You’ve made a great choice deciding on Vancouver for your next getaway – but how many days do you need to visit Vancouver on your trip?
Allow me (and my Vancouver tourist guide) to walk you through a few quick itineraries to help you understand my city better.
Let’s break down how many days you need to explore Vancouver, shall we?
How Many Days to Visit Vancouver?
One Day: Checking Off the Basics
Vancouver owes its beauty to the mountains to the north and the sea to the west.
This means the city is hemmed in by nature, meaning it’s much denser than most North American cities.
That’s why in one day, you can grab a hotel in downtown Vancouver and get right down to tourist basics:
- Taking a walk through the historic Gastown district or Chinatown
- Walking the Vancouver Seawall down to epic Stanley Park
- Getting an aerial look at the city from the Vancouver Lookout
- Taking in one or two local museums like the Vancouver Art Gallery or Bill Reid Gallery
- Grabbing dinner at some of Vancouver’s best restaurants in the Yaletown district
- Cramming everything into a few hours using the Vancouver Hop on Hop Off Bus
Of course, is this enough time to visit Vancouver? Only you can tell me by reading on.
Related: Best Vancouver Sightseeing Tours
Two or Three Days: A Real Feel for the City
When people ask me how many days you need in Vancouver, I always want them to get a good feel for the city, not just grab a few Instagram shots of the Gastown Steamclock.
Here’s the rub: many of Vancouver’s top attractions are outside the downtown core.
In staying for two or three days, you can weave in some of Vancouver’s picture postcard attractions like:
- Capilano Suspension Bridge (North Vancouver): Vancouver’s old-growth forest theme park, if you can call it that.
- Vancouver whale watching (Steveston): Who doesn’t want to see killer whales and humpback whales?
- Museum of Anthropology (UBC): Perhaps the greatest collection of local aboriginal art and world artifacts in the country
- Granville Island (South Granville): The city’s top food market is a treasure trove of local delicacies and artisan products
Of course, if you’re booking more than one night at Vancouver’s best hotels, you’re also making it easier to go out on the town.
But is this enough? You tell me! ?
Related: Best Walking Tours in Vancouver
Four or Five Days: A Handshake with Vancouver Nature
I’ll be honest: if you know anything about Vancouver weather, you’ll know it rains a ton, and it’s hard to get out there and do stuff.
That’s why this particular answer to how many days you should spend in Vancouver should usually only be done in Vancouver in summer.
That way, you can take advantage of some of the lazier outdoor activities on offer:
- Grouse Mountain: Vancouver’s outdoor playground offers hiking, ziplining, skiing, patio drinking, and even grizzly bears
- Vancouver’s best beaches: Getting a little BBQ and spending a full day on the beach is our favourite past time
- Queen Elizabeth Park (Little Mountain): The highest point in the city has an amazing indoor greenhouse with parrots
- Vandusen Gardens (Oak Street): One of the best botanical gardens in the country.
Loved it so much that you need even more time? Let’s continue.
Related: Vancouver 4-Day Itinerary Planner
Six to Ten Days: Honorary Local Mode
OK, so you’re almost overstaying your welcome here, are you not? Even London or New York could have a hard time entertaining you this long.
That’s why I’m suggesting staying this long if you’re in love with the concept of British Columbia travel.
Like, the postcards with the forest and the ocean and the bears.
If you’re visiting this long, you’re going to need more days in Vancouver to branch out to some other local gems:
- Whistler: North America’s greatest ski resort is a gem in winter or summer
- Victoria: BC’s capital city is a gorgeous mix of culture and nature with some colonial charm thrown in
- Squamish: This is an outdoor lover’s paradise and a great place for climbing, rafting, fishing, and more
- Sea to Sky Gondola: There’s no better way to explore BC’s old-growth forest mountains than up here
Once you’ve polished off all of these, come see me! I’ll be ready to stamp your Vancouver passport ?
Related: Best Day Trips from Vancouver
How Many Days to Visit Vancouver FAQs
How many days do you need to visit Vancouver properly?
A proper visit to Vancouver should take three or four days. This involves getting a hotel in the downtown core and spending one-day exploring areas like Gastown, Yaletown, and Stanley Park. On additional days you’d go to areas outside downtown, including the beach, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain, and others. You could even fit in a day trip to Whistler or Victoria.
Related: Stanley Park Guided Tours
How many days in Vancouver is enough?
Honestly, if you’re just coming to soak in some city sights without getting too deep into nature it’s possible to spend only two days in Vancouver. The downtown core is quite compact, and many of the major sites are close together, within walking distance, or reachable by bus or shuttle.
How many days in Vancouver before a cruise?
If you’re eventually heading to the Vancouver Cruise Terminal to set off on another adventure, you’ll probably get a lot of coastal fjord scenery on your cruise – so the more natural attractions of Vancouver could be skipped. For this reason, one or two days should be enough for cruisers looking to discover the city before departing.
Related: What is Vancouver Famous For?
Sorted out How Many Days to Visit Vancouver Properly?
Feel free to mix and match the suggestions above.
I am just trying to show you how many days you’ll need to explore Vancouver with these main attractions in mind.
Of course, if you’re stuck, don’t hesitate to write me, and I’ll get back with custom advice.
And if you’re coming, we’d really appreciate the bookmark because we’ve got everything you’ll need here on how many days to visit Vancouver!