14 Nov 2020 | Blog, Vancouver

A Toonie Tours Blog Post by Nathan Murdoch

The top 10 things to do in Vancouver, written by your Vancouver local tour guides at Toonie Tours. Let us help you get the most out of your Vancouver experience with this curated list.

There are many great things about this coastal city and Toonie Tours is here to help you narrow it down to The Top 10 Best Things To Do In Vancouver so you get the most out of your Vancouver experience.

10) The Lonsdale Quay 

Sitting at the edge of Waterfront and the North Shore is the lively local market known as the Lonsdale Quay (pronounced key!). This iconic globetrotter destination is the gateway to 80 local shops and services and is the perfect place to start your Vancouverite experience. This dynamic market has something for everyone – enjoy a fresh and locally sourced food market, an international food court, local artisan shops, a craft brewery, unrivaled Vancouver sky-line views, kid-friendly shops, and a vast play area (fair warning though, if you exceed the age of 19 and join other kids in the play area, YOU WILL GET THE STINK EYE FROM PROTECTIVE MOTHERS AND YOUR INTENTIONS WILL BE QUESTIONED). On a less aggressive note, the Lonsdale Quay is also home to the North Shore’s best views of the city. Whether you come for the manifolds of different foods or for a quick pitstop to your next Vancouver destination, it is an experience you don’t want to miss!

9) Capilano Suspension Bridge 

Seeking a tranquil escape out of the buzzing city life? Hanging at 230 feet above the Capilano River and attracting more than 1.2 million visitors a year is North Vancouver’s most visited landmark: The Capilano Suspension Bridge.  This naturally compelling sight has an abundance of activities that fits every nature lover’s interests! Capilano Suspension Bridge hosts many activities that capture the west coast spirit at its best. You can visit the suspension bridge that dates from 1889 and stretches to 460 ft or you can stroll along the park’s newest attraction called the Cliffwalk – a cantilevered walkway that looks above the Capilano Canyon. On top of these scenic adventures, Capilano park is also home to a Story Centre that contains artifacts, antiques and murals that share the stories of BC’s First Nations people’s culture and their connection to the natural world as well as the early history of the Bridge. Toonie Tips:

  1. After enjoying the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, take a short 30-minute hike up the Capilano River and arrive at the Cleveland Dam.
  2. Skip the madness of the entry line-up and get your ticket for the Capilano Suspension Bridge from your Toonie Tour Guide on your Free Walking Tour.


8) Kitsilano Beach 

Located on Cornwall Ave and the north side of Yew St, Kitsilano Beach is home to many Vancouverite ocean-lovers. Also referred to as “Kits Beach” by locals, Kitsilano will be a highlight of your summer experience in Vancouver. Are you into sunbathing? Water sports? Love looking at cute dogs? Dipping your toes into the pacific ocean waters? Kits Beach has got you covered. If you need more convincing, Kits is also a fantastic place to admire the stunning views of the nearby mountains, especially at sunset.  Are you still not sold?!  Well, there’s more! Kits beach also boasts a beautiful Seaside Seawall, a designated swimming pool (if saltwater is not your thang), Local, a public eatery that sits close to the bay, AND from late May to early September there are Lifeguards! Who doesn’t love fun water safety?!

7) Restaurants

Missing home and want a taste of momma’s best? Want to try something new? Have an unusual and /or a particular food craving? Fret no more hungry human! Vancouver’s got you covered. Vancouver is home to countless and diverse cultures and is the best place to be if you are a serious foodie. Vancouver’s food scene is one for all budgets and occasions, from the False Creek waterside restaurants to Main Street’s hipster vegan diners, you are sure to find a tasty meal anyplace you stumble upon. Here are some of Toonie Tours local favorite pics:  – For some yummy vegan comfort food: Chickpea and Meet  – Great Mexican Food: La Taqueria and Red Burrito  – Best Sushi in the city: ShizenyaCarp and The Eatery  – For Pub Grub w/ great beer: Steamworks (waterfront views included as well!), Main St. Brewery – Authentic French Cuisine: Au Comptoir and Le Crocodile  – Most Authentic Poutine: La Belle Patate  – Fancy Restaurant with a beautiful view: Vancouver Revolving Restaurant  – Canadian Fast Food Staple: A&W – Want to try something super unique?  Share some plates and watch belly dancers at The Afghan Horsemen Restaurant, the very first Afghani restaurant in Canada!

6) South Main

Got the case of the Hipster feels? It’s okay, this millennial virus is particularly contagious in Vancouver and who can blame you? The entire city is pleasantly infected by this generational faze! There is only one solution to cure your Hipster sickness – Main Street, baby. From the buzzing lights, the Instagram friendly boutiques, and local cafes, to the numerous amounts of vegan restaurants, this lively area will feed all of your hipster cravings. Main Street finds itself in between the artsy neighborhoods of Mount Pleasant and Downtown Eastside and is every millennial’s dream. Where are my vegans and vegetarians?! Okay, peeps, this is the perfect neighborhood for you guys! Listed at the bottom are some of Toonie Tours favorite vegan spots! This vegan-friendly area has a lengthy street stretching all across town which passes by some of Vancouver’s favorite plant-eater restaurants! If you find yourself in the beautiful summer weather of Vancouver and in a walking mood, just peruse down the street and galavant your way down towards Science World!  – Vegan treats to satisfy your millennialism frenzies:  – 1) Meet on Main (there is also a Meet on Gastown and Meet in Yaletown – options people! Options!) – 2) Chickpea (right beside Meet on Main) – 3) Virtuous Pie (several locations)  4) Heirloom *Not on Main Street but still worth a look – 5) Bandidas *Not on Main Street but still worth a look 

5) Breweries and Mount Pleasant 

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Is that what one sings when at a brewery? Maybe! I’m not entirely sure, but you should definitely check out a local brewery in the Mount Pleasant area. If you are new to Vancouver hipsters, it is essential that you complete your journey with a nice local pint of Canadian beer. Mount Pleasant is typically known to locals as an up-and-coming neighborhood, however, many people are not aware of the artisan gems that this area holds. Mount Pleasant boasts beautiful vintage shops, boutiques, local breweries, and alleys filled with street art! Overwhelmed with options, are you not? Fear not, for Toonie Tours has a Street Art and Craft Beer Tour which shows you the thought-provoking art of local artists as well as an exclusive tour to some of our favorite breweries in the area. Oh, did I mention we provide snacks and that you can sample the beer as well?… We’ll see you tonight then! 😉

4) Granville Island

About a twenty-minute walk from downtown’s Granville street sits an iconic peninsula known as Granville Island. Home to the famous public market and the beautiful marina, this artsy and lively piece of land is also a part of Vancouver’s tourism and entertainment district. There are so many shops and activities to do on Granville Island that we could (and will!) write another blog about it, and there are three things that you must see on this island before leaving: The public market, entertainment, and secret wall murals. The public market was established in 1979 and is the home to over 150 artisan vendors bringing locally sourced produce, meat, cheese, candy, and baked goods to consumers. This place also encompasses the diversity of cultures while boasting many of Vancouver’s cultural cuisines. After a delicious meal, walk through the hidden streets of Granville Island and find an array of outdoor galleries featuring murals from Vancouver’s hottest artists. This is also a great opportunity to give your Instagram a facelift seeing that everything you’ll encounter is tremendously aesthetically pleasing. As the sun starts to set, Granville Island’s performance centers start to shine. Why not finish your perfect day at Vancouver’s only professional improvisational theatre company, “Vancouver Theatresports League”. This place is famous for being the starting home of the kings of improv, Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles, most known for “Whose Line is It Anyway?”! VTL has something for everyone and has shows running almost every night of the week! What are you waiting for? Granville Island awaits your visit!

3) Stanley Park and Aquarium 

Rated as the “Top Park in the Entire World” in 2014 by TripAdvisor, Stanley Park is something you don’t want to miss and should allocate a day’s worth for visiting. This 400-hectare rainforest finds itself adjacent to the urban city and is a part of the world’s longest and uninterrupted 28km Seawall! Explore Stanley Park’s kilometers of trails, beaches, wildlife, cultural and historical landmarks. This gigantic park accommodates many green-ways of travel, and as some of you may know, the best way to travel in Vancouver is by bike!  This scenic park has an array of adventures for all ages of all interests, including Canada’s largest aquarium! The Vancouver Aquarium is something you don’t want to miss! Not only is the aquarium a place to see cute sea otters and marine life, but it is also home to many animals going through rehabilitation before being set free in the Pacific waters. This aquarium hosts aquatic exhibitions, a mini Amazon rainforest, a research outpost as well as an education center to learn how to be ocean-wise with your day-to-day habits! Save the sea otters people! These balls of cuteness hold hands when they sleep and I can’t bare the thought of them being sad!  Zip past all the major attractions, hidden local secrets, trees, oceans, lakes, and critters on our 3 Hour Stanley Park Bike Tour!

2) Gas Town 

Gastown, also known back in the day as “Gassy’s Town”, is where it all started for Vancouver. Originally the home to the Hasting’s Mill, this wood logging area is where Vancouver’s forefather, John Deighton, established the Globe Saloon, Gastown’s first saloon. You wouldn’t think of it much back in the day, but Establishing this tiny shack to quench the thirst of the Mill Workers would turn out to be the pivotal move in establishing the city we now love today. Although no longer a logging area, Gastown is now the capital for all things nightlife and is home to many rustic bars and restaurants. In addition, our Free Walking Tour passes by this area and you will get the chance to see all of Gastown’s cultural and historical landmarks. If your Instagram account is in need of an aesthetic facelift, we would recommend that you have your photo shoot at nighttime. There are fewer people and you get to marvel at the old gas lantern and see the old town light up into something awing. Don’t miss out on this historic neighborhood!

1) Take a Tour with Toonie Tours 

Coming in at #1 on the list of Top 10 Things To Do In Vancouver is taking a tour with Toonie Tours! What better way to get to know a city than to take a walking or biking tour that will give you the lay of the land and help you understand the origins of this beautiful country we call home. Toonie Tours offers tours across the city that will fit your every need and is guided by local expert guides who will knock your socks off with great recommendations, fun facts, and jokes that will make you laugh so hard, you’ll think you just had a one-hour ab workout! Come join us in the Mount Pleasant area for the Street Art and Craft Beer Tour and give your taste buds a little treat while sipping on a pint of BC’s finest brew. Explore the 400 hectares of Vancouver’s most loved park on the Stanley Park Biking Tour. And most importantly, the thing you must absolutely do while in Vancouver, is joining us on the iconic Free Walking Tour!  What are you waiting for? Our team can’t wait to meet you!