15 Things to Do in Vancouver If You Are Visiting for the First Time

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There are so many things to love about Vancouver: the ocean, the mountains, the food, the people.. the list goes on. A multicultural community, you get to experience different cultures in just one place. If you’re a first-time visitor to the city, here are some recommended activities for you:

15. Explore Gastown

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It may be Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood but it’s now filled with modern delights that include coffee shops and independent boutiques. While here, you can wait for the Steam Clock to tell the time (yes, it’s powered by steam and whistles) or see the statue of Gassy Jack (John Deighton) after whom this area is named.

14. Check out a Jimi Hendrix Shrine

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Located around the corner from the legendary Phnom Penh restaurant, the shrine occupies the spot where Vie’s Chicken and Steakhouse used to be. Hendrix spent some time in Strathcona where his aunt Nora lived. While the shrine isn’t of museum quality, it’s a nice little dedication to one of the most famous musicians of all time.

13. Experience the craft beer movement

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Head to Mount Pleasant to enjoy what Brewery Creek has to offer. Hailed as the heart of the craft beer movement in the city, it started everything off in the area. There are other breweries to check out here including R&B Brewing, 33 Acres Brewing Co and Brassneck Brewing – just to name a few.

12. Visit The Flats

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This is the art district of Vancouver. An industrial neighborhood, the area is now home to more than ten of the city’s contemporary art galleries. This is where you’ll find Burrard Arts Foundation, SOMA and Western Front, among others.

11. Go on a culinary tour of Granville Island

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Home to factories, plants and sawmills in the early 1900s, the area is now a hub of activity that draws tourists and locals alike. There are over 70 places to eat on the island and the public market shouldn’t be missed as well.

10. Immerse yourself in Vancouver’s urban culture

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The Museum of Vancouver is about 20 minutes away from Granville Island and displays exhibits on the urban culture of the city. When you’re done here, you can rest up for a bit at Vanier Park, which is also where the museum is located.

9. Visit Kitsilano Beach

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The beach offers stunning views of downtown Vancouver as well as the North Shore. While you can always stop here for a bit, no one is stopping you from taking a dip.

8. Take some time to learn at the Museum of Anthropology

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The UBC Museum of Anthropology is home to various ancient cultural artifacts as well as contemporary aboriginal carvings. While the museum houses a collection from different parts of the world, one of the most interesting exhibits is the walls at the Great Hall where you can learn about the First Nations.

7. Keep active at Stanley Park Seawall

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This is one of the best places to go to if you want to keep fit even when traveling. It’s still a great place to visit even when not exercising. Stanley Park is one of the places to go to when you want scenic views of the waterfront.

6. Get up close with marine life at the Vancouver Aquarium

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This is the largest aquarium in Canada and it is home to thousands of marine creatures. It’s not that far from Stanley Park and offers experiences like training and feeding dolphins, beluga whales and sea lions.

5. See the surrounding area from way above

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The Skyride at Grouse Mountain travels 1,600 meters up to the mountain. The ride offers unparalleled views of downtown Vancouver, mountains as well as several islands in the region. Summer views include Douglas fir forests while white-capped mountains and snow-covered forests are treats during winter.

4. Experience Chinatown in Vancouver

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Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the largest in North America. Visiting here is another opportunity to go on a food trip given the diverse nature of the Asian community in the city. In addition to the gastronomic treat, you’re also in for a cultural extravaganza (walking around is also a good way to burn off what you ate).

3. Eat at places offering a view of the city

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There are a number of restaurants in Vancouver that offer breathtaking views. There are restaurants offering views of the harbor like Provence Marinaside. Others offer views of the mountain and they are mostly found along the seawall. You’ll also get stunning views of the city at Grouse Mountain’s Observatory Restaurant.

2. See some flowers

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Some of the most beautiful gardens are found in Vancouver and that’s partly in thanks to its climate. There are English rose gardens for outdoor strolling and floral conservatories for indoor excursions during rainy days.

1. Get a new perspective of the city from the water

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Vancouver scenes can be enjoyed way up in the mountains, by the sea or on the water itself. You can go on a cruise or take part in many water-based activities like kayaking.

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