vancouver canada skyline

Canada’s British Columbia province is home to some of the country’s most magnetic and exotic ecosystems. In the midst of the Canadian rainforest, just above Washington state, is the True North’s third largest metropolitan area — Vancouver. The city is an impressive makeup  of neighborhoods and diversity, including a culturally inclusive community with visible minority groups. The city and its wilderness are the ideal place to experience the best of the west. If you’re looking to explore authentic Vancouver, or just take advantage of top-grade forest therapy, check out these activities and local haunts.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

vancouver suspension bridge capilano

Millions of visitors have crossed North Vancouver’s mile-long, half-mile high suspension bridge since the late 1800s when it was built. Beetling high above the Capilano River with a bird’s-eye-view of the sprawling evergreen rainforest below, you’ll have the opportunity to climb into the trees on elaborate man-made tree houses in, what park officials call, Treetop Adventures. The park’s operators also offer educational perspective with Living Rainforest exhibits for curious visitors.

Sea to Sky Gondola

sea to sky gondola

For stupefying views of the Canadian Rockies, forests and other coastal mountain ranges, admission to the Sea to Sky Gondola is a steal. Beginning with a 10-minute gondola ride 3,000 feet above sea level, your journey continues with a series of viewing platforms, suspension bridges and incomparable photo opportunities. Suitable for all ages, this is a must-see for adventure enthusiasts with a healthy relationship with heights. Stop at the Summit Lodge for a drink and live music during the summer season.

Hike a Provincial Park

Bowen Lookout in Cypress Provincial Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Bowen Lookout in Cypress Provincial Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The city of Vancouver offers dozens of local and provincial parks for hiking, picnics or sightseeing. Options include Cypress, Mount Seymour, Indian Arm and Pinecone Burke Provincial Parks. Cypress is closest to the city limits and each season has something for visitors. The winter features a private ski resort, while summer is most popular with hikers and families.

Walking Brewery Tour

vancouver brewery tours

Image courtesy of Vancouver Brewery Tours

The city launched its official walking tour of local breweries in the historic Brewery Creek district in 2016, where visitors have the opportunity to see architecture and learn its history while trying the best brews in Vancouver. You’ll stop at three breweries in about three hours, giving you ample time to soak up the atmosphere. Stops include Brassneck, Faculty, Big Rock Urban, and Main Street Brewing companies.

Dining

Restaurants in the trendy Yaletown neighborhood, formerly a warehouse district.

Restaurants in the trendy Yaletown neighborhood, formerly a warehouse district.

The city’s food scene is as culturally compelling and unique as Vancouver itself. With a high European and Asian population, visitors can try new flavors and old favorites. For high-end japanese cuisine with stunning views, check out Miku. Don’t forget to get a taste of some of the world’s best seafood at Blue Water Cafe, too.

Getting outside

Kayakers near Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Kayakers near Kitsilano Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Hikers and climbers can rejoice with abundant opportunity for outdoor appreciation. Hikers are able to traverse Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour in even the shortest of stays. Other activities in the region include lumberjack shows, wildlife refuges, zipline tours, scenic chairlift rides, tandem paragliding, helicopter tours and snowboarding.