Now is a perfect time to be a tourist in your own home town, stay in BC and vacation close to home. Here are some hotel and staycation ideas for Vancouver.
Now more than ever is a good time to spend your holiday dollars in the area and support local businesses!
The city has amazing sights to see and first-class places to stay. For some of the best prices and bonus perks at downtown hotels, see stayvancouverhotels.com.
For a list of Lower Mainland attractions you can visit, click What’s Open in Vancouver.
Attractions, Hotels and Vacationing in Downtown Vancouver
In years when there isn’t an overseas travel ban, people travel from across the globe to spend time in Vancouver. Why? Because of the city’s beauty, proximity to nature, culture and attractions. Compared to many other parts of the world today, it’s also one of the safest places to be with respect to COVID-19!
Local residents should get out more and explore all that Vancouver has to offer too (especially now that we can’t travel much elsewhere)! There are so many amazing places to visit in the Lower Mainland. And now is a perfect time to do that!
This article focuses on downtown Vancouver. In it we list top downtown places to visit. We also recommend hotels in the area to stay at.
This article is for Canadian tourists visiting Vancouver, but also for local folk wanting to holiday locally, do a “staycation,” explore the region and discover why people from across the world visit this place.
Best Places to Visit in Downtown Vancouver
Downtown Vancouver is home to over a dozen of Vancouver’s top tourist attractions and places of interest. If you’re staying in downtown Vancouver, below are some of the places you’ll likely want to visit. All of them are open as of the beginning of August in 2020.
- Bill Reid Gallery – an Indigenous art gallery featuring the works of Bill Reid and other famous First Nations artists at 639 Hornby Street.
- Coal Harbour – a modern part of town with skyscrapers and beautiful views from the seawall.
- Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden – the classical Chinese garden at 578 Carrall Street in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
- English Bay – a beautiful beach in Vancouver’s West End.
- FlyOver Canada – the attraction at Canada Place is showing its regular multi-dimensional film about Canada, but also its FlyOver Iceland show until August 30th.
- Forbidden Vancouver – a walking tour company that offers guided trips around downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.
- Gastown – Vancouver’s old-town area is nice to walk around. There are also lots of interesting shops and restaurants in the area.
- Guilt & Co. – a popular bar featuring live music at #1 Alexander Street in Gastown.
- Roedde House – a heritage house that is now an interesting museum at 1415 Barclay Street in Vancouver’s West End.
- Science World – the science museum by False Creek at 1455 Quebec Street.
- Stanley Park – Vancouver’s world-famous park with beaches, walking trails and beautiful views. The outdoor swimming pool at Second Beach is also open.
- Vancouver Aquarium – the aquarium at 845 Avison Way in Stanley Park.
- Vancouver Art Gallery – the art museum at 750 Hornby Street.
- West End Farmers Market – a farmers market on Saturdays in downtown Vancouver on Comox Street (just a couple of blocks from Burrard Street).
- Yaletown – a trendy part of town with restaurants and the False Creek Seawall.
For a list of other Lower Mainland attractions that have resumed operations since closing earlier in the year due to COVID-19, see our article about What’s Open In Vancouver.
VANCOUVER COUPON DEALS!
Entertainment Coupons are good for 2-for-1 deals at hundreds of Lower Mainland restaurants, tourist attractions and stores. Click Vancouver Entertainment Coupon Book to learn where you can save while spending your holiday or staycation this year.
Robson Street and Granville Street
Two of Vancouver’s most interesting roads are Robson Street and Granville Street. Both are famous for their shops, restaurants, bars and night life. Popular places for shopping are upscale Pacific Centre (which is on both Granville and Robson at 701 West Georgia), the Hudson’s Bay (at 674 Granville Street) and all along Robson Street.
HOTELS IN THE AREA
Hotels on or near Robson Street include the Sutton Place (at 855 Burrard Street), Fairmont Hotel Vancouver (at 900 West Georgia), Wedgewood (at 845 Hornby Street), Listel (at 1300 Robson) and Westin Grand (at 433 Robson Street).
Hotels right on Granville Street include the the Ramada (at 1221 Granville near Davie Street). Hotels on nearby streets running parallel to Granville include the Executive Hotel Vintage Park (at 1379 Howe Street), Holiday Inn (at 1110 Howe Street) and Residence Inn by Marriott (at 1234 Hornby Street). Also, just a block or so from the Orpheum, is the Hotel Belmont (at 654 Nelson Street).
For accommodation prices and hotel deals, check out our article about StayVancouverHotels.com. Or, for a list of these and other downtown hotels organized by location, click Downtown Vancouver Hotels.
Vancouver Art Gallery
Also right by both Robson Street and Granville is the Vancouver Art Gallery, which, if you like art, is a place you’ll want to visit. The attraction is also open once again after being closed for a number of weeks due to COVID-19.
On the south side of the Vancouver Art Gallery is Robson Square. Kitty-corner to the gallery on the north side is the upscale Pacific Centre shopping mall (where you can get a free $75 gift card if you book a hotel through the website StayVancouverHotels.com).
Another place of interest in the area is the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, which is located behind Christ Church Cathedral and highly recommended if you like Indigenous art. It too has reopened!
WALKING TOURS IN DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER
Forbidden Vancouver is a family-owned walking tour company that offers guided tours in the West End, Gastown and Stanley Park. They are operating in the summer of 2020 and are a great way to enjoy the city while physically distancing from other people. All their tours this summer are outdoors.
See our article about Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours for more information.
Located at 750 Hornby Street, the Vancouver Art Gallery is across the street from the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in one direction and across from the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in another. The three buildings are striking heritage buildings, as is nearby Christ Church Cathedral, all of which were built between 1895 and 1939 (which for Vancouver is old). Also just down the street is the Metropolitan Hotel.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is truly in the heart of the city, and surrounded by both other landmark buildings and exceptional hotels. Other luxury accommodations close by include the Shangri-La Hotel (at 1128 West Georgia Street).
Other hotels in the region that are open include the Executive Hotel Le Soleil (at 567 Hornby Street) and Hyatt Regency (at 655 Burrard Street). Halfway between West Georgia and Coal Harbour is the Loden Hotel (at 1177 Melville Street). This last hotel was recently named one of the top hotels in all of Canada by TripAdvisor, as was the Shangri-La!
BUY LOCAL. VACATION LOCALLY.
Want to learn about the social, economic, environmental and other benefits of vacationing locally? Then check out our article about BC Buy Local Week.
Yaletown & False Creek
Yaletown is the trendy neighbourhood just a short distance southeast of BC Place Stadium. It’s where you’ll find dozens of great restaurants. The neighbourhood is more or less located between Robson Street and False Creek in the southern part of downtown Vancouver.
Running along the southern edge of downtown Vancouver from Yaletown to the West End is False Creek. It’s a body of water with bridges over it and places of interest all around.
If you like walks, leisurely bike rides and beautiful urban views, you’ll want to check out the False Creek Seawall. On the downtown Vancouver side of False Creek, in the Yaletown area, there is David Lam Park. At the other end, in Vancouver’s West End, is Sunset Beach. All are great outdoor places to enjoy.
Places to stay in the area include luxury accommodations like the JW Marriott Parq Vancouver (at 39 Smithe) and the Douglas (at 45 Smithe Street), both of which are connected to the Parq Vancouver Casino (which has been closed due to COVID-19). The Georgian Court Hotel and Hotel Blu are also very nice places (at 733 Beatty Street and 177 Robson). Nearby budget accommodations include the 3-star Sandman (at 180 West Georgia) and 2.5 star YWCA Hotel (at 733 Beatty Street).
Another hotel in the Yaletown area is the OPUS Hotel (at 322 Davie Street). Within a few blocks of False Creek, but further into the middle of downtown, there is also the Executive Hotel Vintage Park (at 1379 Howe Street).
English Bay Beach and Vancouver’s West End
At the other end of False Creek from Yaletown is Vancouver’s West End and at the western edge of that district is English Bay and English Bay Beach. The West End is home to Davie Street Village, which is the heart of Vancouver’s LGBTQ community, Sunset Beach, English Bay Beach and the start of Stanley Park.
If looking for hotels in the West End, the Sandman Suites at 1160 Davie Street is a good 3-star place to check out, and the Sylvia Hotel at 1154 Gilford Street is right by English Bay Beach in an early 20th century heritage building. Just a short walk from the eastern edge of Vancouver’s West End, there is also The Burrard Hotel at 1100 Burrard Street and the Sheraton Wall Centre at 1088 Burrard.
Stanley Park is connected to the city via the seawall, which links up with both Coal Harbour and English Bay. Georgia Street also cuts right through the park on its way to the North Shore via the iconic Lions Gate Bridge. You can drive, walk and cycle all around the park, although there are special regulations this summer due to COVID-19.
Sights to see within the park include totem poles, the Brockton Point Lighthouse, Prospect Point, Third Beach, Siwash Rock, Second Beach, Lost Lagoon, the Vancouver Aquarium and other places of interest.
There are no hotels in Stanley Park itself. The Westin Bayshore is located at 1601 Bayshore Drive, however, which is just a 10-minute walk to the park along the Coal Harbour seawall. Most other major downtown Vancouver hotels are also just a short drive, bike, taxi ride or bus trip away.
Click Stanley Park for more information about the area.
CAMPING IN THE LOWER MAINLAND
In addition to spending some of your summer vacation being a tourist in downtown Vancouver, another staycation option is to go camping and explore Lower Mainland parks and nature. Check out these articles for ideas:
- 12 Reasons to Go Camping in an RV
- Camping In and Around Vancouver
- Our Canadian Getaway Camping RV Vacation
- Lower Mainland Parks & Nature
The last time we checked (on August 2nd, 2020) Fraserway RV was offering 25% off nightly rental and kilometre packages! We went camping in one of their motorhomes recently and had an amazing time!
Vancouver’s Coal Harbour
Coal Harbour is famous for its city, water, Stanley Park and mountain views from along the seawall. It’s a beautiful place to go for a walk or leisurely bike ride, and it’s not far from Stanley Park, Canada Place, Gastown and other parts of downtown Vancouver.
A number of high-quality hotels can be found in the Coal Harbour area. There is the Coast Coal Harbour, Marriott Pinnacle Downtown and Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront at 1180, 1128 and 1133 West Hastings Street respectively. There is also the Loden Hotel a couple of blocks away at 1177 Melville Street, and the Westin Bayshore at 1601 Bayshore Drive.
To book any of the above hotels be sure to check out stayvancouverhotels.com which is a Vancouver-based website specializing in downtown Vancouver accommodations. The site offers bonus gifts for reservations and some of the best rates you can find.
Canada Place and Flyover Canada
Canada Place is where you’ll find the Pan Pacific Hotel (at #300-999 Canada Place), and FlyOver Canada, the latter of which is a fabulous multi-dimensional theatre experience where you get to fly over Canada, from coast to coast to coast.
In addition to the Pan Pacific, there are several other exceptional hotels close by. Across the road is the Fairmont Waterfront (at 900 Canada Place) and just up the street by the Convention Centre is the Fairmont Pacific Rim (at 1038 Canada Place). Just three or so blocks south of Canada Place is the less expensive 3-star Days Inn (at 921 West Pender Street), as well as the fancy 4-star EXchange Hotel (at 475 Howe Street).
Vancouver’s Historic Gastown
Gastown is the historic part of downtown Vancouver located just a short walk east of Canada Place and Waterfront Station. Lined with brick buildings, souvenir shops and restaurants, Gastown’s main road is Water Street.
Gastown is a perfect place for walking tours. With a walking tour you get to explore the area with its beautiful buildings, but also learn about the area’s history. A walking tour company we’ve used and have been impressed by is Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours. They offer a couple of enjoyable and informative tours around Gastown and the surrounding area, plus other tours in Vancouver’s West End and through Stanley Park.
For more information about the area see our article about Gastown.
Gastown is a popular area to stay in when visiting Vancouver as it’s both charming and convenient. Hotels that are close by include the 4-star Delta Hotel & Suites (at 550 West Hastings Street).
If booking either of these hotels, or any other accommodations in the downtown area, be sure to check out stayvancouverhotels.com as they have great rates and offer bonus incentives when making reservations.
The focus of this article has been on the benefits of visiting and staying in downtown Vancouver. Of course, there is much more to Metro Vancouver than just Vancouver’s downtown core. Other articles and places that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Festivals & Events
- Vancouver’s Calendar of Events
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- The A to Z’s of Vancouver
- Vancouver Restaurants
- Vancouver Hotels
- The North Shore
In closing, whether you are already a resident of the Lower Mainland or are visiting from far away, downtown Vancouver is an amazing place to spend your holidays.
There is so much to see and do here. If you already live nearby, why travel long distances to explore somewhere else?