As you fly into Vancouver, you can see what a beautiful place it is. Majestic mountains, ocean, rivers, and green space are immediately noticeable. But what is there to do in Vancouver when you land and how do you get around?
Of course you have all the car rental places available to you at the airport or downtown Vancouver. If you prefer other means of transportation, there is lots available.
Whether you have accommodations in Vancouver or one of the bedroom communities, it is easy to maneuver around the city. Reasonably priced Skytrain service leaves constantly from the airport and takes you right downtown to the waterfront if you want. From there you can access North Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, and Coquitlam by Skytrain or Seabus. A train also leaves from the waterfront and travels out to the town of Mission with many stops along the way.
Once you settle into your accommodations, take the opportunity to ride all the Skytrain lines. This can be done in half a day for a very reasonable price and gives a good overview of the lower mainland, as the coastal communities are called. It won’t be as crowded if you leave after 9 AM and return before 3 PM. The greater Vancouver bus service is also easily accessible anywhere along the Skytrain route.
Huge shopping centres and a couple of casinos are easily accessible from the Skytrain. There is also no shortage of ethnic restaurants along the way.
Greyhound bus service leaves from near Main Street Skytrain Station at the old CN Train Station. There you can connect for ferry service over to Vancouver Island and the gulf islands from Tsawwassen. It’s a nice way to spend a sunny day. Or you can take a trip up to Horseshoe Bay and catch a ferry to Naniamo or the Sunshine Coast.
Take a local bus close to Waterfront Station and visit Capilano Canyon or Lynn Canyon or Cypress Bowl. The Grouse Mountain Chairlift has a fantastic view of the city and harbour.
Right downtown Vancouver there is an old trolley line that’s been resurrected. It is currently running between Granville Island and the 2010 Winter Olympic Village. There are plans to extend the route later. To get over to Granville Island, take one of the little foot ferries from various stops on the seawall.
There is also a Hop-On, Hop-Off Vancouver Trolley Car service. This travels all over the city for a very reasonable fee. You can stop wherever you want and enjoy the sites and then get back on when you are ready to continue. If you stop in Stanley Park, check on the horse drawn wagon rides. The rides are seasonal but take you all around the park in less than an hour.
Bicycles are becoming a more common means of tourist transportation in Vancouver. They can be rented at places down near Stanley Park. There are also sea kayaks for rent at English Bay.
Of course, there is always foot power and Vancouver is an extremely walkable city. The seawall starts at Canada Place in Coal Harbour and runs all the way around Stanley Park, under the Lion’s Gate Bridge, past BC Place Stadium and the Science Centre. It continues to Granville Island and eventually ends at Kitsalino Park. The complete distance is 22 KM. Or you can walk from Canada Place to English Bay around the park for a distance of 12 KM. Make sure you have comfortable walking shoes!
Enjoy your stay in Vancouver and take advantage of all the things to do see in this beautiful city. You won’t regret it!