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Exploring Vancouver during summer: A complete guide

Exploring Vancouver during summer: A complete guide

I had fallen completely in love with Vancouver way before I even landed into YVR international.

Honestly, I’ve been telling people that I’m moving to Vancouver for about 4 months now. This intention was ignited by my fourth road trip in Canada through the Kootenay Rockies region in June. If you’ve ever been to Canada you’re probably sat there knowing exactly what I’m on about. There aren’t many people that visit Canada without falling in love.

If you’re planning a trip to Vancouver and are looking for the best things to do in Vancouver, the best things to see in Vancouver and the best places to eat in Vancouver, you’re on the right blog post.

My time in Vancouver was everything my soul needed (very welcome R+R after Burning Man). There’s just something about British Columbia. The people, the landscapes, the lifestyle and the priorities people have out here really speak to me. You could narrow it down to, and hold one thing responsible for its magic… nature. See my guide to planning a British Columbia road trip here.

Nature is at the heart of everything and everyone in British Columbia.

For those of you yet to dive into the wonders of this North American country, Vancouver is a city located on the West Coast of Canada nestled right between the mountains and the ocean. By summer you can hike, cliff jump, scuba dive and climb in the same day and by winter you are spoilt with choice for ski regions to hand. Vancouver has an international airport, a thriving wellness scene and yoga scene, beaches and has under a 2 hour flight time from the likes of San Francisco and LA.

This Vancouver travel guide comes after I’ve spent 5 days with my Vancouver raised girlfriend, Monika, who lives in North Vancouver. Mon completely spoilt me with her comprehensive tour of, not just the city, but the region as a whole.

In this Vancouver travel guide, I am going to take you through all the best things to do in Vancouver during summer, the best places to eat in Vancouver, the best adventures in Vancouver and the free things to do in Vancouver. Hopefully, by the end of this travel guide, I will have successfully done my job and you will be utterly convinced to add Vancouver to your bucket list!

More on me moving out to Vancouver in another post – I’m serious.

Other guides and posts on my blog that you may enjoy:


A guide to visiting Vancouver during summer

I visited in September 2019 which is just coming out of the summer months in Vancouver. We had 50% sunshine and clear skies and 50% rainy days. The nature is beautiful regardless but I’d definitely recommend checking the forecast in advance and assigning your time for mountain adventure / hiking etc accordingly.

Getting to Vancouver

Vancouver’s main airport is Vancouver International Airport (YVR) which is accessible from London on a direct flight with a duration of less 10 hours. It’s also a 2 hour from from San Francisco which is how I accessed it on my US / Canada trip this August with WestJet.

Check flights on SkyScanner here from other destinations.

Vancouver is a pretty popular destination for a West Coast road trip so if Vancouver is taking your fancy consider planning a bigger trip. You will not regret it. See my Canada road trip inspiration here.

Check out this post for everything you need to know about surviving long haul flights! 

Getting from the airport into the city centre

From the airport you have a few options:

  • $8-10 CAD. The SkyTrain which takes you from the airport to Downtown Vancouver in 20 minutes – all information here.
  • $40 CAD ish taxi
  • Note: there’s no Uber / Lyft service currently operating in Vancouver but there’s rumours.
  • Rent a car from the airport (get your road trip on!)

Top tip: Check out money-saving tips on my blog here.

A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer

Getting around Vancouver:

Unlike London, there is no extensive underground / metro system that will connect you quickly to all the corners of the city and suburbs that you wish. There are however a select number of trains, buses and a sea bus that will cover most of the ground for you. If you wish to be exploring beyond the city and diving into the incredible abundance of nature on Vancouvers doorstep (you’d be crazy not to) then you’ll want to grab a car.

Vancouver transport options:

Top tip: If you’d prefer to take public transport instead of walking, CityMapper is a great app in lots of cities that helps you get from A to B. Check out other useful travel apps in this blog post.

A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer
A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer months

Budgeting for Vancouver:

Examples of spending ($ CAD):

  • $9 SkyTrain from airport to Downtown
  • $40 taxi from airport to Downtown
  • $30 a night in a hostel
  • $4-6 for a coffee in a coffee shop
  • $5 for a scoop of ice cream
  • $20 for a yoga class
  • $10-15 for a meal out

Use this link to get £25 off of your first Airbnb booking.

A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer

I’ve pinned everything mentioned in this post in the Google Map below for you…

If you’ve never heard of the Kootenay Rockies, get inspired in this blog post!

Places to eat and drink and hang out whilst in Vancouver during summer…

Places to eat:

  • Tacofino Taco Bar (the infamous taco’s)
  • Meet Vegan
  • Granville Island public market
  • Nuba in Yaletown
  • The Naam, Kitsilano (24 hour insane Vegan and Veggie restaurant)
  • Chickpea Restaurant
  • Jamjar Canteen (dreamy Lebanese)
  • Miku Vancouver
  • Cafe by Tao, North Van
  • The Main, East Van
  • Jappadog (Japanese hot dog) – Vancouvers most successful food trucks that are dotted and move around the city!
  • Friday night market at the shipyards with live music, North Vancouver
  • The Shipyards, North Vancouver (awesome bunch of shipping containers and restaurants on the water!)
A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer months
A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer

Check out this post for my guide to Banff in summer.

Sweet treats:

  • Earnest Ice Cream (epic creative flavours and vegan options!)
  • Cartem’s doughnuts (epic vegan flavours available)
  • The Juice Truck (vegan soft serve in East Van)
A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer months

Places to drink:

  • Coffee at End Of Line General Store, Lynn Valley
  • Friday night market at The Shipyards, North Van
  • Las Margaritas (mexican cocktail vibes) inKitsilano
  • Breweries in East Vancouver
  • Granville Street in Downtown (clubbing and bars)
  • Lamplighter pub in Gastown
  • Gastown in general for weekend drinks!
A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer months

This is how to budget for your Canadian Rockies road trip. 

The best things to do in Vancouver in summer…

1. Go on a hike for a view

There’s a few to choose from. Most people go for Grouse Mountain (looks down over the city) but we did Cypress (city and island pano). All depends if you have a car or not, options are endless if you do! There are some more options here for you.

To hike Cypress mountain: We parked at the resort and took a 4 hour round hiking trail up to the summit which gave us views one way over to the islands and the other over the city. An epic way to gain perspective over Vancouver and the surrounding landscape. Required some moderate physical ability and I’d recommend hiking shoes!

See my 18 hiking tips for beginners here.

A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer months

Planning a British Columbia road trip in Canada? Check out this planning guide! 

2. Brahm’s Tams Drum Circle at Stanley Park’s Third Beach

Every Tuesday during summer when the sun is out!

3. Head to The Shipyards in North Vancouver

An awesome social hangout that’s been recently developed in Lower Lonsdale – the lively centre of North Van. The Shipyards used to be an old abandoned, gross not that appealing, shipyard. It’s now been converted into a cultural space and venue for markets, festivals and live music.

4. Have a drink in the Breweries of East Vancouver

5. Explore Lynn Valley

I stayed right next to this area and it was simply gorgeous. Walk across the suspension bridge, check out the emerald pools, soak up the fresh air or if you’re keen, take your swimmers and dip in the fresh waters!

A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer
A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer months

Here are my top tips for staying safe during solo travel.

6. Cycle around Vancouver sea wall

7. Soak up the views from Grouse Mountain

If you’re just down for the view, take the Red Skyride up to the top but if you’re keen for the workout – take the steps up to the top. Rumour has it these step are pretty intense but a great workout for those seeking it! Adrenalin junkies – consider the zipline! See more information about Grouse Mountain adventures here.

8. Check out one of the many beaches in Vancouver

I never actually got time to visit the beaches in the city but I’ve heard they have a lovely vibe.

For advice on travelling on a budget, check out these top tips! 

9. Cliff jumping at Lion’s Bay

Within 30 minutes of our 4 hour hike up Cypress mountains we were down and cliff jumping into the relatively warm summer temperature of the sea. Take shoes to jump with if you go, requires a little rock scrambling to get out! Take a picnic and enjoy at sunset.

A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer months

10. Drive the sea to sky highway

One of the most stunning drives I’ve ever driven, particularly at sunset. The photo you see below of the platform overlooking the islands was located on this route heading out of Vancouver down by Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. It’s not an official spot and I don’t want to spoil it but keep your eyes out and be curious!

A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer

Top tip: Check out more ways to keep fit when you’re travelling in this blog post!

11. Explore the local produce at Granville Island Market

12. Come on it’s time for the Capilano Suspension Bridge selfie

Possibly the most highly recommended thing when I reached out to you guys. I actually didn’t end up getting around to it but it looks epic. Save it for a clear day to make the most out of it!

Here are my top tips for planning and researching your next adventure.

13. Explore Stanley Park

There’s an outdoor swimming pool, an aquarium, a Theatre Under The Stars (see productions here), beaches, afternoon tea room, tennis courts and more.

14. Watch a film at EVO outdoor cinema, Stanley Park

See films and get tickets here.

Here are 12 ways to improve your travel photography!

15. Go Scuba diving in the ocean!

Check out all my diving adventures on my blog here.

16. Get the ferry across to Vancouver Island

See my guide to Vancouver Island here.

6 days on Vancouver Island: A travel guide

17. Drive 45 minutes ish up to Squamish

One of the most famous climbing scenes in the world. Don’t forget to check out the sea-to-sky gondola!

18. Drive 1 hour 30 minutes up to Whistler

The world renowned ski resort and adventure hub. Think mountain biking, zip lining and hiking!


A guide to visiting Vancouver during the summer months

Looking for the best things to do in Canada? Check out this Canada bucket list of adventures!


Have you been to Vancouver?

Where were your favourite spots? What are your favourite things to do in Vancouver?

Love as always + happy adventuring,


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Exploring Vancouver during summer: A complete guide
Exploring Vancouver during summer: A complete guideExploring Vancouver during summer: A complete guideExploring Vancouver during summer: A complete guide




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