The ultimate guide to Vancouver

The ultimate guide to Vancouver

by Andrea Byaruhanga

Updated November 7, 2022

Do you remember life before coronavirus, when you could plan trips, travel to new places and happily enjoy every attraction (mask-free)? Those days have been put on hold, but it won’t be forever! One day, you’ll be able to visit all the places on your bucket list. If one of your dream destinations is Vancouver, Canada, this article is for you. Learn about the neighbourhoods, activities and restaurants that Vancouverites recommend!

5 neighbourhoods we love in Vancouver

Yes, Vancouver is a beautiful coastal city surrounded by mountains and trees, but it’s so much more than that! Look at what these neighbourhoods have to offer.

1. Kitsilano

This beachside neighbourhood is known by locals as Kits. In the summer, you’ll see crowds of people enjoying the sun at Kitsilano Beach. If you’re not into plunging into the ocean, you can swim at Kits Pool, the longest saltwater swimming pool in North America. 

Kits is also known for the Bard on the Beach festival, the Museum of Vancouver, the HR MacMillan Space Centre, and summer street festivals like Greek Day and the Khatsalano festival. 

2. Davie Village 

The rainbow crosswalk in Davie Village is a symbol of the LGBTQ+ culture you’ll find here. This chill area is great for people-watching, and it’s within walking distance of English Bay and Sunset Beach. Davie is famous for its variety of casual pubs, lively bars and nightclubs

3. Chinatown

Vancouver’s Chinatown is the third-largest in North America. As you walk through the streets, you’ll pass many Asian specialty shops, historic landmarks and both traditional and modern restaurants. One of the best sights to see is the historical Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Every January, Chinatown also hosts the Spring Festival Parade.

4. Commercial Drive

Commercial Drive (“The Drive”) features a mix of international foods, bars, theatres and specialty shops. It’s got a hippy, bohemian vibe (walk past Grandview Park, and you’re sure to hear a drum circle going on). 

Part of the Drive is called Little Italy. There, you can find restaurants, cafés and shops selling Italian specialties. Every year, Little Italy is the location of the Italian Day street festival. 

5. South Main 

The trendy neighbourhood known as South Main (or Mount Pleasant, depending on who you ask) is known for its coffee shops like 49th Parallel, breweries (Brassneck, Main Street Brewing, and 33 Acres, for example), unique gift shops and vintage stores. South Main also features the popular Red Cat Records and some fantastic restaurants, including vegan and vegetarian options.

13 things to do in Vancouver

Here are the best places and activities in and around Vancouver, as recommended by locals.

  1. Tour the Vancouver Art Gallery, which has a collection of more than 100 years’ worth of art. 
  2. Take a ride on an Aquabus, a water taxi that tours False Creek with a stop at Granville Island
  3. Taste some fresh seafood or a sweet treat at the Granville Island Public Market.
  4. Enjoy a walk around the Stanley Park seawall. Better yet, rent a bike and ride around it!
  5. Get close to nature at Lynn Canyon Park and enjoy the views from the suspension bridge. 
  6. Test your fitness on the Grouse Grind. With 2,830 steps and an elevation gain of 853 metres, this one isn’t for couch potatoes!
  7. Enjoy calm waters and mountain views as you kayak in Deep Cove.
  8. Relax at Third Beach, one of the city’s quietest sandy beaches. 
  9. Taste some craft beer in Brewer’s Row, Port Moody – just a skytrain ride away!
  10. Watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean at English Bay.
  11. Try out snowtubing or snowshoeing at Cypress Mountain.
  12. Enjoy a peaceful stroll through Queen Elizabeth Park, the highest point in the city.
  13. Take a self-guided tour of the public art around the city.

12 places to eat in Vancouver

After all that touring, you’ll want a bite to eat. Here’s a list of the tastiest restaurants in the city!

1. Anh and Chi – Vietnamese

What to try: Beef noodle soup

2. Bandidas – Mexican-inspired vegetarian

What to try: Ronny Russell tacos

3. Cartem’s – Donuts

What to try: Smoked maple walnut donut

4. Chinatown BBQ – Chinese

What to try: BBQ duck on rice

5. Earnest Ice Cream – Ice cream

What to try: Whiskey hazelnut ice cream

6. Japadog – Japanese fusion

What to try: Kurobuta Terimayo hot dog

7. Maenam – Thai 

What to try: 8-spice lingcod 

8. Miku – Japanese

What to try: Salmon oshi sushi

9. Phnom Penh – Vietnamese-Cambodian

What to try: Chicken wings

10. Red Wagon – American-style diner

What to try: Pulled pork pancakes

11. Salmon ‘N’ Bannock – West Coast Indigenous

What to try: Mushrooms on toasted bannock

12. Savio Volpe – Italian 

What to try: Wood-fired rosemary chicken and kale salad

Vibrant Vancouver

These are some of our favourite things in this beautiful city by the sea. Which ones are you going to add to your list? 

If you’d like to learn French or improve your English before your next trip to Canada, then visit the Lingoda website and sign up for your free 7-day trial today!

Related articles