Unlike many other big cities, Vancouver’s museums and art galleries don’t draw people to the city. Sure, the Vancouver Art Gallery, which is centrally located, has a great collection of local and regional art. And, the Museum of Anthropology, located at the University of British Columbia, is arguably the best museum in the province. But when people think of Vancouver, they most likely want to visit to enjoy nature. Luckily, the best things about this city are either free or inexpensive, making this expensive-to-live-in city budget-friendly for travelers.
Check out that beautiful view above. That’s just one of millions of great spots to enjoy the natural surroundings from. . .and it’s totally free to do so!
Enjoy it on foot
Earlier this year, Treehugger crowned Vancouver with the Canada’s most walkable city title. I know from experience that it’s easy to set out to go on a simple walk and end up spending hours wandering around. Though I do recommend renting a car or taking a bus in order to be able to explore more of the city, don’t miss out on the city’s trails, pathways and seawalls by spending too much time in a vehicle.
If you’re a fan of beaches, there are plenty of those in the city. Any time of year, the weather is mild enough to allow you to visit a beach, even in the rain. Apart from beaches, there are more parks that you can possibly visit. The most famous one is Stanley Park, which has something for everyone. There are several beaches, the Vancouver Aquarium and dense forested paths, with old-growth trees. One fun thing to do is bring along a picnic lunch and sit on the grass, while enjoying a lovely view of the ocean and mountains.
A view of Downtown North Vancouver, the Lion’s Gate Bridge and Stanley Park, from Lighthouse Park.
Enjoy the food
Though we don’t enjoy the large portion-sizes for meals that cities in the USA do, you’ll be able to find more than enough to eat in the city at a reasonable price. There are beach-side cafés set-up by the City of Vancouver where you can buy hot dogs, fries, coffee and other snacks, but there are also many corner grocery stores where you can pick up more substantial/healthy food.
Enjoy the area
A little further afield, a trip to Squamish or Whistler is easily done within a day, and is only an hour or so of driving. If you’re interested in Olympic venues, Vancouver has plenty to see throughout the city, from sculptures, monuments and Olympic-built buildings.
About the author: Tazim Damji has lived in other cities and countries, but calls Vancouver, Canada home, and has for over 8 years of her life. She writes the home organization, travel and lifestyle blog BeingTazim.com. She has a background in interior design, anthropology and art history, and currently works as a media content creator.
- Dining with the Dinos at T-Rex Cafe in Downtown Disney (aboutamom.com)
- 2012 Year In Review (aboutamom.com)
- Simple Ways to Eat Healthy on a Budget (aboutamom.com)
I would love to travel there
Vancouver is on my travel list. I want to take my camera, go on photo walks and relish in the beauty! Funny how when you live in the city, you want to experience nature and when you’re surrounded by nature, all you want is the city. 🙂
I know what you mean! I love having the bets of both worlds, here. There is a thriving city and gorgeous natural surroundings, too.
Stacy R says
Would love to visit Vancouver some day!
Janene Scarborough says
I’ve only been there once, I live so close too! But you know how life gets ..so darn busy, I need to drive back up there, there was so much more I wanted to do there. I live in the “other” Vancouver lol Vancouver Washington, So not far away at all.
Kimberly D says
Vancouver always looks so gorgeous in pictures. I have been wanting to visit for years! Vancouver is on my bucket list so I’ll make it there one day!
Hi Tazim! Is there a time of year that’s better to visit than others?
Hi Kimberly, I would say NOT to visit between November and June (too wet/grey). July to mid-October is best.