Vancouver, BC, Canada cruises
Vancouver port guide.
Consistently rated among the world’s best cities, Vancouver’s mass appeal knows no bounds. Surrounded by sea, verdant countryside and mountain peaks, the city’s position in British Columbia is an attraction in itself, but Vancouver is much more than a gateway to the Sea-to-Sky highway and the snowy slopes of Whistler.
With a dense multicultural population, the city is a diverse and cosmopolitan destination, rich with art, history and a unique culinary identity that’s gaining momentum all the time. Beyond Vancouver, you’ll find opportunities to hike, ski and kayak, as well as the chance to bathe in the world’s most mineral-dense thermal springs.
Top landmarks and sights in Vancouver.
From characterful neighbourhoods like Gastown and Chinatown, to Stanley Park and the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver offers a dynamic blend of cultural and natural treasures to explore. You’ll find impressive feats of architecture and engineering, as well as adrenaline-fuelled experiences to set your pulse racing.
A walk through Stanley Park is an absolute must. The 1,000-acre space is an oasis in every sense of the word, and the city’s number one attraction. Created in 1888, Stanley Park is unlike anything you’ve experienced, combining rainforest, beaches and historic landmarks with walking trails, ambient cafeterias and an aquarium offering countless species of exotic fish.
In North Vancouver, The Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Grouse Mountain are among the top landmarks to seek out. The bridge snakes a 140-metre route through the treetops, 85-metres above the Capilano River. The scenery is magnificent and the experience is truly unique.
Grouse Mountain, just 15-minutes from Vancouver downtown, offers an abundance of year-round attractions. Take the Skyride, North America’s largest aerial tramway, to the summit for alpine shopping, mountainside dining and ranger talks at the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife.
Things to do in Vancouver, British Columbia.
There’s no shortage of things to do on a port call to Vancouver. From museums and galleries to shopping, historical neighbourhoods, and an abundance of outdoor pursuits, Vancouver is a city that really can claim to have it all.
Spend an afternoon browsing the contemporary collections at the Vancouver Art Gallery, including works by British Columbian artist Emily Carr, or enjoy the sweeping city views from the 130-metre high platform of the Vancouver Lookout at the Harbour Centre.
Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, Gastown, offers quaint cobbled streets and some of the city’s most historic buildings (many now occupied by trendy boutiques and hip restaurants) while its Chinatown, established in the 1890s, buzzes with vibrancy and colour.
Just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the neighbouring city of Burnaby offers the chance to explore a 1920s village, where costumed actors maintain the illusion of travelling back in time. Further afield, Whistler offers great skiing or hiking opportunities, depending on the time of year and, if time permits, the small town of Squamish is also en route and the surrounding scenery spectacular.
Harrison Hot Springs, built on the shores of Harrison Lake, is around two hours from Vancouver. The springs are among the most mineral-rich in the world and a visit to the area can be combined with a walk through Sasquatch Provincial Park.
Eating and drinking near Vancouver cruise port.
Vancouver is a multi-culturally diverse destination and nowhere is this more evident than in its culinary offer. The city is home to several outstanding restaurant districts, each with their own unique identity.
If Asian cuisine appeals, you couldn’t find yourself in a better place. Almost half of Vancouver’s residents are Asian, and consequently, Japanese, Korean and Chinese restaurants are abundant in the city, the biggest concentration in Richmond and West Robson. Commercial Drive and Gastown are good all-rounders, offering a variety of excellent international restaurants.
If craft beer is your thing, Main Street offers a choice of microbreweries, alongside a good array of vegan and vegetarian eateries. If you’re looking for more casual fare, a sweet pastry or something you can eat on the go, the Granville Public Market on Granville Island has a great array of food stalls and is open daily.
Shopping in Vancouver.
If shopping appeals whilst in Vancouver, the city’s boutiques, malls and markets won’t disappoint.
Downton Vancouver, particularly the area around Robson Street, is where you’ll find popular international brands, alongside native Canadian labels.
Gastown, Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, is another of the city’s main shopping destinations, with a higher concentration of high-end retailers alongside stores selling antiques and First Nations art. Main Street by comparison favours more independent retail, and is the place to head if you’re looking for small boutiques and unique items.
In neighbouring Burnaby, a SkyTrain ride from the city, you’ll find Metropolis at Metrotown, British Columbia’s largest shopping mall. While Granville Market, offers the chance to buy locally made crafts, art and artisanal wares, including jewellery, homewares and skincare, and is well worth a visit if you’re seeking a natively produced keepsake to remind you of your time in Vancouver.
Vancouver culture and history.
One of the most wonderful things about Vancouver is its history.
Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and Indian migrants have all shaped the city, resulting in a harmonious melding of cultural influences. You’ll notice streets named after Spanish settlers who arrived in the 17th Century, while Spanish Banks, one of Vancouver’s loveliest beaches, honours the place where Captain George Vancouver met with Spanish Captains, Valdez and Galiano, in 1792.
Vancouver’s tea houses and cherry trees can be traced back to arrival of Japanese immigrants in the late 1800s, while the city’s Chinatown began with the Chinese workers who came to labour on the railroads and in Vancouver’s mines. Vancouver’s burgeoning lumber industry later attracted Indian workers, whose presence can still be felt in the six blocks around Main Street known as Punjabi Market or Little India. Italians then followed after World War II, creating a community anchored around Commercial Drive that still lays claim to Vancouver’s best espresso bars.
Other notable moments in Vancouver’s history include Houdini suspending himself from the city’s Sun Tower in 1920 and Elvis Priestly singing at Vancouver’s Empire Stadium in 1957. More recently, Vancouver has become a popular filming destination, resulting in the city being dubbed ‘Hollywood North’ while its hosting of the 2010 Winter Olympic Winter Games saw Canada proudly take home a gold medal in the men’s hockey.
Vancouver port facilities and location.
Vancouver’s cruise terminal, Canada Place, is conveniently located near the city’s downtown, with many shops, restaurants and noteworthy attractions within walking distance.
Flyover Canada, a state of the art flight simulator that incorporates wind and other immersive effects, can be found in Canada Place, while shuttle buses and taxis are available to take you where you want to go.