What to do in Vancouver

What to do in Vancouver

Vancouver offers so many different activities for tourists and those rediscovering their neighbourhoods alike. Read on to find out our top suggestions of things to do in and around Vancouver!

Aerial image shot by Albert Normandin showing a view with Stanley park in the foreground and Downtown Vancouver in the background.


Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, Gastown grew from a single tavern founded by John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton back in 1867. Today, the district retains its historic charm and independent spirit. Victorian architecture houses a thriving fashion scene, impeccably curated décor boutiques, one-of-a-kind galleries and some of the best culinary fare in Vancouver. It’s a gathering place for stylish locals and an ideal neighbourhood to explore on foot. Gastown lies along the north of the downtown Vancouver peninsula, from Richards east to Main Street, and south to Hastings Street.

0.4km/0.25mi. 5 minute walk from Fairmont Waterfront.

Street view of gastown, with the brick streets and people walking around, it is a wide shot with a few buildings and trees in all across the middle image, with the street taking up much of the foreground.


With its grungy indusutrial-chic aesthetic and streets filled with residential loft spaces, sidewalk cafes, cool restaurants, unique shopping, and leafy parks, Yaletown is a must-visit when you’re next in Vancouver.

Wander the streets and enjoy the public art you’ll find in almost every direction you look, from lighting installations to painted murals. As an old warehouse district turned aesthetic hipster neighbourhood, Yaletown is home to a number of old redbrick warehouses that were built to include exterior platforms to allow for easy loading of textiles onto trains to be sent back east. Those same platforms are now repurposed as sunny, urban patios for the perfect brunch, afternoon drinks and summertime dinners.

For those who are looking to do some shopping, Yaletown is the place to find cool boutiques, friendly service and unique items that the mostly locally-owned stores offer. From fashion to designer homewares, the stores in this neighbourhood are quirky, stylish and a lot of fun – think designer dog clothing, modern bathtubs, and historic hats.

1.8km/1.1mi. 7 minute drive from Fairmont Waterfront.

A group of three friends walking down the brick path in Yaletown, with umbrellas and plants on the left side where the patios are. The two women are arm in arm with the man who is holding shopping bags. It is sunny out.

Stanley Park

This urban park is Vancouver’s most visited attraction, boasting 1001 acres of natural beauty. Walk, cycle, or run the seawall, a paved oceanfront trail that starts across the street from the Fairmont Waterfront, and circles the entire park. Enjoy freshwaters lagoons, old-growth forests, and ocean beaches.

You can also explore Vanocuver’s cultural history on a walking tour with Talaysay Tours, where your guide will share stories of the First Nations’ cultural connection to the trees and plants of the Northwest Coast. Contact our Concierge team on [email protected] to reserve your spot on a tour!

2.4km/1.5mi. 45 minute walk from Fairmont Waterfront.

2 people hiking downhill in teh forest in Stanley Park - they are in active wear and the man is ahead of the woman. The sun is shining in through the trees in the background.

Granville Island

A favourite with locals and visitors alike, Granville Island sits just south of the downtown peninsula, right under the Granville Bridge. Originally home to factories, plants and sawmills, today the island (which is actually not technically an island – it’s a sandspit!) is a hub of activity, and one of the city’s most important cultural districts with theatres, artisan workshops and craft studios.

The best way to access Granville Island is without a doubt by ferry. A small fleet of mini-tugboats criss-cross False Creek, making Granville Island an experience before you’ve even arrived. Keep an eye out for seals as you sail!

Once you’re there, the biggest attraction on Granville Island is the Public Market. Housed indoors, there are endless rows of stalls that feature fresh produce, gourmet foods, baked goods, and seafood. For the food-focused, a walking tour of the market can be a great way to get an insider’s insight. Outside of the market, catch a show at one of the many theatres on the island, browse an art gallery show, or appeal to your outdoorsy side with a kayaking or paddle boarding tour.

4km/2.5mi. 12 minutes by taxi from Fairmont Waterfront.

Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art Gallery, located in downtown Vancouver, is a cultural gem showcasing diverse artistic expressions. With a striking architecture designed by Arthur Erickson, the gallery hosts an impressive collection of contemporary and historical art, including works by renowned local and international artists. Visitors can explore captivating exhibitions that span various mediums, from painting and sculpture to photography and multimedia installations. The gallery also offers engaging educational programs, artist talks, and special events that promote artistic dialogue and appreciation. Immerse yourself in the vibrant art scene at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

0.85km/0.5mi. 12 minute walk from Fairmont Waterfront.


Established after a large number of Chinese people migrated to Canada to work in local mines and build the Trans-Canada railway, Vancouver’s Chinatown has been a place of cultural vibrancy since 1890. It’s the third-largest Chinatown in North America, with a main commercial area that runs around six blocks, bordered by East Pender Street, Gore Avenue, East Georgia Street, and Carrall Street. Blending the old with the new, in Chinatown you’ll find plenty of traditional Asian specialty stores, restaurants, and apothecaries as well as modern retail stores.

Be sure to visit Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a stunning Ming Dynasty style garden that is registered as a museum, and the first of its kind to ever be built outside of China, or the Sam Kee Building, which is the narrowest commercial building in the world.

1.2km/0.7mi. 5 minute drive from Fairmont Waterfront.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which spans 450 feet across and rises 230 feet above the Capilano River. Explore boardwalks and elevated walkways through beautiful first and second growth temperate rainforest. Year-round shuttle from Canada Place or organised tours are available, with express entry tickets available at the Fairmont Waterfront concierge desk – email the team on [email protected] to arrange your tickets!

9km/5.4mi. 25-minute taxi or shuttle from Fairmont Waterfront.

Aerial view of the Capilano suspension bridge, with the river below and green trees on either sade of the ravine. There are several people at different spots walking along the bridge, and it is daytime, but flat grey light.

Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain, The Peak of Vancouver, is located just across the harbour from the Fairmont Waterfront in North Vancouver. Ascend the mountain on the scenic Skyride (aerial tramway) or by testing your fitness level on the aptly-named “Grouse Grind” hiking trail. Enjoy a variety of attractions that change with the seasons, including year-round dining options. Summer months offer grizzly bear viewing, the world-famous lumberjack show, helicopter rides, ziplining, and much more, while in the winter you can ski, snowboard and toboggan. There is a shuttle from Canada Place available May-September – chat to our Concierge Team on [email protected] to find out more.

12km/7.5mi. 30 minutes by taxi or shuttle from Fairmont Waterfront.

Vancouver Aquarium

Over 65,000 animals, 120 world-class exhibits and 1 unforgettable experience can be found at the Vancouver Aquarium. From the wonders of the Amazon gallery to the fish, jellyfish and Octopus in the Canadian waters area, you will be delighted to observe various animals. As Canada’s largest aquarium, this spot is a must visit, if only for the opportunity to appreciate the adorable otters, harbour seals or sea lions.

3km/1.9mi. 35 minute walk from Fairmont Waterfront.

FlyOver Canada

Using advanced technology, FlyOver Canada captures thrilling, authentic footage of real locations so riders can experience those places as they truly are. Located in downtown Vancouver’s Canada Place, FlyOver Canada whisks you away on an exhilarating journey over the world’s most spectacular scenery. Special effects — including wind, mist and scents — combine with the ride’s motion to create an unforgettable experience. Discounted tickets are available at the concierge desk for Fairmont Waterfront guests – email the team on [email protected] for more information.

0.3km/0.18mi. 5 minute walk from Fairmont Waterfront.

Bill Reid Gallery

If you’re the kind of person who likes to soak up the local art and culture when you visit a place, then the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is not one to be missed. The Bill Reid Gallery is the only public Gallery in Canada dedicated to contemporary Indigenous Northwest Coast Art and was established by the Bill Reid Foundation in 2008, to celebrate the Haida master artist Bill Reid (1920 – 1998), and the diverse living cultures of the Northwest Coast.

The Gallery honours Bill Reid by exhibiting the Bill Reid SFU Art Collection, and presenting special exhibitions and programs that build bridges between all peoples, including Indigenous and settler populations.

0.65km/0.4mi. 9 minute walk from Fairmont Waterfront.

Museum of Vancouver

Gain a deeper understanding of Vancouver through stories, objects, and shared experiences at Museum of Vancouver (MOV). Learn about Vancouver’s past from 1900 to 1970 by visiting MOV’s History Galleries. The Museums mission is to be a gathering space that fosters connection, learning, and new experiences of Vancouver’s diverse communities and histories.

3.8km/2.3mi. 10 minute drive from Fairmont Waterfront.

Vancouver Maritime Museum

The Vancouver Maritime Museum is a fun, family-friendly place to explore and learn about the sea and the ships that sail it. Climb aboard the historic St. Roch, the first ship to make the west-east traverse of the Northwest Passage. Wander the decks and immerse yourself in the experience of the crew who worked aboard the boat in the 1940s. Enjoy rotating art exhibits that explore our relationship with the sea and take in exhibits on shipwrecks, lighthouses, early fur trade, fireboats, warships, deep-ocean exploration, ship models, the Arctic and more.

3.8km/2.3mi. 10 minute drive from Fairmont Waterfront.


Take a ferry across the harbour from Fairmont Waterfront to Lonsdale Quay Market and The Shipyards District in North Vancouver. This area is rich with shipbuilding history and bursting with life, with plenty of opportunities to shop, dine and play. The entrance to the seabus is located 2 blocks away from the hotel at Waterfront Station. It runs every 15 minutes (peak periods) and every 30 minutes (off peak periods).

0.5km/0.3mi. 7 minute walk from Fairmont Waterfront.

Robson Street Shopping

Robson Street is a world-renowned shopping destination located in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Known for its trendy boutiques, luxury retailers, and bustling atmosphere, Robson Street attracts fashion-conscious locals and tourists from all over the world. The street is lined with a diverse range of stores, from high-end fashion houses like Burberry and Gucci to popular retailers like Zara and H&M. Visitors can browse the latest fashion trends, discover unique accessories, and indulge in beauty products at specialty stores such as Sephora and Lush.

In addition to fashion, Robson Street offers a wide range of other shopping options. Shoppers can peruse home decor at Pottery Barn, pick up a new pair of athletic shoes at Nike, or find the perfect souvenir at one of the many souvenir shops.

Robson Street also offers a variety of dining options, with everything from fast food to fine dining available. Visitors can enjoy a quick bite at a local coffee shop or grab a table at one of the many world-class restaurants in the area.

0.8km/0.5mi. 12 minute walk from Fairmont Waterfront.

Looking for activities and tours you can book during your visit? Chat to our concierge team for all the best options! Our friendly team will make reservations for you, and even have access to exclusive discounted rates. You can contact our concierge team on [email protected] or + 1 604 691 1997, or pop down to the concierge desk in the lobby for a chat if you’re currently in-house.

Photograph of black and white street sign with words

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