Trip Ideas

48 hours in North Vancouver & Vancouver

Vancouver and its neighbour, North Vancouver, make a great team, with Vancouver’s urban buzz balancing North Vancouver’s forests and peaks, just 15 minutes away. Do like the locals and enjoy the downtown shops and eateries, then head across the picturesque Lions Gate Bridge for some high altitude adventure in the mountains of North Vancouver. The two are so close you can lunch downtown and hit the trails in the afternoon.


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12 49.319986111111, -123.072358333333|49.297669444444, -123.130844444444|49.272125000000, -123.134961111111|49.310638888889, -123.081761111111|49.342325000000, -123.113397222222|49.342055555556, -123.019969444444|49.372722222222, -123.098716666667
MAP LEGEND
  1. North Vancouver
  2. Stanley Park Seawall
  3. Granville Island
  4. Lonsdale Quay
  5. Capilano Suspension Bridge
  6. Lynn Canyon Park
  7. Grouse Mountain

Vancouver Activities

Stanley Park seawall. Photo Credit: Canadian Tourism Commission

Jog, bike or just walk the scenic Stanley Park seawall and take in views of the city and English Bay. Next, hop on a foot passenger ferry to Granville Island, just south of downtown. Lunch at a waterfront restaurant (or there are lots of options within the public market), check out the island’s many craft studios and galleries, and shop for organic fruits and veggies at the lively public market.

North Vancouver Activities

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver

Next, drive, or take the SeaBus ferry, across Burrard Inlet to explore the sights of North Vancouver (or, as the locals call it, North Van), a sporty town tucked under the mountains just north of Vancouver. Start with a latte and some shopping at Lonsdale Quay, a public market on the waterfront, then head to the hills for some active pursuits.

Suspend your breath at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, go for a seaside hike at Lighthouse Park, or explore the trails and cross the swaying suspension bridge at Lynn Canyon Park. At day’s end, get above it all at Grouse Mountain. Ride to the top on North America’s largest aerial tramway then take in the views from the deck of Altitudes Bistro, 1,128m/3,700ft above the city.

Insiders’ Tips

Learn more about things to do in North Vancouver

  1. Cool off at a swimming hole in Lynn Creek.
  2. Perform a local rite of passage on the Grouse Grind – locally known as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster”.
  3. Explore the tiny seaside community of Deep Cove and enjoy some fish and chips by the sea.
  4. Get the highest possible view of Vancouver at Grouse Mountain’s Eye of the Wind turbine.
  5. Bring a picnic blanket to English Bay Beach and watch the sunset.

 

Restaurants

Close-up of a cup of coffee

Indulge your taste buds with West Coast cuisine at the award-winning Raincity Grill, or take in panoramic views with contemporary fare at the Teahouse in Stanley Park. On the North Shore ride the Grouse Mountain Skyride for mile high fine dining at The Observatory.

Sweet tooth? Treat yourself to a rhubarb rhapsody (chocolate ganache with local organic rhubarb) at Chocolate Arts just off Fourth Avenue in Kitsilano, try the Chocolate Sparkle cookies at Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates and Patisserie on the North Shore, or dig into a maple glaze doughnut at Honey Doughnuts and Goodies in Deep Cove.

And yes, Vancouverites are a coffee-crazy bunch. Caffè Artigiano, where baristas create original designs in each foam-topped latte, is a local favourite.

Shopping

Follow the lead of well-dressed Vancouverites and browse among the designer clothes at Holt Renfrew’s lavish downtown store. Lululemon athletica offers hugely popular locally designed yoga gear. One North Van favourite is called just that: Favourite. It’s a Lonsdale Quay shop offering locally designed clothes, jewellery and accessories.

Accommodation

For an iconic Vancouver hotel, try The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, right in the heart of the downtown core. Another option to consider, with easy access to both downtown and the mountains, is booking a room in North Vancouver. The Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier and Lonsdale Quay Hotel are both handy to Lonsdale Quay and just minutes from downtown Vancouver via the SeaBus – a floating extension of public transit.

Transportation

The SkyTrain, Vancouver’s rapid transit system, reaches most downtown sites, with harbour ferries, buses and cabs filling in the gaps. SkyTrain’s Canada Line whisks visitors from the airport to downtown Vancouver in just 26 minutes.

Connecting Vancouver to North Vancouver is the SeaBus, a 12-minute crossing from Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay on the North Shore leaving every 15 to 30 minutes throughout the day. Buses also cross the Lions Gate Bridge.

To reach Granville Island, hop aboard the Aquabus or False Creek Ferries, little foot-passenger boats that criss-cross False Creek between downtown, Granville Island and Kitsilano every few minutes.