Lying in the heart of southwest British Columbia is a captivating, fast-blossoming metropolis that has recently been hailed as the “Top Canadian Destination” in the 2012 TripAdvisor’s Tourist Choice Awards and Conde Nast Readers’ Choice Awards. Vancouver truly lives up to its reputation as a must-visit location for people who wish to immerse their senses in natural scenic wonders amid a booming metropolitan area. With more than two million people making Vancouver their home, ask them and they would easily tell you to make the city your home as well. If you, too, are enticed to revel in its splendor, here is a guide to help you plan your Vancouver vacation and make it a truly enjoyable experience.
Timing Your Vancouver, BC Vacation
Before you pack up your bags and head out to Vancouver, you need to know when is the best time to visit the city. According to US News – Travel, the best months to hit the city are March to May, because weather in these months is just perfect. The months of September to November are great travel periods as well, since hotel rates are usually low during these months. If you are going to Vancouver to snowboard or ski via Whistler, then you can travel during the winter months.
Getting around Vancouver
As soon as you get in Vancouver, you need to familiarize yourself with how you can traverse from one attraction to the next. The most common choice is bus travel serviced by Coast Mountain Bus Co., which offers transportation to tourists from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m.
SkyTrain, on the other hand, is a good choice if you want to travel from Vancouver, BC to its suburbs in a very efficient manner. Coaches run every 2 to 5 minutes, and most posts are closely located to bus stations.
Canada Line is another rapid rail service choice for tourists, since it links the Vancouver International Airport with Downtown and Richmond districts through a total of 16 new stations. Trains leave every four to seven minutes, with fares starting at USD 3.70.
If you want to reach North Shore’s Lonsdale Quay or the Waterfront station your best choice is the Sea Bus, a ferry service that treats you to the majestic views of the Burrard Inlet in only 12 minutes. Aquabus,on the other hand, is the ferry to ride if you wish to visit gorgeous Granville Island.
Vancouver’s Can’t-Miss Attractions
A visit to Egypt is not complete without visiting the pyramids, while a trip to New York is useless if you do not set your sights on the Statue of Liberty. Likewise, a visit to Vancouver, BC is not complete if you do not stop by these famous attractions:
1) Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours
Take a break from cars, trains and planes by taking a trip down history lane with Stanley Park’s Horse-Drawn Tours, situated along 735 Stanley Park Drive. As the top-seeded attraction in Vancouver, BC, this traditional activity gives you a chance to enjoy the city’s lovely sights like a royal on board an illustrious carriage. Tickets are at USD 16.70 for children, USD 29.49 for students and senior citizens, and USD 31.45 for adults.
2) Capilano Suspension Bridge
If you want to enjoy the lush beauty of Vancouver and experience some adrenaline rush along the way, then the Capilano Suspension Bridge should be your first stop. Located at 3735 Capilano Road in North Vancouver, the admission fees are as follows:
- Under 6 years old – free
- Children 6-12 years old – USD 11.80
- Teens 13-16 years old – USD 21.58
- Students with ID – USD 28.46
- Senior citizens – USD 32.40
- Adults – USD 34.36
Nestled 70 feet on top of the Capilano River, this 450-feet hanging bridge can give you the ultimate visual treat. With its canopy trees and green grass, you can enjoy fantastic flora at its finest
3) Vancouver Lookout
If you like the feeling of breeze brushing through your face, then head out to the Vancouver Lookout. Located at 555 Hastings St. right at Downtown Harbor Center, the Vancouver Lookout can give you a bird’s eye view of the structures, parks and cityscapes with its 360-degree view deck. The entrance fees (minus tax) for this 430-feet mighty tower are as follows:
- Children 5 years old and below – Free
- Children 6-12 years old – USD 7.62
- Teens 13-18 years old/ Students with ID – USD 10.57
- Senior citizens – USD 12.54
- Adults – USD 15.49
4) Grouse Mountain
Again, if you have a thing for heights, then make sure to take the 15-minute journey from downtown to fantastic Grouse Mountain, located along 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver. Its main attraction is the Grouse Mountain Skyride, which traverses to the nearby Alpine Station. This one-mile crossing will endear you to Vancouver BC’s natural landscapes, as you travel slowly on suspensions 3,700 feet above sea level.
- Children 4 years old and below – Free
- Children 5-12 years old – USD 13.72
- Teens 13-18 years old – USD 23.55
- Senior citizens – USD 35.35
- Adults – USD 39.28
5) Vancouver Aquarium
If you are in Vancouver, BC with the kids, then make it a point to drop by the famed Vancouver Aquarium, located along 845 Avison Way. As the haven of more than 70,000 animals, you and your children will enjoy a parade of creatures ranging from the North Pole to dry savannahs of Australia. Its daily beluga, dolphin and whale shows will delight your kids. It can bring out the kid in you as well!
- Children 3 years old and below – Free
- Children 4-12 years old – USD 13.76
- Teens 13-18 years old/ Students/ Senior Citizens – USD 17.70
- Adults – USD 24.58
5) Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden
If you are looking to enjoy some peace and quiet after a tiring day of touring Vancouver, then a visit to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden is what you need. This peaceful and beautifully-crafted haven, located along 578 Carrall St, can make you feel like you are in one of China’s royal palaces. After all, it is one of the few gardens that were built in such a way that they are reminiscent of authentic and traditional Chinese gardens.
Admission to the park is free of charge, however, you need to pay USD 13.76 to get into the garden.