I grew up in Greater Vancouver and now am living in Shanghai for nearly a decade.These are some of the (mostly free) things that I happily think back to from time to time when I am having a “Bad China Day”, and since I did them regularly as a local, I think they qualify as non-touristy stuff: Drive to beautiful Blaine, Washington (haha) to fill your car with gas and buy some cheese, followed by a walk on the beach and dinner at White Rock.Watch Planes land at Larry Berg Flight Path Park at YVR, followed by a visit to the Flying Beaver Pub.Take a walk on the Steveston Dyke, or the trails along the Serpentine River.Paddle the Nicomekl River interpretive trail.Spend a day at White Pines Beach on Sasamat Lake.Hang out in Marpole and visit random Chinese restaurants.Hang out on south Main Street and visit random Indian Buffets.Go to New Westminster.Go to Delta and try even more Indian restaurants.Go to Lougheed mall area and eat like a Korean King (or Peasant).Cruise along Kingsway from Fraser St. to Metrotown and pretend you are an Anthony Bourdain type visiting Vietnam.Get a burger and nachos at the Raven Pub in Deep Cove.Watch a film or two at the Pacific Cinematheque.Take Instagram worthy drone photos of farm fields in Richmond, Delta and South Surrey.Go to Tsawwassen.Go to Port Moody.Visit Pitt Meadows, take a boat trip up Pitt Lake for a day.Ride Mountain Bikes in the Delta Watershed.Go to Crystal mall and try to pretend you are not in China.
Non-tourist?Most of the things I like to do when visiting Vancouver are also done by tourists, so I’m not sure how to differentiate.Things I like to do are:1.
Visit Stanley Park…walk the seawall, see a performance at Theatre Under the Stars, ride the miniature railway, go swimming.2.Visit Chinatown in downtown Vancouver – off Main Street – to browse the unique stores and get some really great Chinese food.3.Visit Granville Island – another spot for a blend of shopping and entertainment.4.
Check out the Indian theme stores/restaurants – there is a significant East Indian population in Vancouver so clusters of businesses to serve them.One is in the 6000 block of Main Street.5.Capilano Suspension Bridge & Park/Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge & Park6.
Harrison Hot Springs – definitely a tourist trap but people like it.Please note that my list is skewed because where I live full-time (Nanaimo, B.C.)
Those of us who aren’t tourists are busy working so we can pay the very high rents, mortgages and fuel prices.Assuming you don’t want to do that but avoid crowds of tourists then stay away from Stanley Park, Canada Place, Robson Street, Granville Island and Gastown.In my part of Vancouver, Lonsdale Quay, Capilano Suspension bridge, Lynn Valley Park and Deep Cove are now busy to the point that additional parking restrictions have been added.
There are areas that you can still enjoy without crowds during the week.Ambleside Sea Walk in West Vancouver, Burnaby Lake, Richmond dykes, Spanish Banks and possibly Queen Elizabeth Park.
I am biased, as I grew up in Vancouver, but Vancouver is Bee Eee Aye You tiful!Currently, the weather is wonderful, so take full advantage of it, like the wonderful people that live here: – Try SUP’ing (Stand Up Paddling) – Ride a bicycle; the air quality in Vancouver is good because so many concientious people ride their bicycle as much as they can, be it for work, groceries, or other errands – Sample some of the local BC beers at Craft Beer Market – I recommend the one in the Olympic village, then once you know the one you like, try going to the actual Brewery!- Take a ferry ride over to Bowen island, the Sunshine coast, or Vancouver Island.
– Take a bus ride up to Squamish/Whistler, and try the new peak-to-peak chair – I’ve heard the views are sublime (on a clear day).
All the famous things are tourist things.The non-tourist things are just everyday life things.Like I have a favorite spot I sit at on the Pitt River in an eastern suburb just to watch boats go by.
And to figure out which way the river is flowing because the tides make the Pitt River flow backwards at times.Some people just walk down Davie Street west of Burrard as that is the center of the gay community then down the hill to Denman street and on into Stanley Park and around Lost Lagoon.But then that is a tourist thing.
Anything you do west of Main street and north of Broadway is a tourist thing.You could take a ride on the Skytrain to the end of the Expo line as there are excellent malls.Though once you are at the end of the line at King George Station, all there is there is just another mall across the street.
Or take a Sea Bus ride.It departs from the Waterfront Skytrain station and goes to a nice place on the north shore with shops and great restaurants.
Let me think..I live in Vancouver, so I am not a tourist here.These are things that I do: Go to workGrocery shopDo laundryLook for a place to parkTake out the garbage, recycling, and compostI do a lot of other non-tourist things.
Swim at Kits Beach pool.Go to Boundary Bay and swim there.Make sand castles.Watch the tide go in.
Or out.Spanish Banks is good for this too.Take a ferry to Bowen Island, go on a short hike around the park, and have lunch or dinner.Don’t bring your car, leave it at Horseshoe Bay.Try to find Belcarra Park (an everyday adventure in itself) and rent a kayak (or Deep Cove, Rocky Point or Cates Park which are all closer)Get a tent and sleeping bags and some food.
Get a water taxi to take you to Granite Falls and camp over night, leaving from Deep Cove.Go watersliding on the rocks at the falls.
These are just some of the things off the top of my head: Rent a speed-boat, kayak or canoe and go sailing into the oceanGo for a hike on the mountainsHave a barbeque picnic on Buntzen lake/white pine beach/Golden Ears ParkSnow-showing on Grouse mountainSkiing or snowboarding on Cypress mountainAttend seasonal festivals, like the tulip festial, sunflower festival etcSee the fireworks in summer from English BayHang out near Robson Sqaure on weekends and eat from the several food trucksAttend the Richmond night marketSpend a day at the PNE
A hike through the Lynn Canyon Park and suspension bridge and around Rice Lake, or If you are strictly an urban person, the Stanley Park Seawall.While very close to the City, Lynn Canyon Park is a wilderness area.Common sense means you leave the cookies , snacks and fruit juices at home.
Water OTOH is a good idea.I worked with Special Needs people for 30 years and have hiked in the area hundreds of times.It is an awesome place to experience a real West Coast forest.
There are good trails, but you still need to pay attention.
Go to Granville street on a Friday or Saturday night.There will be a lot of action there.Bars, clubs, drink people fighting, etc.
If you like to live dangerously then you can pick up some street drugs at the downtown eastside.It’s getting pretty touristy down there but you’ll get what you’re looking for.Commercial Drive is a pretty eclectic place for people watching.
Same with Mount Pleasant.Taking a ferry to the Sunshine Coast is another nice option.Great views and all that good stuff.
Gosh so many tjings.We have lovely parks and beaches.Nice ice rinks and pools.
A host of theatre and concert venues.Lovely coffee shops for hanging.Food trucks in different areas.
Bars for sport watching.Places you can just hang and play board games.Dance spaces separate from clubs.
Take the ‘milk run’ flight on Harbour Air from Vancouver Harbour to Ganges, Saltspring Island and to Maple Bay, Vancouver Island.Its a great way to travel above the gulf islands and experience a bit of island life.I would stay perhaps a few nights in Ganges and perhaps have lunch at Maple bay and then return.
Every weekend there will be a festival of some sort to go and attend.A film festival, a food festival, an art festival.Go to these—this is what the locals do.
Parkour course, wreck beach, city street BMX’ing, packing up a bunch of sandwiches to feed to homeless, (or going to thrift store and buying blankets for them), chilling at 30 foot at lynn canyon, doing the grouse grind, eating/people watching on Commercial drive, Hope that’s a good start
What do I do after living here for 40 years?
Go hiking regularly, visit wineries around BC, go skiing and snow shoeing in the winter, freeze all the great fruit you can in July and August, visit friends and entertain them, read books, watch movies and TV, shop, cook, spend time on Quora.
Hike.Watch the fireworks.Hang out at the beach.
Go skiing on the water