Quick Itinerary Guide: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Vancouver lies in the Southwestern corner of Canada, in the province of British Columbia. It’s extremely ethnically diverse, and a stunning landscape of mountains, waterways, and cityscape. Vancouver is regularly ranked as one of the top places to live in the world, and it’s a perfect spot to travel with kids. Below you’ll find family-friendly itinerary suggestions for a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Before you dive into the guide, you may want to first read Understanding a Quick Itinerary Guide. This will provide you with details on our trip planning philosophy, why it’s a quick guide, and what resources we use to plan. It also details what we mean by family-friendly, and further explains each of the sections included in a Quick Itinerary Guide.

Our trip details

  • Length of stay: 2 nights, 2 days
  • Accommodation: Delta Hotels by Marriott Vancouver Downtown Suites – great location
  • Type of trip: family travel with kids (2.5 year old & 9-month-old)
  • Month visited: October
  • How we got in/out: drive in, drive out
  • How we got around: personal car

Family-Friendly Itinerary Ideas for Vancouver, BC, Canada

  • Stanley Park – a world-renowned park with trails, beaches, and more attractions; ride bikes, join a tour or discover the park yourself
    • Stanley Park Train – a 15-minute ride through part of the park on a miniature train
    • Totem Poles – a group of totem poles sourced from different areas of British Columbia that tell a story of the First Nations
    • Hallelujah Point – beautiful point along the seawall with city skyline views
    • Siwash Rock – unique stacked rock with great view to the inlet and West Vancouver
    • Lions Gate Bridge – First Narrows Bridge that connects Stanley Park to North Vancouver, known as a gate to The Lions – twin mountain peaks 
    • Vancouver Aquarium – city aquarium in Stanley park with sea otters, beluga whales and more
  • Vancouver Lookout – a skyscraper with an observation deck with 360° city views
  • Jericho Beach – beautiful beach and park with views of North Vancouver mountains and the city skyline
  • Wander Downtown 
    • Walk along Robson St – a popular shopping district, good people watching
    • Explore the Gastown district – the oldest neighborhood in Vancouver
    • Gastown Steam Clock – street clock only powered by steam and whistles
  • Visit Richmond – a coastal city directly south of Vancouver, about a 20-minute drive, a multicultural mecca, home of the highest concentration of immigrants in Canada
    • Richmond Night Market – open mid-May to mid-October, celebrate international cuisine in Canada
    • Steveston Harbour/Fishing Village – check out this quaint fishing village and harbor with a fish market, various shops and waterfront dining
    • Go whale watching – with Vancouver Whale Watch
    • Aberdeen Centre – a 3-story mall with a variety of stores and Asian eateries
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – famous suspension bridge through the trees in North Vancouver, along with additional treetop bridges, walkways, and a cliff walk, free shuttle available from downtown
  • Capilano River Regional Park – only a few minutes north of the suspension bridge park, lies this beautiful city park with a river, mountain views, and trails
  • Capilano River Hatchery – along Capilano River, see jumping salmon
  • Cleveland Dam – located on the south end of Capilano Lake with beautiful mountain and lake views and hiking trails
  • Lynn Canyon Park – scenic canyon park with various hiking trails and suspension bridge
  • Grouse Mountain Skyride – gondola ride above the towering trees with city and water views, only a few minutes north from Cleveland Dam and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
  • Granville Island – a small peninsula with the public market, additional shops, restaurants and lots of boats
    • Granville Island Public Market – an expansive indoor market with a variety of fresh food suppliers and dining options
    • Kids Market – a special market just with kids in mind, kid-related shops and a play area with a cafe 
  • Queen Elizabeth Park – beautiful city garden perched on a hill with views of downtown Vancouver

Food Ideas for Vancouver, BC, Canada

  • Medina – chic brunch cafe known for their coffee and waffles
  • Salmon n’ Bannock – Vancouver’s only First Nations restaurant, specializing in wild fish, game meat and bannock
  • Nuba in Gastown – cozy Lebanese restaurant
  • Kingyo Izakaya – tapas-style Japanese restaurant
  • Tuc Craft Kitchen – modern take on comfort food, farm-to-table
  • Tacofino – fun creative tacos, originally only a taco truck, now multiple restaurants
  • The Vancouver Fish company – traditional seafood restaurant, on Granville Island
  • Chef Tony – known for dim sum, gets crowded, in Richmond

Top Tips for Vancouver, BC, Canada

  • You can bring a birth certificate for children 16 and under, and do not need a passport to visit Canada if you drive across the border. Children of any age need a passport if you fly. Adults need a passport regardless.
  • There’s free public Wi-Fi throughout the city.
  • Downtown Vancouver is walkable, but it also has a great public transportation system, including the SkyTrain, bus and ferry. There are various shuttle and tour services and car shares (Car2Go, Evo, Zipcar, and Modo). Also, Uber and Lyft are now finally allowed to operate in Vancouver.

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