All the elements of the natural world converge in beautiful British Columbia. Here, snow-capped hiking trails and ocean inlets surround the contemporary skyscraper city of Vancouver. However, the vastness of this culturally-rich spot shouldn’t feel overwhelming to those with a tight travel timeframe, as 24 hours in Vancouver can supply everything from culinary tours to outstanding natural beauty. So, if you’ve found yourself pushed for time on your Canadian trip, keep reading. Our guide on how to spend 24 hours in Vancouver can ensure you enjoy all that this destination has to offer, with an itinerary recommended by our specialists...
There’s no better way to kickstart your 24 hours in Vancouver than by meeting beneath the city’s unique steam-powered clock which was built in 1977 to cover a steam grate. It'll certainly ensure you’re on time and it can be found nestled among an eclectic array of souvenir shops, art galleries and decor stores housed in the Victorian-clad buildings that line the streets of Gastown. With countless breakfast options, this is a great base for your first meal of the day. Whether it’s chia bircher muesli at the Birds & The Beets (which would double as a great band name) or eggs benny and chorizo hash at The Cambie Pub, there is something to start everyone's morning sunny-side-up. Those searching for something a little different to kickstart their day can find exactly that at the Dirty Apron. Don’t be put off by the name; this gourmet deli offers clean eating and natural ingredients in abundance and also doubles as a cooking school.
Pedalling your way around the city’s world-renowned Stanley Park in Downtown Vancouver is a great late-morning activity for travellers with a limited timeframe. Equally, a walk along the park's seawall can provide ramblers with the opportunity to learn about the history of the land beneath their feet. The walking doesn't stop there though. Take a stroll around Queen Elizabeth Park - the highest point in the city - for unprecedented views and a garden that’s in bloom virtually all year round.
After a morning spent appreciating the wonders of the naturally-formed landscapes, enjoy a leisurely stroll to the ever-famous Granville Island. Here, you’ll find plenty of lunchtime treats to help you re-energise, from the locally-sourced seafood strewn across the crushed ice of The Lobster Man’s window display, to the Alimentaria Mexicana which serves artisanal Mexican food products, provisions and more. Try the eight-hour braised local lamb shank - just the meal needed to set you up for an afternoon of Canadian escapism.
With bellies full, continue your culturally-rich tour with a trip to The Museum of Anthropology – a must on the agenda. Marvel at the displays of world arts and cultures and immerse yourself in the deep-rooted history of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest while admiring the large sculptures, cultural artefacts and totem pole fragments from Haida and other First Nations villages along British Columbia's coast. They adorn the museum's Great Hall and it’s clear that Canadian and world history isn’t in short supply here.
There’s no denying that an afternoon spent strutting the Canadian streets offers avid travellers a great ground level perspective of the city. For a different viewpoint, head to the Canada Place convention centre where you can enjoy serene views over the picturesque harbour and nearby mountain peaks. You can also take part in a fun ‘FlyOver’ flight experience which involves sitting suspended before a 60ft wraparound screen for a virtual tour of Canada’s stunning natural landscapes. Back in the real world, find a spot on the terrace and watch as the sun dips behind the mountain tops - the perfect backdrop for an evening that is only just beginning...
After an action-packed day, round off your 24 hours in Vancouver with foodie feast, something the city is fast becoming renowned for. Vancouver’s population is fantastically diverse, which is reflected in its countless dining spots. One of our favourites is Hawksworth Restaurant. With impeccable service and exciting culinary offerings guaranteed, it sets the tone for contemporary Canadian cuisine intertwined with Asian influences. The miso-glazed sablefish and snap peas are a clear crowd pleaser but lovers of all things plant-based need not be disheartened, as there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan restaurants too, including The Acorn. From root, to stem, to plate, this fine-dining restaurant offers local seasonal vegetables and a customised multi-course tasting menu that may even win over the meat lovers.