If you’re planning to spend a weekend in Vancouver, you’ve come to the right place. Vancouver, BC is one of Canada’s most gorgeous cities. This stunning coastal city has plenty to offer every type of traveler.
From spectacular wildlife to awe-inspiring natural scenery, lush mountain ranges, urban culture, dynamic art, theatre, and scenery.
Mikaela Ferguson of Voyageur Tripper has traveled throughout Canada extensively and prepared this guide Vancouver itinerary for 3 days. She moved to Vancouver in 2020 and spent a full year exploring this amazing city that it all.
There is something for everyone in the city, and the activities on this 3-day Vancouver itinerary will have you canceling your flight home to stay in Vancouver forever.
For culturally-minded travelers, the city is a dynamic metropolis with residents of all ethnic backgrounds.
On your trip to Vancouver, you will be able to immerse yourself in a diverse culture (for example, Vancouver has one of Canada’s oldest Chinatowns!).
Foodies will love the Vancouver restaurant scene, which features a full array of excellent options at every price range.
Definitely try some sushi and go to one of Vancouver’s top-tier cocktail bars.
See also: Things To Do In Vancouver BC
There are many reasons to visit Vancouver, and with this itinerary in hand, you’ll be sure to experience the finest of the city.
We’ll tell you everything you need to know and show you all the top Vancouver attractions to see while you enjoy the city on a long weekend!
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Tips For Your Weekend In Vancouver
It can be difficult to navigate large cities, especially when they are crowded. Fortunately, Vancouver boasts a wide range of transportation options.
With this 3-day Vancouver itinerary, we’ll provide a few of the greatest options, so you know how to get around the city with the least amount of worry.
Getting To Vancouver
Most visitors arrive in Vancouver by plane. If you’re in Seattle or Calgary, it’s also common to drive and make it a road trip.
If you fly into Vancouver, you’ll most likely land at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), only 14.7 kilometers (9 miles) from the city center.
Most US carriers, including American Airlines, Delta, United, and Alaska Airlines, fly into this airport. Canadia airlines fly from all over the country, including Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City.
From the airport, you can either take an Uber to the city center or take the speedy and inexpensive SkyTrain.
Follow signs to “train to the city” and get off at either Yaletown Station or Waterfront Station, depending on where your hotel is.
Alternatively, you can book your Vancouver airport transfer here and have a quicker journey to your hotel.
Getting Around Vancouver
The SkyTrain is the most common mode of transportation and I recommend you use it on your weekend in Vancouver.
The main bulk of its track runs on a raised track, so you can get some great views of the city while getting where you need to go quickly!
During the day, there are plenty of buses in Vancouver, offering an inexpensive alternative for getting to places the SkyTrain doesn’t go.
It doesn’t end there; ferries are also available in Vancouver. This SeaBus will take you from downtown Vancouver to the North Shore, crossing Vancouver Harbour.
This is the fastest way to get to the North Shore without a car. There are also Aquabuses and the False Creek Ferry, which can get you from downtown to Granville Island or Kitsilano quickly.
During your 3 days in Vancouver, you will see that walking is the best way to see the city, and with so much to see, it can be a wonderful experience.
Many of the bars and restaurants in Vancouver are concentrated in one location, so if you want to go pub hopping or take a food tour, walking is the best way to go!
Where To Stay In Vancouver
If you’re going to see the Vancouver sights, staying Downtown is the best option.
Especially if you’re only staying in Vancouver for three days, you will not only save money by not having to commute into and out of Downtown daily, but you will also save a lot of time.
Vancouver traffic, especially around peak hours, can be a nightmare.
Even while lodging in the city is more expensive than in the suburbs, there are still possibilities for all budgets.
Here are some suggestions for lodging in Vancouver:
- Spend a night at the Fairmont Pacific Rim or the Loden Hotel if you want the best-staying experience.
- Consider the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel, the Moda Hotel, or even the Wedgewood Hotel and Spa for a medium cost.
- Try the Cambie Hostel in Gastown or the Barclay Hotel if you’re on a budget.
Itinerary For A 3-Day Weekend In Vancouver
3 Days In Vancouver: Day 1
Begin the first day of your weekend in Vancouver with a cup of coffee and a takeout breakfast from a nearby cafe.
Vancouver has mastered the art of coffee on a whole new level, Matchstick, Coo Coo Coffee and Pallet are really worth visiting.
Visit the Historic Vancouver Art Gallery
If you are a fan of historical places, continue your day with a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery, located in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
This neoclassical building, originally built in 1906, is not only known for its extensive collection of regional and international art but also its stunning architecture.
The gallery’s collection includes significant works by renowned Canadian artists, including Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. It also hosts rotating exhibitions from artists worldwide, so there’s always something new to discover.
The building itself is a work of art, with its detailed stonework and large, ornate windows.
It’s such an iconic place that even window replacement Vancouver experts often refer to the Art Gallery as a prime example of how windows can significantly contribute to a building’s overall aesthetic and historical value.
The windows, with their intricate designs, allow natural light to flood the interior, creating a unique atmosphere that enhances the viewing experience of the art pieces.
After exploring the gallery, take a moment to relax at the Gallery Café, where you can enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee in a tranquil setting surrounded by sculptures and flowers.
All in all, if you’re interested in architecture or history, Vancouver Art Gallery is a must-visit.
Bike Around Stanley Park
Stanley Park is one of the most popular Vancouver attractions, with over 8 million visitors each year.
And with good reason. It is easily accessible from the heart of everything, as it is located on the northern borders of downtown Vancouver.
This public park, which spans 405 hectares, is unlike any other you’ve ever seen. Humungous rainforest trees in the heart of the city!
Starting at the intersection of Denman and West Georgia, you’ll go on a course that will take you nearly 6 miles from beginning to end.
Grab some wheels and go bike riding along the trails or on foot to take in the sights.
See also: How To Spend 3 Days In Lake Louise
Sign up for a guided bike tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at what makes Stanley Park so unique.
The walkways are well-marked, and there are plenty of interesting places to stop along the way, such as the Brockton Point Lighthouse, Stanley Park Tea House, and the Totem Poles.
Also ensure you make a stop at Prospector Point, which is one of the best viewpoints in Vancouver!
It provides a great view of the Lion’s Gate Bridge and the North Shore Mountains.
Shopping In Gastown
Gastown is one of Vancouver’s greatest areas to shop, thanks to its cobblestone lanes, magnificent architecture, wonderful cafes, delectable restaurants, and fabulous boutiques.
Boutiques carrying worldwide and local brands are perfect for picking up unique souvenirs.
Gastown also has a great nightlife scene on weekends. The cobblestone streets, fairy lights and old clocktower make it an eclectic place to grab cocktails.
Though I personally prefer other parts of Vancouver in the evening (read on!).
For the afternoon, you can hop on the rainbow-colored Aquabus and make your way to Granville Island.
The Granville Island Public Market has 50 different merchants and stalls selling anything from fresh fish to fruit to cheesemongers to baked products.
This is a great place to grab a bite to eat and possibly some sweets to take home.
Buskers and street performers can be found on every corner in this kind of place.
This is especially true on sunny days, making it the ideal spot to sit on a patio and watch the world go by. Kayaks and paddleboards can also be rented for use on the water.
You can also get to Granville Island on a bike tour that also covers Gastown and Chinatown.
Dinner & Cocktails In Yaletown
Locals and visitors from across the world flock to Yaletown bars in search of good times, fantastic drinks, and an atmosphere to match.
This is my favorite place to go on a weekend night in Vancouver. These hotspots are full of their own bright zest and cater to every taste, mood, and budget, leaving even the most jaded cynic yearning for more.
Elisa is a redesigned steakhouse that takes a fresh and feminine approach to the traditional steakhouse experience.
It’s a great combination of fine dining in a cozy setting, wood-fired cuisine, a 45-page wine list, and a tastefully designed environment.
Elisa is the perfect venue to wow your friends and family while making lasting memories. (It is super expensive though!).
If you are looking for a mid-range alternative, you can visit Meet, an amazing restaurant in Yaletown.
The Cauliflower Wings served here are on another level! Also, their coconut ganache is a great (and vegan) dessert!
However, if you are on a tight budget, you can go visit Tacofino to enjoy your dinner at Yaletown (get a margarita – they’re so good!).
See Also: Most Beautiful National Parks In Canada
Bartholomew, Yaletown’s newest cocktail location, has rapidly become a hotspot, possibly the most photogenic bar in Vancouver.
This is my favorite cocktail bar in the city! Its deep and brooding ambiance and its excellent wine bar make it the ideal date night venue, with a rotating menu of barrel-aged cocktails and an amazing selection of meat and cheese charcuterie boards.
3-Day Vancouver Itinerary: Day 2
North Shore Mountains
For day 2 of your Vancouver itinerary, you should explore the incredible natural beauty around Vancouver.
Jet Skiing On Howe Sound
Jet skiing on Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast will mark a fantastic day on the waters! From Granville Island you can rent a jet ski for 1 to 8 hours and zip around English Bay, Howe Sound and the surrounding islands.
When I did it, we wanted for 2 hours. If I did it again, I’d rent for four hours to provide a little more flexibility, but I think 8 hours would be too long.
If you want something at a slower place, but with amazing views, hit the sky. Get a unique view of the landscape with the Vancouver City Flightseeing.
Starting at Canada Place along the Sea Wall, you will board a floatplane and be mesmerized by the city’s breathtaking aerial views.
Keep an eye out for the intersection of the metropolitan city and Stanley Park’s rich greenery. Fly over the Lions Gate Bridge and the North Shore Mountains while soaring above the sparkling ocean of Vancouver Harbour.
Sunset & Dinner At Kitsilano Beach
Kitsilano is one of the city’s hippest areas and a perfect place to visit on your weekend in Vancouver.
What is it about it that makes it so appealing? Kitsilano has a lot of the most wonderful small local boutiques and restaurants in Vancouver.
The stores along West 4th Avenue are enticing enough, and Kitsilano Beach is a must-see on this 3-day Vancouver itinerary.
Relax by strolling along the beach or sitting in the sand while admiring the mountain, ocean, and cityscapes.
I like picking up sushi from 4th Ave and eating it on the beach while the sun sets.
There will almost certainly be beach volleyball and, if the weather permits, kiteboarders racing on the water.
Do you want to be more active? A kayak or a stand-up paddleboard can be rented (arrive in the afternoon if you’re interested in this, though, as rentals stop before it gets dark).
Day 3 Of Your Weekend In Vancouver
North Vancouver Adventures
The outdoor activities continue!
Hike In Cypress Provincial Park
Cypress Provincial Park is a beautiful park located about 30 minutes outside of Vancouver, with a variety of hiking trails ranging from short strolls to all-day adventures.
Hikers of all levels visit Cypress, whether they are new to hiking and want to take a stroll around Yew Lake or are expert mountaineers who want to tackle the entire Howe Sound Crest Trail.
While many visitors prefer to remain on the park’s southern side, Cypress Provincial Park stretches as far north as Deeks Lake.
Eagle Bluffs is by far the most popular trail in the park and is suitable for intermediate hikers or beginners with a decent amount of fitness (it’s quite steep at the beginning).
For a full list of the best Vancouver hiking trails, read this post.
Kayaking In Deep Cove
If the sea is your idea of fun, the North Shore has it all, from the ocean to streams, for you to kayak and paddle in.
Paddle through the calm waters of Deep Cove, Indian Arm, or Horseshoe Bay for sea kayakers or the roaring rapids of the Capilano and Seymour Rivers for river kayakers.
It’s incredibly popular to rent a kayak or a Stand Up Paddle Board and get paddling. Mini-ferries, kayaks, dragon boats, and yachts are always available.
From the water, the sights of Vancouver’s downtown area are breathtaking, and wildlife such as harbor seals, cormorants, and even whales can be seen with a little luck.
Book a trip to go scuba diving or snorkeling with the seals and sea lions if you want to get soaked.
What To Eat In Vancouver?
There are several fantastic restaurants, bars, and street cuisine to be found in Vancouver.
You’ve seen some of the best above, but here are a few more good restaurants in Vancouver.
A Japadog stand is not to be missed; these wonderful hybrids of a hotdog and Japanese food are immensely popular.
See also: 3-Day Seattle Itinerary
There are hundreds of Craft Breweries to choose from in Vancouver’s beer sector. Mount Pleasant/Olympic Village is a short distance from Downtown and offers a wide range of good restaurants.
This Vancouver Craft Brewery Tour showcases Vancouver’s burgeoning craft beer market.
All beer samples, a light supper, transportation, and more are included in the 2.5-hour trip!
Botanist is another popular cocktail bar in Vancouver. They have delicious drinks inspired by flora and fauna. Also, Rain or Shine is the best ice cream in Vancouver!
3-Day Weekend In Vancouver: Conclusion
Vancouver is a fantastic city with various things to see and do both within the city and in the surrounding area.
While three days in Vancouver will not allow you to see everything, they will provide you with a good flavor of all that this amazing Canadian city has to offer.
You just might pace yourself and take your time at each of these destinations if you want to extend your vacation in Vancouver.
Consider taking a day trip to Vancouver Island; it is one of the most beautiful destinations in British Columbia, and you may find yourself wishing to extend your stay.
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