Lifestyle Guide

Guide: How to spend 48 hours in Vancouver

Via Alex Nikotina / TradeReady

Let’s face it- the idea of a weekend getaway in any major city is daunting for even the most seasoned travelers. What should you eat? What should you visit? How many activities are too much?

A new series we’re going to be doing is 48 hours in Vancouver. The point of these is to showcase a  weekend trip that would have you leaving the city up north feeling like you got your fill. We will be getting more and more niche as the guides go on, to give Seattleites a better and better idea of what they should check out!

Bonus time- if you’re sleeping on your friend’s couch, you can pitch it as a mini staycation for them.

The theme of this 48 hours in Vancouver guide is “Downtown Delights”. Let’s go!

Day 1- Pacific Northwest Explorer Mode

botanist dining

Stop in at Botanist for brunch in one of the most beautiful restaurants in the city. The menu isn’t cheap, but this is a vacation you’re on so you can splurge a little bit. After brunch, head over to the Vancouver Aquarium to see some adorable marine animals and learn about ocean conservation.

van aqua

Head back into the West End and get some delicious, gluten-free fried chicken from Little Juke. Rent a bike, and return to Stanley Park to bike along the seawall and rest a little bit on Third Beach. Bonus points if you go for a tandem one.

st lawrence

It will probably be mid to late afternoon by now, so you’ll have to grab a car2go and head over to Gastown. If you’ve got an hour, great, you can buy your friends some souvenirs from the shops there or in Chinatown. If not, head straight to St. Lawrence for an incredible dinner, which you made reservations at a couple of weeks before you came, you savvy diner you.

the diamond

You can stretch out dinner into the evening, or you can return to Gastown to stop in at one of the many bars in the area. Want a mixed drink? Try The Diamond. Feeling like a brew? Six Acres is the spot.

Day 2- Culture Tripping


Day 2 of the mini-vacay starts in the same area, with dim sum brunch at Dinesty. Eat a wide variety of their menu, but don’t pass up on their amazing xiao long bao. Next up, head to one of the galleries downtown. The Vancouver Art Gallery is the biggest, but the Contemporary Art Gallery has admission by donation and features some amazing artists, so it’s a toss-up. We recommend checking their exhibitions and seeing which one sounds better for you.

ramen danbo

Return to Robson Street for a set-course Korean lunch at Sura. Alternatively, time your day so that you get back in the mid-afternoon and don’t have to wait as long at one of the ramen joints in the area. Afterward, return to Gastown, this time focusing on the high fashion stores and boutiques in the area.

sun yat sen

If you don’t have time, then skip Gastown and head straight to the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden to stroll around a little bit. If you’re a little hungry, walk on over to New Town Bakery for a snack beforehand.

After the garden visit, walk over to Bao Bei for Chinese-French fusion cuisine. Alternatively, make reservations beforehand and go to Kissa Tanto for Japanese-Italian. Either are absolutely delicious. Stretch out dinner, then visit the Keefer Bar for a little nightcap action before you head back.

And that’s our guide to your first weekend in Vancouver! Actually, it doesn’t have to be a weekend, and it doesn’t even have to be a 48-hour Vancouver stay. Regardless, if you find yourself in that beautiful British Columbian spot, we hope this helps you have a blast!

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