As much as we all love a long vacation, sometimes we only have time for a short trip. A long weekend in a new city can be just what you need for a little pick me up. Vancouver is a great city to spend a long weekend in! There is so much to do and see though – how do you know what should be in your long weekend in Vancouver itinerary? Check out my suggestions from my own Vancouver trip! This itinerary is based on three full days in Vancouver.
Day 1 – Gastown, the Waterfront and Stanley Park
Start your Long Weekend in Vancouver in Gastown
Start your day fresh in Gastown (I suggest finding an Airbnb here) with some fresh “bread & coffee” as Nelson the Seagull advertises. What else do you need really? This hipster bakery is delicious and simple! They make their sourdough in house from an open kitchen you can view while you eat. Enjoy a nice espresso with the avocado toast.
Once you’ve fueled up – head out into Gastown to explore on foot. Gastown is a trendy area of the city with lots of shops and landmarks to view. Stroll in the direction of the waterfront as you admire the unique flare that is Gastown. Make sure to stop at the Gastown Steam Clock – a famous old school steam clock that still lets off steam and attracts a crowd. It is a right of passage for any long weekend in Vancouver.
Also make sure to check out the “Gassy Jack” statue – a tribute to one of the areas founders. Gastown certainly has plenty of personality!
Head to the Waterfront from Gastown
From Gastown meander down to Vancouver’s Waterfront area. There is a long-running pedestrian trail you can pick up here to enjoy amazing views of Vancouver Harbour. There are a number of restaurants in the area if you’re hungry for lunch – but I suggest stopping at the JapaDog cart! If you’re not sure what this is take a peek at my Where to Eat in Vancouver article! Let’s just say its a must!
Spend some time enjoying the great views here as you begin to walk along the coast towards Stanley Park. This isn’t the shortest walk (~1.6 miles or 2.6 km) – you could choose to rent a bike or scooter with the various apps available in the area! Totally up to you! Take in the millionaire’s yachts as you go – what a life!
Stanley Park – You Can’t Spend a Long Weekend in Vancouver Without a Visit
Walk your way into Stanley Park – one of the most special places in Vancouver in my opinion! This park is huge! There is so much to see here – bike trails and walkways galore, an aquarium, a rose garden, Totem Poles, a lighthouse… the list goes on and on! Enjoy a beautiful afternoon here before you make your way back to the city for dinner! It’s okay if you can’t fit in everything – you can opt to return later in the itinerary!
Day 2 – Vancouver Lookout, Seaplane Tour and Granville Island
Today is an Aerial Day!
Grab some breakfast (I suggest Nemesis) then start the morning by heading from Gastown to the Vancouver Lookout. The lookout is located in the Harbour Centre. This lookout offers fantastic views of the city from 553ft up! A beautiful way to take in the morning!
Once you have finished at the lookout head back to the waterfront. Find your way to the Harbour Air offices. It’s time for a seaplane adventure! This might be a little splurge for your trip – if you want to opt-out I would suggest spending a little more time at Stanley Park. But if you’re all in for an adventure – a seaplane is the way to do it!
You can book a few different flight options – pick what suits you. All will offer you amazing views of the city and beyond. A seaplane is a unique flight experience – enjoy it!
Next on Your Long Weekend in Vancouver Head to Granville Island
Once you finish on the seaplane (amazing right?) its time to make your way to Granville Island. Granville is a great place to do a little shopping and find some delicious food! The farmers market here is unparalleled. Granville is also a great place if you are looking for souvenirs to bring home. Enjoy your afternoon here and grab dinner before heading home!
Day 3 – Get Out of the City
Nature Abounds Just Outside Vancouver
I know, I know it seems weird to suggest spending your last day in Vancouver outside Vancouver proper. But if you are a nature lover or enjoy hiking it is an absolute must! The area around Vancouver is gorgeous and should not be missed!
Grab the SeaBus Ferry to North Vancouver. From here grab a rental car. We used the Car2Go app – but make sure you check availability, I think they might have retired from the area. A traditional rental or another rental app will do.
First, check out the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge (about a 15 min drive). This is a great area to park and do some easy hiking and enjoy the views from the namesake suspension bridge. Enjoy your time here, maybe have a nice picnic and take in the scenery.
Next, if you are up for a challenge head to Deep Cove, about 20 minutes drive further. Find the Baden Powell Trail Head. This is a challenging hike – be prepared for uphills! Take water and maybe snacks. Once you make it to the top you will see the views are well worth it! There is a large stone cap that attracts visitors at the top – enjoy the magnificent views and feel proud of your accomplishment!
When you are done its time to return your car and head back for your last night in Vancouver! Find your favorite food and relax as you enjoy the city with the time you have left!
I hope you enjoy Vancouver as much as I did and look forward to hearing your stories!