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While there are tons of wonderful vacation options in Canada, a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia should be at the top of everyone’s bucket list.
But, if you’re thinking of a weekend trip to Vancouver, why not make it a girls’ getaway?
There’s no better way to relax and unwind with your favourite gal pals than to head to Canada’s third-largest city.
I recently moved from Victoria to Vancouver and love the tranquil mountain and ocean views at my new home. And the food scene is a vegan paradise.
So, when my best friend planned a visit from Montreal, I jumped at the chance to book a staycation and some new activities for us to try. I wanted to make sure her first time in B.C. was an even mix of adventure and relaxation. I think our itinerary hit the nail on the head.
If you’re planning a gal pal escape, a getaway with a group of girlfriends or even a mother-daughter date, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Vancouver in two days.
Here are my favourite, memory-making, girly things to do for a legendary weekend in Vancouver.
1. Check into the Shangri-La Vancouver Hotel
We all need a little luxury in our lives now and again, don’t we? If your answer is yes, then go ahead and book a stay at the Shangri-La Vancouver.
Set in the heart of the city and featuring large deluxe rooms with deep soak bathtubs and stunning downtown views, this luxury hotel is the perfect place to rest your head at the end of an action-packed day.
For fussy sleepers, a custom pillow menu with various options to choose from is available in each room.
Conveniently located on the third floor is Carlino restaurant which offers an elegant setting to enjoy a craft cocktail (or two). Try the Oolong Old Fashioned or their perfectly crafted Aperol Spritz.
They also offer a classic breakfast menu (available from 8-11 AM), and interesting Chinese-Italian fusion dishes for dinner.
From the artsy lobby area to the skylight windows and sleek chandeliers in the bar area, the setting is definitely Insta-worthy.
Of course, the outdoor pool and hot tub on the fifth floor of the hotel present another fantastic opportunity for a photo op with the girls.
And, rain or shine, CHI-the spa at the Shangri-La Vancouver is always available for a much-needed West Coast Wave massage or luxurious body treatment if you really want to go all out.
Check rates and availability at the Shangri-La Vancouver on Booking.com.
2. Scenic Bike Around the Seawall
Vancouver may have a reputation for being an expensive city, but that doesn’t mean every activity on your girls getaway needs to break the bank.
It actually happens to be one of Canada’s most bikeable cities. Both the areas surrounding Stanley Park and the Science Centre present economical opportunities to get to know the city via bike.
Both Stanley Park and the Science Centre areas are bordered by protected bike lanes so you can get around safely. You can sign up for a Mobi bike-share pass for $10 a day.
Each riding session lasts 30 minutes, after which you need to park the bike at a Mobi station, conveniently located every few blocks.
But, if you want to keep your cardio up for a little longer, you can always start another half-hour trip immediately afterward.
Pro Tip: The bike lane around the Stanley Park seawall goes one-way starting from Coal Harbour, so plan accordingly.
Did you know Stanley Park is actually larger than Central Park in New York City? Learn more about this and discover other Fun and Interesting Facts about Vancouver.
3. Lunch in Yaletown
Hungry for lunch after your scenic bike ride? Head over to Yaletown for lunch featuring a delightful array of food and drink options at various price points.
For the vegans and vegetarians among us, MeeT is the most obvious choice (did someone say oyster mushroom calamari?).
Or, if you’re craving Mexican cuisine and are traveling with a group of omnivores, Tacofino is a popular locally-owned counter spot with multiple locations.
A couple of cauliflower tacos, a large scoop of guac, and a classic lime margarita are often all it takes to recharge after a busy morning of sightseeing.
4. Fly Over Hawaii and Canada
Aloha! Not quite ready to get back on a plane to Hawaii but still itching to go? Luckily, the next best thing awaits you at Canada Place.
FlyOver Hawaii From Above is a unique experience where you get to feel like you are really floating over Waikiki beach, the Big-Island volcano, and swimming the Pacific ocean with sea turtles.
This is a short but sweet entertainment ride which is a great idea for something to do on a rainy day in Vancouver.
And if you’ve always dreamed of witnessing the majestic Canadian Rockies in Banff or seeing Ontario’s mighty Niagara Falls, the FlyOver Canada experience is an unforgettable experience. It comes complete with sights, sounds and even mist and wind!
Discounts are offered for those who purchase tickets to both.
🌟 Splurge: If you’re interested in a short but memorable flight, you can take a real helicopter from Vancouver to Whistler. You’ll soak up incredible mountain views along the way and enjoy some fabulous Whistler cuisine when you arrive.
5. Dinner and Drinks on Main Street (Shameful Tiki Room and the General Public)
Want to keep your Hawaiian vacation fantasy going even further? Make your way down to the funky hipster haven that is Main Street and enjoy some fruity cocktails at the Shameful Tiki Room.
From coconut rum umbrella drinks to shareable cocktail volcano bowls (set on fire and everything), it’s near impossible to not have a great night here.
Be sure to get to know the friendly servers and bartenders. If you’re not sure which of their 36 delicious cocktails to try, they’re more than happy to help you make a decision. If you love pineapple, I’d recommend the Pain Killer to start.
🌟 Pro Tip: The Shameful Tiki Room is very popular. Advance reservations are strongly recommended.
But wait, eating sushi in Vancouver is also a must. So for a really fabulous night out, you can always pre-game with delicious sushi and drinks at The General Public a little further down Main Street.
This funky Japanese-fusion spot has quickly become one of my favourite restaurants in town. Try the Starburst sushi roll (tempura yam, cucumber, mango, cream cheese, avocado, and coconut, I simply omit the cream cheese to make it vegan) and a peach mojito.
6. Take a Hike
It’s not really a trip to B.C. without a mandatory hike through some nature trails to get your heart pumping.
North Vancouver is your best bet for all things nature-related, so lace up your runners and head on over across the Lions Gate Bridge.
It’s just minutes from downtown Vancouver but feels such a world away from the city it even served as the filming location for Virgin River, the popular television series.
While the Capilano Suspension Bridge is a must-see for first-timers, there are many other forest adventures to be had.
The legendary Grouse Grind may end in jaw-dropping views, but it’s very tough unless you’re a real fitness freak.
There are easier hiking options in the area for us slowpokes. Check out Cypress Falls Park in West Vancouver if you would like to take an easy stroll through old-growth forests to a beautiful waterfall. While easier than others, it’s still one of the best Vancouver hikes for views.
Another option is to head to Whistler for a day or two and explore the incredible nature trails there.
7. Book a Harbourfront Tour with Sea Vancouver
If you’re looking for a gorgeous way to spend a sunny afternoon with your girlfriends on a weekend trip to Vancouver, look no further than the waterfront. For a truly awesome adventure, get suited up and enjoy the ride on a zodiac-style boating tour of the harbour.
Departing from Granville Island, this 90-minute tour with Sea Vancouver is the ideal way to get a perspective beyond the concrete jungle of downtown.
Raphael, resident-Aussie and expert tour guide/co-captain can tell you everything you need to know about the history of the harbour, the surrounding mountains, Stanley Park, the Lions Gate Bridge and more.
🌟 Note: This tour is only available from May to the end of September. If you are visiting outside of that time, it is still worth it to walk around quaint Granville Island and explore the souvenir shops, cafes, bakeries, and restaurants.
The most budget-friendly way to get downtown from the airport is via SkyTrain. A $9.00 ticket will allow you to board the SkyTrain right from the YVR airport and will take you directly downtown to Waterfront Station in about 25 minutes.
You can purchase a ticket or top up your Compass card at one of the kiosks, or you can simply scan your credit card (or even scan your Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay) at the turnstiles.
Beyond the SkyTrain, reliable and safe Translink services are available throughout Vancouver, including buses and the SeaBus to the north shore.
Other popular transport options from the airport are taxis, Uber, or Lyft rideshare apps. The ride should take 30 minutes from the airport to downtown Vancouver and will cost somewhere around $30.00.
Lyft is my rideshare app of choice for getting around Vancouver. First-time Lyft users can also get $40 in ride credit by signing up with the code: JESS49167.
Are your feet tired from all that walking? If you want to take a chill boat ride to your next destination, False Creek Ferries can be a fun way to explore the areas surrounding Granville Island, Yaletown, Science World and more.
Cruises run daily from 9 am to 8 pm and depart every 15 minutes from Granville Island. You can purchase a day pass for $16.00.
For more information on all things Vancouver, check out the Destination Vancouver website.
Other Girlfriend Getaway Ideas You’ll Love
Vancouver is one of North America’s best destinations for a girls getaway. Not only does it have a fantastic selection of fancy hotels with spas for pampering, but the downtown area is filled with fine dining choices, nightlife and fun attractions to enjoy with a group. It’s surrounded by natural spaces such as Grouse Mountain, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Stanley Park and the sea wall which are perfect for making memories with your gal pals.
While enjoying quality time with your girlfriends over fancy cocktails or staying up late in your PJs are things to look forward to on a girls getaway, adding some fun new activities can create lasting memories. Get a spa treatment, take a cooking class, go horseback riding, hike a canyon, rent a yacht for the day – there are lots of unique things to do on a girls weekend to make it extra special.
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Jessica Percy Campbell is a world traveller currently based out of beautiful British Columbia. She loves to experience the latest and greatest of plant-based alternatives wherever she goes. Always venturing off the beaten path for unique local businesses and the hidden gems of vegan life, you can keep up with @veganvacationista on Instagram.
Learn more about Jessica Percy-Campbell.