Vancouver is constantly rated one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It has great things to see and do, and many of them are free, or almost free. Lots of great information is available at www.tourismvancouver.com. Here are some of the best bargains we found.
Translink Day Pass: for $9.75 an adult has unlimited use of city buses, Skytrain, and Seabus. Using public transit not only offers free sightseeing, you do not have to worry about parking, and parking can be very expensive.
1) CANADA PLACE: 999 Canada Place
Open 24 hours
Canada Line Skytrain to Waterfront Station
Locals call it “The Sails” and the sails are illuminated from dusk to dawn each day. This is where the ships from the Alaska cruises dock. There is a Welcome Centre in the Main Plaza.
The Canada Trail on the west promenade gives you a condensed trip across Canada’s ten provinces and three territories.
2) STANLEY PARK
June 2014 TripAdvisor voted this the top park in the world.
Open 24 hours
# 19 bus from downtown
This 1001 acre park is almost entirely surrounded by the waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay. To the right as you enter the park you will find an Information Booth that offers free guides and maps. Most of the park has been left in its natural forest state. There are many picnic areas. The most popular thing to do is bike, walk, or rollerblade the 8.8 km seawall.
3) Granville Island 1661 Duranleau St.
Shops: 10 am – 7 pm daily
Bus #50 from downtown has a stop near the entrance.
Originally an industrial island it has transitioned to a centre of artistry – almost. You will still see Ocean Construction’s concrete trucks weaving their way to the batch plant.
Granville Island is now has over 300 businesses. The Public Market is home to local handicraft vendors, a fresh produce and fish market, and a food fair. Top city chefs shop here for the best and the freshest of everything local.
Spend $8 for a water tour with Aquabus. You will go past the floathome community at Granville Island and see the amazing Vancouver skyline. The Aquabus runs 7 am – 10:30 pm and is used by many commuters as well as tourists.
The largest free waterpark in North America is here as is the Kids Only Market. It is exactly what the name implies – a market for kids. Right across the street is Granville Island Brewery, Canada’s first micro brewery. As you walk around you can see glass blowers at work, and at most of the shops you can see the artisans plying their trades. The famous Emily Carr Art University is located here. Granville Island is also home to much of the marine industry in Vancouver. Street performers and theatres provide varied entertainment day and evening.
CHRISTCHURCH ANGLICAN CATHEDRAL
690 Burrard St.,
Mon. – Sat. 10 am – 4 pm Service 12:10
Great cathedral dedicated in 1895. The interior has wonderful wood work and 32 stained glass windows. You can download a PDF from www.cathedral.vancouver.bc.ca for a self guided tour.
RICHMOND NIGHT MARKET
8700 McKim Way, Richmond
7pm – midnight Fri., Sat., Sun nights.
$2.25 entrance fee
Canada line Skytrain to Bridgeport Stn. then bus # 430 or #405.
Richmond is the suburb home to much of Vancouver’s Asian population – and the Night Market is everything Asian. The entry fee is worth it. Every type of Asian food you can imagine is available, along with vendors selling anything and everything. It is crowded, chaotic, and charming!
THE TOUR GUYS
They do three tours that all start at 11 am. The tours are free, but you are expected to tip. If you took a regular tour you would pay for your tour AND be expected to tip.
Mon. & Fri. Downtown & Waterfront 90 min.
Wed. & Sat. Granville St. & Gastown 100 min.
Thurs. & Sun. Chinatown & Strathcona 110 min.
Take the Seabus to the North Shore. Buses from Lonsdale Quay will take you to the following:
CAPILANO SALMON HATCHERY
4500 Capilano Rd. North Vancouver
8 am – 7 pm daily
Bus #236 Get off at Capilano Rd. and Capilano Park Road.
This is an interpretive centre. You can take a self guided tour. Don’t miss the fishway, showing how salmon navigate the fish ladders.
LYNN CANYON SUSPENSION BRIDGE
3663 Park Road, North Vancouver
10 am – 5 pm daily
Bus # 228. Get off at Peters and walk up Peters to the Ecology Centre.
After touring the centre walk across the suspension bridge built in 1912. When built it cost ten cents to cross, and now it is free!
6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Van.
Grind 6:15 am – 7 pm daily
Skyride 7:30 am – 10 pm ($10 fare to come down)
Bus #236 from Lonsdale Quay
The Grouse Grind is considered Mother Nature’s Stairmaster. The 2.9 km hike gains 2800 feet of elevation. The first quarter is not too steep, the second and third quarters are the steepest, and the last quarter is not steep. Usual time to do the Grind is about an hour. The record for doing it is 23 minutes 48 seconds. Please note, there are no facilities on the trail. The view from the top makes the climb worthwhile.
I hope you enjoy your time in Vancouver. If you have any questions I would be glad to try to answer them for you.