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With everyone spending more time close to home this year, now is the perfect time to learn more about where you live and see it in a whole new light. I mean, how much about the history of your city do you really know? Ever wondered what went on in that massive mansion before it was turned into a filming site? Or curious as to where to find the best beer and local treats? Booking a tour in your home city might seem like a strange thing to do, and as though it’s “just for tourists”, but these Vancouver tours are entertaining and perfect for giving you a deeper insight into this city; whether you’re a local or a visitor!
Best Vancouver tours
These Vancouver tours are some of the top things to do in Vancouver. They’re not your typical boring tour or all the touristy sites but will actually teach your things, or take you places you haven’t been to before.
Vancouver city tours
Check out these guided Vancouver tours and Vancouver Airbnb experiences!
Vancouver: Indigenous History Guided Tour in Stanley Park
Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s top tourist attractions, but there’s more to it than just walking or cycling around the seawall. This local Vancouver tour takes you on a journey through the history of the city and Stanley Park from an Indigenous perspective with an Indigenous Ambassador-Guide. You’ll learn their story and the Indigenous ecological-cultural perspective of the Salish Sea including how it’s sustained Indigenous communities. Many of the stories you hear remain solely in Indigenous oral traditions rather than books. You’ll also get to enjoy an Indigenous herbal tea.
Dark secrets of Stanley Park tour
Uncover the dark secrets of Stanley Park on this Vancouver tour. You’ll explore the seawall’s hidden corners and the wild forest trails of inner Stanley Park. This 2-hour walking tour in Vancouver will show you secret cemeteries, notorious crime scenes and even a long lost Indigenous village.
Starting on Granville Street, the LGBTQ2+ tour of Vancouver takes you on a 2-hour adventure into the LGBTQ2+ history and culture of the city. You’ll pass some of Vancouver’s earliest gay bars, learn about imperial Court coronations, drag kings at the Quadra, gay ministers at the United Church, Patient Zero, the GRID crisis, and visit the urban oasis, Nelson Park until you find yourself in the gaybourhood on Davie Street.
Then, you’ll stroll the historic tree-lined West End as you discover the city’s earliest Pride parade, Jim Deva Plaza, bookstore bombings, a transgender campaigner who blew the whistle on the biggest crime in Vancouver history, Vancouver’s secret gay village, and the remarkable story of two-spirited warrior Gone to the Spirits. The tour finishes on Davie Street village with its fantastic variety of bars and restaurants.
Thrifting on Main Street
Main Street is the place to go for thrifting and cool boutique shops. But, if you’re unfamiliar with the area it can be difficult to know where to start which is where this tour of Main Street thrift shops comes in!
Meeting at a local cafe, you’ll take a curated tour of 3-4 top consignment, vintage and luxury resale shops on Main Street. Your guide will give your the down-low on the stores as well as help you pick out some new outfits if that’s what you’re after. After the tour, they’ll send over some more recommendations for thrift and vintage stores and give you local tips on the best restaurants and cafes to explore.
Explore the lost souls of Gastown
Take a 90-minute walking tour to discover the chilling drama of historic Gastown. Learn about the Great Fire that ate up Gastown in minutes, the plague of smallpox and the unsolved murder of John Bray.
This is more than just a tour, it’s also a piece of theatre and your guide is a professional actor who’ll perform in character throughout. The plotline for your tour is woven together from tales from Vancouver’s history and the dramatic finale takes place in Gastown’s Maple Tree Square.
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Gastown, you’ve simply got to add this to the list!
Private Spa Circuit
Fancy a relaxing experience? Did you know you can enjoy a spa all to yourself and closest friend or partner in Vancouver?
This spa circuit features an outdoor hydrotherapy circuit with a red cedar soaking tub, a cold water plunge, standing and seated shower, and the unique WelPod (a self-contained Himalayan salt room that can be used for sauna, hot yoga, meditation, or just relaxing).
The temperature is usually around 52ºC and the space is an open concept design to allow for movement.
Complete with audio and lighting design with fresh air ventilation you’ll be surrounded by lush vegetation, right in the middle of the city.
Vancouver hiking tours and other outdoor Vancouver day trips
If you’re looking for a way to explore to outdoors but lack equipment or transport to do so, these Vancouver hiking tours and watersports activities might be what you’re after.
Classic False Creek kayak tour
Kayaking in False Creek in downtown Vancouver is one of my favourite activities. Seeing the city from the water makes you see things in a whole new light and I love pausing to spot the seals as they bob about. This classic False Creek kayak tour takes you from Kitsilano Beach in the morning and heads towards Granville Island and Science World before returning.
eFoil board tour
An eFoil board is like hoverboarding above water and this tour allows you to try it out! Starting in Kits Beach you’ll be given a quick orientation to the board before heading out solo or with a friend. Enjoy the views of the North Shore mountains and the city as you soar above the water!
Trail running with a local pro
If you’re someone who’s active and looking to explore the North Shore but not sure where to go, this trail running Airbnb experience could be right up your street (or trail!). Your guide is one of the top female mountain runners in Western Canada and accepts all levels.
Depending on your skill level and desire you might start in Lynn Canyon and enjoy some mellow boardwalk trails. Or, perhaps you’ll find fun on the rooty, rocky trails with steep inclines.
After your run, you’ll head to JJ Bean for delicious baked goods or Buddha-Full for something healthier depending on what you’re in the mood for!
Jet ski exploring
We took a jet ski out last year for Thom’s birthday and it was so much fun! On this Airbnb experience in Vancouver, you can do the same! The tour starts at Granville Island and you’ll head out towards English Bay before carrying on to Lighthouse Park and into the Howe Sound Fjord!
Sailing in the Howe Sound
Sail the legendary winds of the Canadian West Coast with breathtaking views of the Coastal and Tantalus mountain ranges. Leaving from Squamish, you’ll either be able to put your sailing skills to use, or learn from your guide as you head out into the Howe Sound. With a little luck, you may even sight a pod of dolphins or Orcas!
Sunset paddle tour
Sunset in Vancouver is something special and the best way to enjoy it is from the water on a paddling tour like this. Paddle under the bridges of downtown Vancouver and head out to open water to enjoy the sunset. Then, turn the lights on the boards on and paddle back soaking up the calm water and twinkling city lights.
Sasamaat and Buntzen paddling
If you’ve already tried paddling in downtown Vancouver, take this tour to Buntzen or Sasamaat Lake. These two lakes offer calm, warm waters and are incredibly scenic too.
Capilano Canyon tour
Perfect whatever the weather, this tour of Capilano Canyon (not the suspension bridge!) takes you along the Capilano Pacific Trail. You’ll take in the sights of enormous evergreens, tall mossy maples, the river, salmon hatchery and Cleveland Dam. It’s a beautiful area to explore!
North Vancouver hiking tours including transport
Getting to the North Shore mountains without a car can be tricky. With this Vancouver hiking tour that issue is no more! Your guides will take you to either Mt Seymour or Cypress Provincial Parks where you’ll enjoy a spectacular hike with a view of the city and surrounding Coast mountains!
Food & drink tours
What better way to explore Vancouver than through it’s food and drink? Vancouver has a huge variety in its food scene and these tours are bound to take you places you didn’t know existed.
Urban craft spirits tour by water
Meeting at Granville Island, you’ll get an insider’s look at the behind the scenes of a top craft distilleries on this Vancouver craft spirits tour as well as a tasting of what’s made there (including gin, white whisky, whisky and liqueurs). Next, it’s over to Yaletown for a visit to a cool brewery-distillery. Taste their spirits, then hop back on the water taxi to flex your new pro-level spirits knowledge to visit our final destination. You’ll either taste a range of award-winning made-in-B.C. small-batch spirits (cucumber gin, lemongrass vodka, aquavit, amaro…) or visit a craft cocktail bar!
Vegan cheese making class
Master the art of vegan cheese and fermentation on this Vancouver food tour. At the end of this experience, you’ll know how to open coconuts like a pro and ferment different nuts and seeds with conviction. You also get to sample and learn how to make kombucha as well as tasting different artisan cheese, yoghurt and kefir. You’ll leave with everything you need to know for making your own vegan cheeses at home too!
West Vancouver crabbing experience
Spend time by the water with this West Vancouver crabbing tour. Buy a Pacific fishing license for the day of your tour and you’re good to go. Your guide will take you to the dock and give you a quick lesson on baiting and setting traps. Then you’ll learn to identify your catch by species, size and sex before trying to catch some crabs of your own! If you catch a legal crab you’re welcome to keep it for your dinner.
Mushroom foraging tour in North Vancouver
Ever wondered where to find wild mushrooms near Vancouver? This Vancouver mushroom foraging tour will take you to popular places to find mushrooms and teach you how to identify those that are safe to eat such as porcini, chanterelle, honey, wild oysters and more.
Make authentic Chinese dumplings in Chinatown
Learn to make authentic Chinese dumplings in Chinatown. The tour starts with a 1-hour walk in Vancouver’s historical Chinatown where you’ll pop into some stores to get the ingredients you need for your dumplings before heading inside to prep, make and eat them!
Unique picnic experience
This Vancouver Airbnb experience is truly unique. You’ll be given an itinerary pack including clues, picnic baskets and blankets and then you’ll head out on a self-drive adventure, following clues and riddles, through the Fraser Valley to collect your picnic treats. The last clue takes you to your final destination where you can enjoy a wine tasting and the picnic!
Chinese garden tea ceremony
Embark on a journey with a certified tea artist, discovering the differences between western and Chinese teas, which go far beyond name and taste. Savour the delicate fragrances, imagining yourself as an ancient scholar at leisure in their garden-home on this Chinese garden tea ceremony.
When the ceremony begins, you’ll head to the location of the private ceremony, either in a private courtyard, room, or a pavilion. At the ceremony, you’ll sample two speciality teas, sourced directly from mainland China and Taiwan which cannot be bought in Canada. You’ll learn the history of tea, Chinese tea culture, as well as the art form behind enjoying the perfect cup of Chinese tea. You’ll leave with your own traditional Chinese teacup and custom pouch.
2.5 hour Little Italy walking & food tour
One of Vancouver’s many distinct districts, Little Italy on Commercial Drive has been home to a big Italian community since the 1950s. This walking and food tour in Vancouver gives you the chance to sample 8 different Little Italy specialities including pizza, cheese, ice cream and cannoli while learning about the people behind these family businesses.
Vancouver craft brewery tour
The craft beer scene in and around Vancouver is huge; I seem to come across a new local brewery on a weekly basis. This 3.5-hour brewery tour takes you behind the scenes to learn how craft beer is made. You’ll get plenty of beer tasters as well as some food and entertainment too.
Fraser Valley wine tasting day trip from Vancouver
The Fraser Valley region just outside of Vancouver is full of small-batch wineries and is great for a relaxing wine-tasting day trip from Vancouver with friends. on this full-day Fraser Valley wine tour, you’ll be taken by limo or luxury SUV to several wineries in the Fraser Valley and enjoy a gourmet lunch too. You won’t be rushed between places, but instead, be given time to enjoy the tastings and outdoor seating areas at your own pace.