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What to See and Do with a Long Layover in Vancouver

by Cailin O’Neil

The Vancouver airport has many domestic flights coming and going each day as well as a heck of a lot of international flights because it is Canada’s closest destination to Australasia. Whether you are on your way in or out of the country, there is a good chance that you will find yourself with a long layover at the there. Aside from sleeping, working, eating or wandering the airport I also suggest heading into the city to explore it, if of course, you have enough time.

Stanley Park Vancouver

Here are my top tips for things to see and do with a long layover in Vancouver.

Transportation: The best and most convenient way to get into the city is to take the Canada Line Skytrain rapid transit service that will get you into the city from the airport in roughly 18 minutes.

Where to store luggage: The Domestic and International terminals at Vancouver airport both have a CDS Ltd. Baggage Service desk where you can pay a small fee and store your luggage that you don’t want to drag into the city with you.

Visit Stanley Park

One of the most beautiful places in Vancouver to waste away a few hours is Stanley Park. Located on the edge of downtown on English Bay, this scenic 1,000+ acre park is the perfect place for a walk, bike or jog, on one of its many trails and is also the ideal spot for one of the best views of the Vancouver Skyline. Once named the top park in the world by TripAdvisor you just can’t visit the city without taking a stroll through.

Capilano Suspension Bridge by Flickr user Michelle Lee

Cross the Capilano Suspension Bridge

If you have a little bit more time I would suggest heading out of the city towards North Vancouver getting out into nature and checking out the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Stretching 140m in length hanging 70m above the Capilano River, get your heart racing as you cross and enjoy the peacefulness of being surrounded by nature and some of the tallest trees around. While here you can also check out the treetop adventure course, nature trails, a cliff walk and more.

Flyover Canada

If you are new to Canada, then you might want to check out Flyover Canada located less than 5 minutes from the Canada Line Waterfront Station. Flyover Canada is an experience like no other and is a flight simulation ride that gives you a quick virtual tour of Canada from the west coast to the east from the air and is a great family friendly experience for all.

Granville Island Vancouver photo by Flickr user Boris Mann

Mingle with the locals at Granville Island

If you are looking for a place to shop and try some great food then Granville Island in downtown, then Vancouver is your destination. The Granville Island is the Public Market home to fresh produce from local farmers, artisan foods, and local artists selling their handmade crafts. On the island, you will also find Granville Island Brewing Co. offering up daily beer tastings and tours, a boutique hotel, a couple theaters for entertainment, art galleries and various shops.

Shop ’til you Drop

If you aren’t up for exploring the city then perhaps you might want to stay closer to the airport and hit up some great deals at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Mall. You can get there on the Canada Line train from the airport getting off at Templeton Station free of charge. J Crew, Coach, Polo you name it, you can find all of the big name brands there. Or to add a touch more of culture to your shopping experience head to Robson Street in downtown Vancouver known as the city’s best shopping district.

Trying one or two of these suggestions should give you a good glimpse of life and culture in Vancouver while counting down the hours until your next flight. Have you ever had a long layover in Vancouver before? What would you suggest people see and do?

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