Vancouver is one of the bustling and vibrant cities in Canada. It is consistently named as one of the top five worldwide cities for livability and quality of life. Read to find out everything that you must do in 2 days in Vancouver Itinerary.
Located in the province of British Columbia, Vancouver boasts a lot of sunshine, rain, and very little snow! It is also one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Canada and one of the most densely populated cities in the whole of North America.
Vancouver is also located in close proximity with cities in the United States like Seattle, Washington (192 km), and Bellingham, Washington (82 km), which makes it for great option for day trips, picnics, or shopping.
We have visited Vancouver multiple times and in different seasons. For the purposes of this post, we have highlighted photos from February, which is off-season, and in that year’s visit, the city was covered in snow, which is unusual for Vancouver.
On another occasion, we visited Vancouver in August and the weather was fabulous. Since then we have made multiple road trips from Vancouver to Banff, and then to our home city of Edmonton….countless times!
2 days in Vancouver Itinerary – What to do in Vancouver in 2 days
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Here are the top things to include in your 2 days in Vancouver Itinerary
- Canada Place
- Port of Vancouver
- Stanley Park – Vancouver Seawall – Girl in a Wet Suit – Totem Poles
- Prospect Point and Lions Gate Bridge
- Granville Island
- Chinatown and Sun yat-sen Gardens
- Gastown Steam Clock
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Downtown Vancouver (free things to do in Downtown Vancouver) and the Olympic Cauldron
- Vancouver Lookout
- Robson Street & Vancouver Art Gallery
Vancouver 2 day Itinerary: Map & ways to reach Vancouver
Vancouver International Airport located on Sea Island in Richmond is one of the busiest airports in North America (Vancouver International Airport Grant McConachie Way). For Canada, it acts as an exchange center and port of entry for many immigrants.
From Vancouver port terminal you can take cruises to Alaska, the Mediterranean, etc and it is also the same way you can arrive in the city
Vancouver is well connected by road from all cities in Canada and the USA. Driving through the province of British Columbia you can witness the picturesque Canadian Rockies on a road trip.
More ideas on road trips from Vancouver to Banff, Seattle, and Victoria are below.
Day 1 Vancouver Itinerary ~ Visit Vancouver in one day
We arrived very early morning, via Air Canada from Edmonton, Alberta to Richmond, BC. Vancouver’s International Airport is located in Richmond. There are many Vancouver tourist attractions to choose from when you leave the airport.
Our first tourist sight was Canada Place/Port of Vancouver. To reach Canada Place, it’s about an hour by Vancouver Transit and about 30 minutes by car. We took the transit and the transit network is very good in Vancouver. The trip cost us $7.50 CAD per person.
Alternatively, you can also buy an all-day pass. Check out their website
You can see these iconic sails when you arrive at Canada Place. It is home to the Vancouver Convention Center, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver’s World Trade Center, and FlyOver Canada. Many Vancouver sightseeing tours start at Canada Place (for tourists pick-ups and drop-offs).
This is also a great place for fancy dine-in and/or budget eating. We had our morning coffee at a cafe in Canada Place. Right across the Vancouver Convention Center, you can see the Port of Vancouver. It’s a treat to the eye, especially if you like sunsets and sunrises!
Because we were in town for 2 days, we decided to utilize the Hop-on and Hop-off services ($45 CAD per person for a 24 hour pass) from Canada Place.
Although not a guided tour, the hop-on and off tours took us around the main tourist spots in Vancouver. This way we were able to make the most of the day and also saved on the hassles of renting a car or paying for a taxi.
Vancouver doesn’t have a lot of freeways within the city. If you are looking to book hop-on and hop-off tours, consider booking them here. Book Vancouver hop on and off tour here
Port of Vancouver
The Port of Vancouver is the third-largest port in North America. It is a cargo hub as well as a cruise terminus. If you are living or traveling to Western Canada, most likely all of your cruise ships to the Caribbean or Alaska will depart from here.
We took a short walk around the port and then boarded the bus for the Vancouver Sightseeing tour.
From Canada Place and the Port of Vancouver, we headed to Stanley Park.
Stanley Park – Vancouver Seawall – Girl in a Wet Suit – Totem Poles
Stanley Park is a popular urban park in the metro city of Vancouver, surrounded by water on all sides (Vancouver Harbor and the English Bay). This park is very organic, in the sense, that only a handful of structures and areas are man-made, the rest are Au natural.
It is over 1000 acres in area and is in fact larger than Central Park in New York City.
You can witness art and architecture in almost every part of the city and Stanley Park is no exception. That’s why this Park always features as “one of the world’s most popular parks”
Different structures are placed at the park in different locations, including the one below.
The tour bus drove us around the park and we also saw a statue of a girl in the bay, similar to the one in Copenhagen, Denmark. The statue is called – Girl in a Wet Suit.
There are Totem Poles located in the Park as well. They are located at Brockton Point, in the eastern corner of Stanley Park.
Significant efforts were put into constructing the near-century-old Vancouver Seawall, which thousands of residents and visitors to the park every day. It was initially created to prevent the erosion of the park’s foreshore. And now it provides breathtaking views of the far seas. It is pedestrian and bike-friendly.
Prospect Point and Lions Gate Bridge
Next on the drive was Prospect Point. We drove through dense forest to arrive at an observation point that let us view the city and this particular bridge called the Lions Gate Bridge. These areas were heavily forested in the past and access to view from here was almost non-existent.
Now you can see some “sneak-through” as you drive along, and that is why Prospect Point is important as it allows you to get an uninterrupted view of the city of Vancouver. The Prospect Point falls in the northernmost tip of Stanley Park – also a wonderful spot to spend summers.
From the Prospect Point, you will see a green-colored bridge. It is the Lions Gate Bridge of Vancouver. This bridge connects the city of Vancouver to north and west Vancouver. The Lions Gate Bridge refers to The Lions, a pair of mountain peaks north of Vancouver.
It is a designated National Historic Site of Canada. Very often, this bridge is considered an iconic symbol and landmark of Vancouver. Read about the Lions Gate Bridge, completing 80 years in 2018 here
Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district, located across False Creek from Downtown Vancouver, under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge. It is a great place to eat and shop. You can easily spend a few hours here. A must-visit for families too.
We decided to pause our sightseeing tour for some finger-licking Fish and Chips on Granville Island for lunch. Seafood is very popular in Vancouver.
There is also a large Granville Island public market that sells fresh local produce, seafood, baked goods, and gourmet food. Book a 2 hour walking tour of Granville Tour here
Chinatown and Sun yat sen Gardens
After lunch, we hopped onto the bus and reached China Town. Vancouver has a huge Chinese community and the Sun yat Sen Gardens located in Chinatown should not be missed.
Vancouver’s Chinatown is the third largest in North America, after San Francisco and Victoria (in BC biggest one in Canada).
In the middle of downtown Vancouver, the Sun yat-sen gardens provide a very tranquil atmosphere, with greenery and symbols of Chinese heritage. The gardens were inspired and modeled after the private gardens in Suzhou, China.
Gastown Steam Clock
After China Town, we got down at Gas Town for a stroll. It was evening when we arrived there and it started to rain. Vancouver looks pretty amazing in the rain too.
Along our stroll, we saw the Steam Clock. This clock is over 40 years old and whistles to tell the time. You can see the steam coming out from the top. It’s amazing to see such art when you are strolling and exploring a new place.
Vancouver also has a great coffee and cafe culture. So we decided to hang out at one of their local cafes before calling it a day. We spent 1-2 hours at JJ Bean Coffee shop.
After coffee and snacks, we walked into the heart of the city to check in to our hotel. We stayed at the GEC Granville Suites. The rooms were decent and clean. The cost of a night’s stay was around $88 CAD, which is a steal as it is a Downtown Vancouver hotel. You can check out the hotel and book here
Day 2 Vancouver Itinerary – Capilano Suspension Bridge (North Vancouver)
Our second day in Vancouver started pretty early and we went to Canada Place again this morning to enjoy some breakfast at the waterfront.
Our plan for today was to head to North Vancouver and explore the beautiful Capilano Suspension Bridge. This was one of our most wanted items on the Vancouver bucket list and we have seen so many amazing pictures of the Capilano bridge, that we had to visit it!
There are free shuttles available from Canada Place to take you to Capilano Suspension Bridge and they operate every 30 minutes. Take a look at their website here.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge was originally built in the late 1800s by a Scottish civil engineer named George Grant Mackay. Back then, the bridge was made up of ropes and a deck of cedar planks. The engineer didn’t like to socialize so he had his family home built in the vicinity and he used the bridge to cross the forest.
After his death, the bridge passed through many owners. And is currently owned by Nancy Stibbard. You can learn about the bridge’s early history from a welcome guide when you reach the park entrance.
There is an entry fee at the Capilano Suspension Bridge. On the day we arrived- a few of their tourist attractions were closed due to safety concerns (slippery surfaces due to rain and snow the day before).
Due to the closure, we were able to get the entrance tickets at a 30% discount. So its cost was about $39.99 CAD per person to get access to the bridge, totem poles, guide walk, cliff walk, etc.
Tree Tops Adventure, a popular tourist spot was closed during our visit. But we certainly were able to get a glimpse of it.
Cliff Walk allows you to take amazing pictures of the Bridge. During winter, the park is decorated with beautiful lights and is a must-visit. There are souvenir stores inside the park. Their coffee shop serves the amazing hot chocolate and it was perfect as it was a little chilly that day.
You can easily spend 2 – 4 hours at Capilano Bridge Park. Bus services are offered every 30 minutes to return to Canada Place.
Pro Tip: The Lynn Canyon Park is a good alternative to the Capilano Bridge Park. There are no entry fees to the park, and lots of hiking trails are available. The drive from Downtown Vancouver to Lynn Canyon is about 25 to 30 minutes.
If you have additional time and love to hike, the North Shore is the place to be in Vancouver. North Vancouver is known for hiking and skiing trails and you can enjoy a day at the Grouse Mountain or hike through the forested North Shore Mountains.
Downtown Vancouver (free things to do in Downtown Vancouver) and the Olympic Cauldron
Plan to arrive in Downtown Vancouver by lunchtime. On weekdays, the downtown area is filled with food trucks. Vancouver is a foodie paradise so definitely don’t miss out on this.
There is a Chocolate Cafe in Downtown Vancouver that I would totally recommend you to visit. It is called Mink and it is located at the heart of downtown. There are a lot of creative structures along the way, leading you to the cafe (aka swings, statues, and stories)
There are many free things that you can do in downtown Vancouver. As mentioned on Day 1 you will be exploring Canada Place and Vancouver Port. There is an Olympic Cauldron located here as well.
The Olympic Cauldron is a massive Olympic torch established to commemorate the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
If you are looking to get a 360-degree picturesque view of Vancouver city, then head to the Vancouver Lookout located at the Harbor Center. It is a 553 foot-high panoramic observation deck and is located close to Canada Place. There is a fee of $17.50 CAD per adult entry. Get your tickets to the Vancouver lookout here.
There is a revolving restaurant located here as well – perfect for romantic dinners or brunch.
Robson Street & Vancouver Art Gallery
It is great to just stroll in the downtown area admiring all the skyscrapers.
After spending some time in the downtown area, we decided to explore Robson Street, a popular place for shoppers and fashionistas. This street is very far-stretched. It starts at the BC Place Stadium and runs past the Vancouver Library Square and goes up to the Lost Lagoon, in Stanley Park.
The street is lined with high-end retail stores, varied restaurants, coffee shops, and pubs. It is easy to get lost in this street and spend the entire evening here at a nice restaurant or pub.
If you have additional time on hand, include a visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery. It is located in downtown Vancouver, adjacent to Robson Square. This is the largest gallery in western Canada and it exhibits permanent and temporary displays and creations of First Nations artists and the art of the Asia Pacific region.
Other Things to do in Vancouver for 2 days
Depending on your interests and season of visit, you can add the following two attractions and activities to your Vancouver 2-day itinerary
Kitsilano Beach is a popular spot for both tourists and locals in Vancouver. Located in the neighborhood of Kitsilano, this beach offers stunning views of the ocean and mountains, as well as a variety of activities for you to enjoy.
From skimboarding, standup paddling, and playing volleyball, to soaking in the sun and enjoying a picnic, there are lots of cool things to do at Kitsilano Beach in the warmer months. The beach is lined with a scenic pathway that’s perfect for taking a leisurely stroll or going for a jog while enjoying beautiful views.
In addition to the beach itself, there are also several nearby attractions worth checking out such as the Kitsilano Pool. Located right next to the beach, this outdoor salt-water pool is open from the Victoria Day weekend to mid-September.
To make the most out of your visit to Kitsilano Beach, plan to arrive early. During peak season, the beach can get quite crowded. To secure a good spot and avoid long lines, it’s best to arrive early in the day.
Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and a hat: The sun can get quite strong at Kitsilano Beach, so make sure to protect yourself with sunscreen and a hat.
Whale Watching Tour in Vancouver
For those looking for a unique and exciting experience in Vancouver, a whale-watching tour is a must-do. With several tour companies offering trips from the city, you’ll have the opportunity to see these magnificent creatures up close in their natural habitat.
The most common types of whales that can be spotted on a whale-watching tour from Vancouver include orcas, humpback whales, gray whales (these migrate along the coast of Vancouver Island, making them a common sight on whale watching tours), and minke whales.
Book a half day whale watching tour such as this one. During a whale-watching tour from Vancouver, you can expect an experienced guide on board who will provide information about the different types of whales and their behaviors.
As you head out to sea, you’ll have stunning views of the city skyline and surrounding mountains. In addition to whales, you may also spot other marine life as well.
To ensure an enjoyable and memorable whale-watching tour in Vancouver, remember to dress warmly. Even on sunny days, the temperature can be cooler out at sea. It’s best to dress in layers and bring a jacket.
While most tours provide binoculars on board, you can always bring your own (and don’t forget your camera).
Vancouver Travel Tips: Essential Tips for 2 days in Vancouver Itinerary
You might be visiting Vancouver BC for a variety of reasons. This short itinerary is ideal if Vancouver is your stopover to other Canadian cities or if you are just in town for business. With that in mind, these are some handy tips for you to consider before arriving in Vancouver.
- Travel Documents
- Canada requires all visa-exempt countries to apply for eTA before arrival. ETA is an electronic travel authorization. More about it here.
- There is no need for eTA for Canadian Permanent Residents, Work permit holders, or Visitor visa holders in Canada
- Currency – Canadian Dollars are the national currency. Credit cards are widely accepted in Vancouver. You won’t have to exchange currencies as long as you have access to credit cards. Debit machines are available throughout the city.
- Flights To Vancouver BC Canada
- Vancouver is served by Vancouver International Airport is located on Sea Island in Richmond. It is the second busiest airport in Canada.
- For international flights, you will find great connectivity options from across the globe. Once you arrive at Vancouver Airport, downtown is located about 12 km away. And transit is the best way to get there.
- For domestic flights, with many low-cost airlines, it is very affordable to fly to Vancouver rather than drive. From Edmonton to Abbotsford, you can fly Swoop Airlines for as low as $99 CAD return. From Abbotsford, you can take a bus to reach Vancouver Downtown in 1.50- 2 hours. (1 hour if you drive)
Don’t forget to add travel insurance to your trip
Ways to travel in Vancouver
It is super easy to explore Vancouver without a car. If you are staying in downtown Vancouver for 2 days, you can pretty much walk around the city center, and take public transportation to reach Capilano Suspension Bridge. Grouse Mountain or the airport.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – From Downtown Vancouver, ride the free shuttle to CapBridge Park. Take the bus from Canada Place.
- Grouse Mountain – From Downtown Vancouver, ride the SeaBus to Lonsdale Quay, then take the #236 bus to Grouse Mountain (about a 25-minute ride).
- YVR Airport – YVR Airport Skytrain is the quickest way to get from Vancouver International Airport to downtown Vancouver, with a travel time of 25 minutes.
For any trips outside of Vancouver like Banff, Seattle, or Victoria, a road trip is a good option. However, there are trains and guided tours available to take you from Vancouver to other nearby areas.
Where to stay in Vancouver Canada?
There is no dearth of Airbnbs, hostels, and hotels in Vancouver BC. For a short 2 day trip or a weekend in Vancouver itinerary, consider hotels in Downtown Vancouver Canada. There is a wide range of luxurious to budget options available here. Here are some of our recommendations
- GEC Granville Suites – This is where we stayed on our first visit and definitely recommend this hotel
- Located close to Downtown. Access to convenience stores outside the hotel
- This is an apartment hotel, so costs are low as compared to other downtown hotels
- The rooms are spacious and clean.
- Book your stay here
- Fairmont Vancouver Waterfront Hotel – This is one of the finest Vancouver waterfront hotels
- Convenient location in Downtown and for sightseeing tours
- This hotel is pet-friendly and offers amazing views of the city, waterfront, and mountains.
- Book your stay here
- Rosewood Hotel Georgia – Another finest and vintage Downtown Vancouver hotel
- It was recently renovated to its 1920s grandeur. Beautiful interiors and friendly staff will make your stay memorable.
- Book your stay here
- Westin Bayshore Vancouver – One of my favorites in Vancouver Downtown
- Part of the hop-on and hop-off route – this hotel is stunning.
- You can enjoy a quiet evening by the bay shore and soak in its breathtaking views.
- This hotel is located only 3 kilometers away from Granville Island.
- Book your stay here
- Blue Horizon Hotel – Blue Horizon Hotel is one of the coolest places to stay in Vancouver
- It is a boutique-style hotel
- Perfect location by Robson Street, and close to the Stanley Park and BC Place
- The hotel has a restaurant (with views) and a pool area where you can relax
- Click to book your stay here
When is the best time to visit Vancouver?
Vancouver is welcoming at any time of the year. But warmer months are the best, that is from April to October. You can expect rain in Vancouver in winter and not so much snowfall, unlike other cities in Western Canada.
Packing Item to Carry – The number 1 item to carry in your packing list is an umbrella or a poncho, for your Vancouver itinerary. A light warm sweater is always a good item to keep as well.
Day Trips from Vancouver BC by road, water, or flying
Here are some of the trips that you can take from Vancouver
Travel from Vancouver to Seattle
Seattle Vancouver trip is one of the most popular add-on travel options from Canada to the USA. It takes about 2.50 hours by car to reach Seattle from Vancouver and can be easily done as a day trip.
There are lots to see in Seattle though. But if you are planning a day trip, consider starting early and reaching there by 09:00 am and utilizing a private tour (book here) or hop off and hop services (book here) in Seattle. In the late afternoon, drive back and spend a few hours at the Outlet mall, if you like shopping.
Travel from Vancouver to Victoria
Victoria is located on Vancouver Island. Vancouver to Victoria takes about 3 hours by road. It can be done as a day trip, but you will end up spending 6 hours on the road.
Find how you can reach Victoria from Vancouver in 5 different ways find here. Victoria is the capital city of the province of British Columbia and I would recommend visiting it if you have some time in your itinerary.
Vancouver Round Trip Cruise
If you like cruises, then Vancouver is the place to be. Lots of cruise options to choose from and with flexible schedules and tours (number of days, luxury) variations
- Hawaii to Vancouver Cruise – Over 11 major cruise liners operate from Vancouver to Hawaii with different itineraries. This is one of the most popular cruises from Vancouver
- Alaska Cruise from Vancouver – Another popular cruise is for Alaska USA. This cruise covers the breathtaking waterway route including glaciers and frontier ports.
- Find Vancouver Cruise Schedule here
Traveling from Vancouver to Banff
One of the popular trips from Vancouver is to the stunning Banff National Park. You can embark on a road trip, which will take you through scenic routes and get you to Banff in about 8 to 9 hours.
You can make it a multi-day Canadian Rockies itinerary with stops in wine regions, and other parks in the two provinces.
Other trip ideas in Western Canada
Exploring Vancouver was one of our bucket list items for a long time. We are very glad we live near BC and are able to hop on a short flight, or long drive to explore Vancouver.
Vancouver is a really beautiful metro city with good weather, food, and life! A must-visit when you visit Canada.