The city of Vancouver is a British Columbia gem known for its plethora of diverse neighborhoods that have something for every traveler. But don’t let the city’s distinctively urban vibes fool you: there’s plenty here for nature lovers, too. Waterfront wonders, eclectic eateries, and vibrant, ever-present heritage and history all shine through in this Canadian bastion of culture and natural beauty set amid a stunningly unique city setting—the perfect place to spend an exciting and memorable weekend.
Where To Stay In Vancouver
Because Vancouver is incredibly walkable and bike-able and is home to a highly efficient transit system, choosing a home base for the weekend is a snap. However, Vancouver’s downtown area is as close to the heart of the city as it gets; and is a great spot for travelers who want to be in the center of all the action—overall, the perfect starting point for any vacationer’s Vancouver adventures.
- Rosewood Hotel Georgia has been a lodging staple in the downtown area for nearly 100 years—and despite its (many) thoughtful and elegant renovations, the luxe location still has a vintage Vancouver charm. 801 W Georgia St.
- Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is famed as being one of the best hotels in the entire city—and with good reason. Its central location, spectacular waterfront views, and luxe amenities give this downtown staple an undeniably elevated French feel. 900 W Georgia St.
- Shangri-La Hotel is a glam lodging situated in Vancouver’s tallest downtown building. And though it’s in the heart of the city, guests will feel far from it all thanks to the Shangri-La’s Eden-like vibes, which have earned it the moniker of “urban sanctuary.” 1128 W Georgia St
- OPUS Vancouver may not be right in Vancouver’s downtown area, but its location in the city’s chic Yaletown neighborhood still places it firmly among some of Vancouver’s hippest downtown adjacent waterfront areas. Bonus points for the colorful boutique vibes and stunning views, too. 322 Davie St
Vancouver Neighborhood Highlights
Vancouver has at least a dozen distinctive neighborhoods that celebrate and highlight its diversity as a cultural melting pot. A city with many sides and settings, Vancouver is a colorful and bustling place just begging to be explored by any intrepid traveler looking for adventure. Below are just some of Vancouver’s best neighborhoods to add to this amazing weekend itinerary.
- Gastown is the city’s oldest neighborhood—and its historic charm remains to this day as a backdrop to its thriving, contemporary spirit. Think cobblestoned streets and historic buildings side-by-side with eclectic eateries—and art and culture to spare.
- Coal Harbor is full of industrial history and waterfront charm—all with the added bonus of being right in the heart of the downtown area. Here, visitors can take in the harbor views; mingle with the locals on the Seawall; and dine at one of the neighborhood’s hips, waterside spots, all in one afternoon.
- Granville Island Take a mini-tugboat ferry to this eclectic spot located due south of the downtown peninsula. Home to the bustling Granville Public Market and a popular spot for both locals and tourists, Granville Island, is also home to a thriving cultural district.
- Chinatown Vancouver is home to North America’s third-largest Chinatown—and since the late 19th century, this vibrant neighborhood has been at the center of it all. Abuzz with activity, cultural attractions, and outstanding eateries, this amazing neighborhood is a Vancouver must-visit.
Where To Dine In Vancouver
With a cuisine scene as diverse as the city itself, Vancouver has been a bastion for foodies everywhere who want to explore some of this British Columbia gem’s most adventurous eateries—from elevated global fare to contemporary Canadian classics; Vancouver has something to please every palate.
- Hawksworth is contemporary Canadian dining at its finest—a veritable cornucopia of fusion faves that shine with global flair and fab, inventive flavors. 801 W Georgia St
- Salmon n’ Bannock is the city’s only Indigenous-owned and operated restaurant—and its authentic, traditional flavors infused into elevated modern dishes certainly do not disappoint. Here, the restaurant's bright, vibrant setting is only surpassed by its wonderfully fresh menu. 7-1128 West Broadway
- Burdock & Co. is the epitome of locally-sourced ingredients and flavors—here, virtually all the ingredients are from within a 100-mile radius; whether it be British Columbia farm fresh flavors or Canadian Pacific Northwest homegrown harvests, this farm-to-table spot has a one-of-a-kind, sustainable menu that showcases the best of Canada. 2702 Main Street
- Miku In a city full of fresh sushi spots, Miku is a real standout—and not only because of its chic waterfront location and fresh, inventive menu that blends traditional Japanese flavors with locally-sourced Canadian ingredients. It’s Miku’s commitment to sustainability that makes it a true waterfront star—and a delight for diners everywhere who want an ocean-friendly sushi fix. 70-200 Granville Street, Granville Square
Things To Do In Vancouver
While a single weekend may not seem like enough time to truly explore this Canadian gem, it is possible to get a snapshot of Vancouver through an exploration of some of the city’s top attractions. From natural wonders to historic haunts, cultural centers, and city tours, these Vancouver experiences make for an unforgettable adventure-packed weekend itinerary.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge Amazing views and treetop adventures await adventure-seekers at this spectacular park. 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
- Stanley Park is famed as one of the best urban parks and green spaces in the entire world, and with good reason. This spectacular, sprawling urban oasis has it all—beaches, gardens, miles of trails, a water park, restaurants, pools—the list goes on and on. Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4
- Cycle City Tours offers visitors some of the best opportunities to explore bike-friendly Vancouver on two wheels—and one of the most scenic ways to visit the city’s best neighborhoods. 648 Hornby Street
- Get your art on at one of the city’s best museums: both the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art and the Audain Art Museum are must-visits for BC and Indigenous art.
- Grouse Mountain is just a short 15-minute drive from the city and is home to a plethora of cool activities—including a trip on the Skyride to the top of the summit (over 4,000 feet up!) that has some of the best BC views. 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Vancouver’s diverse and exciting neighborhoods are full of fun things to see and do—untold treasures that both define the city’s past and showcase its promising future. And while a weekend visit to this dynamic Canadian gem may not seem like enough time to see it all, two days of exploring this wonderful British Columbia city is certainly plenty to get a sense of what a magical place it is—and to have an unforgettable vacation.