This bustling West Coast hub has everything you could ever want: mountains, beaches, lush forests, and a dynamic city centre with plenty of spectacular must-see sights and attractions to keep you entertained. You can spend the day trekking up Grouse Mountain or wandering through Stanley Park; the options in this diverse metropolitan are bountiful and endless.

 

Conquer The Grouse Grind

Forget just looking at Vancouver’s mountainous bounty. A quick drive to the North Shore deposits you at the foot of the city’s famous gauntlet-on-the-urban fringe. The Grouse Grind packs more than 850 metres of elevation gain and ends at about 1,120 metres above sea level. The steep trail is just shy of three kilometres, with 2,830 stairs and twice as many gnarly tree roots, rock faces and verdant alpine canopies. Mercifully, there are three restaurants up top and a gondola to ride back down. —E.R.

 

Explore Stanley Park

The darling of Vancouver is Stanley Park, the 1,000-acre downtown forest wonderland. You can take in a Theatre Under the Stars production in the summer, or head indoors year-round to the renowned Vancouver Aquarium. The 8.8-km Seawall is where locals shed their yoga mats to slap on rollerblades, running shoes or hop on a bike to burn up the paths. Visitors can rent bikes along Denman Street and cycle the approximately hour-long route around the park. —L.H.

 

Attend a festival

There are a few staple festivals worth planning your trip around. In the summertime, The TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival brings in legends and newbies to play the largest venues and outdoor parks. The fall brings the Vancouver International Fringe Festival for those who are into the offbeat. Take in the pretty pink blooms in the spring- time during the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, and go ice skating and admire twinkling lights at the Aurora Winter Festival. —L.H.

 

Take the ferry or SeaBus

Teeny weeny False Creek Ferries ply the waters to nine locations that include the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, Granville Island and Science World; a day pass lets you boat amid the yachting folk. Alternatively, hop on the SeaBus passenger ferry that connects downtown with the North Shore. The 12-minute Burrard Inlet crossing goes for the price of a public transit ticket and offers stellar Stanley Park views. —C.A

 

Play at the Kitsilano Pool

Looking out over English Bay at Kitsilano Beach Park, Vancouver’s “Kits” pool first opened in 1931 and is Canada’s longest pool. With beach-style entry and spectacular city and mountain views, the pool draws its water from the bay, making it Vancouver’s only fresh salt-water pool. It’s open mid-May to early September.—D.B.

 

Relax at a spa

Luxurious Asian touches like rich teak wood alongside the soft glow of candlelight set the stage for an exotic couple’s escape at Chi, The Spa at Vancouver’s Shangri-La Hotel. Total privacy is ensured in your beautifully appointed spa suite with fireplace, soaker tub, steam/shower and relaxation room. Aromas from the eucalyptus steam room will transport both of you to another place. —A.D.

 

Test your fear of heights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge

The Cliffwalk at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park serves up a vertigo-inducing walk along a series of narrow wooden bridges, staircases and glass-bottomed decks some 91 metres above the Capilano River. A testament to eco-savvy engineering, the 213-metre-long walkway is suspended and cantilevered from rugged granite cliffs and includes the ultimate “walk the plank” moment—a glass platform that juts out into the stunning canyon. —A.B.C.

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