One day will be tight, but many people will find Vancouver doable as a 24-hour stop. The following one-day itinerary gives rushed visitors the chance to take in the urban highlights, focusing on the West End, Stanley Park, Granville Island, and Chinatown, with ample time for food and drink stops along the way.
Take advantage of the city’s buzzing coffee culture to start off your day. Matchstick coffee roasters in Chinatown is a great spot for breakfast, especially given its ample room for you to sit and enjoy the crusty, homemade, dark sourdough bread with your expertly pulled espresso.
Suitably fed and wired, take a taxi or a bus to Stanley Park. View all the TransLink bus schedules on the TransLink website. If you have the time and inclination, walk the seawall perimeter of the park. Alternatively, you can rent a bicycle on the corner of Denman and Georgia Streets to do the same. Walking, it takes about two hours to circle the park from Coal Harbour to English Bay; cycling takes about half that. If you cycle, be sure to stay in your lane and follow the signs — you can only ride the circuit in one direction.
The verdant center of Stanley Park houses cricket grounds, a baseball diamond, a pitch-and-putt golf course, a rose garden, an outdoor concert arena, and the Vancouver Aquarium. You can also take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage and, when the sun is out, take a rest on the beach. English Bay Beach is the largest, most urban, and scenic Stanley Park beach. Second Beach is the best for families because of the swimming pool and playgrounds. Third Beach is the most peaceful and secluded.
Have lunch in the West End, the tree-lined residential neighborhood near Stanley Park and English Bay. Denman Street and Davie Street are the main commercial thoroughfares. Try the tonkotsu ramen at Kintaro or Chinese hand-pulled noodles at Legendary Noodles on Denman Street. On Davie, check out Saj&Co. for made-to-order Lebanese flatbread.
False Creek and Granville Island
From the West End, take one of the False Creek Ferries across the eponymous body of water to Granville Island. Enjoy the journey and the destination by spending a few hours wandering around the indoor Public Market and the outdoor boutiques and galleries. Then stop for a tipple or two at Granville Island Brewery, Artisan Sake Maker, and The Liberty Distillery.
If you’re hungry, forego eating in the Public Market. Instead, go off the beaten path to the not-so-well-kept secret Go Fish.
Olympic Village happy hour
After strolling around Granville Island, take the Aquabus, another miniature passenger ferry, to the Olympic Village station. Here you can enjoy happy hour with a view at the Tap & Barrel. Teetotalers can go to the Terra Breads cafe instead.
From Olympic Village you have several options, more so if you head north towards Chinatown. If you’re in the mood for pizza, Farina has one of the best crusts in the city. Seating is limited but you can get your pie delivered next door at Boxcar. You could try the vegan pizza at Virtuous Pie. Serious foodies will be willing to wait in line at the venerable Phnom Penh, but if you want to try something different, check out the Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant Kissa Tanto.