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the stone inukshuk monument at second beach, a key stop on our list on how to spend 4 days in vancouver.

4 Days in Vancouver: Plan the Perfect 4 Day Itinerary

Planning a 4 day Vancouver itinerary doesn’t have to be hard, though it might seem that way.

That’s why I’m here – a local born and bred Vancouverite looking to help you spend 4 days in Vancouver like a local.

Indeed, our awesome attractions and nifty nature can be done in a way that makes it easy on the odometer – and soft on the savings account.

Let’s plan a four day itinerary, shall we?

How I Planned This 4 Day Vancouver Itinerary

Having grown up in Vancouver, I’ve spent decades discovering every nook and cranny of my hometown.

That’s the inspiration for my four-day itinerary for Vancouver – I want to highlight the city’s premier attractions and offer a glimpse into the life of locals.

Whether you need outdoor Vancouver adventures, are keen to explore cultural icons, or eager to sample the best local grub, this guide has you covered.

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 helps keep our site ad-free and gets us one step closer to doing this for a living – so thank you so much.

So, what’s in store for you here?

My four day itinerary includes 2-3 key sights each day, each with a trip through one of Vancouver’s distinct neighbourhoods + lunch, dinner, and even where to grab a nightcap.

I’ve also arranged it all to minimize travel time and maximize enjoyment.

Looking for personalized tips? Follow me on the Vancouver Planner Facebook page and send me a message – you’ve got a friend in Vancouver!

How to Spend 4 Days in Vancouver – Day 1

Day one in our guide on how to spend 4 days in Vancouver is all about discovering the city’s origins.

By sundown, you’ll be an expert on its pre-colonial aboriginal history and live British Columbia’s growth from a backwater logging spot to a place fit to host the 2010 Olympics.

And all of this visiting Vancouver will be done with delicious food and a few drinks thrown in.

Get Caffeinated Downtown

Get to downtown Vancouver by taking the Skytrain from the airport and getting off at Vancouver City Centre Station.

Conventional advice would suggest legendary Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons: ask for the ‘double-double’ (two sugar, two creams) to sound like a local.

For my money, though, I’m doing Fabourg. This local Parisian-style cafe has bountiful brew and the baked goods to match – you’re doing four days in Vancouver, so you should start as you mean to go on!

Take a left outside the cafe, and in quick walking distance, we find:

a gold bracelet at the bill reid gallery vancouver bc
Bill Reid Gold Bracelet: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

The Bill Reid Gallery

It’s fitting to start any Vancouver trip at the Bill Reid Gallery: Canada’s only public gallery dedicated to contemporary Indigenous Art of the Northwest Coast.

It’s one of the best things to do in Vancouver, and it’s named after Haida artist and sculptor Bill Reid.

The mandate here is to create an awareness of Indigenous culture and values and bridge gaps between First Nations and settler populations.

☄️ Need custom help? Join our Vancouver Vacation Help Facebook group – you can ask any question you want and we’ll respond with custom advice – for free!

Highlights include Reid’s 8.5-meter-long bronze masterpiece Mythic Messengers and a full-scale totem pole featuring Wasgo, the Haida seawolf.

Just 30 seconds up the street, we move ahead a bit in Vancouver’s history to:

hotel vancouver façade with sun peaking through trees in summer
Hotel Vancouver: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

This luxury Châteauesque hotel was Vancouver’s tallest building for over 30 years – and is arguably the city’s fanciest hotel to this day.

The light green copper-pitched roof is emblematic of the prosperity brought west to British Columbia by the Canadian Grand Railway. Famous past guests include Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill.

You should go into the lobby and stand under its great chandelier.

It’s said that here is the exact city center – so imagine that the original 1888 incarnation of the hotel used to be considered a ‘foolish location’ due to its location between two forests!

two women walking by the vancouver art gallery during a every child matters demonstration
Vancouver Art Gallery: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Robson Square and the Vancouver Art Gallery

Right across the street from the Hotel Vancouver is the northern end of Vancouver’s largest plaza.

The 1,300,000 square foot square is bookended with the Vancouver Art Gallery to the north and the British Columbia Law Courts to the south.

Local architect Arthur Erickson’s vision was the foundations of society (law and art) at either end with people in the middle – so go be people in the middle!

This is a super fun place with a waterfall, a beautiful garden pathway, and even an ice rink (winter, free admission), which hosts salsa/ballroom dancing events in warmer months.

The VAG Food Truck Scene

Vancouver’s best restaurants are great, but we’re on a mission to move to as many places as possible while visiting Vancouver – so we need quick bites.

Right outside the Art Gallery, you’ll find a dozen food trucks catering to all tastes.

My go-to trucks are Mom’s Grilled Cheese for the classic sourdough with pickles and Japadog for its Japanese-inspired hot dogs (go for the ‘terimayo’).

You can get the full list with Streetfoodapp.com.

The view of Burrard Inlet from Vancouver Lookout
View from the Vancouver Lookout: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

The Vancouver Lookout

I know, in a city so praised for natural beauty, I’ve done nothing in this 4 day trip post but force you to visit galleries, admire man-made chandeliers, and eat pork products.

That ends here – 551 feet above the city at the Vancouver Lookout.

The glass elevator takes you up to this observation deck and rotating restaurant for a 360-degree view of the city, harbour, and North Vancouver and its mountains.

Keep in mind that your tickets are valid if you come back at night!

the gastown steam clock chiming in gastown vancouver bc canada
The Gastown Steamclock: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary


Gastown is a lively neighbourhood full of art galleries (like Coastal Peoples Fine Art Gallery) and edgy fashion studios, arguably the city’s cultural heart.

The city’s most photographable object is the massive antique Steam Clock, which goes off every hour on the hour to the sounds of the ‘Westminster Quarters’ – you can’t visit Vancouver without it.

Near here is also the site of one of Vancouver’s best souvenir shops: Hudson House Trading Co.

Here, you’ll get great some of Vancouver’s best shopping, like Fluevog Shoes, a progressive art-deco brand from Vancouver. One of a Few is a great shop for curated women’s collections.

Gastown Happy Hour

Gastown is full of great bars, and the prices don’t get any better than during the 3:00 – 6:00 pm happy hour. Expect to pay around $6.00 for a beer and $8.00 for wine.

When it’s warm, and you want to sit outside and watch Vancouver go by, I suggest the stone-clad heritage building Water Street Cafe.

If you want trendy but old-timey, head for the Clough Club and their craft cocktails and elevated South American tapas with local ingredients.

Related: The Best Bars in Gastown


If you’re staying downtown, it may be wise to go back to your hotel and freshen up a bit, but either way, I want you in Gastown for the evening meal.

Some of the amazing restaurants in Gastown should not just be tasted but experienced.

I love opting for the Quebecois-influenced French restaurant St. Lawrence. Trout amandine is the signature dish.

On a budget? There’s great value to be had at Kito No Donburi, with high-end Japanese rice bowls at fast food prices. Plus, their sushi is great.

The bartender serves a cocktail at the Keefer Bar
Cocktails at Keefer Bar: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Cocktails at Chinatown’s Keefer Bar

Just next to Gastown is Vancouver’s legendary Chinatown. It’s North America’s second largest and the cultural heart of the city’s thriving Chinese population.

For the full effect, walk through the Vancouver Chinatown Millennium Gate before getting to Keefer Bar.

The Asian fusion lounge also has an oddly sleek medical equipment decor.

Keefer Bar’s mixologists are some of the best in the city. Just talk to them, establish a taste profile, and let them make you a custom cocktail – no menu needed!

Now after a full day, I’m sure you’re ready to hit the hay. But don’t worry; there’s plenty left on our list of how to spend 4 days in Vancouver.

How to Spend 4 Days in Vancouver – Day 2

After a fairly urban start, I want to transition you slowly to some of Vancouver’s more outdoorsy sites – that’s what we’re famous for, after all!

I’m mapping out the day using bikes, but it can easily be adapted for walking or even public transport.

So let’s get started on the second day of our guide to how to spend 4 days in Vancouver.

Breakfast at Catch 122 Bistro

Day 2 of our 4-day Vancouver itinerary starts back in Gastown at Catch 122.

Even if you’ve stayed out late, you’ll be happy to know that you can grab some of the best breakfast in Vancouver – or brunch, whatever you want – served daily at Catch 122 until 3:00 pm.

The salmon toast with dill mustard sauce is my favourite, but the pork shoulder eggs Benny and Liege waffles are also delectable.

Already have a hotel breakfast? Skip ahead because it’s just a short walking distance to:

the five sails at canada places vancouver bc canada
Canada Place Sails: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Canada Place

We can walk over to Canada Place, Vancouver’s iconic sail-shaped convention centre and cruise port, in just 10 minutes.

What was originally a Rail Canada pier has now become one of the city’s most active meeting points. There’s a great view of the water and mountains, as well as the popular Flyover Canada attraction.

That said, we’re going to look for two monuments here: the 2010 Olympic Torch and local author Douglas Coupland’s Digital Orca.

vancouver whale tour banner

If you’re visiting around noon, keep your ears open for the 12 O’clock Horn – which plays the first four notes of our nation’s national anthem, ‘O Canada.’

This is also a common starting point of many of the best Vancouver city tours.

Bike Rental at Waterfront Station

I’ve got a car that’ll make things quicker, but there’s still no way I’d rather do it than discovering Vancouver by bike.

We wanna be able to get into all the nooks and crannies of the city without circling the block looking for parking and blowing $8.00/hour for a spot.

It’s also the best way to explore day two’s piece de resistance, the world’s longest urban/seaside bike path: The Vancouver Seawall. This is an absolute must for active travellers wondering how to spend 4 days in Vancouver.

We rent bikes with a 5-hour package, turn our backs to Canada Place, and point our tires west on the seawall.

coal harbour blue glass towers contrasting a grassy knoll at the vancouver convention centre
Coal Harbour Skyline: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Coal Harbour Contrasts

Look left for Vancouver in a nutshell.

It’s in this residential neighbourhood that Douglas Coupland’s City of Glass moniker for our city comes to life in a forest of towering green glass skyscrapers.

Look right for nature’s ravishing rebuttal.

The mountains book ends us on the path perfect for panorama photography and understanding the city’s nature – just make sure to stay in your lane!

This 5 km portion of the seawall also offers lush greenery and a marina.

The Seawall runs past Stanley Park
Stanley Park Seawall: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Stanley Park

Still wondering how to spend 4 days in Vancouver? To put it simply, no Vancouver vacation can be considered complete without a visit to Stanley Park.

TripAdvisor named it the world’s best park based on visitor reviews, but this park wasn’t carved out by some landscape architect or urban planner.

It’s an old-growth forest whose half a million trees (some as high as 250 feet) have been standing in the area since before anybody knew Vancouver by name.

The first stop is at the First Nations totem poles. These gigantic monumental carvings are British Columbia’s biggest tourist attraction.

Keep following the path for the Brockton Lighthouse and the Girl in a Wetsuit monument (just offshore on the right; look out!).

Want to go all in? Consider booking one of the top Stanley Park guided tours.

a canada goose feeding on the shoreline at stanley park with lions gate bridge
Lions Gate Bridge + Canada Geese: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Lions Gate Bridge

Us Vancouverites falsely believe our epic harbour-traversing suspension bridge can compete with San Francisco, but you’ve gotta see it anyway.

Lions Gate Bridge was completed in 1937, and the original owners were the Guinness Family (yes, the stout!) of Ireland. The original toll was just 25 cents for a car or horse/carriage.

You’ll see it famously destroyed in the movie Final Destination 5.

In all, it’s just a great photo opportunity with compelling contrast to the mountains.

If you’re walking or driving, there’s a great vantage point of the bridge and harbour from up at Prospect Point.

The seawall passes Siwash Rock
Siwash Rock: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Siwash Rock

Continuing along the sea wall, we start curling back around toward downtown and one of the first landmarks telling us this is Siwash Rock.

This 59-foot-high rock outcropping has a vague resemblance to a bowling pin sticking out of the sea.

The 32 million-year-old sea stack is the only one in Vancouver.

Local aboriginal legend has it that a man was turned into the rock as a monument to ‘clean fatherhood.’

From here, it’s just 7-8 minutes to our next stop.

sunbathers relax while swimmers walk into the water at second beach stanley park vancouver bc canada
Second Beach in August: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Second Beach

It’s one of Vancouver’s best beaches, so if you’re visiting Vancouver in summer (May-Sept), I hope you’ve brought your swim trunks.

This wild sand beach gives you the option to take a dip in the ocean or even in a heated outdoor pool (Second Beach Pool).

There’s also a great picnic spot at Ceperley Meadow to have a quick snack, top up the fluids, or recharge your legs if you’re not used to all that cycling.

In the off-season, it’s still nice to park the bikes and go for a little walk.

stone inukshuk monument at second beach west end vancouver bc canada
Inukshuk in Downtown Vancouver: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

The Inukshuk at English Bay Beach

Even further up the sea wall, we’re back into downtown Vancouver and stop at this grey granite structure you’ll see with sunsets in every Vancouverite’s Instagram.

The piled rocks look like they could collapse into the Pacific Ocean at any moment.

Inukshuks are actually traditional Inuit navigation aids representing friendship and hospitality.

Amateurs try to recreate mini versions of them using rocks all along the waterfront – give it a try and leave your mark!

entrance sign to granville island in vancouver bc canada
Entrance to Granville Island: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

False Creek Ferry and Granville Island Public Market

We find a False Creek Ferry stop at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre.

Feel free to board with your bikes! It’s just a quick 10-minute ride over to visit Vancouver’s arts and culinary hub, Granville Island.

It’s time to lock up the bikes and head straight for the food market. Nobody should be leaving without trying the double-smoked or maple-candied salmon from Longliner Seafoods.

We grab lunch at the food court or nibble our way through the market stalls and their fresh fruits, charming cheeses, and delicious deli meats.

Take another hour to explore the galleries and artisan shops of the area.

Downtown Shopping

The ticket back to the Aquatic Center leaves us back on the downtown peninsula with two options: get some afternoon rest or go shopping.

Either one requires us to get up to the bike-friendly Hornby Street.

The path back to Canada Place and the bike rental shop, and our hotels is straightforward.

If we’re going shopping, though, we’re stopping short at Robson Street. In taking a left here, we’re thrown right into Vancouver’s main shopping street.

All the big brands are here, so knock yourself out.

a waitress serving a prawn and mushroom appetizer at cioppinos vancouver bc canada
Cioppino’s seafood dish: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Dinner in Yaletown

This formerly industrial area was once Vancouver’s warehouse district.

Today, Yaletown is one of our amazing city’s most densely populated neighbourhoods. The urban regeneration here is quite remarkable – it’s now a spot for high-end restaurants and headquarters for lots of cool local startups.

If you’re going all out, make sure to have a drink at Yaletown Distillery, then go for dinner at Blue Water Cafe (seafood) or Cioppino’s (Italian).

How to Spend 4 Days in Vancouver – Day 3

Ride the Seabus

Let’s head back to Waterfront Station, only this time… we’ll be fronting the water.

The Seabus is a passenger-only ferry connecting downtown Vancouver with the suburb of North Vancouver. They run every 15 minutes.

We hop on and get across Burrard Inlet in just 12 minutes. Keep your camera handy because this is a great way to visit Vancouver by sea.

After some amazing pics, we get off at:

Lonsdale Quay

This old ship repair dock in North Vancouver is now a multipurpose waterfront space featuring Lonsdale Market.

Take a stroll through the food and crafts area, but make sure you head to Lift on Lonsdale for a bite. The breakfast sandwiches are great, but dreams are made with their French toast and Bailey’s whipped cream.

You may also want to consider the adventurous Polygon Gallery for some thought-provoking art and media exhibits.

a long range view of the capilano suspension bridge and capilano river vancouver bc canada
Capilano Suspension Bridge: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

From Lonsdale, we hop on the 236 bus, and we’re halfway up the mountain in 25 minutes.

The 460-foot-long Capilano Suspension Bridge floats through an old-growth forest, dangling you 230 feet above the Capilano River. This is one of the best day trips from Vancouver.

capilano suspension bridge and grouse mountain tour banner for 2024

It’s wobbly but safe, a type of old-school thrill ride made of cedar planks and hemp rope.

Admission at Capilano Suspension Bridge also gets you the world’s largest private collection of totem poles, the legendary Cliff Walk, and the ability to climb some 350-year-old Douglas Fir trees.

tourists riding the grouse mountain skyride to the top of grouse mountain with vancouver city view
Grouse Mountain Skyride: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Grouse Mountain

We hop back on the 236 bus and alight at its terminus: Grouse Mountain.

If you’re going skiing in Vancouver, it’ll likely be here at the closest of the three ‘local mountains’ – but Grouse Mountain is much more than just one of the best things to do in winter.

Consider this recreation destination Vancouver’s playground. There’s snowshoeing in the winter and hiking in the summer. There’s a wildlife refuge where you can see grizzly bears.

It’s got epic mountain-top dining, ziplining, sleigh rides, disc golf, lumberjack shows, a theatre, shopping, and more.

The views from the Skyride gondola that take you to the peak are incredible – though you can also take one of Vancouver’s top hiking trails up Mother Nature’s stairmaster, the Grouse Grind.

riders laughing as they fly over the canadian landscape at the flyover canada ride in vancouver bc
Flyover Canada: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Flyover Canada

What if I told you that you could fly across Canada for $26.00?

To do so, we reverse our tracks from the morning and end up back at Waterfront Station and Canada Place. It’s here that we find Flyover Canada.

This state-of-the-art 4-D flight simulation ride replicates a coast-to-coast Canadian flight. It’s the longest flight simulation ride in the world.

The east-to-west flight is a great way to understand more about the vastness of Canada and Vancouver’s unique place within it.

Reflections Bar

If you’re visiting Vancouver in spring or summer, it’s just a 10-minute walk from Canada Place to the Rosewood Hotel and its fourth-story inner courtyard bar called Reflections.

The patio here has major garden vibes and a sophisticated drinks menu. It’s a great special occasion bar and perfect for couples.

In winter, we’ll be going to Stock and Supply for their endless list of local craft beer, $7.00 happy hour negroni, and lemon pepper chicken wings.

colourful tomato bruschetta dish at botanist restaurant vancouver canada
Seasonal Dish at Forage: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

A Local Dinner

Any best 4 day Vancouver itinerary has to include the best restaurants in downtown Vancouver.

That said, if you visit Vancouver and need an amazing local treat, look no further than Forage.

The chef here sources his ingredients from local foragers, farmers, and fishermen from the Pacific Ocean. The result is a fresh, sustainable, finesse-driven Pacific Northwest restaurant.

The slow-cooked salmon here showcases our most prized West Coast protein perfectly.

How to Spend 4 Days in Vancouver – Day 4

Getting the Hell Out of Downtown

We’ve spent most of our Vancouver 4 day itinerary in downtown Vancouver, so let’s change that in a hurry by hopping on the #2 bus (‘Macdonald’).

We cross the Burrard Street bridge and get off at the first stop, dipping into Vancouver’s bohemian beachside district: Kitsilano.

Vancouver spelt in neon lights
Neon Signs at MOV: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

The Museum of Vancouver

I like using the largest civic history museum in Canada as a way to supplement knowledge already learned.

At the Museum of Vancouver, you’ll find the Ćəsnaʔəm ‘City Before the City’ exhibit, which details life in the area before European settlement.

Most of the other exhibits are broken down by decade; of particular interest is the 1950s Gallery and its focus on Vancouver’s legendary neon signs.

The Wild Things showcase also has valuable information on local wildlife.

people suntanning at kits beach in vancouver with downtown and mountains
Kits Beach: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Kits Beach & Vanier Park

Just outside the museum is Vanier Park, the site of many summer festivals in the city, like Bard on the Beach and the Children’s Festival.

We head to the water and trace a path west until reaching the throngs of Kitsilano Beach, the city’s most popular swimming and people-watching waterfront.

This path is part of the same Seawall we saw before in Stanley Park.

The beach is also home to Canada’s longest swimming pool, so a nice dip in summer is always welcome.

Shopping in Kitsilano

Up the road about 8-10 blocks is the locally famous 4th Avenue.

Between Burrard and Larch is a commercial area famous for locally made, sustainable activewear shops and high-end fashion boutiques.

If you’re so inclined, I’d suggest taking a wander around there. It’s about a 12-minute (slightly uphill) walk from Kits Beach.

Peaceful Restaurant

I may take some heat for this simply because it was on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, but I’m going to suggest eating at the top of my list of Chinese restaurants: Peaceful Restaurant.

Handmade blade-sheared noodles and premium Northern Chinese food are great ways to experience Vancouver’s Chinese culture.

Get the beef rolls: you’ll thank me later.

old totem poles on display at the museum of anthropology vancouver bc canada
Totem Poles at MOA: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Museum of Anthropology

From Peaceful, we can grab the 99 B-line bus (‘UBC’) to the Museum of Anthropology.

Here, we get one of the premier collections of Northwest Coast Indigenous sculpturestotem poles and artifacts anywhere.

Of the 535,000 archaeological objects, the Bill Reid masterpiece Raven and First Men is the most popular by far.

Many tourists have told me this was the highlight of their trip.

Plan to spend two hours here – there’s that much to see.

Downtown’s Entertainment District

We’ll be back downtown with plenty of time to round out our Vancouver 4-day itinerary with some of the city’s premium entertainment offerings like:

It’s been four days in Vancouver, and you’ve got a feel for the city, so it’s really up to you. That said, if you’re not in the mood for a big-ticket night out, I’m gonna give you a second option.

Related: Best Vancouver Festivals

Amari at Bar Corso: 4 Days in Vancouver Itinerary

Commercial Drive

From downtown Vancouver, you can get on the Skytrain and get off at Commercial-Broadway to access our city’s cultural heart.

Commercial Drive is an area officially known as Vancouver’s Little Italy. It’s full of quirky bars, enotecas, and thrift shops. Beer lovers can hit some tasting rooms in the nearby Yeast Van Brewery District, the beating heart of Vancouver’s craft beer scene.

It’s a fun place but with a residential feel, and this is what I want you to get on the last day – a true local neighbourhood where Vancouverites live their day-to-day.

My favourite bar here is Bar Corso, and the pizza at Via Tevere is fantastic.

Spend the evening drinking and eating here, and that’s four days in Vancouver, done!

Big on beer? Check out the best brewery tours in Vancouver, or head to Main Street.

⚠️ Think you need longer already? Check out my Vancouver 7 day itinerary.

Think four days is too much? Check out my Vancouver 3 day itinerary.

Before You Arrive in Vancouver

Before planning your trip to Vancouver, make sure you read the following:

4 Day Vancouver Itinerary FAQ

Is 4 days enough in Vancouver?

Yes, four days in Vancouver are enough to explore major attractions and enjoy some outdoor activities.

How to spend 4 days in Vancouver?

Spend 4 days in Vancouver exploring urban parks, markets, historic neighborhoods, savoring local cuisine, and planning a nearby excursion.

What to see in Vancouver in 4 days?

In 4 days in Vancouver, you should see Stanley Park, Granville Island, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Gastown, and enjoy a day trip to Victoria or Whistler.

Figured out how to Spend 4 Days in Vancouver?

There you have it – you should be locked and loaded for 4 days in Vancouver. That said, it may not be how you would do it.

So feel free to tell me your vision, and I’ll add some custom advice to get it all planned. You can reach me in the comments below or via the Vancouver Planner Facebook page.

Whether it’s about how to spend 4 days in Vancouver or anything else, we’re always here for all your BC travel needs.

Happy planning!

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