Visiting Vancouver

Parent Q&A

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  • Vancouver BC with a Group of High Schoolers

    (2 replies)


    We are traveling to Vancouver BC in June with a group of teens staying  at the University of British Columbia.  We'd like your best picks for:

    Restaurants in that area that can accommodate large groups, and are reasonably priced.  

    Best attractions to see with this rather large group of teens on a Monday.  

    Finally, ideas about transportation to these places.  

    Thank you!

    Restaurants - White Spot is quite popular there and reasonably-priced.  

    As for attractions, they would probably enjoy Science World, the Vancouver Aquarium/ Stanley Park, Granville Island, Capilano Suspension Bridge and going up one of the local mountains - Grouse, etc.  If they're fond of the outdoors, they could do the Grouse Grind.  Since you're staying at UBC, there are nearby beaches (Spanish Banks or Jericho Beach) and if they like nature and science, there is the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.  There's also the Museum of Anthropology at UBC that's quite interesting.  If they like to shop and sightsee, downtown Vancouver has shopping on Robson Street and the Vancouver Art Gallery is nice. 

    The local transportation system is quite good but I haven't lived there in years so I don't have any good suggestions.  

    We just returned from a trip to Vancouver. I would suggest Stanley Park; there is much to see there, plus you can hike, walk or bike. As for restaurants in Vancouver, many are small mom and pop ones and may not have room for a large group. However, Cactus Clubs are larger and have a good selection and there are many locations in Vancouver. I would call ahead for reservations for a large group.

    UBC is further out from the center of town and you will have to leave the area for restaurants and activities, but there are a number of bus routes that can take you into downtown Vancouver and the adjoining areas. 

    Have fun, Vancouver is a safe and wonderful city.

  • Summer Vacation to Vancouver

    (3 replies)

    We are planning a camping trip up to Vancouver (where we will stay with friends) and Vancouver Island. Looking for recommendations on activities to do on the drive up with 7 year old and teenagers (driving up 101, stoping in Portland for a day or two on the way up and Seattle on the way back). And places to camp on Vancouver Island. Thx!

    Just a quick recommendation: While in Portland, take a ride in what our kids affectionately call "the egg"!  It's fun even if you are just passing through Portland, as it goes right over I5.  It's cheap, memorable, and offers fabulous views of the city.

    I haven't been but I heard Tofino on the island is amazing!  

    We currently live in Vancouver with our two kids (5.5 and 1.5) and would be happy to recommend any number of family-friendly summer activities. We’re moving to the east bay this coming summer, hence my being on BPN. As this is my first post/reply on BPN,  I’m assuming there is a way for you to PM me.  Feel free to so that if you’d like and I can help with any number of summer recommendations. It is a magical place in the summertime and we plan to return to visit every summer if we can!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Vancouver with an 8-month-old

June 2012

We are traveling to Vancouver for three nights/four days -- have been there pre- baby but could use suggestions of fun things to do with a baby in tow. The aquarium looks cool, and maybe the Capilano Bridge? Other ideas? Thanks! first plane ride - wish us luck

You asked about Vancouver with an 8-month old... The Capilano suspension bridge is fun for adults and older kids, but it's unlikely your 8-month old would get much out of it. If you go for yourselves, be sure to strap him/her in to your Baby Bjorn tightly... Stanley Park would probably be a better fit - take your stroller. As would Granville Island. Been there

San Juan Islands and Vancouver in July

March 2012

My husband and I are hoping to fly to Seattle and go to the San Juan Islands and Vancouver BC for about a week/10 days in July (probably early to mid-July). We have been to Seattle before briefly, but are really looking for recommendations for the San Juan Islands and Vancouver. We are looking for recommendations on pretty much everything: where to stay, where to eat, great things to do outdoors (e.g.,we like hiking, bike riding), things not to miss, etc.

All recommendations much appreciated!

Orcas Island is beautiful, esp the state park there. The towns are quaint and friendly.

Great vacation choice! As a former Seattlite, here are a few recommendations:

1) Mt. Constitution, Moran State Park, Orcas Island - A nice hike with beautiful views from the top of Puget Sound, Mt. Baker, and the North Cascades.

2) Crow Valley Pottery gallery, Eastsound, Orcas Island - The Eastsound store of a local pottery cooperative, also has beautiful (and reasonably priced) works by local artists in other media, including glass, pastels, oils, and woodcut prints. I don't normally buy professional, framed art (I usually prefer tribal/ethnic type stuff), but on two successive visits to Crow Valley, I got two beautiful pieces, a woodcut and a pastel landscape, that I'm looking at now as I type this.

3) The Whale Museum, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island - A great small museum focusing on the local population of Orca whales. Lots of fun for kids, and pretty cool for grownups, too.

4) Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver - A fantastic and sensitively-curated collection of Pacific Northwest native artifacts, both historical and modern, including at least half a dozen full-sized totem poles. Extensive collections from other areas of the world as well. Very well-constructed displays.

5) Granville Island, Vancouver - Great public market with amazing food, and lots of cool local shops.

Have fun! Missing the Pacific Northwest

We had a wonderful trip to Vancouver in early August last summer with our 3 kids. It was truly fantastic, so much to do. We stayed at the Pan Pacific hotel, which was a great location, you can watch water planes take off and land from the hotel. Its kind of a fancy hotel but they were had some good family rate. They also had a rooftop pool and it was fun to go swimming there in the evening after a long day outside.

There are bike rental places right around the corner where you can get bikes to ride around Stanley Park. then you can keep going and ride all the way around Vancouver on great paths along the water. Then, take the water taxi's across the sound to the Science museum, Maritime museum, etc. We went to a cool botanical garden that had a hedge maze and a musical instrument ''petting zoo'' where kids could try out all sorts of instruments.

We also took the ferry across to Vancouver Island. Tofino is really nice, esp if you like sea kayaking. But if I had to do it over again, I may have just stayed in Vancouver the full week. There was a lot of waiting in line for the definitely go online and buy your ferry tickets WAY in advance! I also think it might be fun next time to drive up to Whistler.

On our way home we also stayed one night at the Stanley hotel in Vancouver, which is way more basic than the pan pacific but also just fine. with a great location across from a swimming beach which was fun. It seems like the whole town stayed out on the beach till 10pm.

I think we googled ''what to do with kids in vancouver'' and there were tons of resources.

Have fun. I envy you! I can't wait to go back again! anon

Walkable hotel in Vancouver

April 2010

My family (two adults, an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old) will be vacationing in Vancouver for a week or so this Summer. I'm looking for specific recommendations on places to stay in the West End. We would like to be in a good place for walking/catching public transit, and would prefer a place that has suite-type rooms that include a separate bedroom and kitchen facilities (a refrigerator and microwave would be fine - no stove/oven necessary). A pool would be heavenly, but isn't required. I realize we're probably looking at $150 or more per night (gulp), but whaddya gonna do? Thanks very much for any suggestions. Excited to travel

My husband and I stayed at the Hotel Sylvia, right at the edge of Stanley Park, across the street from a huge public pool, bike paths, ... It was also very near two main streets with tons of restaurants, bike rental places, the water, a very walkable area. I think there is a pool on the roof as well. Not sure about kitchenettes, but the price of a room was approx $130 Canadian per night back in 2004. We'd stay there again in a heart beat with our 2.5 year old. And the bar makes a yummy blueberry martini ... Kristin

Travel to Vancouver with my mom in April

February 2008

I'm traveling with my Mom to Vancouver in early April. Any excellent things we should see or do? Good eats? Thanks! sister

We went to Vancouver and stayed in a neighborhood on the opposite side of the bay near Grainville Island. We loved the market at the island and you can take water taxis to other parts of the city. In the neighborhood where we were was an amazing selection of restaurants and shopping (i think the neighborhood is south grainville). I can't stress enough how completely delicious, fun, and warm and inviting the restaurant Vij's was and I strongly recommend you try it:

It was recently featured on the food network (that woman named Giadda, can't remember the show). Vij himself was the host and made us feel like we were family. There was a wait so he recommended we go to the bar. WE decided to walk the neighborhood and when we came back, Vij said, ''where were you? I missed you'' and led us to the bar and plied us with tea and appetizers before we had a table. It was wonderful and possibly the best indian food I've ever eaten. i love vancouver

Go to Capilano Suspension Bridge! It is in an absolutely incredible and thoroughly beautiful rainforest - and walking across the bridge while it sways above the river is pretty amazing too.

There's shopping, of course, and lots of other stuff to see and do, but Capilano is #1 on my list. Kathleen

I did not see the original post, but here are a few quick thoughts. Check out this website and lots of other stuff online. Also check for food and Fodors talk site for other ideas.

We stayed in North Van. cuz it was a little cheaper and the place had a pool, but staying in a walking neighborhood would be just great. In North Van: Lynn Canyoun Nature Center and (free) suspension bridges (wonderful little nature center in beautiful high-treed, deep gorge setting, and a cafe) Lighthouse Park (big trees), take ferry over to Vancouver. South of town there is the University's amazing museum with a huge totem pole and mask collection (WOW!). In town, the farmer's markets are great (check web). Also beaches, stanley park (rent bikes?), huge swimming pools, aquarium, Granville island art, science museum. Very easy to get around on buses, taxi boats, monorail. Folks (from all over the world) are lovely. Anon Who Wishes I Was Going

Child-friendly lodging

February 2003

We are going to Vancouver, BC in mid-April and are looking for a great, inexpensive place to stay (hotels, hostels, B & B), preferably near the UBC campus or Kitsilano areas. Any recommendations out there for child-friendly location? (Not much on the website -- I'll collect and forward anything I get to the moderator). Thanks much! Claire

We stayed at Sunset Inn and & Suites which are like mini apartments with a kitchenette. They are in the AAA book -- the location was great-- we could walk and take public transportation pretty much everywhere, and it helped with that sense of travel as imaginging one lives somewhere else. This was two years ago, and the rate was around $90/night (in American dollars). They are at 1111 Burnaby Street, Vancouver BC, Canada V6E 1P4. Phone: 1-800-786-1997. The web link is Carol

Things to do in Vancouver

Feb 2000

This is a blast from the past, but still valid from what I hear: Bouchart Gardens (sp?) is a spectacular place to wander and enjoy nature. I still remember it from a visit 43 years ago when I was all of 5 (Egads!). Lots of paths for kids to wander with their parents, but a horticultural park, not wild. I also recommend totem poles. We had a book called Tales the Totems Tell that related the Indian myths behind the totem figures. It was one of my childhood favorites. As to weather, it is the Northwest, after all. Have fun!

I'm a Canadian who lived for several years in Vancouver and Victoria, and who visits regularly with a 5 year old son. There's lots to do with kids in both cities, but it depends on your interests. In Vancouver, my son enjoys riding Sky Train (like Bart, but above ground) and taking the Sea Bus from downtown Vancouver across Burrard Inlet to North Vancouver (it is about a 20 min. ride in a hydrofoil, and is part of the regional transit system, so a day pass will let you ride Sea Bus, Sky Train and the buses). My son likes Science World, and Granville Island Public Market. He also enjoyed visiting the Museum of Anthropology at Univ. British Columbia. They have lots of hand-on exhibits, and encourange touching, playing the drums, etc. They also have lots of totem poles. Stanley Park is also nice, with beaches, totem poles, a par-3 golf course (pitch-n-put), playgrounds, a train (may not be running in April, though - I usually visit in summer and can't remember off hand). There is also the aquarium. The planetarium puts on a good show, but I haven't tried it with my son yet, so it might be better suited to older kids. In terms of accomodation, it depends on where you want to be. Obviously, downtown is convenient, but is more expensive. The Wedgewood Hotel offers suites. It is less-expensive to stay out in the suburbs. Just stay near the Sky Train route. Also, the Univ. of British Columbia has rooms and suites. They are reasonably priced, but are more available after the end of April (when term is finished). Transit is good out to UBC, and there is a nice park (plus Wreck Beach, the nudist beach, if you are into that sort of thing!!). This summer, we plan to take the Royal Hudson (steam train) up to Whistler. My son is a train buff, and will love it. The tram ride up Grouse Mountain (a ski area) is fun, too. There won't be snow, but the hiking is good if the weather cooperates.

The ferry ride to Victoria is fun. Dolphins and orcas can often be spotted, and there is a play area for smaller kids,and a video arcade for bigger kids. My son enjoys walking around on the deck. In Victoria, there are lots of tourist things in the Inner Harbour (near the Empress Hotel),including Undersea World and the Wax Museum. My husband's favourite since childhood is Miniature World, in the basement of the Empress. It is lots of scaled down dioramas. We haven't taken my son yet, but he'd enjoy it. There are lots of hotels in that part of Victoria. Also, the Univ. of Victoria rents rooms. Butchart Gardens is good if the weather is nice. In April, the weather will be mild, but could be wet. PS: Canadians think of Vancouver/Victoria as the SOUTHwest, not the NORTHwest. Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.