36 hours in Vancouver

This is an article in the 36 Hours In… series. To find more in the series, head here.

36 hours in Vancouver

Vancouver, BC. It’s one of the most liveable cities in the world, right? Well then, you’ll have more than enough to keep you happy for a mere 36 hours. From satisfying your tastebuds to getting rid of those calories the next day in a beautiful setting, we’ve got you covered for a great weekend in this lovely city.

Friday night

What better way to start off your weekend in Vancouver than with an ice hockey match? The Vancouverites are mad fans of their team the Canucks, but we recommend going to a Giants game – these young guys are fiercely trying to make an impression to get into the big league, and so the games are full on! Extra bonus – the tickets are also much cheaper.

36 hours in vancouver

Grab a beer and a hot dog rink-side for dinner and enjoy the game.

Saturday morning

Yes, it’s touristy, but it has to be visited – Gastown is the oldest part of Vancouver and is chockablock with charming brick buildings and cobbled streets. Many of the old buildings have been reborn as boutique shops selling designware and local fashion labels.

There are crappy tourist trap restaurants but if you look close enough (and use Yelp to guide you) you can find some excellent eats in the area. We recommend a truly fantastic sandwich at Meat & Bread on Cambie Street. Seriously, best. sandwich. ever.

best food in vancouver

Meat & Bread porchetta sandwich

Saturday afternoon

Let’s get out of the city. A short bus ride over the Lionsgate Bridge brings you to the North Shore, and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The $32 entrance fee is quite steep, but it’s a slick operation with lots of things to do and it’s all presented very well. The treetops walk and the cliff walk are highlights, along with the 137 m long suspension bridge, of course!

A free alternative to Capilano is Lynn Canyon, which is also on the North Shore. It’s slightly harder to get to (involves a ferry and a bus from downtown Vancouver) but you’ll avoid paying any entrance fees! Lynn Canyon has a smaller suspension bridge to Capilano but it’s a lot less crowded! The large network of easy hiking trails are a nice way to while away an afternoon. Horseshoe Bay (the first image in this post) is a lovely stop on your way back to the city.

Saturday night

Heading back into downtown Vancouver and it’s time to explore more of Vancouver’s culinary scene. Back to Gastown (as it’s close to the ferry/bus terminals) and you can find Nicli Antica Pizzeria, one of the best pizza joints in town.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria - prosciutto e rucola

Nicli Antica Pizzeria – prosciutto e rucola

If you’re into tapas, Six Acres (housed in Vancouver’s oldest brick building) could be more what you’re after. The atmosphere alone is reason to dine in this restaurant, and the food is damn good too!

After dinner it’s time for drinks and dancing. Gastown has a number of bars worth visiting, and we can recommend The Portside Pub – the drinks were great and we loved the fit out!

Sunday morning

It’s Sunday morning, and you’re feeling the effects of the drinks and dancing last night, aren’t you? Well, how about a delicious breakfast made from local food from Forage on Robson Street? We’d recommend spending the rest of your morning either walking or cycling around Stanley Park, Vancouver’s massive urban park at the western tip of the West End.

36 hours in vancouver

Stanley Park

There’s the seawall that runs around the outside of the park, or heaps of trails winding around the tall trees and lakes throughout this fantastic natural area so close to the city.

If you’re into the underwater world and don’t feel like much exercise, consider visiting the world-class Vancouver Aquarium, located on the edge of Stanley Park.

Sunday afternoon

To finish off your weekend in Vancouver, what better thing to do than to eat some more? Catch the cute wee ferry across False Creek from English Bay to Granville Island and sample the wares at the Granville Island Public Market.

There are also bakeries and breweries here so it’s easy to spend the afternoon filling your stomach with Vancouver’s goodies.

You’ll have to agree, this is a pretty great itinerary for a great city! With it’s combination of outdoor activities and great food you’ll definitely be satisfied for at least 36 hours. We always recommend buying a Lonely Planet guide to help you out while you’re on the ground. Buy one here!

Do you have any recommendations on must-do’s in Vancouver? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

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