If you only have one day in Vancouver with kids, this post will help you find all the fun and easy things to do with kids in Vancouver!
Sometimes you only have 1 day in Vancouver because of a flight layover, a road trip through British Columbia or arrived before your Alaskan Cruise.
This is a summary of the best things to do in Vancouver with kids, it’s an easy day that will help your entire family enjoy this amazing city of Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada.
Vancouver is one of the best cities to visit in Canada. It is located on the west coast of Canada in British Columbia and has beautiful scenery with the ocean, mountains, tall skyscraper metropolis and tranquil green space parks. It really is a wonderful city and regardless of the amount of time you spend in Vancouver, you will want to come back.
We frequently visit Vancouver, with and without kids, since we live close by in Kelowna, BC. We have seen many cities on our 1 year of travels, and Vancouver still is one of our favourite cities to visit. It’s a great city break to explore great museums, architecture, food and melting pot of culture that we love to visit and explore.
What You'll Find in This Post
- 7 Things to Do in Vancouver with Kids
- Map of Vancouver Activities with Kids
- Best Areas to Stay In Vancouver
- Airbnb In Vancouver
- Places to Eat in Vancouver
- 2 Days in Vancouver or More
- Vancouver Travel Tips
7 Things to Do in Vancouver with Kids
1. Granville Island
We always like to start our mornings at Granville Island public market and we think is one of the best things to do with kids in Vancouver. We go EVERY single time we go to Vancouver!
One of the best spots on Granville Island for kids is the Kids Market. A space just for kids that have kids stores, games and other fun activities just for kids. Be sure to check into the activities and events happening here to line some things up for kids.
We love just walking around and getting all the best of the local grocers. All the best fruits, deli, bread, and sweets are amazing. We love grabbing some fresh deli meats, cheeses, fruit and a dessert and grabbing a spot on the dock for a picnic-style lunch watching the boats in the harbour.
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One of our fav places to visit in Vancouver is Granville Island. The public market with fresh produce, flowers, meats, cheese and bakeries! So many options to choose from that look all so good. 😋 I could spend hours strolling around this market and make sure I visit it every time I am in Vancouver. Sofia was still full from her pancakes breakfast but didn’t stop her from looking for next time! #granvilleisland #vancouver #vancouverfoodie
2. Ride on the Aquabus
A simple thing but honestly one of our kid’s favourite things to do in Vancouver is to take the Aquabus around the Vancouver harbour. Super easy to take after visiting Granville island. You can go over to Olympic village, Sunset Beach, Vancouver Museum or the Science world from it. Or you can simply ride all around and come back to Granville island or whichever port you get on from.
It might be one of our favourite family things to do in Vancouver. You get to see all the cool things of Vancouver from the water and don’t need to worry about walking or looking for traffic.
3. Science World
Vancouver weather can typically include some rainy days, and so having a plan to spend some time indoors on your 1 day visit to Vancouver is a good idea to have. One of the things to do in Vancouver BC on a rainy day (or any day for that matter ) is going to the Telus Science World.
This multi-level science centre has many exhibits that provide an educational experience with lots of fun for the kids. Most of the exhibits are hands-on for the kids and interactive. A place for kids to be able to touch everything and try everything.
Our kids loved this place and we will definitely go back again. They also have films and an outdoor play area for little ones. You can find out about all the current exhibits, pricing and hours on their website. We’ve been to many science centres all over the world and this one is top shelf!
4. Vancouver Downtown & Gastown
You can’t visit Vancouver without visiting Gastown or downtown Vancouver. They two areas are within walking distance of each other. So spend some time walking through the areas and enjoying the city life of Vancouver.
Gastown has the old feel of the early settlers with vintage lamposts, cobblestone streets and stores that line the streets. Grab a coffee or lunch at one of the restaurants and sit on the patio to get the ambiance of the area. Be sure to find the famous Gastown steam clock and the mini Flatiron building, they are great ways to make it a scavenger hunt for the kids while walking around.
Vancouver downtown has some great shopping along Robson Street and the Pacific Center shopping mall. You can spend as long or as little as you want in this area in the bustle of the city center.
5. Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a huge park and green space, over 400-hectares of West Coast rainforest. It has scenic views of the water, mountains, coastline and serenity in the middle of a metropolitan city.
One of the best things to do in Vancouver is to visit Stanley Park. There are forest trails that you can walk or hike with kids. There is an 8.8km seawall that you can bike and enjoy the views of English Bay. Search to find the traditional totem poles and discover so much natural beauty in this park
There is always something going on at Stanley Park, and depending on the time of year different things going on. This is a must stop for your visit to Vancouver.
6. Vancouver Aquarium
Always a kid’s favourite thing in Vancouver is to see animals. The Vancouver Aquarium is a great place to take the kids for learning about aquatic animals, conservation and protection of these animals. There are educational shows and exhibits, but depending on the age of the kids they may just marvel and love just seeing all the animals.
Don’t forget to get your Skip the Line tickets here for the Vancouver Aquarium and make things quicker.
There are so many fun activities for kids in the Vancouver aquarium and it is also a great idea if you have a cooler or rainy day in Vancouver for indoor kids activities.
7. Watch a Sporting Event (Hockey, Soccer or Candian Football)
We always like to go to a sporting event in Vancouver. They offer world-class sporting events and it is a fun activity for the entire family. We also like that it can be a great event to do in the evening and sit down after walking around for most of the day.
Kids of all ages will like to watch the game, but this may be a good blend for your tweens and teens if you are doing younger kids’ activities during the day. We’ve taken our kids since they have been 4 ish, but it’s all about the experience of watching a professional team play. And they always have good sporting foods that kids love and usually kid-friendly activities before the game.
Map of Vancouver Activities with Kids
Here is a map of Vancouver that outlines these things to do in Vancouver.
Best Areas to Stay In Vancouver
If you only have 1 or 2 nights in Vancouver I would recommend that you stay as close to Vancouver city center as possible. Of course, having central Vancouver accommodations cost will be more but it will allow you to see the most in the least amount of time. Hotels in Vancouver BC can sometimes be smaller than typically Canadian type hotels, so set your expectations.
Gastown / Vancouver Downtown
Gastown and Vancouver Downtown are central to great restaurants, cafes, shopping and the bustle of a downtown big city vibe. It is also very close to the cruise ship ports, so if you are leaving on a cruise you could find something to stay that is within walking distance. Hotels in downtown Vancouver can be expensive during peak season, so if you can book for during the week you will get a better rate.
Yaletown is also very central and in the city center of Vancouver. It is closer to get to areas like Granville Island, the sporting arenas (BC Place or Rogers Stadium), and close to lots of great restaurants and cafes.
Granville Island / Olympic Village Area
Staying around Granville Island gets you out of the downtown of Vancouver but has the feel of being in a big city but not in tall skyscrapers Vancouver hotels. There are some gems of boutique hotels, Airbnbs, bed & breakfasts which makes you feel more like a local.
If you are planning on going to Capilano suspension bridge, Grouse Mountain or continuing your way to places such as Whistler staying in North Vancouver can be a great spot to stay. It can take a bit more time to get downtown Vancouver if you don’t time it during off-hours for crossing the Lion’s Gate Bridge.
Airbnb In Vancouver
There are lots of options for Airbnb in Vancouver as well. From the ones that we have used, generally, they contact you and give you access without having to meet them that day. But, since you don’t get the address before your book, as the host how far away you are from certain landmarks and what area it is in. This should help ensure your Airbnb is in the expected areas as listed about.
Places to Eat in Vancouver
Vancouver has an amazing food scene and we love to eat at so many different places every time we go. We have a few favourites that we like to go to, but we always love to try some places that surprise us. Vancouver has such a melting pot of so many different cultures that you can find some authentic food from around the world all in this one city.
- The Templeton (Our fav breakfast place)
- Any kind of place for Vietnamese
- Rodney’s Oyster House
- Joe Fortes
2 Days in Vancouver or More
If you have more than 1 day in Vancouver, here are a few other great family things to do in Vancouver. You can also switch these in for some of the above activities to fill up your 1 day. When we visit we usually go for 3 nights, and 2 days in Vancouver. A weekend getaway to Vancouver!
Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is 70 above the rivers below and you get to walk among the trees. It’s only about 15-25 minutes away from downtown, but a world of difference from the city. You can skip the line get your tickets in advance here and skip the line. Note: No stroller are allowed.
Grouse Mountain @Skyride
Vancouver Travel Tips
- Vancouver Weather – Honestly, expect rain almost any time of the year that you go. It’s a coastal city and every time we have been there it has rained for some period of time. But, rain is also what makes the city so lush and green. The amazing thing is that nothing really stops because of it, put on a light raincoat and be on your way. July and August are usually the driest and best weather.
- Public transportation is generally good in Vancouver around the city center. We usually rent a car when heading out anywhere past the city center, just for ease of use. If renting I suggest renting a smaller car if you can in this big city for making parking easier!
- Be sure to have travel insurance for any international travel. We always use World Nomads, even for our 1 year trip around the world!
- Check out Tourism Vancouver for the latest festivals, events or shows happening for your visit to Vancouver.
- We always like to grab a local travel guide to learn more about the places we are visiting. They tend to have a few tidbits of info and something for the kids to learn and read about as we travel. Here are some of our favourites:
Looking for more Canada Travel Ideas
- Things to do in Kelowna, British Columbia
- Best Places in Saskatchewan
- One Day in Banff National Park, Alberta
- Things to do with kids in Calgary, Alberta
We hope you have found some good information for your Vancouver family trip. If you have been to Vancouver before let us know if there is anywhere else you take your kids in Vancouver?
Have you found this post useful and helped you plan your trip to Vancouver? Let us know in the comments below so we can share it with others.