Vancouver Canada Place from Seawall
Vancouver Canada Place from Seawall

24 Hours in Vancouver – The Best Things to Do

24 Hours in Vancouver Itinerary for Travellers,  Tourist, and Cruise Ship Passengers

If  you only have one day in Vancouver, either as part of your cruise itinerary, or a flight stop over, these are the things that will delight! Welcome to Vancouver.

Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal Vancouver, Panorama
Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal Vancouver, Panorama

Often, I  have family or friends who visit Vancouver, sometimes on a stop over on their way to Alaska, Hawaii, Asia, or Australia, and are looking for things to do during their one day in Vancouver.

This one day itinerary includes a combination of walking, ferry, and bus.

Morning: Start from Canada Place at 9AM (or earlier if you’re willing) to Granville Island.

Lets head to Granville Island Market for morning baked goods, gourmet food, photo opportunities, and shopping local.
Getting there:
From the cruise ship terminal at Canada Place, take the #50 Bus just outside Waterfront Station (the bus runs about ever 20 minutes).
Get off on at W. 2 Avenue at Anderson Street. (Where everyone else on the bus gets off.)
Cross the street, and walk under the Granville bridge to Granville Island.

Entrance to Granville Island, Vancouver
Entrance to Granville Island, Vancouver

Things to do on Granville Island

Rain or shine Granville Island is a world class treat, and draws about 10 million visitors a year.  The little 37-acre ‘Island’ is connected to land by a bridge, and is home to fine art, craft brewing, craft sake, picnic spots, kids activities, and general great times!  I’ve been going every Sunday morning to get my weekly groceries for 4 years, and I never tire of it! Almost every time I visit, I tell myself, ‘on my next day off from work, I’m going to just spend a whole day on Granville Island’.  So don’t feel bad if you do!

Don’t miss:

  • The Granville Island Public Market – the large food market which is under cover. Here are the finest and freshest local meats, fruit and vegetables  charcuterie & cheeses, baked goods, fresh pastas and sauces, spices, seafood, and flowers that you’ll find in Vancouver. If not a food paradise, its a photographers paradise, lots of photo ops here. Enjoy. And snack your way through the morning.
  • If its a dry sunny day, stroll the island, visit the famous Emily Carr University art school galleries,
  • Check out Railspur Alley and discover Canada’s first Artisan Sake Maker,
  • check out award winning Granville Island Brewing Co’s taproom and store,
  • check out the local live BC oysters, crabs and mussels on offer at seafood specialty shop Lobster Man
  • or take the kids to the Adventure Zone or outdoor water park.

Late Morning to Mid-Day: from  English Bay, West End Seawall to Stanley Park

Fueled up, we’re going on the water to cruise to the West End of Vancouver, then stroll the seawall, and catch some sundowners in Coal Harbour.
Getting there:
From  the dock at Granville Island Public Market., catch the False Creek Ferry to the West End (the ferry runs about ever 10 minutes and cost $3.25 Adults).
Ask the captain for a ticket to Aquatic Centre/West End, and to let you know when you arrive.

A walk along the Beaches of English Bay north to Denman and Davie Streets is a little over a km, and gives you a view into West Side city living. Along the way Sunset Beach is the location for summer festivals, fireworks and outdoor joy.

Biking Seawall English Bay, Vancouver
Biking Seawall English Bay, Vancouver

If you feel the need for a treat, when you arrive at Denman and Davie Streets there are a number choices, from Marble Slab Creamery Ice Cream, to one of my favourite Halibut Fish & Chips, or maybe just  lunch with  a view at The Cactus Club or Boathouse Restaurant.

Afternoon: Exploring Stanley Park and the Seawall

How much more walking do you want to do?  Stanley Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America, with 400 hectares (1000 acres) of woodlands, gardens, flowers, trails, lakes, beaches and wildlife.

Blossoms in Spring Stanley Park, Vancouver
Blossoms in Spring Stanley Park, Vancouver

If you want to walk the entire picturesque Stanley Park Seawall from West End to Coal Harbour its a brisk two-hour walk, 7-8 km, with a litte bit of elevation and lost of lovely views. If you want to just sample Stanley Park and the seawall, take a short cut through the park past Lost Lagoon to Coal Harbour, this is 2 km ‘short-cut’.

Lion's Gate Bridge from Stanley Park Seawall, Vancouver
Lion’s Gate Bridge from Stanley Park Seawall, Vancouver

Alternatively, you can take the urban route, and walk along Denman Street  from Davie Street window shopping your way to W. Georgia Street, about 1 km.

Late Afternoon to Evening Stroll: Coal Harbour to/from Cruise Ship Terminal at Canada Place

Vancouver is a collection of neighbourhoods, and Coal Harbour couldn’t be more different from the West End. Here you’ll find some of the most expensive yachts and view-centric condos along the waterfront in Vancouver. Along the way, locals often stroll their pampered pooches, and the float planes stand ready to island hop.

Lots of great places to sit and take in the view, grab an excellent coffee, or sit on a deck with a glass of wine:

  • BC Craft Beer, wine, and food with spectacular views over the water to the North shore mountains: visit the Mill Marine Bistro, one of my favorite Vancouver summer sun-downer locations!

And it all leads back to the green and gorgeous new Vancouver Convention Center, and the cruise ship terminal at Canada Place.

Vancouver Canada Place from Seawall
Vancouver Canada Place from Seawall

I hope you enjoy your 24 hours in Vancouver.

On a clear sunny day, there is no place more beautiful than Vancouver! And this itinerary really shows off the best of Downtown if you only have one day in Vancouver.  I hope you have a fun time. 

Please let me know how you enjoyed the itinerary, by posting a comment below.

Getting Around

Long Stopover at Vancouver YVR Airport?

Why not venture into downtown using the super fast Canada line SkyTrian. Just 26 minutes from Vancouver YVR to Waterfront station. See public transport below for more details.

Walk. Vancouver is walkable.

In fact Vancouver was just named The Most Walking City in Canada! From Canada Place to Chinatown is a 2K walk. The longest walk,  Stanley Park to Chinatown is a moderate 6-9K walk. From Stanley Park Lighthouse through Downtown to Granville Island  is around a 5K walk.
Download a map from the Tourism Vancouver website, and just enjoy walking the city.

Public Transportation

During your 24 hours in Vancouver the One Day Transit Pass is outstanding value – Translink DayPass $9.75 Adult Fare, Children 5yrs – 13yr qualify for Concession Fare prices ($7.50). Children 4 years and younger ride for free.

Unrestricted travel in All 3 Zones, via the by Bus, Skytrain, or SeaBus from the first to the last transit service of the day.  Buy at any Skytrain station, Canada Place, Pacific Centre, or at most convenient shops (7-Eleven, London Drugs).

Hop On – Hop Off Tours

* Check fares online for rates, rates change.
Vancouver Trolly Winter Prices Adult $38 – 1 Day Pass 9:am- 4:30pm.
Big Bus (Adult $40 – 1 Day Pass , Family $90 2 Adults + 2 Children 12 & under) Contact: Toll Free: 1.877.299.0701 Local Tel: 604.299.0700

Additional Information

For more specialized tours, contact or visit the official Tourism Vancouver Visitor Centre a block from Canada Place at 999 Canada Place (temporary location) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6C 3L6. Tel: 604.683.2000
Hours: January – March 10am- 2pm daily (Sunday – Saturday). April – October 10am-6pm daily (Sunday – Saturday)

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2 comments

  1. I’ve been here in Vancouver for almost 3 months now and wasn’t sure how to spend my last day before I leave. Your post solved it for me. Granville Island (hello sake) and sea wall. Sounds perfect. Thanks!

  2. Hi Suzette!
    You’ve been here through the rain and nice to see you got a bit of sunshine too! Glad I could give you a few Vancouver travel ideas you might not have already done! I see you also visited La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop. They’re one of my favourites, fresh and pretty authentic! Yum. Hope to see you again in Vancouver! – Claire

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