Vancouver is a fun place to get away for a weekend trip, and the fact that it’s in Canada makes it even more exciting because it’s an international trip. I went to college in Bellingham, which is close to the Canadian border, so I’ve made many spontaneous trips for 2 days in Vancouver in the past.
While I love Seattle, I like Vancouver because it has a larger downtown area, a beautiful park, and diverse food. With it being less than 3 hours away from Seattle, it’s easy to see why this is such a popular Seattle weekend getaway. This is also the perfect place to stop if you’re on your way to a Vancouver Island trip.
In this article, I’ll give you some tips for planning your trip to Vancouver in 2 days as well as a suggested 2 days in Vancouver itinerary to follow.
Tips for 2 Days in Vancouver
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your 2 day Vancouver itinerary.
Best Time to Visit Vancouver
You can visit Vancouver anytime throughout the year, as the city doesn’t get snow too often. During Vancouver in winter, you can expect the temperature to get around 30-40° F on rainy days. There are also plenty of Christmas things to do in Vancouver during this time of year.
You may even see snow during January in Vancouver. It’s a great time to visit if you want to save money on accommodations and avoid tourists.
Summer in Vancouver is the most popular time to visit, as the weather is in the 70s and sunny most days. This is an ideal time to visit if you plan on doing outdoor activities like hiking, but this will be the most crowded time to go. It’s also a fun time to go if you want to extend your trip to take a Vancouver to Whistler drive for a day (or head up during summer in Whistler).
If you don’t mind some rain and prefer to save money while avoiding crowds, I recommend visiting Vancouver in the spring and the fall. The area is popular for Pacific Northwest family vacations in particular.
How to Get to Vancouver
If you’re coming from Seattle, it’s a fairly easy drive from Seattle to Vancouver. When there’s no traffic, you’ll be looking at about three hours to get there. However, you should be aware that there can be a queue at the border, particularly on the weekends.
When you’re driving up I-5, you’ll start to see signs in Bellingham that state how long the border wait is at the different crossings. The Peace Arch is the most popular one, as it’s the most straightforward, so this will likely always have the longest line. I usually take the Aldergrove crossing, as it may be a little out of the way but hardly ever has a wait more than a few minutes long. You can check online on your way up as well.
You can also fly into the city during your 2 days in Vancouver, as Vancouver International Airport is just south of the city. From there, you can rent a car, take a taxi, or hop on the SkyTrain for only $4.25 to reach downtown in less than 30 minutes.
Where to Stay During Vancouver in 2 Days
There are plenty of different options for where to stay in Vancouver during your vacation. I would think about if you plan on having a car, which would make it easier to get around while staying on the outskirts of town. If not, you may prefer to be more central to all your activities for your 48 hours in Vancouver.
The city has several choices you can choose from for a place to stay. Whether you’re on a budget or want a luxurious stay, there’s something for everyone!
Hyatt Regency Vancouver – Luxury Pick
The Hyatt Regency in Vancouver is a five-star hotel located in downtown Vancouver and a beautiful place to stay during your Vancouver 2 day itinerary. It’s luxurious in all senses of the word and boasts some wonderful amenities. These include a heated outdoor pool, a hot tub, free Wi-Fi, a gym, and a 42” inch flat-screen TV.
Guests are spoiled with amazing views of Vancouver’s skyline with floor-to-ceiling windows and a slate bathroom with lush toiletries. The Regency’s guests can dine at the Mosaic Bar and Grill, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner during their Vancouver itinerary for 2 days.
Rates start at $236 per night. You can book your stay on Booking.com.
Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver Downtown – Mid-Range Pick
Days Inn’s three-star hotel in downtown Vancouver is a good pick if you want comfort at a reasonable price during your Vancouver weekend. It features an on-site restaurant and pub and warm-colored rooms fitted with free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV with cable. Guests are spoiled with complimentary breakfasts and free toiletries in an en suite bathroom during their stay.
Rates start at $135 per night. You can book your stay at the hotel on Booking.com.
Barclay Hotel – Budget Pick
Barclay Hotel is a great pick for saving money during your 2 days in Vancouver, BC. You can then use those savings to fund more of your Vancouver adventures. The hotel features an on-site restaurant and pub with a full drinks menu and a TV to watch sports matches.
Rooms feature a flat-screen cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and an en suite bathroom with free toiletries. Guests are provided with a work desk and a minibar in an air-conditioned room. The hotel also offers same-day laundry services.
Rates start at $135 per night. You can book your stay at the hotel on Booking.comBooking.com
The Ultimate 2 Day Vancouver Itinerary
Vancouver is a busy and lively city with a lot of activities that will keep you occupied during your 2 days in Vancouver itinerary. As a result, you might struggle with indecisiveness when choosing the best ones to do in just two days in Vancouver.
That’s why I’ve compiled this list of the best things to do in the amazing city to help you with your struggles. These are the top activities that will ensure you make the most of your 48 hours in Vancouver. The activities are broken down into morning, afternoon, and evening experiences so you have something fun to do at all times of the day.
Need more time in the city? Here’s a 3 day itinerary in Vancouver to follow.
Day 1 Vancouver Itinerary
For your first day in Vancouver, you’ll start off with local coffee and food followed by exploring some of the top sights in the city.
Vancouver has activities that span the entire day. The following are the best ways to kick off your day’s adventures, including the best coffee places.
Start Your Day at Tim Hortons
Indulging in world-renowned coffee and fantastic food at Tim Hortons’ cafe is a great way to kickstart your day. You can eat a breakfast sandwich, wraps, muffins, hash browns, and other varieties while enjoying spectacular coffee or tea.
I stop here pretty much every time I’m in Canada, whether I’m spending 2 days in Vancouver or visiting Whistler for the weekend. The Timbits are perfect if you want to try a variety of their donuts while sharing them with others.
Visit Jam Cafe
If you feel that you want to support a small store instead of a chain store, Jam Cafe is a terrific option. They’ve got a range of breakfast meals and delicious beverages that will get you ready for the fun-filled day ahead. This includes sandwiches, pancakes, toast, hash browns, and more.
Vancouver Art Gallery
Once you’ve indulged your taste buds with terrific food, it’s time to spoil your eyes with magnificent art. The best place to do this is the Vancouver Art Gallery, which boasts over 10,000 collections of art. Some of the pieces on display belong to Britain and Canada’s finest artists.
Apart from the permanent art on display, the gallery often hosts touring exhibitions. The art gallery also has a public library, gift shop, and a cafe. It’s also one of the best things to do on a rainy day in Vancouver.
The gallery is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. This excludes Tuesdays and Fridays, where the gallery is open from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Vancouver City Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
If you aren’t too keen on art, you can jump on the city’s hop-on hop-off bus tour to visit all the famous spots. It’s a guided tour operated by a local who tells exciting stories about the city’s history. The bus has popular stops such as Stanley Park, Yaletown, Canada Place, beaches, and more.
After finishing your morning activities, your 2 days in Vancouver, Canada continues into the afternoon. These are the best midday adventures the city has to offer.
Stanley Park is massive, spanning around 988 acres, and is a treasure trove for nature lovers. This popular park features a rainforest and has multiple bodies of water and boasts more natural attractions than man-made attractions. For a quicker journey, you can explore the park on foot or rent a bike. The park also makes one of the best winter hikes in Vancouver if you’re looking to get outside during that season.
At the park, you can see the famous totem poles or visit the Vancouver Aquarium to view various sea life. Kids will love the park’s miniature trains, its playgrounds, and water parks. A visit to the park must be included as part of any family vacation in the Pacific Northwest.
The park is also home to the Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant and Brewpub. The pub has happy hour drinks between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm on weekdays. Stanley Park is an absolute must-see if you’ve only got two days in Vancouver.
Visit Granville Island
When you’re looking for what to see in Vancouver in two days, I highly recommend stopping at Granville Island. This is one of my favorite places in the city and I make a trip here each time.
You can get to Granville Island with the Aquabus or walk across the Granville Bridge for a fantastic view. There you’ll find the indoor Granville Island Public Market, where a diverse list of food options will greet you. There’s also a brewery on-site where you can enjoy beer and other beverages.
Additionally, you’ll find a long list of artsy and cultural activities, boutiques, and other entertainment options. The incredibly vast choices of food will be more than enough to satisfy your lunch cravings.
If you would like to get a taste of fabulous gelato, Bella Gelateria has got you covered. They have all the classic flavors and some in-house experimental flavors that will blow your mind. You’ll also find a selection of liquid refreshments available, including gelato drinks and hot and cold beverages.
The city boasts a lively nightlife, and this bodes well for your journey in Vancouver. These are the best things to do to cap your night off.
Yaletown is a prime evening spot in Vancouver that has fun galore for everyone! It is full of dining places, pubs, nightclubs, and lounges. This list includes Yaletown Brewing, Pierre’s Lounge, and Bar None.
You can find a complete list of all the evening fun you can have on the neighborhood’s official website.
If you’re staying anywhere downtown, you must visit Gastown. The area is one of my favorite places to stop during a trip to Vancouver in two days. The neighborhood has a variety of fun activities and places to eat so you can effectively cap your night.
Grab a bite of Mexican cuisine at La Mezcaleria, served with unique cocktails, tequila, beer, and wine. On their food menu, you’ll find an eclectic selection of Mexican dishes to tantalize your taste buds.
If you’re looking for a great photo op, visit the neighborhood’s Steam Clock. It looks like a mini Big Ben, except it blows smoke to tell the time. The steam looks amazing at nighttime with the starry sky as a backdrop.
Day 2 Vancouver Itinerary
You’ll love continuing your weekend in Vancouver itinerary for day two. You’re guaranteed to have fun from virtually exploring the city to visiting the beach or a comprehensive food tour.
Day two of your adventures will start with great food and a unique experience. This helps get you into an upbeat mood during your morning on day 2 in Vancouver.
Breakfast at Incognito Coffee
Incognito Coffee prides itself as a coffee shop that serves only the freshest and most delicious coffee in town. The verdict? They certainly aren’t too far off the mark!
They sell a number of other beverages in addition to coffee, including lattes, tea, and smoothies. Incognito’s menu also has a wide selection of breakfast meals to suit every palate.
Breakfast at Heirs Pear
Heirs Pear is another good option for your breakfast needs. Their menu is gluten-free, and they sell coffee and tea as well. Their breakfast menu will satisfy anyone looking for a healthy start to the day.
They also have baked goods if you have a sweet tooth and need a sugar kick to get you moving (I know I always do!).
Canada Place is a popular Vancouver spot that resembles a ship and a fun option when looking for what to do in Vancouver in 2 days. It’s home to several establishments, including FlyOver Canada. FlyOver offers a virtual flight experience that explores the city of Vancouver over the sky virtually.
Canada Place is also a great pitstop for a mid-morning snack during your 2 days in Vancouver as there are a number of diners and cafes on-site. This means it doubles as a place to get breakfast and experience fun.
The morning fun continues into an afternoon full of great activities. This includes eating some of the finest cuisines, walking across a suspended bridge, and catching a sunset on a beautiful beach.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
A visit to Capilano Bridge Park is an essential stop if you’re exploring Vancouver in two days. It has several attractions that are great for everyone. One of these includes the Capilano Suspension Bridge, which boasts a scenic view, although you’re advised not to look down.
Past the bridge is the actual park. It exhibits Totem Poles, offers a Treetop Adventure (you’ll be walking from tree to tree via bridges) and the Cliff Walk. The park has a coffee shop and a souvenir store where you can buy all kinds of interesting souvenirs.
The park is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, something to note for your Vancouver two day itinerary. Admission fees range from around $15 to $44 per person, depending on age.
Stroll Down Main Street
Main Street is a long stretch of road that has the traditional mixing with the trendy. Here you’ll find a wide range of boutiques, dining places, and decor stores. A food tour on Main Street is great if you want to spoil your taste buds with cuisine from various countries.
You’ll have plenty of choices with Indian, Canadian, Chinese, Japanese, and other countries’ delicacies. There are also breweries in the area to help quench your thirst. MeeT on Main (an all-vegetarian restaurant), GRUB (vegetarian and gluten-free), and Brassneck Brewery undoubtedly have some of the most delicious food and drinks on Main Street.
If you want a relaxing time sunbathing or gazing at the sunset, you can’t skip Kitsilano beach. You’ll enjoy a majestic view of snow-peaked mountains and the city of Vancouver in the distance. It’s particularly mesmerizing when the mountains gradually swallow the sun behind them during the late afternoon.
The beach also has other fun activities to take part in, including basketball, volleyball, a saltwater pool, and playgrounds for kids. For thrill-seekers, there’s windsurfing, skimboarding, and kiteboarding on offer.
The beach’s also one of the best dog-friendly vacation spots in Vancouver, meaning your furry friend isn’t left behind during your 2 days in Vancouver.
After an eventful, fun day, it’s only fitting to end your night in the same manner. Whether you decide to feast on award-winning cuisine or watch ice hockey pros jostle, you’re guaranteed to end your Vancouver trip on a high note.
Dinner at Salt Tasting Room
After a day full of activities, dinner at Salt Tasting Room is a great way to unwind. The spot is known for its specialty wine, which is paired with several kinds of cheese, meat, and other condiments.
Dinner at Vij’s or Tojo’s
Both Vij’s and Tojo’s serve great food, and your choice will solely be down to your preferences.
Vij’s sells South Asian delicacies that have seen the restaurant honored in several publications and award lists. The specialty food includes mouth-watering Indian delicacies and unique variations of Western food. Vij’s selection of drinks is also vast, giving customers several choices.
Making your way to Vij’s is essential if you want to indulge in the best food in Vancouver in 2 days.
Tojo’s sells exceptional Japanese cuisine that comes with sake, spirits, cocktails, and other drinks. Their menu includes popular Japanese dishes such as sushi and wagyu.
Alternatively, you can choose the “Omakase” (translates to “Chef, I’m in your hands”) offering. Here the chef prepares you a special dinner with a curated selection of mouthwatering hot and cold dishes.
Watch a Professional Hockey Game
Canada is synonymous with ice hockey, so it’s such a regular fixture in many Vancouver itineraries. The Vancouver Canucks play in the Rogers Arena nearby downtown, so make sure to reserve tickets in advance of your trip to see a game.
The arena has a fun atmosphere that will leave you amazed, regardless of whether you like hockey or not. Additionally, the stadium has an array of vendors who sell food, alcohol, and other snacks.
If you want to extend your 2 day Vancouver Itinerary, you can go on a road trip from Vancouver to explore even more of Canada.
Now it’s time to get planning your 2 days in Vancouver and look forward to exploring this beautiful city!