“Manhattan with mountains” is how The New York Times called Vancouver, and we couldn’t agree more. Its cosmopolitan districts and bustling markets are jam-packed with things to do and see. For nature lovers, its majestic mountains, azure ocean, rainforests and lush greenery make Vancouver an exquisite place, offering unforgettable sights anywhere you look.
Having been voted as one of the most beautiful cities in the world by Forbes and Buzzfeed, Vancouver makes a wonderful destination all year long, but there is something special about springtime here. Whether you’re looking to indulge your senses, enjoy the sea and sand, or immerse yourself in the great outdoors, Vancouver has you covered. Read on to find five reasons why Vancouver is the place for you this spring.
1. A day at English Bay
If a warm spring day by the beach is what you’re seeking, look no further than English Bay! Also known as First Beach, English Bay boasts some of the most incredible scenery in all of Vancouver – including the great peaks of the West Vancouver mountains, the golden sands of Kitsilano Beach, and the lush foliage of Vanier Park. Spend the day kayaking, go for a jog, or just bask in the cool Vancouver spring weather, before tucking in for a meal at one of the many delectable restaurants across the street.
2. Indulge yourself at Granville Island
In the early 1900s, Granville Island was home to factories, plants and sawmills. Today is both a locals’ favorite and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. Its biggest attraction is the Public Market, an indoor market housing endless rows of stalls displaying fresh produce, baked goods, and gourmet treats – a must-visit for foodies!
The island is also rich with artists – from the talented street performers to local artisans selling their handmade crafts. If you have children (or if you’re a child at heart), don’t miss a visit to the Kids Market, a separate building in the middle of the island that’s filled with toy stores, exciting children’s activities, and a multi-level jungle gym and arcade on the top floor.
The Granville Island Public Market acts as a hub of activity, but it’s also one of the city’s most important cultural districts with theaters, artisan workshops and craft studios. All the reasons to list the Granville first on our list.
3. Explore Stanley Park
This 400-hectare verdant wonderland, filled with enchanting scenery, paradisiacal beaches, and the famous Vancouver Aquarium, is an amazing place to spend a day or two. Follow one of the park’s several hiking trails, or else sit and enjoy the lush greenery and wildlife this park has to offer. Spring is the season when cherry blossoms bloom, so don’t forget to drop by the rose garden to witness the rapturous beauty of their unfolding pink petals – a reminder of the ever-present magnificence of nature. There are more than 40,000 cherry blossom trees across the city, so take advantage of it.
4. Go for whales watching
Whale watching is a Vancouver spring tradition you don’t wanna miss. Expect to come in close contact with orcas, gray whales, humpbacks, and minke whales – just to name a few! Whale watching tours are often held at Granville Island and Coal Harbor, where boats take you deep into the waters of the Pacific Ocean to witness the motions of these glorious animals.
5. Take a stroll along Gastown’s cobblestone streets
Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood, Gastown, is defined by its independent spirit, Victorian-style architecture, and cobbled streets. Named after John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, a British seaman who founded a tavern there, the district has now evolved into an urban meeting point for stylish locals – most notably after nightfall, when the area is abuzz with commotion.
The best way to explore Gastown is on foot, so we’d recommend a walking tour to give yourself a full overview of what it has to offer. Don’t miss out on a visit to Water Street, the epicenter of the city’s ancient architecture – a collection of old buildings, vintage lamp posts, and the Steam Clock, as well as a statue of “Gassy Jack” himself.
Ultimately, Vancouver is a haven for nature-lovers, animal-lovers, and shoppers alike. From the sight of budding pale-pink cherry blossoms to a day surrounded by the colorful stalls of Granville Island, Vancouver has it all.
Gastown, Vancouver. Photo by Brian Roche.