The slopes and the sea are the backdrop to the City of Glass, a departure point for Alaska cruises. If you have an extra day or two, it’s worth booking a pre- or post-cruise excursion to explore Vancouver on your own. The city is easy to navigate by foot and by public transportation.
What We Love
Green Spaces: There are both manicured gardens and more rugged terrain, habitats for bald eagles, and cedar and fir trees. Tackle the steep Grouse Mountain (or take the cable car). At the top, a lumberjack show and sweeping views await.
Main Street: Away from downtown Vancouver, this up-and-coming street brims with shops and restaurants that are both enchanting and edgy.
Best Known For
Stanley Park: Rent a bike and pedal past old-growth forests, blue heron colonies, beaches and totem poles — and take a promenade around the scenic sea wall.
Granville Island: This is a one-stop shop for just about everything. You'll find a farmer’s market, artist collectives, a brewery, seafood shops, and an artisanal sake maker. Even kids have their own dedicated building.
Shop for Cruises
Who It's Best For
Outdoorsy Types: Vancouver has a fitness-oriented population, moderate year-round climate, and countless options for activities out in the open: yoga in the parks, hiking and kayaking in the summer, and skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
Foodies: The odds are high that whatever restaurant you pick will be a winner. Try the wines from British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley (they’re hard to find outside of Canada, plus there’s plenty on tap) and the seafood (the sushi is fresh and cheaper than fast food).
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Alcohol Isn’t Cheap: Tipples are heavily regulated (and taxed) in Canada. Luckily, the city recently warmed up to the concept of happy hour.
Avoid Downtown Eastside: Next to the now-hip Gastown is Canada’s most notorious neighborhood. Although it has cleaned up a bit in the last few years, there is a large amount of drug activity here.
Lisa Cheng is a New York-based writer for ShermansCruise who also writes for Travel + Leisure.