If you are planning on spending three days in Vancouver then this itinerary is going to be perfect! Vancouver is a world-class city that can be visited all year round! It is full of natural beauty and has a temperate climate.
Vancouver is a multicultural city making it full of cultural delights and unique cuisines. The farm-to-table movement in the restaurant industry provides seasonal delights for diners and the local’s sustainability desires make it one of the most sustainable cities in the world.
While the peak season to visit is over the warm summer months, that does not mean that you can’t come to visit Vancouver for three days at any time of year! It just means that you need to plan for the weather and seasonal activities! You can hike all year round and plenty of events make visiting Vancouver at any time a pleasure for all who visit.
By the time you get to the end of this post, you will have a detailed itinerary for 3 days in Vancouver as well as some packing suggestions, insider foodie places to try, and suggestions on where to stay!
3 Days in Vancouver
While this guide is designed for 3 days in Vancouver you can definitely make it shorter or longer depending on how much time you have!
When is the Best Time to Visit Vancouver
Summertime in Vancouver is the most popular time to visit the city. The international visitors, combined with locals, get out and enjoy everything that the long sunny days in Vancouver have to offer. May, June, and September are also busy times to visit Vancouver but you will be able to easily avoid crowds. You may have beautiful sunny skies, or wet days. You really never know what you are going to get in the spring and fall. In the winter, expect cool weather. And rain. Ski hills are most popular over Christmas Holidays and long weekends between January and March. If you are not skiing, crowds are pretty minimal anywhere else between November and April.
Vancouver in 3 days: Important Things to Know:
- If your plans are flexible, come in the summer. While it is the busiest time of year, it is a beautiful time of year to explore Vancouver. The other times of year you will have to plan for wet weather.
How to get to Vancouver
By Plane: Vancouver International Airport is about 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. The airport code is YVR and is serviced by dozens of airlines. If you want a car, the easiest way is to rent one from the airport. If you do not plan on using a car, you can take public transit (the Canada line skytrain connects the airport with downtown Vancouver) or Uber or Lyft or a Taxi into the city.
By Train: Amtrak and VIA rail both service Vancouver
By Boat: Vancouver is right on the water, if you have a private vessel, you can get right to the city. You can also arrive by cruise ship (several major cruise lines come to Vancouver – usually to start an Alaska cruise)
By Car from the USA: There are two major border crossings near Vancouver (less than 1 hour’s drive). They are Pacific Highway Crossing and Peace Arch Crossing. Vancouver is about 3 hours north of Seattle WA.
Getting Around Vancouver
Vancouver has a decent public transit system if you plan to stay in the downtown area. If you do want to travel farther afield to Whistler or out to the Fraser Valley you are likely going to want to rent a car.
Vancouver is also serviced by Uber and Lyft as well as local taxis.
Where to Stay in Vancouver
BOUTIQUE: Blue Horizon Hotel
MIDRANGE: Sandman Suites on Davie
3 Day Itinerary for Vancouver
Day 1: Get to Know Vancouver
- Explore downtown on foot or on a tour
- Bike the Stanely Park Seawall
Day 2: Mountains and Nature
- Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge
- Grouse Mountain
Day 3: World-Class City Surrounded by Nature
- Go whale watching
- Granville Island
Day 1 of your 3 Day Vancouver Itinerary
Day 1 of 3 day Vancouver itinerary is going to be about getting to know the city. Grab breakfast and a coffee and wear some comfortable shoes.
If you do not want to explore on foot, I highly suggest grabbing tickets for Vancouver’s hop-on-hop-off bus!
The bus stops at all of the major attractions in Vancouver. It makes it easy to see things like Fly over Canada
First head to Robson Street: In its prime area roughly between Burrard and Jervis Street, Robson Street has every store that you could desire for your fashion wants. You can also pick up some popular Vancouver souvenirs and things you can only get in Canada at souvenir shops Grand Maple Gift and Canadian Crafts on Robson.
Stanley Park: Visited by over 8 million people every year, Stanley Park is one of the most popular places to visit on any 3 day Vancouver itinerary. And for good reason too.
There are bike rental shops just outside the park as well as bikes you can grab in the park. If you like to walk or run, then the Stanley Park seawall is perfect for you!
If you want an indepth tour of what makes the park so special, you can take an e-bike tour.
Popular stops in Stanely Park include: Vancouver horse drawn tours, Prospect Point (for views of the North Shore and the Lion’s Gate Bridge) – make sure to try the ice cream! Brockton Point Totem Poles, Second Beach, Third Beach, and the Stanley Park Tea House!
Dinner: Choose from Yasma (new in 2021 with delicious Lebanese / Syrian cuisine) or Banana Leaf ( Malaysian with 4 locations and a long-time staple in the city )
Important Info for planning your day
Day 2 of your Vancouver Itinerary 3 days
Day 2 of your three days in Vancouver is all about nature. If you have a rental car you can drive to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Otherwise there is public transit. Enjoy the Giant trees as you explore the park at your own pace. Cross Vancouver’s Capilano River on a 450-foot-long suspension bridge with this entry ticket. Appreciate nature from 3 breathtaking perspectives: the world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Treetops Adventure, and the thrilling Cliffwalk.
Next up is Grouse Mountain. In the winter months, things are a little different because it is a ski hill, but if you are here in the summer then it is going to be perfect!
Important info for Day 2 in Vancouver
Dinner: If you are looking for award-winning (yes Michelin star) food, make a reservation at St. Lawrence REstaurant for authentic Quebecois cuisine. If you are more interested in popular local eats, you can try the popular Cactus Club for nice sunset views.
Whale Watching: The waters off British Columbia’s coast are rich with marine life and orcas, humpback, gray and minke whales are the most common whales that you will see on a Vancouver whale-watching trip! April until October is typically the best time to go whale watching in Vancouver.
After your tour, you have some time to grab something to eat and wander Granville Island. Granville Island Public Market is home to 50 different vendors and stalls ranging from fresh fish, produce, cheesemongers, baked goods and so much more.
Spend your last evening in Vancouver at your leisure.
Important info for Day 3 in Vancouver
Where to go after your 3 days in Vancouver:
Whistler: Whistler in summer
Banff: Road Trip to Banff
Lindsay Nieminen is the creator of UncoveringBC.com. She grew up and still lives in the suburbs of Vancouver with her family. She aims to inspire inform, and educate others about traveling in her home province of British Columbia. She is also the creator of carpediemourway.com which aims to show parents how to seek out adventure at home or abroad, with their children in tow!