Vancouver is beautiful. The city core and waterfront has public beaches, parks and the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront
path. All are widely used by families, cyclists, hikers, etc. I love that the city amenities appear to be designed for its people, not just tourists (and so it should since it’s the most expensive place to live in Canada). No gym membership is needed here if you like to be outdoors. Vancouver is so refreshing compared to other cities where waterfront condos restrict water access and views for the general public.
I visited British Columbia in the spring for a conference. The conference centre is located downtown on the waterfront and has Vancouver harbour and the mountains as an amazing backdrop. I don’t usually like to stay in my hotel room, but with the view of the mountains and sea planes, it was great to sit watch and take everything in.
But, at some point you have to leave and see what else Vancouver has to offer. I purchased a Hop On Hop Off bus tour ticket at the front desk of my hotel. https://westcoastsightseeing.com/hop_on/sightseeing_pass/
The bus company offers two bus tour lines green (Park Route) and the blue line (City Route). For less than $10, it can be better to pay for both combined if you have the time. The lines are virtually the same, so if you could only do one, I would suggest the green line as it goes to the city’s jewel, Stanley Park. This notable park is located in the urban core and boasts of 400-hectare natural rain-forest with hiking trails, beaches, and the Vancouver Aquarium. The totem poles are must see. There is also a small gift shop onsite. After your visit, you can walk along the Seawall back to downtown if you do not want to wait for the bus. The busses run every 30 minutes or more depending on traffic. Tickets are good for 24 hours, so it is possible to do both lines.
On the blue line, one must stop is the ferry to Granville Island https://granvilleisland.com/ The bus driver will give you a coupon book and in it are free passes to take one of the False Creek Ferry over to the Island and back. Alternatively, you can walk to the other side of the Island and catch the green line bus. Granville Island is a destination attraction with restaurants, children activities, theatres, artist studios, a craft brewery and the main focal point is the public food market. Here you will find fresh baked goods, fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats. You can watch one bakery cook bagels in an open oven. I opted for an egg and smoked meat onion bagel sandwich… I still rave about it to this day. No pictures, as I ate it too fast.
If you want to be more cosmopolitan, both busses also travel to historic and trendy centre of Gastown. Here you will find souvenir shops and many bars. https://www.tourismvancouver.com/vancouver/neighbourhoods/gastown/
Tourism information for Vancouver has a main focal point, in front Canada Place on the waterfront.
Here you can buy tickets for almost everything Vancouver has to offer. Outside of downtown, there is free bus that will take you Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, https://www.capbridge.com/. I had been to Capilano before, but that was 25- years-ago. I had a few hours to burn, so I thought why not since the ride is free. Take warning, as the bus pulled into the parking lot, the driver announced that it was free ride up, but to get back on the bus to return downtown, you had to show your entrance receipt to the park, or you could take city transit back down. Entrance is a bit pricey at $47 for an adult so you need to make sure that you want to visit and you are not afraid of heights!!! In addition to the famed suspension bridge, the park has walk ways on the side of the cliff over the gorge; some sections made of glass and suspended bridges through the tree tops on the other side of the suspension bridge. This attraction is a wonderful activity for fearless kids and adults. The park also has an exhibit dedicated to the area’s First Nation, complete with many totem poles.
Getting to and from the airport in Vancouver is also fairly easy for tourists. The skytrain, which costs $3, will have you downtown in 20 minutes. From here, you can walk to many hotels. https://www.translink.ca/Schedules-and-Maps/SkyTrain.aspx
Taxi’s charge a flat fee of $35 leaving the airport, but it a metered fare travelling to the airport. I left mid morning and it cost me around $40. The city does not allow Uber and other ride share companies, but the price to get the airport by taxi is still a great price for a major city.