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Things to do in British Columbia

Things to do in  British Columbia

Welcome to British Columbia

Coastlines, mountains, and forests abound in British Columbia, Canada's westernmost province. Amid these striking natural landscapes lies cosmopolitan Vancouver, the capital city of Victoria, Whistler—arguably the world's best all-season resort—and a host of smaller towns and cities. Make Vancouver your launch pad in order to watch whales in the Atlantic Ocean, cross the exhilarating Capilano Suspension Bridge, stroll through Butchart Gardens, and see the snowcapped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. In March and April, visitors might even catch a glimpse of the northern lights illuminating the sky over Whitehorse's arctic wilderness.

Top 15 attractions in British Columbia

Stanley Park

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Vancouver’s Stanley Park enjoys a stellar natural setting, surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and set against the backdrop of the snow-capped North Shore Mountains. At nearly 1,000 acres (405 hectares) in size, it offers a combination of coastal red-cedar forest, lakes and lagoons, and scenic meadows. A walk along the public park’s seawall is an essential Vancouver experience.More

Downtown Vancouver

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Surrounded by water on three sides, downtown Vancouver is the place to go for sea views, bright lights, and action. The city’s commercial core, it encompasses several distinct areas including shop-lined Robson Street, the green expanse of Stanley Park, historic Gastown, and one of the largest Chinatowns in North America.More

Whistler-Blackcomb Mountains

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The biggest ski resort in North America and mountain host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Whistler-Blackcomb Mountains feature 8,171 acres (3,306 hectares) of terrain and over 200 trails. With lift-accessed mountain biking, hiking, and more in the spring, summer, and fall, Whistler-Blackcomb is a world-class resort year-round.More

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

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Admire Vancouver's natural beauty at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, a quintessential British Columbia experience and one of the Pacific Northwest's most popular attractions. The highlight includes walking out onto the 450-foot (137-meter) suspension bridge as it sways between the temperate rain forest over the rushing Capilano River below. With plenty more to see and do besides, it’s a must for adventurous visitors in Vancouver.More

Granville Island

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Overflowing with art studios, theaters, restaurants, and kid-friendly activities, Vancouver’s Granville Island is a popular spot for both tourists and locals. The “island”—really a small peninsula—is an ideal getaway from the bustle of city life, with waterfront views, scenic alleyways, and a thriving food and art culture.More

Gastown

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One of Vancouver’s oldest and buzziest districts, Gastown is packed with Victorian architecture and cobbled streets. Named after John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, an English mariner who opened a saloon in the area in the 19th century, the district is filled with heritage buildings now hosting boutiques, coffee shops, hip restaurants, and bars.More

Lions Gate Bridge

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The impressive Lions Gate Bridge spans the Burrard Inlet, connecting North and West Vancouver with the downtown area. This suspension bridge originally opened in 1938, and is designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. At the bridge’s south end is leafy Stanley Park, another major attraction in Vancouver.More

Canada Place

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Opened in 1986, Canada Place is hard to miss: The complex was built to look like a ship, and its five large fiberglass “sails” are visible above the Vancouver waterfront. This is the city’s main cruise ship terminal, and the complex is also home to a convention center, a hotel, and FlyOver Canada, a flight-simulation ride.More

Vancouver Lookout

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Perched atop a downtown high-rise, this circular observation platform yields panoramic views of glassy skyscrapers, Vancouver Harbour, and the magnificent peaks of the North Shore and Olympic ranges. A glass-enclosed elevator zooms up to the platform so that street scenes seem to shrink before visitors’ very eyes.More

Butchart Gardens

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Butchart Gardens, established in 1904, treat visitors to an enchanting floral show that changes with the seasons. Covering 55 acres (22 hectares) on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the botanical space is intricately laid out into separate themed gardens with landscaping that impresses and inspires gardeners and nature lovers alike.More

Vancouver Chinatown

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Established in the 1890s by migrant workers, this Vancouver neighborhood is now among the biggest and most vibrant Chinatowns in North America. It’s packed with Asian grocers, Chinese herbalists, dim sum restaurants, trinket stores, and meat shops filled with tempting displays of hanging char siu and roast ducks.More

Grouse Mountain

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The summit of Grouse Mountain features some of the best views in all of British Columbia—from Vancouver’s downtown towers to the green expanse of Stanley Park and the entirety of Fraser Valley. Visitors can ride the Skyride aerial tram or hike up to the 3,642-foot (1,110-meter) peak for panoramic vistas and a variety of outdoor activities.More

Stawamus Chief Provincial Park

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Squamish’s Stawamus Chief Provincial Park is home to one of British Columbia’s most iconic landmarks: The Chief. The popular rock­-climbing and hiking destination towers 2,300 feet (700 meters) above Squamish and is the second­-largest granite monolith (freestanding piece of rock) in the world. Though it might be hard to believe from looking at the steep rock face, hiking to the top is a relatively moderate, two­-hour hike. The Chief doesn’t get as much snow during the winter as the other nearby mountains and so enjoys a fairly long hiking season. The summit is usually clear of snow in the early spring, making The Chief a great warm­up hike for the summer months ahead. There are three peaks, each accessible from the single trailhead. You can hike up each one individually, or summit all three if you’re feeling ambitious. Hikers should be prepared with sturdy footwear, clothing, food and water.In addition to being a popular hiking destination, Stawamus Chief Provincial Park is a rock-climber’s paradise. There are hundreds of granite walls and multi-­pitch crack climbing routes, the most well­-known being The Apron and The Grand Wall. Even the most advanced rock climbers come from all over the world to be challenged during the busy summer season by these routes.More

English Bay

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Situated between Kistilano and Stanley Park, English Bay is one of Vancouver’s best spots for water sports, such as swimming, kayaking, and fishing. Two popular beaches—Kitsilano Beach and English Bay—face out onto the bay, as does part of the Stanley Park seawall, a waterside promenade used by cyclists and walkers.More

Shannon Falls

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Tumbling 1,099 feet (335 meters) over granite framed by evergreen trees, Shannon Falls are a scenic highlight of the Sea-to-Sky Highway linking Vancouver to Pemberton. The hike to the falls from the parking lot is a beautiful way to get some fresh air and stretch your legs.More
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Recent reviews from experiences in British Columbia

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Winter Wonderland
Karissa_C, Dec 2022
Whistler and Sea to Sky Gondola Tour
Winter wonderland day up in Whistler.
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Seeing the Orcas!! ...
Elizabeth_P, Aug 2022
Granite Falls Zodiac Tour by Vancouver Water Adventures
The zodiac boat trip was a fast great way to see unique parts of BC!
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Excellent tour of Victoria BC
Thomas_M, Aug 2022
Victoria City and Butchart Gardens Private Half-Day Tour
We were able to see the gardens and still get back to town to see all of the other attractions: Craigdarroch Castle, China Town, Parliament, Fisherman’s Wharf, tallest totem pole and many old churches.
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Best day in VC
Morten_B, May 2022
Independent Bike & E-bike Tour of Vancouver
Great way to experience Vancouver - beautiful 40 km ride around Stanley Park and through downtown, English Bay, Kitsilano, Granville Island, Spanish Banks, and UBC
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Most memorable was I got...
MaryJoyP_C, Sep 2021
Grouse Mountain & Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Most memorable was I got closer to nature and I was able to see the most visited place in BC.
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Beautiful Coastal and Mountain Views
Kim_W, Oct 2019
Whistler Small-Group Day Trip from Vancouver
Shannon Falls and the stop in Squamish were beautiful stops along our way to Whistler.
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Tim Tells All About Whistler!
Randal C, Jun 2019
Whistler Small-Group Day Trip from Vancouver
We saw a bear and a beautiful waterfall---3rd highest in British Columbia (but maybe the best)!
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Wonderful experience to visit the...
Rande_R, May 2016
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Ticket
Wonderful experience to visit the Capilano Bridge.
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All about British Columbia

When to visit

With temperate winters, BC’s coast stays mild year-round; inland is where you’ll find chilly winters and warm summers. For budget travelers, shoulder seasons (April–May, September–October) may be the best time to visit British Columbia, while those visiting the province’s mountainous national parks may wish to stick to June–August. Long winters—like at the Olympic hot spot Whistler Blackcomb—shine whitest December–March for the snowhounds.

Getting around

Road trips are a classic way to see the massive province—RV, rental car, or otherwise. Most visitors base themselves out of Vancouver, which has an excellent public transit system, including a superb ferry network that goes to spots such as Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and the Sunshine Coast. VIA Rail and the Rocky Mountaineer chug, chug, chug visitors to the Canadian Rockies, too.

Traveler tips

Have you heard of storm watching? The popular activity on Vancouver Island—specifically its west coast—involves simply watching the weather rage outside your window in fall and winter. Of course, if you’re brave enough, put on those rain boots and a weatherproof jacket and brave the elements until they stir your soul or send you back inside for warmth and cover.

Currency
Canadian Dollar (CA$)
Time Zone
PST (UTC -8)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English

British Columbia information

Number of Attractions

111

Number of Tours

980

Number of Reviews

41,003

Currency

USD
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