A Vancouver guide for visitors

This brief Vancouver guide for visitors details what to do, where to stay and where to eat when you visit Vancouver.

When Laura and Caitlin moved to Vancouver I promised to visit as soon as I could.  Mike (with a broken hand) came with me and we were stoked our requested upgrades (one allowed per year as Air New Zealand Silver Airpoints members) to Premium Economy came through. Our Space Seats were awesome.

Air New Zealand Space Seats

Things to do in Vancouver

For familiarisation we took a hop-on hop-off bus tour.  The first time we hopped off was at The Stanley Park Teahouse for lunch.The bus pass also gave us a one way pass on a small ferry to Granville Island to see Vancouver from the water and peruse the markets.

We had a window shopping wander down Robson Street and then Laura took us along the waterfront from Canada Place and into Stanley Park for sea and mountain vistas. We passed Seaplanes, the grassy Convention Centre, houseboats, and the Light Shed artwork and totem poles.

Stanley Park Vancouver Guide for Visitors
Stanley Park Totem Poles Vancouver Guide for visitors

Our group of Kiwi’s saw the Vancouver Canadians at Nat Bailey stadium. They lost, and it was not a high scoring game, but it was really fun.

Vancouver guide for visitors Softball

Places to stay in Vancouver

I booked Riviera Hotel, which is amongst a bunch of dated highrise hotels before the Korean end of Robson Street. Our first floor room was not cheap averaging $330 per night and it looked out over a carpark. Key Learning – pictures on websites such as Expedia are not necessarily to be believed as they are obviously promoting the hotel in best possible light. When our three nights were up we moved to The Sheraton at Vancouver Wall Centre for the next three – an upgrade of two stars for very little extra money.

Where to eat in Vancouver

Laura and Caitlin took us to Cactus Club Vancouver Coal Harbour offered yummy burgers and Calamari as well as a Watermelon Margarita on special.

Cactus Club Burger

Craft Beer Market was another recommendation by our hosts. It has over 100 beers on tap. I had the locals tasting float which changes weekly, as does their International alternative.

Craft Beer Market Beer Flight Vancouver Guide for visitors
Tim Hortons (which I wanted to visit thanks to How I Met Your Mother), Johnnie Foxes Irish Snug, The Winking Judge and Breka were all rated highly on TripAdvisor and proved their worth.

Where to go in North Vancouver

Free shuttles run regularly from the city to Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver both of which I recommend visiting.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Vancouver guide for visitors

The Grouse Grind – 2083 steps, 2.9km climb up Grouse Mountain took me 1 hr 22 minutes and was much harder than I anticipated.

Grouse Mountain Halfway Vancouver guide for visitors

At the top we saw bears, a bald eagle and a (really cheesy) lumberjack show and recovered with peach cider  and a salmon burger. It was cloudy so the promised view of Vancouver was absent.

Grouse Mountain Burger

After 5 days in Vancouver we were ready to move on and see more of Canada. Let me know in the comments if this brief Vancouver guide for visitors was useful for you!


  1. Miranda
    June 25, 2017 / 3:29 pm

    🙂 Vancouver is home for me! Glad you enjoyed it, it’s a great city to explore

    • June 25, 2017 / 4:22 pm

      Oh what a cool city to call home Miranda! It just seems to have everything – city, sea and hills. Much like my home city of Wellington 🙂

      • Miranda
        June 25, 2017 / 4:38 pm

        Agreed 🙂 Wish I could say I lived right in the city (if only) but my home’s about an hour or so out of the city. Hopefully the housing market craziness settles down someday, I would LOVE to live right in the heart of Vancouver without selling my soul to cover rent 😉

        • June 25, 2017 / 5:00 pm

          Sounds close enough to me! Selling your soul to pay the bills is just not worth it though.

  2. Kootour
    June 15, 2017 / 12:55 pm

    Hey Sarah! Nice post. I love Craft! That and nearby Tap and Barrel are regular haunts. I’m impressed that you did the Grouse Grind – we haven’t worked our way up to this yet!

    ~ Elise x

    • June 15, 2017 / 3:59 pm

      Thanks Elise! I actually loved Vancouver and Canada) so much so am grateful that with a New Zealand passport you can apply for a ‘youth’ working holiday Visa there up until age 35. Something I hope to take advantage of before my time is up. I hope you work your way up to doing the Grouse Grind soon! So worth the feeling of reaching the top!

      • Kootour
        June 16, 2017 / 5:43 am

        You should definitely do it! We moved here a year ago and haven’t looked back!

        I’ll work my way up to Grouse Grind – don’t want to embarrass myself half way up! hehe