48 Hours in Vancouver | Perfect Weekend Itinerary
Updated: Mar 31
Vancouver is one of Canada's most notable cities and it's the gem of the west coast. If you love mountains, ocean, and great food all in one place, this is the destination for you. Smaller than Toronto, Vancouver still has plenty to offer, and you can hit the highlights in a single weekend.
Where to Stay in Vancouver
Vancouver is a sprawling city with plenty of neighbourhoods to choose from when planning your stay. We chose to base ourselves in Yaletown, which is fairly central to the major attractions. It's a charming area with tons of Airbnb's in the condo buildings, plus it gives you a sense of what living in the city would feel like. Yaletown also felt like a safe neighbourhood, compared to some other areas of Vancouver.
Day 0 (Arrival)
Try to time your arrival in the city for a Friday evening so you can get settled and take full advantage of your Saturday morning. We arrived in the late afternoon and enjoyed the chance to unpack in our Airbnb and explore the surrounding streets before jumping into our jamp packed itinerary the following morning.
Try Japadog for a Late Dinner
If you're looking for a quick dinner option on your first night in VanCity, consider buying a late-night Japadog. These Japanese-inspired hotdogs are delicious and come in various flavours that are sure to satisfy your tastebuds. We chose the okonomiyaki hotdog and absolutely loved it.
Breakfast at Medina Cafe
Start your day with a waffle and a cappuccino at Medina Cafe in the Library District. Medina Cafe is a gorgeous restaurant that is extremely popular, so you'll want to make a reservation.
Stanley Park Seawall by Bike
After breakfast, head to Stanley Park where you can rent a bike through Vancouver's Mobi by Shaw Go program. All you have to do is download an app and you can pay online based on how long you want the bicycle (helmets are also available). Hop on and enjoy scenic views of the park and the ocean as you bike along the winding pathways of the seawall.
Robson Street Shopping or Vancouver Aquarium
If you're not quite ready for lunch, hit up Robson Street for some high-end shopping. You'll find plenty of clothing, shoe, and jewelry stores in this area plus lots of great places to grab a coffee or bubble tea while you're on the go.
While you're in the Stanley Park area, you could also check out the Vancouver Aquarium.
Lunch at Phnom Penh
Next, head to Phnom Penh for lunch to experience some of Vancouver's best Cambodian and Vietnamese cuisine. I highly recommend making a reservation here because it's popular and always busy, regardless of what time of day you visit.
The beef lúc lắc and their dry rub chicken wings are must-try menu items.
It's not a trip to Vancouver without spending some time in Gastown. Named after Captain Jack Deighton who earned the nickname Gassy Jack for his chatty personality, Gastown is a historic area of the city with cobbled streets and beautiful architecture. Take in the iconic steam clock, pop into one of the many quaint shops, or grab a drink on a patio.
Dinner at Meet or Tacofino
Vancouver has so many incredible restaurants to choose from that it's difficult to recommend just one. If you're a vegan, you'll love the menu options at Meet. The restaurant also has a lovely patio and a fun cocktail menu, making it the perfect spot to end a busy day of exploring the area.
However, if you're not a vegan, you might prefer to check out Tacofino. This exciting and delicious Mexican restaurant in Gastown has a fantastic selection of tacos and margaritas coupled with a lively atmosphere.
Granville Island for Brunch
Start your day by heading to Granville Island where you can eat your way through the many food stalls at the market. We stayed in Yaletown and could walk to the market. If you're further away, you can take an Uber or the metro system.
Don't miss Lee's Donuts where the many donut flavours are made fresh daily. For a great cup of coffee, Petit Ami inside the market is a wonderful option; they have a vast selection of coffee beans to choose from. You can spend some time exploring the market and nearby shops before making your way to the Richmond/Burnaby area for lunch via ferry.
Lunch in Richmond (Xi'an Food)
While in Vancouver, you can't miss the incredible array of restaurants serving authentic Xi'an food. Xi'an is a large city in the Shaanxi Province of central China with delicious dishes that are spicy and savoury.
We ate at Joojak in Burnaby, and it was a fantastic experience with reasonable prices and generous portions.
Museum of Anthropology
After lunch, check out the Museum of Anthropology near UBC in Richmond. Here you can soak in the local culture of the First Nations people of the Pacific Northwest. Admire the art displays and gain knowledge that will help you better appreciate Canada's West Coast.
Dinner at Jinya Ramen
For dinner, head back to Yaletown for a delicious bowl of soup at Jinya Ramen Bar. This restaurant has a trendy vibe and low-key atmosphere that's perfect for an intimate dinner date or a casual night out with friends.
Day 3 (Departure)
On Day 3, rise early for one more waffle and a coffee from Medina Cafe before catching your flight back home. You've had a taste of the best Vancouver has to offer, but you're certainly going to want to come back for another visit.
For more information about visiting Vancouver, check out my YouTube video of our time there!