There's a reason why diverse Vancouver welcomes so many visitors: this city set on the Salish Sea best exemplifies Canada's dual attributes of modernity and stunning nature. Once a 19th century settlement called Gastown, today, British Columbia's largest and most densely populated city is consistently ranked one of the world's highest for quality of life.
The city is home to industries as diverse as an active port and a thriving film and television production scene (so you might even find yourself talking to an A-lister!). Public transportation is excellent, and of course, you can easily access the surrounding mountains or head to the Pacific Ocean for time on the water. City breaks in Vancouver are wonderful for combining time outdoors with the sophistication of city life.
Be sure to take out some Canadian dollars (the $1 coin is frequently referred to as a "loonie," while "toonie" denotes the $2 coin), at one of the city's many cash points, to have on hand for your weekend in Vancouver. English is the most widely spoken language, though it's common to hear Chinese while out and about, and French is used in official government buildings.
When Is Best to Visit Vancouver?
Vancouver is known for its mild winter weather. Between December and February, you can expect 0-10°C temperatures and dampness, but not a lot of snow. Temperatures increase to around 20°C and rainfall declines in summer months. A weekend break in Vancouver between the end of March and mid-April must include checking out some of city's more than 2100 areas filled with cherry trees.
Depending when you plan your package holidays in Vancouver, you should take part in one of the city's many celebrations.
Cherry Blossom Festival: This takes place in April, with festivities all over the city.
Celebration of Light: Over three nights at the end of July or beginning of August, enjoy fireworks over English Bay and a music festival at Sunset Beach.
Vancouver International Wine Festival: At the end of February and beginning of March, this is one of the world's largest wine events.
International Jazz Festival: This summer festival offers 300 concerts at venues across the city.
Dine Out Vancouver: This wintertime food fest includes special menus, tastings, workshops, and more.
What to do in Vancouver
Weekends in Vancouver offer fun activities for all ages.
Check out BC Place, the distinctive stadium that was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics.
In the evenings, head to Granville Street's thriving bar and club scene, in the heart of downtown.
Shoppers will enjoy South Granville's boutiques by day, as well as the retail scene on Robson Street.
In good weather, stroll through VanDusen Botanical Garden, right in the city centre.
For panoramic views, take a trip up to the Vancouver Lookout, set 55 stories above the Harbour Centre building.
Nearby Grouse Mountain offers skiing in winter and hiking in summer. Look out for grizzly bears!
Places to Visit in Vancouver
A trip to the 400-hectare Stanley Park, home to mountains, centuries-old trees, and historic landmarks, is a must for city breaks in Vancouver. You'll love walking along the Seawall, the world's longest uninterrupted pathway, close to both restaurants and the beach. See all of Canada thanks to FlyOver Canada, a simulation that suspends you in mid-air with special effects. Head to Granville Island for its markets, quaint streets, and galleries.
At some point in planning your flight and hotel for Vancouver, work in a stop for a B.C. roll, the region's signature sushi roll. For dessert, a multi-layered, chocolate nanaimo bar is a local favourite. Blue Water Café in hip Yaletown is great for seafood, while the Diamond offers cocktails and sushi in a chic setting. By day, be sure to visit Revolver, a lovely cafe, or try something a little different at Bao Down, a Filipino restaurant in Gastown.
What Can You Bring Home from Vancouver?
Package holidays in Vancouver wouldn't be complete without a few souvenirs. First Nations art, in the form of jewelry boxes, ceramics, and home decor, can be found throughout the city. Chocolate Arts offers fine chocolates made with local ingredients. With over 200 types of tea, the Granville Island Tea Company is also a worthy stop.
Explore other destinations
Planning on flying to Canada? If a city break in Vancouver doesn't quite convince you, why not explore other exciting cities in Canada ? Check out our amazing flight and hotel packages for your next holiday adventure!