The rumors are true, Vancouver, Canada is an AWESOME city! After first-hand experience, we can truly say – Vancouver is amazing and we highly recommend everyone visit asap.
Whether you are visiting for a warm or wintery vacation in Canada – Vancouver is the perfect destination. Moreover, we were shocked to find it only takes 3 days in Vancouver to truly see it all. So to get you started, I have created this perfect Vancouver itinerary.
This 3 days in Vancouver itinerary includes the best things to do, how to get around the city, where to eat, where to sleep, and more. The activities included in this Vancouver guide has everything from off-shore and adventurous excursions to brewery tours and afternoon tea experiences – trust me when I say this Vancouver itinerary is packed with sweet adventures!
So whether you want to check off whale watching on your bucket list, eat your way through the city, or explore the great outdoors – Vancouver is the perfect city. Just follow my 3 days in Vancouver itinerary and you will be set!
The Best Time to Visit Vancouver
The best time to visit Vancouver is from March through May and from September through October. During these months, you can avoid the larger crowds and higher hotel prices while still enjoying the pleasant weather. Like Seattle, you can expect Vancouver to have similar weather patterns – moments of rain but still some sunny days. Moreover, during these months, the temperatures are as low as 37°F and as high as 65°F.
When we visited Vancouver in early November, we found the temperature to be quite pleasant as long as we layered properly. It was only chilly (to us Texans) early in the morning and late in the evening. However, even when we were in colder temperatures, it was always bearable. In addition to great weather, the best part about traveling to Vancouver in early November was the lower hotel prices and lesser crowds.
How to Get Around Vancouver
There are plenty of ways to get around Downtown Vancouver. You can bike, walk, taxi, or use public transportation. However, outside of Downtown Vancouver, it is advised to either use public transportation or to take a taxi.
Walking in Downtown Vancouver
Depending on where you stay in Vancouver, you can easily walk around in downtown Vancouver to reach your destination. It is very easy to walk from your downtown Vancouver hotel to the nearest neighborhood restaurants. In fact, we found Vancouver to be as much of a walkable city as New York City.
Bike Share in Downtown Vancouver
The other popular mode of transportation for both locals and visitors is bike-sharing. Like Uber and Lyft, many cities with downtown areas use bike or scooter share. Downtown Vancouver has Mobi by Shaw Go, and anyone can sign up! Just go to their website and sign up for a 24-hour or 30-day pass.
If you plan to bike around the city for more than 24 hours, the 30-day pass is a great deal. Then you order your bike share, pick one up at a station, ride to your destination, end your ride, and repeat when needed.
Public Transportation in Vancouver
In our opinion, Vancouver does not have the best public transportation system compared to Washington D.C. or New York City. However, it does get the job done and we relied on the public transportation system a lot during our 3 days in Vancouver. The public transportation system in Vancouver includes buses, the SkyTrain (metro), and the sea bus. My recommendation is to buy the all-day Compass Card for $10.50(CAD) and use it to get around the city via bus, sky train, and sea bus.
Taxi in Vancouver
As of right now, Vancouver does not have Uber or Lyft, but it is coming soon. So one of the best ways to get around Vancouver is the ole reliable way of taking a taxi. We took taxis countless times to get around the city when we needed the fastest mode of transportation. However, sometimes it wasn’t easy to find taxis at certain times and in parts of the city.
3 Days in Vancouver Itinerary Overview
You may think 3 days in Vancouver is not enough time with ample activities to enjoy, but as long as you have 3 FULL days, it is perfect. With that being said, if you cannot arrive in Vancouver early in the morning i.e. before 10 am, I would suggest flying in the night before and starting fresh and early the following day to make this Vancouver itinerary work.
Vancouver Day 1: Arrive in the city, visit Grouse Mountain, and go on a brewery tour.
Vancouver Day 2: Explore Granville Island Public Market, go whale watching, and go to a hockey game.
Vancouver Day 3: Explore Capilano Suspension Bridge, bike along Stanley Park Seawall, and enjoy an afternoon tea experience. Then leave that evening or the next morning.
Vancouver Itinerary Day 1
As briefly stated before, Vancouver is known for its beautiful outdoor adventures and craft breweries. So your first day is all about enjoying the great outdoors and some local craft beer.
Enjoy Breathtaking Views from Grouse Mountain
Whether you visit in the spring, summer, fall, or winter – Grouse Mountain is one of the most unique things to do in Vancouver. Moreover, you will need several hours to enjoy everything Grouse Mountain has to offer. That is why I recommend visiting first thing in the morning.
Grouse Mountain is located in North Vancouver – a 30-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver. You can either take public transit or the free Grouse Mountain shuttle (only available in the summer).
The most popular thing to do on Grouse Mountain year-round is simply taking the scenic gondola ride up. Once you reach the top of Grouse Mountain, you will be taken away by the unbelievable views.
From the top, you can see almost all of Vancouver, the ocean, and its surrounding areas. The view is so breathtaking, you will never want to come back down.
So, stay for a few hours and enjoy the ample activities and dining options at Grouse Mountain. During the summer months, you can hike trails, go ziplining, play mountain disc golf, watch Lumberjack shows, and more.
Whereas, in the winter months, you can go ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and more. Needless to say, no matter what time of the year you visit Grouse Mountain, it is always full of activities with scenic views.
Go on an Epic Brewery Tour
One of our favorite activities we enjoyed during our 3 days in Vancouver was this epic brewery tour with Vancouver Brewery Tours. So if you are 19 years and older, I highly recommend you include this tour in your Vancouver itinerary.
Vancouver has at least 30 craft breweries in the city. With so many breweries and so little time, the best way to enjoy and learn about Vancouver’s craft breweries is by booking this tour! On the classic brewery tour, guests get to visit three different craft breweries in three hours. All you have to do is bring a valid ID, and your tour guide will take care of the rest.
The three-hour tour includes a local guide, a shuttle to every brewery, a one-on-one lesson of the brewing process, flights of beer tastings, a beer tasting journal, and a behind-the-scenes look at each brewery. In addition, you also get to take home a complimentary Vancouver Brewery Tour glass, a perfect souvenir from Canada.
To say we had a blast on our tour would be an understatement. We learned so much about the beer history of Vancouver, the process of making beer, and more importantly, we just had FUN! Moreover, each brewery we visited was so unique and different from the last. This meant that everyone on the tour was able to enjoy their favorite style of beer.
Depending on the day and time you enjoy your brewery tour will dictate the breweries you visit. For us, we went on a Saturday at 4 pm and went to Strange Fellows, Bridge Brewing and Storm Brewing. We highly recommend all of these breweries, but our favorite brewery is Storm Brewing. So try to make sure this brewery is included in your tour. They truly brew some of the most incredible flavors of beer we have ever tasted!
Vancouver Itinerary Day 2
Now that your feet are wet from the day before, they will really get wet today! On day two, you are going to check off an epic bucket list item – going whale watching! Depending on the time of the year will dictate which whales you will be able to see.
Moreover, most whale watching excursions pick up from Granville Island, so this is the perfect day during your 3 days in Vancouver to explore Granville Island Public Market. Then to finish your adventurous day, enjoy Canada’s favorite sport by going to a hockey game!
Explore Granville Island Public Market
Words and photos do not do Granville Island Public Market justice. This market was one of our favorite things to do in Vancouver. As foodies, Granville Island Public Market is heaven – plain and simple. I literally felt like I was floating on air because this public market made me so happy.
Granville Island Public Market has everything you can ever imagine under one roof. From fresh pastries and bread to fresh local fruit and vegetables, a variety of cheese, charcuterie, olives, seafood, and so much more! Granville Island Public Market is THE place for foodies.
In addition to finding fresh local produce, visitors can also enjoy meals at Granville Island Public Market. Which is why I recommend visiting the island before (and even after) your whale watching excursion. You can also enjoy a guided food tour of Granville Island Public Market.
The dining options at Granville Island Public Market include homemade pies, fish and chips, pizza, soup, a variety of comfort foods, lots of smoked entrees, and more. There are also plenty of boutique shops to find the perfect souvenir to bring home. Whether it’s homemade fudge, olive oil, chocolates, candy, or tea.
With that said, here are a few items you CANNOT MISS when you explore Granville Island Public Market. You must order ALL the salmon. Moreover, fresh smoked salmon, candy smoked salmon, and my personal favorite -smoked maple glazed salmon from Longliner Seafoods. Then the salmon puff pastry from Laurelle’s Fine Foods is divine – make sure you order it warm. Lastly, finish your meal at the Granville Island Public Market with two local desserts – maple shortbread cookies and Nanaimo bar. And do not forget to order donuts from the famous Lee’s Donuts.
Go Whale Watching
You MUST include whale watching in your 3 days in Vancouver itinerary. Moreover, if this is an important activity (as it was for me), I recommend planning your trip to Vancouver accordingly. The whale watching season is from mid-April through October. If you are lucky, sometimes it goes through a few days into November.
With that said, depending on the time of the year you go whale watching will dictate what whales you will see. The best time to see orca whales in Vancouver is from May to early October because there are at least 100 resident pods in the area. Furthermore, you can also see humpback whales, grey whales, sea lions, seals, and dolphins during your excursion.
Just remember, these are wild animals so you never know what you will see. For example, my DREAM is to see orca whales in the wild but during our whale watching excursion, we only saw 8 humpback whales, sea lions, and seals. Do not get me wrong, the experience was absolutely incredible! We saw humpback whales “wave” to use countless times with their tales and even saw a momma and her calf.
Since whale watching is a very popular activity in Vancouver, there are a lot of different companies to choose from. The whale watching excursion I recommend booking with is Prince of Whales. They are known to be one of the first and last running companies in the water, have very knowledgable guides, and are just hands down the best in the industry. Moreover, they guarantee a whale sighting or you get your money back!
Go to a Hockey Game
To finish your second day in Vancouver, enjoy Canada’s beloved sport – hockey! We have watched a lot of hockey in our time, but going to a game in Canada is the real icing on the cake. The atmosphere is very energetic and they have the most friendly fans.
Since hockey is Canada’s favorite sport, you can find tickets as low as $40 (USD). And to be honest, this stadium is one of the best we’ve ever seen. So there is no such thing as a bad seat in the house at Rogers Place Stadium.
If hockey does not strike your interest, Vancouver has other professional sports teams to watch such as the Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS soccer), the BS Lions (Canadian football league), and the Vancouver Canadiens (Canadian baseball).
Vancouver Itinerary Day 3
On your last day in Vancouver, make it count! In my Vancouver itinerary for the last day, I have kept it full of fun activities in the great outdoors followed by a luxurious afternoon tea experience. This day is truly one of the best and quite possibly our favorite during our 3 days in Vancouver.
Have Fun at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
To get the most of your experience at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, I highly recommend waking up early to arrive at the park as soon as it opens. Check with the website, to see what time the park opens because the hours change depending on the time of the year. Furthermore, when you buy a ticket, you receive a complimentary round trip shuttle. So, I suggest trying to ride the earliest shuttle to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
When you arrive at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park as soon as it opens, you will be gifted with very few people on the suspension bridge. Trust me, it is worth it! We shared the famous suspension bridge with only a handful of people when we arrived and when we left the park, there were countless people.
In addition to walking across the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge, there are plenty of more fun activities to enjoy at the park. One is a wonderful treetop adventure with several small suspension bridges. Walking across each one made all my childhood treehouse dreams come true. The park also has a very peaceful trail around a small pond and along the river. When we walked near the river, we spotted three bald eagles!
The last activity to enjoy is the Cliff Walk. At this point, I would assume you are not afraid of heights, but the Cliff Walk takes it to the next level. Visitors literally walk on planks along the cliffside. This walk is not only fun and thrilling but it also provides more spectacular views of the Capilano Suspension Bridge and its surrounding natural scenery.
Tip: If you plan to continue my Vancouver Itinerary, the Capilano Suspension Bridge shuttle can drop you off at Stanley Park. Just let the driver know when you hop on the bus!
If you are renting a car in Vancouver, you can also visit Lynn Canyon Park for free! It is also located in Northern Vancouver and only 30 minutes from Downtown Vancouver.
Bike along the Stanley Park Seawall
We love biking in different cities around the world, so biking along the Stanley Park Seawall was a real treat. Which is why I recommend everyone include this experience in their Vancouver itinerary. Even if you are not an avid biker, the trail around Stanley Park is easy to moderate level. You can either rent a bike near Stanley Park (off Denman Street) or take a guided bike tour.
Stanley Park has two marked trails – one for biking and one for walking. For the most part, the trails are both one-way making it very easy to follow. It also only takes one hour to bike the entire trail. So just follow the marked trail and you will be good to go!
While you enjoy the scenic views along the Stanley Park Seawall, make sure you stop and visit these viewpoints – Prospect Point, Third Beach, Ferguson Point, Brockton Point, and of course, the iconic Totem Poles. Each viewpoint is stunning with dramatic landscapes of North Vancouver, the ocean, and its surrounding areas. If you need a lunch break, you can enjoy a luxurious lunch at the well-known restaurant, Teahouse in Stanley Park.
Enjoy a Luxurious Afternoon Tea Experience
One of the more surprisingly favorite activities to enjoy during your 3 days in Vancouver is an afternoon tea experience. It became popular from the luxurious Fairmont hotel brand and is now a special treat to be enjoyed throughout the city. Though there are several great tea boutique shops and hotels to enjoy an afternoon tea experience, I highly recommend adding the Neverland Tea Salon to your Vancouver itinerary.
Neverland Tea Salon is THE most charming tea boutique shop in Vancouver. The shop pays a token to Peter Pan. So when you enter through the doors, you truly feel like you have flown away to Neverland. The shop has cute quotes on the wall, whimsical antique decorations, and a touch of luxury.
Neverland Tea Salon is well known for its never-ending afternoon tea experience! Yes, you can enjoy a long list of different teas as many times as you want. The never-ending afternoon tea experience also includes scrumptious finger sandwiches, decadent mini desserts, and freshly baked scones.
What I love about Neverland Tea Salon is that they cater to everyone. Guests can find vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-friendly items on the menu. With that said, there are three different menus for adults to choose from, in addition to a kid-friendly menu too. So whether you want to enjoy this afternoon tea experience with your family, loved one, or friends – it is the perfect and most special way to end your 3 days in Vancouver.
3 Days in Vancouver: Where to Stay
The best place to stay is in Vancouver is in the downtown area. More specifically, on Robson Street. It is close to several amazing restaurants that you can easily walk to and it is a short distance to the SkyTrain and the waterfront.
We highly recommend staying at The Listel Hotel, a lovely art-boutique hotel. In our opinion, it is one of the best hotels in Vancouver because of the friendly staff, delicious dining options, perfect location, beautiful art throughout the hotel, and most importantly, it is an eco-friendly property.
The Listel Hotel is one of the world’s leaders in making a difference in the hospitality industry. The lead by example by having zero waste on the property, eliminating water bottles in hotel rooms, have toilet and tissue paper made from recycled materials, and more.
On another note, every hotel level is dedicated to a type of art and every room has original and unique art pieces. So every day is like walking into an art gallery. To read more about The Listel Hotel, read my thorough review, here. Or book your stay, here!
3 Days in Vancouver: Where to Eat
Vancouver, Canada is a foodie destination! In my opinion, it reminded me of a mix between two fantastic foodie destinations – Paris and New York City.
What I love most about Vancouver is all the wonderful patisseries on almost every block with decadent chocolates, freshly baked bread, and beautiful entremets. Furthermore, there is plenty of comfort Canadain cuisine, a wonderful mix of Asian cuisine, and incredible fine dining restaurants. Vancouver truly has it all!
One of the best patisseries in Vancouver that you MUST VISIT is Ganache Patisserie. Ganache Patisserie has been a local favorite since it opened its doors in 2003.
The chef and owner of Ganache Patisserie is Peter Fong. Chef Peter is an outstanding pastry chef with years of experience at the Fairmont Hotel & Resorts and is also an ambassador of Cacao Barry.
Chef Peter uses his European skills to execute exquisite desserts with a slight touch of an Asian influence. More importantly, he provides guests with a marvelous pastry case of over 20 different decadent dessert options. The desserts range from luxurious entremet cakes (layered cakes), creme brulee, tiramisu, pavlova, croissants, and more.
In addition to countless options, the pastry case is full of variety. Whether you are a rich chocolate lover, a light and fruity lover, an adventurous foodie, or if you just enjoy a classic dessert – there is something for everyone at Ganache Patisserie. Needless to say, if you have a sweet tooth, you need to satisfy it at Ganache Patisserie.
Must order: One of everything! But if you have to choose one it should be either Chocolat Banane, Blanc Fraisier, or Goyave Citron Mandarine.
For the best fine dining in Vancouver, I highly recommend Forage located at The Listel Hotel. Forage is a sustainable fine dining restaurant that focuses on providing guests with an exquisite dining experience using only the freshest produce from local communities, farmers, and fishers.
Additionally, the dinner service is unique because it’s designed for guests to share several different entrees in a family-style. For foodies like us, we love this dining concept! So make sure you dine at Forage for one evening during your 3 days in Vancouver.
A Vancouver itinerary is not complete without a classic Canadain supper and the best place to get it is at Timber! What is a classic Canadian super? It is a juicy bison burger with cheesy cheese curds, delicious poutine, and local craft beer. The best part, this incredible meal is only $30 (CAD). If your mouth is watering right now, then you know exactly where to eat in Vancouver.
As briefly mentioned, Vancouver has a large mix of Asian influence. One of the biggest Asian cuisine favorites is a bowl of hot ramen. In fact, you can find a ramen shop on almost every block in Vancouver, but the very best is Ramen Danbo! At Ramen Danbo, they provide guests with Fukuoka-style ramen, which is a pork bone-based broth.
Words cannot express how delicious the famous ramen broth from Ramen Danbo is. It is very light and comforting yet packed with rich flavor. In addition to the broth, the noodles are exquisite, the pork slices are tender, and every additional component is perfect.
The best part of Ramen Danbo is that you can customize your ramen to your exact liking. You can choose the thickness, the richness, and the amount of sauce of your broth. Additionally, you also choose the thickness and firmness of the noodles. So every bowl of ramen is 100% to your liking.
If You Have More Than 3 Days in Vancouver
If you have more than 3 days in Vancouver, you are very lucky because there is so much more you can see and do. A few options would be to take some day trips from Vancouver. Two popular day trips from Vancouver include Victoria and Whistler.
In Victoria, you can visit the famous Butchart Gardens, have afternoon tea at the Fairmont or enjoy some more whale watching. Additionally, there are some beautiful castles in Victoria that are quite majestic.
In Whistler, you can enjoy the great outdoors by going zip-lining, biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and more.
I hope you have enjoyed my 3 days in Vancouver itinerary. As you can see, it is packed with great food and drinks, outdoor adventures, and fun activities to have the best trip possible! If you follow my guide, I guarantee you will fall in love with Vancouver as much as we have.
Thursday 2nd of September 2021
As a past downtown resident and frequent visitor, you hit it on the head. I'm sure The Listel was part of your package and is a great location, another we use often is Sandman Suites on Davie. It's in The Village. Look it up. We're not but love it all the same - always colorful and eclectic. Can walk to English Bay Beach easily from there. We do it after dinner in the summer.
Also, if staying longer and have a car get out to the beaches south of Vancouver. Whether White Rock, Crescent, or Centennial one won't be disappointed.
BTW, best craft beer is Jamaican Lager at the Granville Island Hotel - when you can get it!
Sunday 5th of September 2021
Aww thank you so much for your kind words. It truly means a lot. And thank you for more great tips. We will definitely use the inspiration for our next visit!
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Thursday 26th of August 2021
[…] In Vancouver, you can see the spring blooms in Stanley Park and then take a mini-tugboat ferry over to Granville Island. The Public Market is a food lovers’ paradise and the Island (actually a sandspit) is also one of the city’s most important cultural districts with theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios. You can see the top sights in Vancouver in 3 days. […]
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Tuesday 3rd of March 2020
[…] our 3 days in Vancouver, we ate at least four times a day because there was always something delicious to try. Everything […]
Friday 17th of January 2020
You have a very useful post. This year I’ll come to Vancouver! :)))
Thursday 23rd of January 2020
I am delighted to hear you found my Vancouver itinerary post useful :)
Saturday 4th of January 2020
Such a great detailed, article! Now I need to visit Vancouver! ?
Monday 13th of January 2020
Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed it and inspired to visit :)