A Weekend In Vancouver: What To Do With 48 Hours

November 19, 2016
things to do in vancouver

Take in sunset from the Seawall. A weekend in Vancouver.

Oh, Canada!

Doggone, you’re beautiful.  My friend @FareWhispers found us $350 round-trip tickets to Vancouver from Atlanta, and how do you pass that up??  So we headed up to British Columbia for a long weekend in late August.  As always, I did a ton of research ahead of time so that we could take in as much as possible of this beautiful West Coast city.  Hopefully you can benefit from this on your own adventure!

things to do in vancouver

We actually spent our first day driving the Sea-to-Sky Highway up to Whistler and Joffre Lakes, about an hour or hour and a half north of Vancouver.  It was stunning, and I’m glad we carved one day out of our three-day weekend to head up north.  You can learn more about how we structured our 3-day weekend Vancouver & Whistler itinerary here.  But this is all about our Vancouver adventures…so off we go!

Day 1: Craft Beer & Wine

We set out from Whistler fairly early in the morning, I caffeinated, and we drove the Sea-to-Sky Highway going back the opposite direction.  Unfortunately the sky was a stony gray, and when we got back to Vancouver the overcast and slightly rainy weather wasn’t going anywhere.

Our solution?  Sample the best of Vancouver’s many brewpubs and wineries!

Steamworks Brew Pub...brewery tours are a key part of a Vancouver itinerary

I’d done a ton of research, and we also asked the concierge at our hotel for her recommendations.  She called over the doorman/valet Donny, who circled several great options on the map, and we set out on foot.  First stop was Steamworks, right down the street from our hotel and super close to public transportation.

On a side note about housing…Vancouver is EXPENSIVE!  We had trouble finding anything in our price range, and ended up using a combination of hotel points (Marriott) and money for our stay.  It still wasn’t cheap.  So take that into consideration when planning your trip.  We stayed at the Delta Hotel Suites Vancouver, and had amazing service.

You might also like:  My Favorite Cross-Body Purse for Travel

We got there right around 11:00 a.m. as they were opening, and pulled up a seat at the bar.  The bartender gave us little papers to create our own individual beer flights, and we ordered a giant plate of poutine too—for good measure.  The oatmeal stout was delicious; not a fan of the sour blueberry, but that’s not surprising.  We also walked around Gastown on our way to our next destination.

(On a side note, Vancouver’s signs were ON POINT. So punny.)

Vancouver Urban Winery was a great find! Local food, beer, and wine, plus '90s jams.

You might also like:  How to Pick the Right Flight Every Time

Next step was Vancouver Urban Winery.  We walked from Steamworks to Urban Winery, which also shares space with Postmark Brewery and Belgard Kitchen.  It has the COOLEST vibe.  We bellied up to the bar and took in the whole experience.  It was basically made for me…delicious wine, beer on tap, amazing food, and ’90s hits blasting.  It made me want to sit down with my computer and chill for a few hours.

Wine flights at Vancouver Urban Winery, a great addition to our two-day Vancouver itinerary

You might also like:  Tips for Making Every Trip Itinerary a Little Epic

We were still kind of full from the poutine, so we split a breakfast burger (delish!) and each got a flight of wines.  I got a flight of beer as well 🙂  Can’t recommend this place enough, we had a blast.

A note of caution:  part of the area we had to walk through to get here from Steamworks was kind of…sketchy, for lack of a better word.  We felt quite uncomfortable with all the homeless people congregated and keeping an eye on us as we walked through.  It may have been totally safe, but it’s kind of a transitional area and we didn’t feel great about it, so might be worth a cab over there (particularly if you’re women, alone, at night, etc.).  Mostly just listen to your instincts.

Granville Island Public Market, part of my awesome 48-hour Vancouver itinerary

Beautiful downtown Vancouver!

You might also like:  Driving the Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler

We stopped back by our hotel for a few minutes and decided we had time to swing by Granville Island Public Market, even though the weather was still not cooperating.  While there had been a few teases of blue sky on our way to the winery, the rain clouds had rolled in again.  We decided to walk to the island, which was…dumb, honestly.  The folks at the front desk seemed to think we were a little nuts to undertake it, but told us it should be like 45 minutes (which didn’t sound crazy to us).

It was…an adventure.  I think we maybe did something a little wrong, missed a turnoff or whatever.  Needless to say, take the bus.  We ended up taking the bus back, actually, because our feet were TIRED.  It was super easy and much faster.

Anyway, Granville Island was…fine.  Nothing earth-shattering.  It started raining when we got there, which was a bummer.  We walked around a bit, went to a bakery and into some too-expensive shops.  The part we enjoyed the most was the big indoor market.  I bought a couple sweets, my friend got some cool tea, and we got to taste a bunch of really cool flavored olive oils and balsamics (which of course I had to buy!).

Bottom line:  of all the things we did, Granville Island and Lonsdale Quay Market were totally missable.

Raindrop on the Seawall...make time for this walk at sunset on your two-day Vancouver itinerary

You might also like:  My Fave Korean Face Sunscreens & Moisturizers for Travel

Our awesome concierge came through for us again and recommended dinner at Cardero’s, a restaurant on the Seawall.  We headed out and got sidetracked by the beautiful sunset on the water.  We watched the seaplanes take off for forever, watched the clouds float by and reflect on the water.  It was incredibly peaceful, and one of my favorite moments of the whole trip.

A Vancouver trip isn't complete without some seaplanes!

Unfortunately my friend started feeling really sick, so instead of dinner we headed back to the hotel, ordered delivery Chinese, and watched the tail-end of Pitch Perfect.  Which is totally up my alley, so I’m not complaining!

Day 2:  Mother Nature

We made sure to get out of the hotel extra early so we could walk over to Thierry, the amazeballs French pastisserie we discovered the first morning on our drive to Whistler.  This was my first almond croissant experience, and it basically changed my life.  Seriously, if you’re in Vancouver, go.  Run, don’t walk!

Thierry French patisserie - Vancouver itinerary recommendations

If this 3-day weekend is your jam, try:  A Perfect 3 Days in Willamette Valley & Portland

Then we headed back to the convention center on the Seawall, where we caught the free public shuttle to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.  It was about a 20-30 minute drive to the park, and our bus-driver-slash-tour-guide Norman (and adorable elderly Jewish man rocking a yarmulke) kept us entertained with jokes, history, and interesting tidbits about current-day Vancouver.  He was awesome!

Vancouver in 2 days...Treetop Adventure at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park!

Get to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park as soon as it opens for the best chance at great pictures!

You might also like:  20+ Tips to Make Long Flights Better

We made sure to catch the very first shuttle of the morning so we could get to the park pretty much as soon as it opened and try to get some pictures on the large suspension bridge without hordes of people.  We had mixed results, but some patience after the first rush finally paid off (the pic at the top of this article is my favorite).

Tips for two days in Vancouver...including a visit to the awesome Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Follow One Girl, Whole World on Pinterest for more travel tips & inspiration!

It was a gorgeous morning, quite warm (this was late August), and after doing the bridge we did the Treetop Adventure and the Cliffwalk, and ended up watching an adorable baby owl named Radar for a while (and a falcon named Tucson).  Radar was insanely adorable.

While it’s certainly touristy (no question), we totally felt like Capilano was worth the time and money–as long as the weather is nice.  It wouldn’t be nearly as great of an experience if the weather isn’t cooperating.

Any Vancouver itinerary has to include Stanley Park! Other tips for a weekend in this cool city...

You might also like:  The Only Carry-On Suitcase You’ll Need

The bus back from Capilano makes a few drop-offs, and so we decided to hop off at Stanley Park.  I was uncomfortably warm in my skinny jeans at this point, but we walked around for an hour or so, including the rose garden.  We weren’t doing anything specifically, just enjoying the glorious weather and beautiful views.

Great food and drink on a gorgeous day at the Seawall - Vancouver in 2 days

As we walked back toward our hotel (I was DYING to change into a sundress), we happened upon Cardero’s–our intended dinner destination the night before.  We decided it was worth a delay in changing clothes, and parked ourselves on the shaded patio.  While we waited for our food, I sipped chilled white wine and watched the boats bob in the harbor.  My salmon burger and seasoned fries were hot, fresh, and super yummy.  The beer list was impressive too, and the service left nothing to be desired.  Highly recommend this gem!

Walking the Seawall in Vancouver...even a 2-day trip has to make time for this area!

things to do in vancouver

You might also like:  10 Places I’m Dying to Visit in 2020

The Seawall walk back to the hotel was gorgeous, with seaplanes taking off constantly and bicyclists zooming around us.

Tips for planning a perfect weekend in Vancouver...where to go, what to see, where to eat! Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

You will never run out of breweries, wine flights, and great food in Vancouver

With a couple hours left to kill before heading to the airport, we decided to catch the ferry over to Lonsdale Quay Market.  While the market itself was ho-hum and very small, we enjoyed the view from the ferry and walking around outside looking back toward Vancouver.  My only complaint is that I wish you could be outside for the ferry–it was a beautiful day and it would have been amazing.

All-in-all, my two days in Vancouver were amazing and I can’t wait to visit this stunning city again!

Things to do with two days in Vancouver

Day 1:

Day 2:

  • Thierry – 1059 Alberni St. in downtown; AMAZING French pastries (also chocolate & macarons if that’s your thing)
  • Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – you can catch a free shuttle in a few areas in downtown
  • Stanley Park
  • Cardero – 1583 Coal Harbour Quay; on the Seawall, awesome view, great food, amazing beer list
  • Lonsdale Quay Market – you can catch the ferry at Waterfront Station

What did I miss?  Favorite places, must-see sight, best food??  Let me know in the comments!

Other weekend itineraries to consider:

Pin for later!

Things to do in Vancouver with only 2 Days--itinerary tips for the best weekend

48 Hours in Vancouver, British Columbia...tips on what to see, eat, drink, and skip

Comments (6)

  • A Perfect Long Weekend in Vancouver & Whistler | One Girl, Whole World

    June 16, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    […] 2:  back to Vancouver, explore the food/drink […]

  • 10 Things To Do In Asheville: An Epic Weekend | One Girl, Whole World

    April 28, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    […] Eating & Drinking Our Way Through Vancouver: A Weekend Itinerary […]

  • Erin McGann

    March 24, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    Good job, you sure covered a lot in your short trip! I grew up at least partially in Vancouver (quite near the Capilano Suspension Bridge actually). I ended up at Belgard Kitchen quite a bit to meet with friends, it’s a great spot. Next time you go, I’d definitely recommend heading up into Mount Pleasant along Main Street, it’s a craft beer zone for sure. There are a few brewery tours that will take you around, or a bike one if you’re feeling energetic! If it’s warm, head down to the intersection of Denman and Davie Streets, there are loads of restaurants, and a beautiful beach there to kick off your shoes and wade in the surf. Unfortunately, the cloudy days are a bit of a standard situation in Vancouver!

    1. Jessica

      March 24, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      Ooh, definitely taking note–I’d love to plan a return trip! We really wanted to get over to the beach, get to more breweries, and also get out to Victoria. It’s such a gorgeous part of the country that I have a feeling a few more trips are in order 🙂 Thank you for the recos!

  • A First-Timer's Guide to What to Do In Portland | One Girl, Whole World

    December 8, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    […] You might also like:  What To Do With 48 Hours in Vancouver […]

  • Sea-to-Sky Highway Route: Vancouver to Whistler & Joffre Lakes | One Girl, Whole World

    December 18, 2016 at 11:15 am

    […] Highway route and night in the Whistler area was beautiful, and a perfect complement to our weekend sampling the best Vancouver had to offer.  Even though it was only about 24 hours total, we didn’t feel rushed or cheated, and […]

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Prev Post

Iguazu falls and rainbows

How to Plan the Best Trip to Argentina's Iguazu Falls

November 13, 2016

Next Post

One of the best views in northern Croatia is from Motovun's medieval town walls | What to do in Croatia, how to visit the hill towns of Istria #croatia #istria #hilltowns

Exploring the Hill Towns of Northern Croatia

November 23, 2016