After several days relaxing by the Lake, today it's time to head for the bright lights of Vancouver! Blessed with a spectacular location, set between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean,Vancouver is a modern, friendly and cosmospolitan city blending culture with a spectacular landscape and the great outdoors. Together with an enviable year round climate, the city offers families and singles an amazingy array of exciting experiences. Downtown Vancouver is an intriguing mixture of steel, concrete, mirrored glass buildings, modern sculptures and old-fashioned fountains. There is so much to see and do in the city. Spend an afternoon renting bikes and riding around the lovely Seawall in Stanley Park or try rollerblading if you are feeling a little more adventurous!
Don't miss the panoramic vistas from either the Capilano or Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridges, both in North Vancouver and an easy drive from the city. Children of all ages will love the thrill of walking across the bridge over one of the 2 Canyons. There is also great hiking path around the Capilano Suspension bridge that is both flat and suitable for all the family. Alternatively, Lynn Canyon also houses a great ecology centre with educational displays. Make sure you take along your bathing suit too and you can have a dip in Lynn Creek after a short walk in the forest. Close to Capilano and with a little more to do is also Grouse Mountain. Here you can take a short cable car ride to the top of the mountain and enjoy some spectacular views of Vancouver and the surrounding area. At the top you can also visit the the bear sanctuary, and enjoy a bird of prey and an amusing lumberjack show. Not for the faint hearted, Parascending is also available from here for an extra fee!
Also located to the north, ten minutes from Downtown Vancouver is Maplewood Farm, a firm favourite of families with young children who love animals. Once a thriving dairy farm this 5-acre site has since been taken over and opened to the public. Now housing over 200 domestic animals and birds it also hosts regular special events such as sheep shearing, pony rides and a Fall Fair. Other attractions not to be missed are Vancouver Aquarium, The Children's Farmyard, The Miniature Train, and Science World a wonderful museum with it's many hands on displays to keep the kids occupied!
For older children, a ferry ride across False Creek to Granville Island and a fun day out at the busy outdoor market area is always a treat. Originally just a sandbar that was filled in to create an industial centre in the heart of the city, it is now an immensely popular mixed use space with a popular public market, several theatres and artist studios.
There will also be plenty of time for shopping on Robson Street in its trendy shops and the Robson Public Market. Visit Chinatown - the second largest Chinese community in North America and home to the beautiful and peaceful Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden. No visit is complete without wandering through Gastown where Vancouver started. The brightly painted buildings date back to 1886 and old gas lamps and trees line the red cobblestone streets. There are many galleries, restaurants and gift shops here The Boathouse Restaurant is a great place for dinner, while watching the sunset over English Bay and people watching all the evening strollers.