Article originally published in the Atmosphere magazine. Read the latest edition here.
With great food, trendy neighbourhoods and natural beauty to spare, there are lots of cool things to do in Vancouver. Here are five for under $50.
Dumpling Trail in Richmond
Grab your chopsticks for the Dumpling Trail in Richmond, just south of Vancouver. Sample all varieties, from won tons to xiao long bao (soup dumplings) to har gow (shrimp dumplings) on this self-guided tour. A filling dumpling lunch at R&H Chinese Food at Lansdowne Centre is less than $10.
North Vancouver Ferry
This is a scenic, 15-minute ride, that’s dirt cheap. The mountain views as you approach from downtown are terrific. Lonsdale Quay has a great public market with 80 local vendors selling everything from crafts to food and flowers. Stop in at Olde World Confections for hand-made chocolate and other sweets. Then take a walk on the Spirit Trail, which takes you to a beautiful park with great views of downtown Vancouver, as well as a series of homes that are right on the water. One-way tickets from Waterfront Station to Lonsdale Quay cost $2.95.
15 to 25$
The Grouse Grind
The most famous hike in Vancouver is the Grouse Grind, a 2.9-kilometre trail up a steep incline to the top of Grouse Mountain, roughly 20 minutes north of downtown.It has 2,830 steps (gulp!), but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Vancouver skyline at the summit. Hiking boots and plenty of water are suggested for the trip.
It will probably take close to two hours unless you’re in great shape. You can even see your time at the top (you’ll need a Grind Timer card for $25). Can you beat the record of 25:01? It’s free to climb up, but you must take the Skyride back down, for $15. The Grouse Grind is open from late Spring to early Fall, depending on weather and trail conditions. It’s a popular ski hill in winter.
Vancouver Art Gallery
Located in the heart of downtown, this is one of Canada’s finest places for art lovers. It’s a beautiful space with a magical interior. The permanent collection includes works from prominent Canadians such as Emily Carr and The Group of Seven, as well as art from what’s called “The Vancouver School”. Temporary exhibits rotate through the gallery. An exhibit of modern French painters (1850-1950) is on until May 20, as is another one that focusses on Canadian artists’ affinity for French art. They have free family programs every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $24 for adults, with discounts for students and seniors. Kids five and under are free.
Flight Simulation Ride
Soar above the Great White North with the FlyOver Canada flight simulation ride. You’ll be suspended in mid-air in front of a massive screen that projects images of the glories of Canada: icy mountains, herds of animals and vibrant cities. You’ll feel like you’re swooping and flying over the country from coast to coast.
Stanley Park by Bike
Rent a bike at Cycle City Tours, and explore Stanley Park, one of the world’s most beautiful urban parks. Discover spectacular ocean and mountain views along the park’s famous Seawall, as well as First Nations totem poles and lush forests of towering, sweet-smelling evergreens.
This is an outstanding spot in Stanley Park that’s perfect for a rainy day. You’ll find brilliant pink anemones waving to and fro, as well as brilliant yellow angel fish, itsy-bitsy seahorses, turtles, and many, many other species of sea life. The crazy cool jellyfish display shows off diaphanous white and bronzey/gold animals that quietly glide through the water. There’s also an Amazon rainforest exhibit with live birds and other tropical animals, and they do live shows with sea lions, dolphins, otters and other critters. $38 for adults. Discounts for seniors, teens, students and children. Kids three and under are free.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Take a walk on the wild side at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, one of the city’s top attractions. Experience the thrill of crossing a 37-metre-long bridge suspended 70 metres above a deep gorge. But don’t worry—it’s so sturdy it can hold 96 full-grown elephants.
Night Photography Tour
This is a two-hour night excursion that takes in some of the most scenic spots in the city, including the harbour, Chinatown and Gastown. Tours are led by a guide and an experienced photographer who can help pass along tips for taking great night photos.
You can use your camera phone, but organizers say a DSLR is better. If you don’t have one, they can rent one to you for the tour. If you’re an experienced shooter already, they can arrange a photo shoot instead of photography tips. Tours are $40.