By Darren Griffiths

48 Hours in Vancouver - Highlight Itinerary for Two Days

26th January 2023

Vancouver is arguably the most talked-about city in Canada. On the global livability index, it’s rated sixth and after exploring the city myself several times, I can’t agree with that more. From the bustling streets to the multicultural influence and the array of nearby green spaces, the city truly has it all so 48 hours in Vancouver really isn’t enough!

With that said, a city so livable is home to so many amazing places to visit it can be hard to know exactly where to spend your time. Luckily, after many visits to Vancouver, I’ve come up with the perfect combination of exploring all of the unique parts of the city from food, culture, scenery, and, of course, those epic landscapes that surround Vancouver. 

Here’s the best way possible to spend 48 hours in Vancouver, Canada! 

Day 1 in Vancouver

Morning Bicycle Ride around the Seawall in Stanley Park

Your first of two days in Vancouver is going to be an adventurous one that starts with biking around the Seawall in Stanley Park. For this, you’re going to need two things before you go. The first is a huge breakfast to fuel up! 

A great place near Stanley Park to go for breakfast is Breaking Bean Café. For Vancouver, they are really affordable and great breakfast options start at under $10. Oh, and the coffee is amazing too!

Next, is a bicycle rental and luckily there is no shortage of them just outside Stanley Park. Spokes Bike Rentals is my top choice and renting from them is always a breeze. Spokes Bike Rental will not only be able to rent you a bike, but they also provide maps of Stanley Park. 

Be sure to stop along the way and take your time with this activity, you can even lock up your bike and take a stroll on one of the many hiking trails in the area. Personally though, a simple ride around the Seawall is enough and the views along the way are truly amazing. 

The Seawall is 12 kilometers long and it takes around 2 hours to complete the entire bicycle trail at a steady pace. For that, a bike rental will only cost around $20.

Mmmm Lunch is calling…

Remember when I talked about that amazing multicultural influence in Vancouver? Well, I have a true local secret for you and that’s Shabusen Japanese Restaurant. This all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant is a local favorite, and on weekdays, their all-you-can-eat menu starts at only $20. 

The best part? It’s freshly prepared as you order and the quality is amazing! Each table also has its own BBQ so you get to cook your own meats or just eat the fresh sushi and BBQ ribs – yum! Do not spend 48 hours in Vancouver without eating here!

Afternoon stroll on the Capilano Suspension Bridge

After you’ve digested that food and maybe even taken a nap back at your hotel, it’s time to explore one of the best things to do in Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension bridge. 

Located a short drive outside of Vancouver city center the Capilano Suspension Bridge is a giant suspension bridge spanning across a gorge. Walking across and enjoying the views of your surroundings is an awesome experience. With that said, the bridge itself isn’t the only attraction. Instead, you’ll find a memorizing treetop walk and cliff walk as well as lots of info on the area and Native American carvings. 

It takes a few hours to explore Capilano and the entrance is $56 for adults. Although not cheap, the experience really is one of the best in Vancouver. To sweeten the deal even more, they offer a free shuttle from various locations around Vancouver so you don’t need to worry about transport.

You can explore the Capilano Suspension Bridge at night too, however, this experience isn’t available all year round so it’ll depend on which month your two days in Vancouver fall and I personally think it’s more beautiful to explore during the day anyway. 

Night out in Vancouver CBD

Exploring downtown Vancouver is best done in the late afternoon and into the evening. To start I’d recommend getting yourself down to the Cactus Club at English Bay to watch the sunset. 

You can take a stroll on the beach at English Bay before getting a table and enjoying some amazing food. Although Cactus Club is a restaurant chain in Canada, the food and cocktails are amazing. One thing they’re famous for is their Peach Bellinis! 

After dinner, it’s up to you whether you continue the night at Cactus Club or head elsewhere, but just be sure to get a good night’s rest as tomorrow will be another epic 48 hours in Vancouver adventure!

Day 2 in Vancouver

Morning hike through Lynn Canyon

On a fresh Vancouver morning, there is nothing better than taking a trip out to Lynn Canyon. The canyon is absolutely stunning and the greenery and views of the surrounding landscape will have you in awe as you walk the many hiking trails. I personally love the suspension bridge (pictured above.) It’s right at the start and makes for amazing photos!

Exploring Lynn Canyon takes around 2 hours if you walk the majority of the trails so won’t take up too much of your 48 hours in Vancouver. There is also a café at the entrance if you want a coffee and a bite to eat for the walk. The only issue is that you should get going early.

In fact, an early rise is highly recommended for this activity as Lynn Canyon often packs full of tourists. Aim to get there by at least 9 am and you’ll not only enjoy the park without the crowds but your photos will look a lot better – especially on the suspension bridge!

You can get out to Lynn Canyon using public transport or you can drive. If you plan on taking public transport, check out the Lynn Canyon website as there is lots of info on how to get there

Explore the best of Granville Island 

On the way back from Lynn Canyon you can either take a trip back to your hotel to refresh or just keep the good 48 hours in Vancouver vibes going and head to the famous Granville Island to explore and have an amazing lunch! 

Granville Island is one of my favorite places to explore during the day in Vancouver. The place is super vibrant and filled with cool shops, markets, bars and restaurants. Oh, and they often have live street performers too! 

The markets are really cool to explore and you can pick up lots of local produce and crafts. On Granville Island, there is so much to see and do and honestly, everything is good, so just let your nose and eyes guide you.

For me though, my number one reason for wanting to visit every time I’m in Vancouver is because of Granville Island Brewing. It’s actually my favorite brewery in Canada and if you love beer too then visiting and doing their tour is a must.

Granville Island is located just outside the main Vancouver CBD area and can be reached by cab or even public ferry

Evening adventure through Gastown 

After a busy day, it would be best to get some rest before you hit the street of Vancouver’s oldest and trendiest neighborhood, Gastown. I absolutely love Gastown for its trendy atmosphere and a huge selection of amazing places to eat and drink. 

In fact, on my most recent visit, I even joined a Vancouver food tour through Gastown which I loved! It’s a great introduction to the area and you’ll find some great local secrets. However, just in case you aren’t doing a food tour, I’ll share a few of them with you.

For vegans or those wanting to try some really amazing vegan food, you cannot spend 48 hours in Vancouver and miss MeeT. This place is always packed and they serve vegan meals you wouldn’t even know are vegan. 

For great cocktails, you simply must visit Clough Club. The cocktails here are amazing and perfectly suited to Gastown’s trendy vibe! 

After, take a wander and explore and even visit the old steam clock. This clock is iconic to Gastown and still operates to this day!

And just like that, 48 hours in Vancouver comes to an end. You can leave knowing you’ve experienced Vancouver’s top attractions but also seen a variety of what the city has to offer. Let’s hope this guide has not only inspired your upcoming trip but even planned it for you!

With the city’s international airport, Vancouver is easily accessible using numerous airlines such as Cathay Pacific.  

About the Author – Daniel from Destinationless Travel

Daniel is a travel enthusiast who has turned his passion into a career. Along with his partner Bailey, he travels the globe in search of new experiences. You can follow him along on his travel blog Destinationless Travel where he documents his travels in the form of detailed travel guides. 

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From the bustling streets to the multicultural influence and the array of green spaces, here’s the best way possible to spend 48 hours in Vancouver, Canada! 

From the bustling streets to the multicultural influence and the array of green spaces, here’s the best way possible to spend 48 hours in Vancouver, Canada! 

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