48 Hours in Vancouver
Vancouver is ranked as one of the prettiest cities in the world. It is a perfect blend of modern urban features and a natural setting. Surrounded by mountains, ocean and forests Vancouver is a clean bustling city with a vibrant food and cultural scene mixed with an abundance of outdoor activities. It is a great weekend getaway destination or a starting off point to explore more of the Pacific Northwest.
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Fairmont Pacific Rim
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Day 1: Explore the city by bike
Start the day at with breakfast at the Botanist, an airy, bright restaurant at the Fairmont Pacific Rim (an incredible hotel). They have an amazing menu from my favorite granola, yogurt and berry bowl to amazing eggs benedict or brioche french toast (so yummy!).
Note: One of the best ways to see the city is on a bike. I recommend downloading the Mobi app so you can rent Mobi city bikes throughout the city. ($1 to unlock, then 25¢ per minute).
After breakfast hob on a Mobi bike (we went with the e-bike option) and spend the morning cycling through the Marina to the Seawall Bike Path. Cycle around the 6.6 mile perimeter of Stanley Park. Stanley Park, larger than New York’s Central Park sits right on the Pacific Ocean There are many amazing stops and photo opportunities along the way including the Lady in the Wetsuit Statue, Lions Gate Bridge, and Third Beach where you can prop yourself up against one of the logs and watch the paddle boarders and swimmers.
As you come out of Stanley Park head along the water to catch a short ferry ride to Granville Island via the Aquabus. It is such a fun way to see the city from the water.
Granville Island is one of the city’s cultural districts with theaters, and art studios. The main attraction is the Public Market, an indoor market featuring a vast assortment of food and crafts. You could spend an hour just taking in all the sights and yummy food smells of the market. It's a perfect spot to grab a quick bit and then stop into the Granville Island Brewery for a flight beer.
Grab a Mobi bike and cycle back over the Granville bridge back into Vancouver or take the Aquabus and walk through the city back to your hotel.
Grab an Uber and head to Commercial Drive, known as the Little Italy neighborhood. This area is going through gentrification and has a hip vibe to it. Head to Sopra Sotto for great pizza, pasta and salads. I recommend the Toscana salad, the Gnocchi in Sunday Sugo (a braised short rib sauce) and Patatona pizza - potatoes, sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella.
For dessert, cross the street and walk 2 blocks to Livia for a sweet homemade treat and a glass of wine. The menu changes every week - we enjoyed a Chocolate Ganache Tart.
Day 2: Gastown & Capilano Suspension Bridge
Grab a cup of coffee and head to Gastown or better yet grab some of the best coffee at one of the many coffee bars in Gastown. This is Vancouver’s oldest and most well-known neighborhood. You will want to stop for a photo at the famous whistling Steam Clock. Stop into the Vinyl Records to browse new and used LP’s and just down the street check out Vancouver’s Native Shoes - the cutest slip-on shoes made of washable, recyclable and vegan foam (think Crocs but trendier).
Time for Dim Sum, a traditional Chinese brunch/lunch and Vancouver is known for some of the best Dim Sum. Mott 32, has one of the best and unique dim sum menus - the food is delicious and the signature cocktail with freshly squeezed juice at the table is so refreshing and fun.
Head outside the city (just 15 minutes) to Capilano Suspension Bridge. You can take a free shuttle bus from Canada Place. It is one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions and for good reason - it is beautiful to see and cross (yes it is wobbly) and once across there are walking trails through the rain forest and a treetop adventure of suspension bridges between the trees so you can view the coastal rainforest from above.
Head to the Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim for some hand-crafted cocktails, sushi and live music. A lovely spot with a chill vibe.
End the evening at Motoretta for some incredible gelato or non-dairy sorbet and take one last walk down by the water taking in some beautiful views as the sun sets.
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Luxury Family Travel in Punta Mita.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Vancouver.