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people taking pictures of the totem poles in stanley park vancouver bc

3 Days in Vancouver: Plan the Perfect 3 Day Itinerary

A 3 day Vancouver itinerary can really capture the essence of the city, but you’ve gotta come prepared.

That’s where I come in – ready to guide you through planning your three days in Vancouver.

I’ll not only suggest what to do in Vancouver in three days, but also share my local insights on how to live the city like a local.

Let’s go!

How I Planned This Vancouver 3 Day Itinerary

I was born and raised in Vancouver and have been looking for fun in my city for decades.

That’s why I’ve crafted this three day Vancouver itinerary – to showcase the Vancouver’s top attractions while also giving you a taste of local life.

Indeed, whether you’re looking for adventure in the great outdoors, a deep dive into cultural landmarks, or simply want to enjoy some of the best Vancouver food – I’ve got you covered!

☄️ Need custom advice on how to spend 3 days in Vancouver? Join our Vancouver Vacation Help Facebook group – you can ask any question you want and we’ll respond with custom advice – for free!

So, what can you expect in my suggestions for three days in Vancouver?

2-3 major attractions each day, a visit to a unique Vancouver neighbourhood, and your lunch and dinners planned – with nightcap ideas!

I’m also clustering together these sights to allow for the least amount of travel hassle possible.

Let’s go!

3 Days in Vancouver: Day 1 – City Icons & History

Canada Geese in Stanley Park: 3 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Morning: Stanley Park

I’m gonna start this 3 day itinerary strong: visiting Stanley Park is like stepping into a living, breathing postcard of Vancouver.

As one of the largest urban parks in North America, its vast 400 hectares are a magnificent green oasis that borders downtown Vancouver, offering breathtaking views of the water and city skyline.

The Vancouver Seawall, a scenic 8.8-kilometer pathway that encircles the park, is the perfect spot for cycling, jogging, or leisurely walks.

Inside the park, the towering totem poles stand as a vivid reminder of the area’s First Nations heritage, each pole telling stories through its intricate carvings.

➡️ Tip: Along the Seawall, keep going past the Lions Gate Bridge to see Siwash Rock – one of Vancouver’s most spectacular natural sights.

candied salmon sticks at longliner seafoods at granville island vancouver
Sockeye salmon jerky at Longliner Seafoods: 3 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Lunch: Granville Island

I can’t resist the charm of Granville Island. It’s a hub of culture, food, and art that truly reflects the vibrant spirit of Vancouver.

Historically, it transformed from an industrial area to the bustling marketplace it is today, where local artisans, performers, and chefs share their talents.

The Public Market is a feast for the senses, offering everything from fresh produce to gourmet foods. The surrounding galleries and theaters provide a deep dive into local culture.

This place is a must-visit for anyone who loves to explore the heart and soul of a city.

➡️ Tip: Grab candied salmon at Longliner Seafoods or donuts at Lee’s Donuts for five star local treats.

a pod of killer whales breaching outside of tofino british columbia
Instagram: @tofinowhalecentre

Afternoon: Whale Watching

Departing right from Granville Island, you’ll barely need to move a muscle to board your Vancouver whale watching trip.

Here, just outside the harbour, our sea becomes a stage for the awe-inspiring dance of orcas, humpbacks, and gray whales in their natural habitat.

With the backdrop of the stunning British Columbia coastline, each expedition promises not just sightings but a profound connection with nature – this is great if you’re visiting Vancouver with kids.

Book the 2:30 pm spot – though you just just as easily swap this with Stanley Park and go at 9:00 am.

➡️ Tip: Book your whale tickets in advance as these low-capacity boats sell out easily in high season.

a gold bracelet at the bill reid gallery vancouver bc
Bill Reid Gold Bracelet: 3 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Afternoon: Local Museums

Not feeling the whales? Let’s lock in some local culture at some of Vancouver’s best museums.

The Bill Reid Gallery holds a special place in my heart for its dedication to showcasing Indigenous art and culture, with a focus on the extraordinary works of Haida artist Bill Reid.

His iconic sculpture, “The Spirit of Haida Gwaii,” is a masterpiece that tells stories of the Haida people through its intricate design.

Similarly, the Vancouver Art Gallery offers an impressive collection of works by local and international artists, housed in a stunning classical building.

➡️ Tip: Step out of the Bill Reid Museum and look up! The Hotel Vancouver is perhaps Vancouver’s most famous building.

a burger with bacon and fried onions in gastown vancouver bc canada
Gastown Burgers: 3 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Dinner: Gastown

It wouldn’t be a 3 day itinerary of Vancouver without Gastown – a neighbourhood that beautifully marries the old and the new.

The area’s heritage buildings, now housing some of the city’s most innovative and acclaimed restaurants, create an ambiance that’s both rustic and refined.

From cozy cafes hidden in alleyways to award-winning restaurants known for their inventive menus, Gastown invites you to indulge in culinary adventures that span global cuisines.

The best restaurants in Gastown for my money are St. Lawrence (modern Quebecois) and Pidgin (Asian fusion).

Nightcap: Clough Club (cocktails) or Guilt and Company (live music).

➡️ Tip: Looking for something more casual? Nearby Kita No Donburi is my best value Vancouver restaurant.

3 Day Vancouver Itinerary: Day 2 – Natural Wonders and Elite Dining

Grouse Mountain Gondola: 3 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Morning: Grouse Mountain

For breathtaking views and outdoor adventure, Grouse Mountain is unparalleled.

Known as “The Peak of Vancouver,” it’s not just the place I learned to snowboard – it offers activities year-round, from skiing and snowboarding in winter to hiking and zip-lining in summer.

You can also go ice-skating, have breakfast with grizzly bears, see lumberjack shows, have a drink on a patio with the best view in the city – and about 50 other things!

➡️ Tip: You can hike up this mountain using the Grouse Grind – it’s a fairly steep mid-high difficulty hike and a must do for fitness lovers!

a man looking over the side of capilano suspension bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge: 3 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Afternoon: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

I love the outdoors, but I also love unique experiences – and that’s why Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is mandatory for any three day itinerary of Vancouver.

capilano suspension bridge and grouse mountain tour banner for 2024

Originally built in 1889, the bridge spans 137 meters across and 70 meters above the Capilano River.

Walking across it is a thrill, and the park’s Treetops Adventure and Cliffwalk offer unique perspectives on the region’s lush rainforest – this is one of the best outdoor activities in Vancouver.

It’s a place where adventure meets history, and I always feel a rush of excitement stepping onto the bridge.

➡️ Tip: Planning an itinerary on a budget? The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is one of the best cheap things to do in Vancouver – because it’s free!

a waitress serving a prawn and mushroom appetizer at cioppinos vancouver bc canada
Instagram: @cioppinosyaletown

Dinner: Yaletown

Eating out in Yaletown is something I do when I want to splash out a bit – not just for the exceptional food in the area, but for the atmosphere that surrounds it.

Once the heart of Vancouver’s industrial district, Yaletown has been transformed into one of the city’s most stylish neighborhoods, blending its historical heritage with modern sophistication.

The area’s refurbished warehouses, now home to trendy eateries, craft booze places, boutiques, and galleries, reflect its unique character.

Try Cioppino’s (Pacific-inspired Italian) or Blue Water Cafe (local seafood).

Nightcap: Parq Casino (gambling + drinks!) or Bartholomew (wine + charcuterie).

➡️ Tip: Don’t be ashamed to save money by heading up to the Granville Strip instead – El Furniture Warehouse has 30+ food items at $10.00 or less.

3 Days in Vancouver: Day 3 – Living Like a Local + Learning History

a visitor looking at coastal first nations artwork at the museum of anthropology at ubc in vancouver bc canada
Courtesy: Museum of Anthropology

Morning: Museum of Anthropology

Located at the University of British Columbia, the Museum of Anthropology is a window into the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world, with a particular focus on the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest.

The museum’s stunning architecture, designed by Arthur Erickson, and its significant collection, including totem poles and the works of Bill Reid, make it a profound cultural experience.

It’s a place of learning and inspiration that deepens my appreciation for the diversity and richness of indigenous cultures.

➡️ Tip: In summer, this museum is just steps from Vancouver’s famous nude beach: Wreck Beach.

sockeye salmon sushi at a sushi restaurant in vancouver bc canada
Sockeye salmon sushi tray in Vancouver: 3 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Lunch: Sushi, Anywhere

Vancouver’s sushi scene is a culinary revelation, marrying the Pacific’s freshest catches with innovative, multicultural twists.

The city’s unique position and vibrant Japanese community have cultivated a sushi experience that’s both authentically traditional and daringly modern.

Personally, I eat sushi at least twice a week – whether it’s combo menus at neighbourhood utility sushi spots or high end sushi.

Suggestions: Tom Sushi (elite level quality and reasonable prices) or Miku (Canada’s first aburi spot).

➡️ Tip: Make sure to ask for the local sockeye (“SOCK-eye”) salmon or they’ll serve you that cheaper farmed crap! Our local red salmon is the best in the world, hands down.

A shot from inside the Arc’teryx store in Kitsilano
Instagram: @arcyteryx.vancouver

Afternoon: Exploring Kitsilano

Kitsilano, or “Kits” as we locals call it, with its laid-back vibe and beautiful beaches, is the epitome of West Coast lifestyle.

It’s not just the sandy shores or the stunning views of the mountains and skyline that draw me in; it’s also the area’s rich history as a hub for the 1960s counterculture.

vancouver whale tour banner

Today, Kitsilano as one of the best Vancouver shopping areas: with vibrant dining scene and trendy boutiques + the famous Kitsilano Beach, perfect for a day of relaxation or volleyball games.

The neighborhood’s heritage and community feel make it a must-see.

➡️ Tip: In summer, bring along your trunks and head down to Kits Pool – which is the largest saltwater swimming pool in North America (delayed 2024 opening, probably in June).

Instagram: @viateverepizza

Dinner: Commercial Drive

Affectionately known as “The Drive,” this area is the heart of Vancouver’s multicultural community.

Walking down Commercial Drive is like taking a trip around the world, with its array of international cuisines, unique shops, and lively Vancouver festivals.

Its history as a settlement area for Italian and Portuguese immigrants has left a lasting legacy, making it a vibrant, eclectic neighborhood.

This is home to some of the best restaurants in Vancouver: my favourite restaurants on Commercial Drive are Soprasotto (Neapolitan pizza) and Sula (traditional Indian).

Nightcap: Bar Corso (Italian amari) or Charlatan (neighbourhood beer spot).

➡️ Tip: Not feeling Italian? Head to Main Street for Vancouver’s best beer bars + epic eats like East is East (Afghani).

3 Days Vancouver Itinerary: Alternatives

Ok, so this is how I’d do it but maybe you’re missing something – or you want to add more time!

Check out my other itineraries that could be of use:

What to Do in Vancouver for 3 Days FAQ

Is 3 days in Vancouver enough?

Three days is perfect for hitting the highlights of Vancouver, including its major attractions, some outdoor activities, and exploring the diverse food scene.

What to see in Vancouver in 3 days?

For three days in Vancouver you should see Stanley Park, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain, Granville Island, and cultural spots like the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Anthropology.

How much spending money for 3 days in Vancouver?

Expect to spend around $600 for 3 days in Vancouver including meals, drinks, attractions, and transport.

What is the must-see in Vancouver in 3 days?

The must-sees in Vancouver in 3 days are Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, whale watching, the Museum of Anthropology, and Granville Island.

Still Need Help Planning a Vancouver BC 3 Day Itinerary?

That’s Vancouver in 3 days covered – but it doesn’t have to end there.

If you’re still looking for things to round out your 3 day itinerary don’t be shy!

I’m here in the comments below if you need any help.

Sorry! A quick one: We’re just two brothers trying to compete with Tripadvisor, so some links here may be affiliate links. This means that, at no extra cost to you, we may earn a commission. The revenue keeps our site ad-free and gets us closer to our dream of doing this for a living – so thank you so much.

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