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Why Scenic? > Touring Destination Guides > Vancouver City Guide

Vancouver City Guide

To say a city “has it all” may sound cliché, but in reference to Vancouver, a bustling seaboard city in the heart of British Columbia, it’s nothing but accurate.

To say a city “has it all” may sound cliché, but in reference to Vancouver, a bustling seaboard city in the heart of British Columbia, it’s nothing but accurate.

Beaches, skyscrapers, and a magnificent mountain backdrop; on the surface alone, Vancouver has promise. Delve into the city’s diverse culture and things only get better, with a flourishing art and music scene, a handful of world-renowned theatres, and some of the finest art galleries on the North American continent to explore and discover.

Couple these attributes with the enriching experiences offered as part of a luxury escorted tour from Scenic, and your visit to Vancouver promises unforgettable good times. From enjoying a quiet stroll in the captivating Capilano Suspension Bridge Park to absorbing the Art Deco grandeur of Sun Tower and the Dominion Building; Vancouver possesses a bustle, charm and heritage that make it an undeniable highlight during a Canadian touring holiday.

Find out more about Vancouver in our handy city guide, including a selection of the city’s most memorable cultural sites and some of its best shopping spots.

Cultural Highlights

Cultural enrichment comes easy in Vancouver, a city steeped in history and heritage but wholly engaged in the contemporary. Here, we showcase just a handful of Vancouver’s unmissable cultural highlights, from the Orpheum Theatre to the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art.

Orpheum Theatre

Vancouver has a proud history in the world of theatre, and the palatial Orpheum Theatre stands as testament to the city’s ongoing commitment to arts, culture and music. First opened in 1927 when it became the largest theatre in Canada, the Orpheum is part of Vancouver’s Civic Theatre Group, and serves as the permanent home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Recognisable for its neon sign, the Orpheum plays host to a comprehensive programme of performances and concerts, and we’d more than recommend a visit.

Roedde House Museum

Glimpse into the pages of Vancouver’s history with a visit to the Roedde House Museum. Located in the city’s historic West End quarter, this late-Victorian townhouse has been tastefully restored to reflect the day-to-day life of a middle-class family living in the heart of Vancouver at the turn of the 19th century. Inside and out, Roedde has been painstakingly restored to give visitors insight into the nostalgia of yesteryear, and because none of the rooms are roped off, you’ll enjoy a truly immersive experience.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

The wobbly expanse of the Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of Vancouver’s favourite landmarks, thrilling visitors since 1889. The bridge weaves its ways across the Capilano River, to the north of Downtown Vancouver, transporting hikers on a breath-taking walk above the cedars and pines of Raptors Ridge. Standing at 70m high and 130m long, the bridge offers spectacular views of Vancouver and its surroundings. As a Scenic guest, you’ll be granted exclusive early access to the bridge, allowing you to savour the scenery at your own pace.

Forbidden Vancouver

Discover Vancouver’s shady past as North America’s Prohibition Capital on the immersive walking tour, Forbidden Vancouver. Following your experienced guide through the city’s lamp-lit alleyways, you’ll be given an alternative history of the city and its notoriety as a centre for illegal alcohol smuggling during the Prohibition era of the 1920s. This theatrical walking tour is as fun as it is fascinating, and is the perfect way to see more of the city and its history in the company of an experienced and knowledgeable guide.

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

Housed in a distinctive building in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art features a vast collection of aboriginal art dating back hundreds of years. The gallery provides fascinating insight into the vast heritage of Canada’s aboriginal people, who are said to have settled in Vancouver over 10,000 years ago. Highlights of the gallery include the sculptures of James Hart, as well as exhibitions of gold and silver jewellery excavated in the city.

Retail Opportunities

As you’d expect from the capital of British Columbia, Vancouver offers near limitless opportunities for leisurely spending. From weekly craft fairs to high-fashion flagships, Vancouver offers shopping to suit all tastes and budgets.

South Granville

Frequently overlooked and seriously underrated; South Granville boasts a collection of independent clothing boutiques, unique home stores and dozens of commercial art galleries. Perfect for those with a penchant for art collecting, this charming neighbourhood has even been given the nickname ‘Gallery Row’.

Gastown

vancouver city guide

The historic neighbourhood of Gastown has become the centre for interior design and high fashion in Vancouver, complemented by row after row of elegant late-Victorian townhouses. After treating yourself to some evening finery, why not pay a visit to the Coastal Peoples Fine Art Gallery, one of the city’s most authentic aboriginal art spaces.

Punjabi Market/Little India

Owing to its diverse multiculturalism, Vancouver boasts a neighbourhood dedicated to its vast Indo-Canadian community, the aptly named Little India. Here you’ll find the Punjabi Market, a hub for Indian fashions, jewellery, fabrics and of course, authentic Indo-Canadian cuisine.

Keen to discover the cultural vibrancy of Vancouver for yourself? As a guest on a Scenic escorted tour, you’ll stay in a luxury hotel in the heart of the city, with all of Vancouver’s highlights right on your doorstep. To browse our complete range of Canadian tours, visit our escorted tours page or call us on 0808 256 4434.