Home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, the harbourside city of Vancouver is a bustling metropolis overflowing with rich diversity. Catering to any interest through the year, visitors and locals alike can take to the waters and enjoy endless year round water sports, venture to the old-growth forests for a tree-top adventure, or sit back and delight in an evening of entertainment provided by one of the big name acts taking the stage in downtown Vancouver.
Vancouver's green heart is a magnificent 1000 acres, almost all of it dense West Coast forest. Marked trails let families roam through the "jungle" of giant trees. Beaches offer a close up look at all kinds of boats. A playground with a vintage fire engine, a pool and water slides make this one of the city's great escapes. Kids can pet farm animals then board a miniature train for a ride through the forest at the Children's Farmyard and Railway. http://vancouver.ca/parks/parks/stanley/
You can escape the hustle and bustle of the city without having to go far. Granville Island, easily accessible by car, bus, bike or boat from any part of Vancouver, offers a multitude of activities to keep the entire family entertained. Children can enjoy the Kids Market offering a fun play area and shops selling one-of-a-kind toys many of which are locally made. The largest free water park in all of North America is on Granville Island and the perfect place for a picnic. www.granvilleisland.com
Grouse Mountain, located only 15 minutes from Vancouver, you can find the best in local skiing and snowboarding. Floodlit runs open until 10pm nightly to fit everyone's schedule. Additional activities include snowshoeing, ice skating, sleigh rides, and award-wining dining, all in the backyard of the city. www.grousemountain.com
Visit Western Canada's largest art museum! Open 365 days a year and located just steps from vibrant Robson Street in downtown Vancouver, the Vancouver Art Gallery offers the city's top cultural experience. Exhibitions include famous works by Degas, Renoir, and other masterpieces from the Musee d'Orsay, Paris. www.vancouverartgallery.com
Come to face-to-fin with over 70,000 animals including beluga whales, sea lions, dolphins, seals and more! Enjoy the dolphin and whale shows, sea otter feeds, and shark dives. Free-roaming animals abound in the popular Amazon Gallery and no trip is complete without a stop by the newest gallery that's full of interactive exhibits and children's learning areas. www.vancouveraquarium.com
Located on a three-block stretch of downtown Vancouver, Robson Street is heralded as the city's most famous shopping street in British Columbia. Home to upscale boutiques and fine dining establishments, visitors alike can spend the day people watching at local coffeehouses, followed by an evening of soaking up the sidewalk entertainment provided by lively street performers. www.robsonstreet.com
Originally constructed in 1889, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of Vancouver's oldest and most famous attractions. Spanning 137 meters (450 feet) across and 70 meters (230 feet) high, visitors can not only get a thrill crossing the wire cable bridge, but can also enjoy rain forest ecotours, award-winning gardens, nature trails and North American's largest private collection of First Nations totem poles. www.capilanobridge.com/
Heralded as North America's second largest Chinatown, visitors can walk through the ‘China Gate' on Pender Street and be transported to a world of delicious food, authentic crafts and lively street performers. Take time to enjoy the first full-size Chinese garden built outside of China: The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Experience the perfect blend of Feng Shui and Taoism, as harmony is achieved through the balance of opposites.