Bus #17 from Granville Station.

Vancouver Aquarium

Girl watching sealion at Vancouver Aquarium

We have been to the Vancouver Aquarium once and were really impressed! This place is huge and there is so much to see! I also love that Vancouver Aquarium has a rescue program and a lot of the animals you see there have been rescued.

Book tickets to Vancouver Aquarium here! 🐟🐠🐡🦈

Go on a Hike

If you have more than one day in Vancouver and you enjoy hiking, you should look into doing a hike or two. There are loads of incredible hikes in and around Vancouver!

Check out the Cypress Mountain Lookout and get coffee or a beer at The Shed

View from Cypress Mountain

If you want to check out Cypress Mountain Lookout, I definitely recommend hiring a car for this as there is no bus that can take you all of the way. From the lookout, you can see across the water to Vancouver and if you travel further up Cypress Bowl Road, you will reach The Shed which is a pop up bar with great views that offers, coffee, drinks, pizza and snacks.

If you are planning a trip to Vancouver, you might also find the following guides helpful:

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