Post Summary: How To Spend One Day In Vancouver, BC
Living so close, Berty and I decided to take a trip just over the border, to experience Vancouver in one day.
Vancouver, British Columbia is a 2.5-hour drive from Seattle, so we planned to spend all day Saturday exploring, then return home that night.
From the beginning, this day was…interesting.
We were ready to plan an epic 24 hours in Vancouver. We would explore places like Buntzen Lake, Capilano Park, Stanley Park, and go all around the city.
Unfortunately, there was a large snowstorm that day and it put a wrench in all our perfect plans!
Berty and I should have known to prepare better visiting Vancouver in the winter (December), but we had fun nonetheless!
It was a good lesson on taking plans as they come and learn to go with the flow (which does not come naturally to me!*Emily*) So, I present to you…
Vancouver, BC At a Glance
Before driving to Vancouver, Canada from Seattle (or nearby), here are some things you should know:
Best Time To Visit: Summer is the best (but busiest time), fall and spring are great transitional months, and winter can be cold and rainy, but very festive downtown!
Where to Stay: The Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre is a perfect spot right downtown in all the action and The Listel Hotel is also downtown, with a little bit more intimacy, and restaurants right outside.
How To Spend One Day In Vancouver On Foot
1. Visit Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
Lynn Canyon Park is a FREE park with lots of trails and a suspension bridge! Along with this park, there are tons of other free things to do in Vancouver which makes this a great city to explore for travelers who like to save money.
Lynn Canyon is a great alternative if you are strapped on cash but still want an experience similar to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This way, you can spend your one day in Vancouver on a budget but still see and do amazing things!
Lynn Canyon Bridge was perfect for capturing Vancouver’s surprise winter snowfall if you only have a short amount of time.
If we had a little longer to spend in the city, there are several Vancouver area hikes to explore nearby, like Quarry Rocks, Saint Mark’s Summit, and Tunnel Bluffs. (Although I would suggest visiting when the snow melts a bit more!)
Pro tip: With one suspension bridge in the park, we had to share it occasionally with other viewers, but if you go early in the morning you will mostly have it all to yourself!
Read More: 40 Essentials For Every Winter Travel Packing List
2. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is the awesome big brother of the Lynn Canyon. While it isn’t free, the cost is worth it to explore the many bridges, attractions, and beautiful scenery inside the park.
If you know you only have one day in Vancouver, this attraction might be an awesome thing to check out.
Between huge suspension bridges, they also have other interesting features, and the twinkling lights during the holiday season make this area extra magical!
Read More: What To Expect At Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
3. Granville Island Public Market
After freezing our butts off outside at Lynn Canyon, we decided to walk around and warm up at the Granville Island Market.
This market reminds me of Seattle’s very own Pike Place Market. People everywhere are selling a plethora of fresh produce, the stalls are lined with delicious artisan and Vegan restaurants in Vancouver, and gorgeous hand-crafted goods can be found around every corner!
We stayed here for a long time eating our lunch and slowly warming up. Besides the public market, Granville Island has a lot more attractions to explore, but the cold weather outside prevented us from being too curious.
We’ve quickly learned that a future second trip is necessary. One day in Vancouver Canada is not enough!
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4. Vancouver Lookout
After walking around Vancouver’s Gastown in the combination of snow/rain it was a relief to sightsee from behind glass!
The Vancouver Lookout sits 553 feet above the ground and it takes you 40 seconds to ride the glass elevator from the bottom to the top. We loved learning about the various buildings and seeing the city from above.
We also discovered that the Lookout ticket is valid all day which means you can see the city in the morning and return at night for a completely different view! Totally worth the $16.25 price tag.
From the top, there is a 360-degree view of the city, where you can see everything from marinas for whale watching in Vancouver to adventures in the Coastal Mountains!
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5. Revolver Coffee
Before we started our journey back to Seattle, we stopped at Revolver Coffee in Gastown for a quick caffeine fix.
Revolver is a unique coffee shop because of its attention to detail and hand-crafted cups of coffee.
The shop hand-selects their coffee beans from all over the world and makes single orders to exactly your preference. For instance, I ordered just a simple drip coffee and they measured out an order for exactly one.
No huge brews or batches made here! The cool, downtown atmosphere made for a fun last stop in Vancouver.
Read More: 5 Adventurous PNW Cities To See In The Winter
Other Things To Do In Vancouver In One Day:
Like every destination we visit, Berty and I return home with a list longer than when we arrived!
Here are the things we’d add to our list the next time we have one day in Vancouver again:
- Grab at coffee at Tim Hortons and walk around Stanley Park
- Take a waterfront sightseeing cruise
- Explore Science World or the Vancouver Aquarium (we love museums!!)
- Ride the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus (these are awesome DIY tours we’ve taken in several cities) – perfect if you are explore Vancouver in one day on foot!
Visiting Vancouver, Berty and I discovered that there is so much more to see in this city, and we should return when the weather is a little nicer…maybe springtime! Then, we can take an awesome road trip around Vancouver Island too!
In the meantime, we’ve added Vancouver area hikes to our PNW Bucket list and we’re excited to check them off this year!
Have you ever spent 24 hours in Vancouver, Canada? Tell me about your experience! What did you do with your one day in Vancouver?
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Photos by: Berty Mandagie
2 thoughts on “How To Spend an Incredible 24 Hours in Vancouver, Canada”
Great post! I lived in Vancouver for a few months a couple years ago and never made to any of these places but I am heading down at the end of the month with some friends to check out the suspension bridges. I love your comment at the end that things don’t always go the way you plan. I definitely learned that on a trip last year, glad you still had fun though despite the change in plans!
That’s so awesome Kristie! Definitely check out Capilano Suspension Bridges. We didn’t make it over there but from all the pictures I’ve seen it’s so beautiful! And yes, I’m not so good with plans changing and this trip was definitely a good learning experience for me. haha Have a great trip to Vancouver!
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