Vancouver Itinerary in 4 Days – Natural Beauty and Great Fun!

Learn how to spend the best 4 days in Vancouver!

A Vancouver itinerary of 4 days can be the best 4 days of your vacation!  Vancouver, British Columbia is one of best travel destinations in the world!  Not only is it chock-full of breathtaking mountains and gorgeous ocean views, it is also an exciting city to explore. 

As a visitor to Vancouver, you’re probably wondering how long it will take to see the highlights.  You’ll want to really get a feel for the city.  As a native Vancouverite, I can say with certainty that 4 days is the ideal amount of time!

But wait….

Don’t worry if you’re in Vancouver for longer than 4 days!  There’s more than enough to see and do around Vancouver to keep you occupied for weeks!  But, if you’ve only got 4 days or so, this is your ideal itinerary to maximize your time in this beautiful city!

Do you need information about where to stay in Vancouver?  Check out this comprehensive guide to the best hotels at each price point in different areas of the city.

Disclosure:  Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you for support – it means a lot!

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Day 1 of 4 Days in Vancouver

It’s your first day in beautiful Vancouver!  It might feel a little overwhelming at first and you might feel that you don’t know where to begin.  That’s why the first thing I recommend that you do in Vancouver is to take a Hop On, Hop Off bus tour.

A Hop On Hop Off bus tour is the perfect way to begin our 4 day Vancouver itinerary!  It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with the city.  You’ll become a little bit streetwise and learn the layout of the city.  It will be good to get your bearings and get an excellent overview of what Vancouver has to offer.

Great Flexibility

Hop On Hop Off Bus tours are a really flexible way to see Vancouver.  If you see something you really want to spend more time at, you can hop off and do exactly that!  When you’re ready to see something else, there will be another Hop On Hop Off bus coming by soon!  You’ll be back on your way to the next beautiful sight. 

 

Lion's Gate Bridge - part of your Vancouver itinerary 4 days
Vancouver’s spectacular Lions Gate Bridge

The Vancouver Hop on Hop Off bus is a vintage clear-top or a heritage San Francisco-type Trolley.  There are 3 different routes you can choose from which highlight the best of Vancouver’s major attractions and points of interest.

Hop On Hop Off Bus tours are really affordable too!  They are a great way to see Vancouver’s highlights for a lot less than what you might pay otherwise.  Hop On Hop Off tours are a great way to spend day 1 of your Vancouver itinerary in 4 days!

Pro tip:  Bring a light jacket and wear good walking shoes on your tour.  

Don’t Miss Vancouver’s Chinatown during 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

One of my favourite stops on the Vancouver Hop On Hop Off tour is definitely Chinatown.  Vancouver has one of the oldest Chinatowns in North America, with buildings dating back to the 1880’s  Vancouver was settled in the late 19th century by Asian immigrants from Asia coming to work on Canadian railroads.  The Wing Sang Building is one of the oldest buildings in Chinatown, built in 1889.  Vancouver’s Chinatown is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada.

When you Hop Off in Vancouver’s Chinatown, don’t miss the China Gate on Pender Street.  It was donated to the City of Vancouver by the government of the People’s Republic of China following the Expo ’86 World’s Fair in Vancouver.

Chinatown is also a great place to stop for lunch!  There are many amazing Asian restaurants in Chinatown.  Try Sai Woo on Pender Street or Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie on Keefer Street.

Book your Hop On Hop Off tour here.

Day 2 of Vancouver Itinerary in 4 days

Now that you’ve got a good sense of what Vancouver is all about, it’s time to dig a little deeper into Vancouver’s major attractions!

Morning – Stanley Park

Following your delicious breakfast, you might want to take a walk to begin exploring this beautiful city on foot.  There’s no better place to start than Stanley Park.

Stanley Park is a gigantic park in the middle of Vancouver.   At 405 hectares, it’s one of largest city parks in the world!  Almost entirely surrounded by water, the park is an oasis in the middle of the city.  There is a seawall loop that circumnavigates the park.  If you’re feeling energetic (or maybe you over-indulged at breakfast?) you can take in the beautiful 9 kilometre walk and enjoy all of the gorgeous Vancouver scenery.  The seawall is divided into two sections:  one for walkers or runners and one for cyclists and skaters.

Stanley Park Features

There are also many trails within Stanley Park featuring wide, bark-mulched paths.  Many of the paths were previously used as “skid rows”, where loggers pulled the trees they felled to the nearest sawmill.  There are also old monument trees along some of the trails, specifically Siwash Rock Trail, Third Beach Trail and north of the Beaver Lake on Lake Trail.

 

 

There’s a great Pitch ‘n Putt golf course in Stanley Park, picnic areas, tennis courts, playgrounds, water parks in summer, a large outdoor pool, several beaches and so much more!

One of things I love about Stanley Park is the First Nations art and totem poles.  Carved out of red cedar, the totem poles welcome visitors to the traditional lands of the Coast Salish people. There are 9 totem poles at Brockton Point.  They are the most visited tourist attraction in British Columbia!  The totem poles were first installed in the park in the 1920’s and the poles that can be seen today are modern replicas of the original poles.  The original totem poles have been sent to various museums for for preservation.

 

Totem poles in Stanley Park - part of your 4 day Vancouver itinerary
Totem Poles in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Where to Eat in Stanley Park

Finish off your time in Stanley Park with lunch at one of the great eateries in the park.  You’ll want to make sure that your Vancouver itinerary in 4 days includes some great meals, too!

Prospect Point Bar & Grill is a popular choice in the park and it has a great gift shop too.  The views from the cafe are amazing and the food is pretty good too!  It was just reopened in April 2019 and is freshly renovated.

Other choices in the park include Stanley’s Bar & Grill, located in the Stanley Park Pavilion near Malkin Bowl.  This is a great choice if you’re lucky enough to get tickets to Theatre Under the Stars (shows in July and August).  The Teahouse Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a Vancouver sunset, and is a great choice if you’re looking for a beautiful atmosphere and amazing views.

There are also concession stands throughout the park where you can get a quick snack or a coffee on the go.

Other Options for Enjoying Stanley Park

A really fun option for exploring Stanley Park is to take a horse-drawn tour of the park.  It’s just an hour long, but it’s such a charming tour!  There’s a great guide who will tell you all about the history of the Park and you’ll get to see the Rose Garden, the Girl in a Wetsuit statue (she’s not a mermaid, contrary to popular opinion!), and the gorgeous Lions Gate Bridge.  There’s lots of great photo opportunities on this tour too!

Book your horse drawn tour of Stanley Park here.

If you’re more athletically inclined, you can take in Stanley Park via bike on this great bike tour!  This is a 3-hour guided tour.  You’ll cruise by Lost Lagoon, see the beautiful Totem Poles at Brockton Point and learn more about the First Nations of the area and learn about Vancouver’s origins as a logging town.  A professional guide and a well-maintained bike is included!  If you’d rather use an electric bike for the tour, those are available too (I love e-bikes 😉

Book your Stanley Park bike tour here

Afternoon – Gastronomic Gastown Walking Tour

After your vigourous morning in Stanley Park get ready for a completely different experience in the afternoon!

Gastown is a lively and bustling area of downtown Vancouver, known for its Steam Clock and interesting mix of souvenir shops, Victorian buildings, cobbled streets and hipster vibe.  It is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood, named for “Gassy Jack” Deighton, who established a tavern here in 1867.

 

Gastown Steam Clock - what you'll see in your 4 days in Vancouver
Vancouver’s iconic Steam Clock in Gastown

Gastown is now the heart of Vancouver’s famous foodie scene.  This tour is not-to-be-missed!  You’ll see all of the charm of Gastown, together with an excellent sampling from some of the best restaurants in town.  Learn about the neighbourhood from a very informative guide while you sample some classic Canadian foods and some excellent Canadian wine.

This tour is 3 hours long and you’ll spend most of your time sampling culinary delights, starting with appetizers and finishing up with something sweet for dessert.  You’ll also receive a guide at the end of the tour with discounts to some local restaurants!

Book your Gastown Gastronomic walking tour here.

If you need recommendations for some great places to eat in Vancouver, check out my picks here.  

Day 3 – Vancouver Itinerary in 4 days

After breakfast, take the Aquabus over to Granville Island Public Market.  Taking the Aquabus is a local favourite and is one of the great non-touristy things to do in Vancouver!  You can catch the rainbow-coloured Aquabus at a number of different docks in downtown Vancouver and it will take you directly over to Granville Island.

 

 

It’s hard to describe Granville Island in just a few words!  As described on Granville Island’s website, the Public Market is the jewel in Granville Island’s crown.  The indoor market has an amazing assortment of food and produce stalls with many handcrafted products and unique gifts.  From fresh fish to local produce, to gourmet cheese and mouth-watering baked goods, you’ll see and smell it all at the Public Market.

 

Delicious Produce at Granville Island Public Market
Delicious produce at Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island is also home to many artisans who work on site and within view of the public.  You can see basket-makers, broom-makers, candle-stick makers, First Nations crafts people, fine-art painters, bead-makers and workers, blacksmiths, goldsmiths, sculptors, a circus, specialty kids stores, sail-makers and boat builders!  I don’t even think I’m listing them all!

Pro tip: most small retailers on Granville Island take credit cards so you don’t have to carry cash.

Granville Island is also home to a wide variety of great restaurants for both lunch and dinner.  My favourite is Bridges Bistro with great indoor and patio seating as well as Edible Canada.  There are plenty of fast-serve restaurants and coffee bars as well.

Granville Island is open from 9am to 7pm daily so you’ll have plenty of time to take everything in.

If you’d prefer a guided tour of Granville Island, there’s a great one available that will take approximately 2 hours.  You’ll get the opportunity to taste some amazing cheese and wine as well as charcuterie and sweets!  The guide will tell you all about the history of Granville Island  and will show you the spots that the locals love best.  This tour is limited to small groups so you’ll get lots of personalized attention.

Book your Granville Island walking tour here.

Afternoon – Day 3

Take the Aquabus back to downtown from Granville Island and make your way to the Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest in Western Canada and is housed in the beautiful former provincial Courthouse in downtown Vancouver.  The steps of the Art Gallery is a regular gathering spot for protests and demonstrations.  It’s also a popular meeting spot for Vancouverites and a favourite place to downtown picnic on a sunny summer day!  No Vancouver itinerary in 4 days is complete without a trip to the Vancouver Art Gallery!

Great Variety at Vancouver Art Gallery

There are frequent touring exhibitions at the Vancouver Art Gallery, with the latest being an exhibit of French Modernists – Monet to Matisse.

The Gallery has a very impressive collection of Emily Carr works as well as a significant collection of photographs. The Vancouver Art Gallery also has an important collection of Indigenous art from the Vancouver region including model poles, masks, frontlets, feast dishes and hats.  Modern first nations artists are also represented the Gallery’s collection including Bill Reid and Robert Davidson.

There’s an excellent restaurant in the Gallery, the Gallery Cafe.  You’ll feel well satisfied with your cultural and art education after spending an afternoon at the Vancouver Art Gallery :-).

Day 4 of 4 Day Vancouver Itinerary

Your 4th day in beautiful Vancouver is the day to take in some of the breathtaking natural scenery Vancouver is famous for!

There are some options for your sightseeing.  You can rent a car from many of the car rental dealers downtown and make your own way to these sights.  However, if you’re unfamiliar with Vancouver and concerned about parking and directions (parking can sadly be in short supply!), my suggestion is to take advantage of one of the great tours available.

Breathtaking Scenery for a 4 Day Vancouver Itinerary

My favourite is the tour that takes in both Grouse Mountain and the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – two star attractions for the price of one. 🙂  This tour is a very good price too given that it includes your transportation, an expert local guide, and your entry and admission fees to both attractions.

Pro tip:  If you decide to drive yourself to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, go quite early: parking is very limited!

You’ll be picked up from your hotel downtown and taken over the beautiful Lions Gate Bridge to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. 

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is an amazing place with both a 460 (!) foot long suspension bridge and access to Tree Tops Adventures.  Tree Tops Adventures is a series of 7 suspension bridges attached to ancient Douglas Fir trees.  You’ll get to walk among these 250 year old trees on a guided nature tour in a unique rainforest setting.  It truly is an exceptional experience and really completes your Vancouver itinerary in 4 days.

There’s also other things to do at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.  My favourites are Cliffwalk, a story centre, Raptors Ridge (where you can see a live raptor show!) and places to eat and drink.

 

Capilano Suspension Bridge - Vancouver Itinerary in 4 days
Capilano Suspension Bridge

Next stop will be Grouse Mountain, the peak of Vancouver.  Your tour fee includes a ride up Grouse Mountain in a gondola to the very top, where you will see the most amazing views of  Vancouver. 

Grouse Mountain has many activities available including mountain ropes adventure, visiting with the resident grizzly bears (no, I’m not even kidding.  There really are resident grizzly bears!) , ziplines, restaurants and more.

 

Grouse Mountain Sky Ride
Grouse Mountain Sky Ride

Book your Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Grouse Mountain tour here.

I hope you really enjoy your visit to Vancouver!  If you can stay for a few more days, check out the spectacular Sea to Sky Highway roadtrip, where you can experience even more of beautiful British Columbia!

Interested in going on a guided tour to Banff National Park?  See all the details here!  If you’re interested in driving from Vancouver to Banff, I’ve got all the information you need to plan your trip here.  A backpack on wheels is the perfect way to pack your bags for your trip to Vancouver.  This comprehensive guide will help you choose the right one for you.

What are your favourite things to see and do in Vancouver?

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44 thoughts on “Vancouver Itinerary in 4 Days – Natural Beauty and Great Fun!

  1. I have always wanted to visit Vancouver Canada it looks so amazing. I can’t believe all the things that you can do. I didn’t realise they have a Chinatown which would be right at the top of my places to visit first

    1. Thanks for your comment, Mel 🙂 Chinatown is a great place to spend time in Vancouver – lots of historical buildings and great restaurants. I hope you get to visit soon!

  2. It’s been a while since I visited Vancouver but I’ve done a bunch of the things on your itinerary, lots of fun! Still have to walk the suspension bridge – always a line up, will have to plan for that next time 🙂

    1. That suspension bridge is a busy place for sure! But, it’s well worth the trip because it’s a totally spectacular place. Thanks for your comment!

  3. In my mind, Vancouver would always looked like a snow laden world. I am so happy to see a free flowing river. I also vaguely remember the mystic forest land outskirt-ing the town, which I would personally love to check out! Someday !

    1. Vancouver is definitely not a snow laden world, even in the winter! We do get a bit of snow, but not very much ;-). I hope you get to visit Vancouver soon!

  4. Great guide! I love Canada so much. I think I could spend a whole day in Stanley Park alone…and that suspension bridge!! Thanks for the local tips as well.

  5. I think it would be perfect itinerary for long weekend to spend in Vancouver. It is always better to explore some nature along with man made things of a particular place. Thanks for sharing.👍

  6. The Stanley Park seawall walk looks magnificent – that would be such a great 9km of pleasure with so much to see too. I wish I wasn’t so scared of heights or I’d love to walk the treetop pathways too, but I guess I could always visit with the grizzlies instead. Thanks for such a vibrant introduction to the city.

  7. This is a great starter itinerary for anyone visiting Vancouver for the first time. We’ve never been but would love to visit the city either before or after visiting some of the national parks as we’ve always heard great things about the city!

  8. I have always wanted to visit Vancouver and experience the natural beauty and culture of the city. Stanley Park, Gastown, and the public market were on the top of my list. You made my life easier by giving me this itinerary. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Vancouver is at the top of our bucket list! Looks like you can see a lot in four days but I’d love to be able to stay longer so we could do some day trips as well!

  10. Great tips for first timers to Vancouver. I think my faorite part of my trip to Vancouver was Grandville Island. I did not get to the Grouse Mountain Sky Ride. That is on my list for next time.

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