2 Days in Vancouver: Best 2 Day Vancouver Itinerary
Have 2 days in Vancouver and wondering what to do? This 2 day Vancouver itinerary shows you the best things to do and how to efficiently spend 2 days in Vancouver. This Vancouver itinerary also includes practical information to help you plan your Vancouver holiday.
Vancouver is a vibrant, glittering city located on the west coast of Canada, in the beautiful British Columbia. Although it is not that big (by population) compare to metropolitans like Toronto or Montreal, Vancouver is one of the most diverse cities in Canada and perhaps one of with best landscape and greenery.
I have been to Vancouver a couple of times and each time I like it more and more as I get to see more of the city. Vancouver has everything that I like, amazing food, incredible hikes, beautiful landscape surrounded by both water and mountains.
Two days in Vancouver does not do it justice but if that is all the time you have, then you can see a lot of the highlights of the city and will only want you to come back to spend more time in Vancouver.
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Things to See in Vancouver in 2 Days
This is a quick summary of what you can do with 2 days in Vancouver.
Day 1 in Vancouver:
- Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Vancouver Waterfront & Lookout
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classic Chinese Garden
- Science World
Day 2 in Vancouver:
- Granville Island
- Stanley Park
- English Bay Beach
Details 2 Days in Vancouver Itinerary
This two day Vancouver itinerary will cover the most popular attractions in Vancouver and is most suitable for someone who is visiting Vancouver for the first time.
Day 1 of 2 Days in Vancouver
Start your first day in Vancouver bright and early because we will be heading to a major attraction. This will be a long day because we will hit a lot of really cool places (and I hope you know how to ride a bike).
Stop 1. Coffee!
If you are staying in downtown Vancouver you can pretty much just take a leisurely stroll to this coffee shop before starting on our first major activity.
Stop 2. Capilano Suspension Bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in Vancouver, attracting over one million visitors every year. As the name implies, Capilano is a suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River in North Vancouver.
It was originally built in 1889 as a hemp rope bridge and later became the suspension bridge you see now. The bridge itself is about 140m (460ft) long and 230ft (70m) above the Capilano River.
The Calipano Suspension Bridge Park generally opens at 9am everyday except December 25th. If you have a car you can drive there yourself or you can take public transit there as well.
You don’t need to show tickets when you get on the bus, but you do need to scan your ticket when you get to the gate. We got on the earliest bus at 8:30am and got to the park before 9am (opening hour). We waited in line for a little bit before they opened and scanned our tickets. I do recommend getting the tickets online ahead of time.
It generally takes about 2-2.5 hours to explore the entire Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, since there is more to there than just the suspension bridge.
Capilano Suspension bridge is the most famous attraction there and it can be rocky when there are a lot of people walking on it. If you want the best photos on the bridge, you will have to go really early or really late to avoid the crowds.
Other attractions include the treetop adventure, nature’s edge boardwalk (pretty family friendly), cliff walk, and the totems, Raptors Ridge and Story Center.
Stop 3. Vancouver Waterfront
When you are done with Capilano Suspension Bridge, take the free shuttle back to Canada Place.
There are a few famous public art installations at the waterfront, such as the Drop, a raindrop shaped steel sculpture and the digital Orca, a public art masterpiece created by Douglas Coupland that looks like a pixelated orca next to the convention center.
As you continue to walk along the waterfront, you can check out the famous Seawall water walk with scenic mountain views. Be sure to stop by the Olympic Cauldron, which was built for the 2010 Winter Olympics Game.
Stop 4. Lunch at Miku
The restaurant is very popular so reservation is highly recommended. They have amazing lunch set at reasonable prices and their most popular aburi sushi is salmon (it melts in your mouth).
If you can sit by the window or on the terrace, you will have an unobstructed view of the harbor.
Stop 5. Vancouver Lookout
The Lookout is 168m tall (553 feet) above the ground and you pretty much get to see Vancouver from every angle. It is especially nice on a sunny day and depends on the time of the year, you can even go there to see sunset.
We purchased tickets when we went but you can also purchase tickets online. It was not crowded at all when we went on a Sunday afternoon.
Stop 6. Gastown
When you are done with Lunch at the waterfront, start making your way over to Chinatown. However, before you get to Chinatown, you will first walk by Gastown, one of the most famous neighborhoods in Vancouver that attracts millions of visitors every year.
Gastown is a historical neighborhood in Vancouver. It is actually Vancouver’s first neighborhood and became the core of Vancouver. Nowadays Gastown is known for its hip shops, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, art galleries, music studio, etc.
There is also a number of annual events that take place in Gasdown, such as the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix international bicycle race as well as the Vancouver International Jazz Festival.
Gastown Steam Clock is the most famous landmark in Gastown. As the name implies, the steam clock is a working “steam-powered” clock built in 1977 to cover a steam grate (the clock also uses gravity to power it, and not only steam). Every 15 minutes the Steam Clock whistles and blows out steam from its whistles.
Stop 7. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classic Chinese Garden
After about a 5 minute walk, you will arrive in Chinatown, one of the largest Chinatowns in the world and the third largest Chinatown in North America (after New York and San Francisco).
Established in the 1890s, Vancouver’s Chinatown is known for its food scene, dim sum restaurants, Asian bakeries, old school pharmacies and Chinese specialty stores. Every July there is a two day Vancouver Chinatown Festival that celebrates traditional culture with music and dancing activities.
Be sure to see the Millennium Gate as you walk into Chinatown from Gastown.
If it is already dinner time, then grab some food in Chinatown. If you are not too tired, then keep walking South to see Science World.
Stop 8. Science World
Science world is the dome looking building in Vancouver that is a science center. There are various exhibits and galleries in Science Center, as well as live science demonstrations and interactive activities.
Many photographers love photographing Science World at night from the Olympic Village. If you want to take a walk after dinner, it is fantastic to walk to the Seawall by False Creek to grab a quick photo of Science World.
Day 2 of 2 Days in Vancouver
After an adventurous and action packed first day, you will explore more of Vancouver and eat some really good food on the last day of your two day Vancouver itinerary.
Stop 1. Yaletown
Start your day in Yaletown, an upscale neighborhood in downtown Vancouver. Yaletown used to be an industrial area and had warehouses and rail yards, but now Yaletown is one of the hottest neighborhoods in Vancouver, home to many trendy restaurants and bars.
One of the most famous attraction in Yaletown is Engine 374 Museum at the Roundhouse, which is an arts and recreation center. Engine 374 Pavilion houses a steam engine (engine no.374) which was the first trans-continental train that arrived in Vancouver in 1887.
You can also walk around the parks in Yaletown especially Coopers’ Park, which has an amazing view of False Creek and even walk to BC Place, Vancouver’s sports stadium if you did not go the night before.
If you want an instagram spot in Yaletown, don’t miss Bill Curtis Square, which has all these umbrellas installed, making it the perfect Vancouver Instagram spot.
Eventually make your way down to David Lam Park, where you will board your ferries to Granville Island.
Stop 2. Granville Island
Granville Island is a peninsula located across False Creek from Downtown Vancouver. It was used as an industrial area in the early 1900s. Then in the 1970s, Granville Island started transforming to a public space and a cultural and artistic hub.
Now on Granville Island, there is a large public market, a waterpark, community center, tennis court, Pelican Bay Marina, and an art and designer area called Railspur District. There are also performing arts and cultural festivals happening year round on Granville Island.
How to get to Granville Island?
Stop 3. Bike around Stanley Park
After eating at Granville Island, slowly make your way to the most famous park in Vancouver, Stanley Park. Stanley Park is an 1000 acre urban oasis that attracts about 8 millions visitors each year. You can take a ferry to Aquatic Centre Ferry Dock and either walk or take an Uber to Stanley Park.
Why is Stanley Park Famous and what’s so special about Stanley Park?
Stanley Park has a long history and it is Vancouver’s first park. It is surrounded by Vancouver’s seawall and the Pacific ocean, with views of mountains in the background. There are gardens, lagoons, 500,000 cedar, fir and hemlock trees inside the park. It also has its own beach, more than 27 km of forest trails, a community pool, an aquarium and is connected to Vancouver’s north shore via Lions Gate Bridge.
The only park I can think of that compares to Stanley Park is Central Park in New York, another oasis in the glittery urban setting. However, Stanley Park is 10% larger than Central Park. Stanley Park is special because it has always been a forest, which evolved into an urban park, unless many other famous urban parks in the world that were man-made.
Biking across Stanley Park is literally the best thing you can do to experience the park. Most people bike along the seawall to go around the entire park, which takes about 1-2 hours and covers 10km of paved road. You can also have a picnic in the park if you have food from Granville Island and get tired during your bike ride.
We biked counter clockwise as with everyone else, and along the seawall we saw a number of landmarks, such as the Vancouver rowing club, the Brockton Point Lighthouse, Totem Poles, Lions Gate Bridge, Siwash Rock, Third Beach, outdoor swimming pool before eventually cutting across the park back to where we started.
In addition, when you are biking across Stanley Park, you can visit Prospect Point Lookout, which is a scenic observation point to see Lions gate Bridge and the harbor. It is beautiful on a nice day so don’t miss this.
Stop 4. Sunset at English Bay Beach
If you still have time and energy after biking around Stanley Park, make a stop by English Bay Beach, one of the best beaches in Vancouver.
English Bay Beach is popular among both locals and tourists. The beach has a lot of huge logs where you can sit and enjoy the view and there are also bronze statues all over. There are also tons of shops and restaurants along the beach.
If you are here around sunset time then you are in for a treat; English Bay Beach is a fantastic place to watch the sunset in Vancouver. (Another beautiful beach to watch the sunset is Sunset Beach, near the Aquatic Center where you got off the ferry).
After this gorgeous sunset (or just exploring the beach), have dinner at near the beach or at West End, where you can find a lot of awesome Asian restaurants.
If you have more than 2 days in Vancouver…
Two days is pretty short to explore all of Vancouver, so if you have more than two days in Vancouver then there are plenty of other things you can do.
Is 2 Days Enough for Vancouver?
2 days is the perfect amount of time to get a flavor of Vancouver. With 2 days in Vancouver you can see all the famous attractions such as Capilano Suspension Bridge, the waterfront area, Stanley Park and Granville Island.
If you want to include hiking (in the summer) and skiing (in the winter) or day trips from Vancouver, then you will need at least 3 to 5 days in Vancouver.
Where to Eat in Vancouver
Vancouver has an amazing food scene, with only 2 days in Vancouver you are limited by how much your stomach can hold! Below are some of the places we ate at that we would recommend adding to your Vancouver itinerary.
Where to Stay in Vancouver for 2 Days
I highly recommend staying in downtown Vancouver or West end area because it is easy to get around (you can even walk everywhere), and there are a lot of great restaurants. Here are some places I would recommend
Best Time to Visit Vancouver
The best months to visit Vancouver are from July to mid September in the summer, with the most amount of sunshine, longest day, and the lowest amount of rainfall. Even during the summer, Vancouver rarely goes above mid 70s F and you should still have a light cardigan or jacket with you at night.
Since most people visit Vancouver in the summer, you can expect higher hotel and flight prices, so you should definitely book everything ahead of time.
If you are looking to hike in Vancouver, then July to September is again, the best time to go so the snow is melted on the trains (I visited early June and I could not really do any hikes).
If you are looking to ski/ snowboard in the famous Whistler then you definitely will need to visit in the winter months. Temperature generally is between mid 30s to mid 40s in the dead of winter.
If you happen to visit Vancouver in March/April, you will see the gorgeous cherry blossom everywhere.
How to get around Vancouver
There are various ways to get around Vancouver, even if you are first time visitor, from walking to taking the public transportation to renting a car and taking Ubers.
Walking is a great way to explore Vancouver
Vancouver is a very walkable city, especially in downtown Vancouver. From the south end of Vancouver downtown to the north end (Canada Place) is only slightly over one mile/ 2km and takes about 25 minutes.
Taking the public transportation in Vancouver
Vancouver’s public transit system is managed by TransLink, and it includes public bus, rapid transit services and ferry.
Vancouver has an extensive bus network composed of buses, RapidBuses, trolleys, and community shuttles.
SeaBus is a passenger-only ferry that crosses the Burrard Inlet, connecting downtown Vancouver with North Shore.
The Expo and Millennium SkyTrain Lines connect downtown Vancouver with the cities of Burnaby, New Westminster, Surrey, Port Moody, and Coquitlam. The Canada Line connects downtown Vancouver to the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and the city of Richmond.
Renting a car in Vancouver
You should rent a car only if you plan to spend a lot of time outside of downtown Vancouver. If you are planning to visit Lynn Canyon, Whistler, Grouse Mountain or go hiking, then it would be good to rent a car in Vancouver.
Ride Share Services in Vancouver
Uber is readily available in Vancouver and it was our main way of transportation while we were there. I do think a combination of Uber and walking is the best way to spend two days in Vancouver since you will not be leaving downtown that much.
Other Things To Know Before You Visit Vancouver
Do I need to take out or exchange Canadian Dollars when I go to Vancouver from the US?
If you are only spending 2 days in Vancouver, it is not necessary to exchange money or take out too much Canadian dollars. It would be helpful to have maybe a little bit of cash, but I used my credit card everywhere in Vancouver (be sure to get a no foreign transaction fee credit card).
What language is spoken in Vancouver?
English is the most spoken language in Vancouver. But French is also the official language in Vancouver and you will hear both English and French used in official announcements.
Do I need adaptor plugs in Vancouver?
If you are visiting Vancouver from the US, there is no need to get an adaptor. Your US plugs will work just fine in Canada.
Is Vancouver safe for solo female travelers?
I felt pretty safe when I was in Vancouver most of the time. However I did notice there were some homeless people (generally young, in their 20s and 30s) in downtown Vancouver especially Granville Street in the southern end of downtown Vancouver. But once I walked towards the shopping district, I did not see any homeless people. So in general, yes Vancouver is safe for female solo travelers.
Can I buy cannabis in Vancouver?
Cannabis is legal in Canada. There are many legal cannabis stores in Vancouver and I saw many just walking around downtown Vancouver.
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