36 Hours in Vancouver: Best Things to Do and See

Known in recent years for hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver, British Columbia is a gem among gems when it comes to vacations for those who love natural landscapes and the outdoors.  Even if you are only there briefly perhaps as a side trip from Seattle or at the start of your Alaska cruise, you can see plenty in 36 hours in Vancouver.

36 Hours In Vancouver: Best Things To Do And See

Vancouver is the ultimate eco-friendly escape made for foodies who love international fair and a quick, active, yet relaxing jaunt to our neighbors in the north. “Gifting” experiences are one of the hottest new trends in this age of minimalism, so if you are looking for an awesome gift that will be unforgettable (and undoubtedly the best gift in the pile), a long weekend trip to Vancouver is the perfect thing.

Where To Stay?

36 Hours In Vancouver: Best Things To Do And See

There are plenty of things to do for everyone in your group, whether you are taking a girls weekend, going with family, or venturing out for a solo tour. And finding a great hotel that is central to all the action, like the Fairmont Hotel, you will be sure to get in all the action during a quick getaway.

The Fairmont Hotel is a classically styled hotel nestled in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia. Their architecture and style takes on an old English style with modern conveniences, giving it the nickname “Castle in the City.”

You will feel at home as you walk into the Fairmont and greeted by welcoming staff and the hotel dog, Ella. The central location offers all you need to get to all of the hits on your itinerary quickly including shops, dining, and public transit that makes it easy to get to the places outside of the city. After all, you don’t want to miss a thing with just 36 hours in Vancouver.

36 Hours In Vancouver: Best Things To Do And See

Your room will take on the same style as the rest of the hotel making you feel like royalty staying in a room of an English castle. The comfortable beds, roomy bathrooms, and modern amenities will help you to feel as though you are not skipping a beat while traveling, and will even make you feel a bit pampered. Your nights will be full of quiet rest, giving you the assurance that you will be ready to hit the ground running, literally and figuratively as you explore Vancouver.

If this gifted vacation is something you are doing with family, the Fairmont’s program Fairmont-Fit offers in-room conveniences to make sure you get your workout in while you are staying with them. They will bring Reebook shoes, apparel, and gear- including stretch bands and yoga mats– up to your room so you can get in a quick workout before you head out the door. Nothing can make mom and dad feel more prepared to handle the day and this program helps busy families have what they need to get the job done.


36 Hours In Vancouver Itinerary

If you’re looking for a quick trip with a little bit of everything, including another stamp on your passport, Vancouver, British Columbia has you covered. In a place that is unexpectedly international, Vancouver offers a plethora of amazing eats, local attractions, artisan shops, and outdoor activities. It is a large enough city that you will have more than enough to do, but small enough that you will be able to cover it in a long weekend. That is if you don’t end up spending all your time dining in one of their delicious farm-to-table restaurants.

Day 1

Vancouver Lookout- This 360-degree circular viewing platform offers a panoramic view of Vancouver’s city skyline including some of their most visited landmarks including Mount Seymour, Lion’s Gate Bridge, and Grouse Mountain. Whatever time of day you choose to visit will give you specular views of Vancouver.

Capilano Suspension Bridge– Stick with the high flying theme on your first day and head over to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Although it was built in 1889, it is still as safe as can be and it will give you views 110 feet above a forested canyon. You can also walk onto their Cliffwalk, which gives you a view of a granite precipice along narrowed cantilevered bridges. If heights aren’t your thing, you can do the Treetop Walk which takes you between the 1300-year-old Douglas Firs at a lower level.

Dinner in Gastown- Gastown is one of Vancouver’s most visited neighborhoods. Here you will find plenty of options for dinner no matter your tastes. Since Vancouver is highly influenced by international reveries, you will be able to find foods from Japan, Germany, China, Italy, Greece, Latin, French, and of course, Canada. If it is Canadian cuisine you are after, no trip to Canada is complete without enjoying poutine. See more about the top restaurants in Gastown here.

Traveling makes anyone weary even, especially if that traveling involves a fair amount of outdoor activities so it is nice to know you can return to the “Castle in the City”, The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, after a long day of hiking and eating.

Day 2

Stanley Park- Stanely Park is located on the West End of Vancouver, making it a quick trip via transit, biking, or driving. There are plenty of things to do while visiting the park- you could easily spend a day exploring the gardens, visiting the First Nations totem poles, Lost Lagoon, Siwash Rock, the Hollow Tree, or Beaver Lake. Ride the Stanley Park train, have a run through the expansive trails, walk along the Seawall, or simply play a round of golf. The options are endless. Read more about what to do and what to see here.

Lunch In Yaletown – Although lesser known than the popular Gastown, this industrial style neighborhood has become increasingly more visited over the last few years in part due to the increased number of delicious food spots. While visiting Vancouver, it would behoove you to take advantage of their seafood fare as it is some of the best. Restaurants like Blue Water Cafe and Kuma Izakaya are some of the favorites

Tours by Locals- This tour experience will take you through the nearby neighborhood of Mount Pleasant, a hipster area of town known for its art scene, coffee shops, and boutiques. Tours by Locals will give you an inside look into the town offering suggestions for some of the best shopping, the best food, and the best specialty coffee drinks.

36 Hours In Vancouver: Best Things To Do And See

After you’ve done all the eating, all the shopping, and all the drinking you will want to come back to your luxury spot at the Fairmont Hotel. Equipped with a spa and indoor pool, you can spend your evening getting a massage for your tired body followed by a relaxing dip in their pool. Enjoy a cocktail hour in the lounge before you head up to your room for in-room dining.


Day 3

Grouse Mountain- Known as the Peak of Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is a great way to end your trip to Vancouver. This expansive alpine experience offers a skyline ride up the mountain, guided eco-walks, the grizzly bear habitat, the Lumberjack Show, hiking, or the Theatre in the Sky. You can fully customize your adventure with things like Breakfast with the Bears, mountain zip-lining, tandem paragliding, or helicopter tours. There are so many things to do that it would take your entire stay to hit them all, which isn’t possible- so you’ll have to come back!

Granville Island- Take a boat ride over to Granville Island for the last part of your stay. Its open-air market offers local foods, crafts, and more. There is art, culture, and history to explore alongside delicious foods and treats to taste. It is a great way to get the last bit of Vancouver before you head back to reality.

For your last few hours in Vancouver, spend some time enjoying the Fairmont Hotel’s dining experience, Notch8. You will be met with old English style architecture and style coupled with classic dishes. Take in the style and charm of the Fairmont’s twist on Canadian culture, history, and romantic travel experiences while you spend your time reveling in all the amazing adventures you’ve had during your stay.

Read More: 48 Hour Vacation: What To Do In Interlaken

More About Fairmont Hotels

The Fairmont is a chain of hotels that can be found all around the world, and your stay at their Vancouver location will be sure to make you want to seek them out for all your vacations. Their Fairmont President’s Club is free loyalty program and offers additional perks such as special package deals for future vacations, complimentary wifi in all of their locations, discounts on spa experiences, special rates, access to the Fairmont Fit program, and the use of BMW bikes (at select locations) to venture out into your visiting city. The more you stay at the Fairmont hotels the higher your level of membership and the more perks you are able to receive. Read more about the Fairmont President’s Club here.

Your stay at the Fairmont will be the icing on the top of your quick, unforgettable vacation in Vancouver, British Columbia. You will feel at home during your evenings at the hotel with comfortable rooms, modern conveniences, and complimentary additions such as continental breakfast and hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour in their lounge. Their Notch8 restaurant and bar gives you choices in dining during your stay and offers a great place to unwind after a long day of exploring. Even future stays will be a reminder of your time in Vancouver- the President’s Club benefits will offer you more experiences every time you choose a Fairmont hotel, too.

Trips As Gifts

Whisking (or sending) someone away on a quick, 36-hour vacation is one of the best gifts you can give. In this age of minimalism, people want experiences rather than things, and what a better way to give them an unforgettable experience than giving the gift of travel to Vancouver, British Columbia. If they love the outdoors, Vancouver is the perfect place for them. Hiking in Stanely Park, venturing up Grouse Mountain, and talking a high flying walk on the Capilano Suspension Bridge will give them the adventure they seek outside of their everyday life. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks won’t be disappointing in the neighborhoods of Gastown or Yaletown either.

A stay at the Fairmont Hotel, a true castle in the middle of the city, will be a perfect addition to their vacation as they have a place to relax and unwind. Give the gift of outdoor adventure and experience in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Photo Credits: The Looking Glass Photography

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Looking for more quick vacations? Check out “THE BEST 10 WEEKEND GETAWAYS FOR YOUR FAMILY ” here on Daily Mom!

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36 Hours In Vancouver: Best Things To Do And See



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Jessica is a holistic health counselor and work from home mom living in Ohio with her husband and little boy! She suffers from a serious case of compulsive globe-trotting and is always counting the days until her next move. You can often find her trying to get her exercise in by lunging through the park while chasing after a very energetic toddling boy! She is constantly fueled by her love for healthy eating (and copious amount of caffeine) Catch up with her "healthy foodie" lifestyle at It's a Logical Life