It’s been three years since I first made the trip across the pond from London to Vancouver, and I loved it so much the first time that I decided to make the move as a temporary expat that same year. While I didn’t live in Vancouver during my two years in Canada (I lived in a ski resort 2 hours north), I spent a lot of my free time roaming the city and exploring its flashy restaurants, craft bars and sleek shopping centres.
The Canadian west coast city has repeatedly been named as one of the best cities to live in and I’m not surprised; the air is fresh, the food good, the poeple friendly and there’s loads to see and do. Here are just some of the free activities I recommend for anyone visiting, whether its your first time or tenth!
Explore Stanley Park
400 hectares of natural greenery, Stanley Park is a day out in itself. Bike around the 8.8km of the park’s seawalls like I did (and feel completely knackered after!), walk through 27km of forest trails and seek out wildlife, or bask on sandy beaches on the fringes of the park. Whatever you do, it’s a great way to see Vancouver’s coastal scene.
Granville Island Public Market
A popular indoor market that can be found on Granville Island, it should definitely be on your list if you’re a foodie. The market’s stalls are crawling with fresh seafood, homemade cheeses, pasta and chocolates, exotic fruit, warm baked goods, unique jewellery and gifts, fine wines and specially brewed teas. Why would you not want to visit? Am I right?!
Have a gander around Gastown
A definite must is to take some time to explore Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. The neighbourhood, which was designated a National Historic Site in 2009, is quirky and full of character. Wander its cobbled streets and venture in and out of independent craft restaurants and bars and boutique clothes shops. Be a tourist and visit the steam clock and marvel at the area’s varied architecture.
Vancouver is surrounded by a sea wall, meaning you can literally walk around the entire city if you want to. And I recommend it. It’s also great for cycling along (and stopping off at these amazing craft breweries). Further out in North Vancouver is a great 3.8km hike from Deep Cove to Quarry Rock lookout which makes for a great 1.5 hours forest hike.
Again, these are just some of the must-dos when visiting Vancouver. See my other post on what else to do in the city.
Do you have any other recommendations? Comment and share below.