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Best Vancouver Itinerary for 4 Days

Are you planning on visiting beautiful Vancouver this summer or fall? Then check out my Vancouver Itinerary: 4 days of the best the city has to offer! Believe me – you will fall in love with Vancouver after following my 4 day Vancouver Itinerary. Read on…

Vancouver on Canada’s west coast is a dynamic city that is culturally diverse, stunningly beautiful and home to incredible food and beer scenes. So it’s basically my dream city.

I have previously spoken in detail on this blog about my love for Vancouver, here and here and here, so I really don’t need to bore you all by confessing my undying love for this city again. 

Vancouver False Creek

What I will say is that after living in Vancouver for five months in 2009/2010 and visiting several more times since then, it is still firmly my favorite place in the world.

And summer is the best time to visit Vancouver – that’s why I wrote this 4 day Vancouver Itinerary, focusing on summer in the city, although it could certainly be used for other seasons in Vancouver too.

Visit Kits beaches during your 4 days in Vancouver

One of the reasons I love Vancouver is because of the massive amount of things to do there, and of course the massive amount of incredible things to eat – after all, Vancouver has some of the best food in Canada.

You know that quote ‘If you are tired of London then you are tired of life’? Well, I think it is very apt for Vancouver too.

Vancouver Inukshuk

Although you could spend weeks in Vancouver and never get bored, I know a lot of visitors don’t have that long, so I wrote this Vancouver 4 day itinerary which will give you a great overview of the best of Vancouver.

Maybe it will give you some ideas for when you visit. Because believe me, you must visit this city!

The Best 4 Day Vancouver Itinerary for Summer

Vancouver Itinerary Map

Check out my interactive map with the best things to do, see, eat, drink, and where to stay in Vancouver.

Day 1: Pacific Spirit Regional Park, Kitsilano, and Beaches

Start your 4 days in Vancouver with a hike in Pacific Spirit Regional Park or visiting one of Vancouver’s excellent museums, followed by lunch and a stroll around Kitsilano, then relax on one of Kitsilano’s beautiful beaches in the afternoon. Grab dinner at a Kits icon to complete your day.

Explore the foreshore in Kits during your Vancouver Itinerary 4 days

Escaping the City in Pacific Spirit Regional Park

After grabbing breakfast in Kits at Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe, 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters and Lucky’s Doughnuts, or Beaucoup Bakery, it’s time for a hike at Pacific Spirit Regional Park.

Located at the far western edge of Vancouver near the University of British Columbia, Pacific Spirit Regional Park encompasses 763 acres of forest and foreshore.

Hiking in Pacific Spirit Regional Park in Vancouver

There are a number of hiking trails on offer, and you can join a few together to do a loop through the old-growth forest of the park. It’s also worth visiting the Fraser River Exploration Monument, which has a great view over the mouth of the Fraser River.

The park is a peaceful spot for a wander, and to be surrounded by old-growth temperate rainforest so close to a busy city is one of the reasons why I love Vancouver so much.

Learn More About Vancouver at a Museum

If you are more into museums than hiking (or if you have more than 4 days in Vancouver), then don’t miss visiting one of Vancouver’s excellent museums.

The absolute best is the Museum of Anthropology on the UBC Campus not far from Kits, which is home to a large collection of arts and cultural pieces with a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples.

If maritime history is more your style, the Vancouver Maritime Museum is located not far from Kits Beach and is an interesting place to spend a couple of hours.

Exploring Beautiful Kitsilano

Kitsilano, or Kits, is Vancouver’s beachy suburb and one of my favorite places in the city.

Kits was a hippie enclave back in the 1960s and 70s – it’s where Greenpeace was founded – and you can still find traces of that in the stores and eateries along West 4th Avenue and Broadway today.

Explore Kitsilano during your 4 days in Vancouver

Cozy bookshops, health food stores, eclectic eateries, cute boutiques – browsing the shops in Kits is always fun.

There are also miles of coastline to walk along, white sand beaches, leafy streets lined with colorful wooden homes, and lots of parks, some with views over the harbor to the mountains north of the city.

I love the nature and the relaxed vibe in Kits and if (when) I live in Vancouver again, this is where I want to be. It’s the perfect spot for a summer in Vancouver.

Spend an afternoon at Jericho Beach in Vancouver during your Vancouver itinerary

Relaxing at One of Kitsilano’s Beaches

Beaches may not be the first thing you think of when you think of Vancouver but there are actually a lot scattered around the city, with Kits being home to some of the most beautiful. 

The large logs placed along the beaches are very iconic Vancouver and are great to lean against to read a book before going for a dip. The water is warmer than you would think.

Jericho Beach in Vancouver is the perfect place to spend days of summer in Vancouver

In my opinion, Jericho Beach in Kits is the best as it is a beautiful sandy crescent with some of the cleanest water, and it has great mountain views. I have seen bald eagles and seals here numerous times.

Locarno Beach and Spanish Banks Beach next door are also beautiful, and if you are looking for action, then head to busy Kitsilano Beach where there is also an outdoor pool.

Sunset in Vancouver

Wreck Beach is right by UBC and is the place to go if you are into getting nude and/or attending drum circles.

Don’t miss experiencing the sunset at Locarno Beach, Spanish Banks Beach, or Wreck Beach. The sunsets from these beaches are incredible and likely some of the best you will ever see.

Vancouver sunset

Eat at a Kitsilano Icon for Dinner

Finish your day by eating at a Kits icon. It’s hard to beat The Naam for wholesome and delicious vegetarian dishes in a restaurant that has been operating since 1968!

The Naam, a must visit during 4 days in Vancouver

Other Kits favorites that you should consider for dinner or lunch are East is East for Afghan cuisine, Chewies for killer Cajun cuisine and seafood, Nuba for delicious Lebanese food, or for something more casual – grab a slice or two from Uncle Fatih’s, La Ruota, or Nat’s New York Pizzeria.

For dessert, grab some pie from The Pie Hole or Aphrodite’s.

Day 2: Stanley Park, Gastown, Chinatown, East Van

Today will mostly be spent around Vancouver’s city center, spending the morning walking or biking the gorgeous seawall in Stanley Park, then exploring historic Gastown, interesting Chinatown, and finishing in hip East Van for shopping, dinner, and drinks. 

Visiting Stanley Park is a highlight of a Vancouver 4 day itineraryWalk the seawall during your Vancouver Itinerary 4 days

Walking or Biking the Seawall in Stanley Park

Stanley Park with its seawall is probably the most well-known tourist attraction in Vancouver and with good reason.

Walking or biking the nearly ten kilometers of sea wall with the ocean on one side and pristine BC Coastal rainforest on the other is pretty special, even when you have to share the path with hundreds of others.

The last time I walked it I had a playful seal following me most of the way and I have also seen river otters, raccoons, and bald eagles while doing this walk.

See otters from Stanley Park in Vancouver

The views are spectacular the whole way around with beaches, rainforest, ocean, rocky foreshore, and mountains always in sight.

The totem poles are worth checking out and lots of wild blackberries grow along the path which is perfect for a snack. If it’s a hot day, stop at gorgeous Third Beach for a dip with mountain views.

Walk the Sea wall in Stanley Park during your 4 days in Vancouver

You can do this walk any time of year, even in wet and cold winter – it is spectacular whatever the season. But to really see it at its best? Walk or bike it during summer in Vancouver.

And, if you are wondering what to see in Vancouver in one day if that is all you have, walking or biking the seawall is it.

Stanley Park seawall

Cobbled Streets and Great Restaurants in Gastown

After finishing your walk or bike around the seawall, walk along the waterfront to Gastown, passing by Canada Place on the way.

Gastown may be touristy but I have a bit of a soft spot for it. You can’t deny it’s pretty with its colorful flower pots, cobbled streets, and old-fashioned gas lamps. It even has a smaller version of New York’s Flatiron Building – Hotel Europe.

Walk around Gastown during your 4 day Vancouver itinerary

There are also some great restaurants in this area and for lunch, I recommend Tacofino for iconic fish tacos or Finch’s – a tea house with old-world charm and really good teas and baguette sandwiches.

Check out the iconic Steam Clock and do some shopping before heading to your next stop – if you want tasteful souvenirs then Gastown is the place to shop for them.

Walk around Gastown during your Vancouver 4 day itineraryGastown Vancouver

Eclectic Chinatown

Pass under the Vancouver Chinatown Millennium Gate into Chinatown. If you haven’t eaten already – or if you can eat more – don’t miss getting some dim sum at Jade Dynasty, or grab a sweet treat from one of the many Chinese bakeries.

If you are a garden aficionado, then make sure to visit the tranquil Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – the first Chinese garden built outside of China.

Exploring Edgy East Van

East Van is basically east of Main Street in downtown Vancouver and is an edgier, funkier part of the city that is definitely worth spending at least a couple of hours. 

Start your East Van exploration by checking out the shops along East Hastings Street in Hastings-Sunrise, before turning down Commercial Drive which is one long road of amazing restaurants, bars, and retail.

Make sure to have dinner at Sula for outstanding Indian food or Havana for Cuban cuisine and Cuban cocktails.

If you are a beer lover, head to Off the Rails Brewing, Storm Brewing, or Strange Fellow’s Brewery for a few craft beers to finish off your night.

Third Beach in Vancouver

Day 3: Lynn Canyon, Granville Island, and Mount Pleasant

Start Day 3 of your Vancouver Itinerary by visiting lovely Lynn Canyon Park to check out the suspension bridge and do some hiking, followed by a visit to Granville Island Market and finish in exciting Mount Pleasant for some brewery hopping and dinner.

Hiking Through Temperate Rainforest in Lynn Canyon

Located on the North Shore of Vancouver, Lynn Canyon Park is the free alternative to the pricey Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. It still sees a lot of tourists around the suspension bridge, but within five minutes of leaving that behind and taking one of the trails, the crowds quickly die away.

Visit Lynn Canyon in Vancouver Hike in Lynn Canyon during your 4 days in Vancouver

Numerous trails that are punctuated with wooden boardwalks are shaded by stands of giant hemlocks and cedars, with ferns and moss growing prolifically over the dead trees and detritus on the forest floor.

On a hot day during summer in Vancouver, the crystal clear water of the numerous water holes along the river are perfect for a refreshing dip.

Food and Art on Granville Island

One of my absolute favorite spots in the city, Granville Island is home to a fantastic covered Public Market with loads of fresh BC produce and food stalls where you can grab lunch.

Add Granville Island to your Vancouver itinerary

If it’s a beautiful day during summer in Vancouver then I sit at one of the seats on the wharf outside to eat lunch and watch the street performers, or if it’s a drizzly day then upstairs in the food court is a cozy spot to admire the beauty of the rain-drenched harbor.

Granville Island

There are also numerous art galleries and interesting shops to browse once you are done with eating, and if you want to get your hands on some original BC and First Nations Art then Granville Island is the perfect place to do so.

Granville Island is surrounded by parks and if you like float homes, there is a colorful float home village right beside where the public market is.

Visit Granville Island Market during your Vancouver 4 day itineraryGranville Island houseboats

Don’t miss the blueberry and white chocolate bread from Terra Breads, grab a flight and maybe do a tour at Granville Island Brewing, and get fish and chips for lunch from Go Fish – the best fish and chips in Vancouver. It’s just a short walk along the coast from the market.

False Creek in VancouverBrewery Hopping and Dinner in Mount Pleasant

Vibrant and eclectic, the suburb of Mount Pleasant is one of my favorite places to do a little brewery hopping, and it’s a great spot for dinner too.

Main Street in Mount Pleasant

I am a massive craft beer fan and I especially love the inventiveness of the brews in Vancouver. With a lot of the breweries located in East Van/Mount Pleasant, you can put together a bit of a brewery hop, sampling the wares at some of the best.

My favorites around this area are Brassneck, 33 Acres, Red Truck Beer Company, R&B Brewing Co., Main Street Brewing Company, and Electric Bicycle Brewing.

Do some brewery hopping during your Vancouver 4 day itinerary

Mount Pleasant is also one of the best places to eat out in Vancouver, with so many options it will make your head spin.

Grab Mexican at El Camino’s, inventive donuts at Cartems, awesome diner fare at Lucy’s Eastside Diner, Vietnamese from Anh and Chi, fish and chips from The Fish Counter, or Thai food at Bob Likes Thai Food.

There is always a buzz in Mount Pleasant and it is infectious.

Day 4: Day Hike Near Vancouver

Day 4 of your 4 day Vancouver Itinerary will not actually be spent in Vancouver – today you should take a day trip to do a hike nearby and enjoy the incredible mountain scenery that surrounds the city. 

Do a day hike as part of your Vancouver Itinerary 4 days

There are numerous trails close to the city that are easy to do on a day trip. Garibaldi Lakes, the Lions Binkert trail, Saint Mark’s Summit, Joffre Lakes, and the Stawamus Chief are a few of my faves.

Do a day hike from Vancouver

To get to the best trails you will need to rent a car. It’s easy to do a car rental from Vancouver Airport which tends to be the cheapest option, or from locations downtown.

If you aren’t too keen to do a big hike on your last day, there are so many fabulous day trips you can do in and around Vancouver.

Consider a day kayaking at Deep Cove, visit Bowen Island by ferry, do a seaside stroll and some brewery hopping in Port Moody, visit Horseshoe Bay and Cypress Falls in West Vancouver, take the ferry and brewery hop in North Vancouver, walk the West Vancouver Seawall, visit Lighthouse Park, hike the Grouse Grind – there are so many options!

Spend a day kayaking in Deep Cove from Vancouver

Whatever you decide to do during a beautiful summer in Vancouver, you really can’t go wrong. Believe me, this is just the tip of the iceberg!

Have you been to Vancouver yet? What other places would you add to your Vancouver 4 day itinerary?

Cypress Falls

Planning Your 4 Days in Vancouver

How To Get Around in Vancouver

Vancouver is a really walkable and bikeable city, so my favorite way to get around is by hitting the streets on foot, or renting a bike for longer distances.

There is also excellent public transport in Vancouver with the Skytrain, ferries, and an extensive network of buses.

Jericho Beach

I recommend getting a Compass Card which covers trains, ferries, and buses – you can load money on it and just tap it when you board. Make sure to also tap off for ferries and the Skytrain.

You can purchase a Compass Card at Skytrain stations, SeaBus terminals, and various retailers.

Where to Stay in Vancouver

If you want to splurge on a beautiful and historic hotel in a great location in Vancouver, you can’t go past one of the Fairmont hotels – the Fairmont Waterfront and the Fairmont Pacific Rim look incredible!

For a solid mid-range option in Vancouver, I would recommend The Burrard Hotel with its retro vibe and pops of color.

Kitsilano shoreline

If you want your own space then a vacation rental is a great option. Here are my picks for the most affordable, highly rated, and centrally located vacation rentals in Vancouver:

Visit Jericho Beach in Kitsilano during your Vancouver Itinerary: 4 Days in Summer

If you are on more of a backpacker budget, Cambie Hostel – Seymour is a popular choice. It’s located right in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

If you want to stay in beautiful Kitsilano, the HI Vancouver Jericho Beach is located right by the beach and is within walking distance to all the shops and restaurants on Broadway and West 4th Avenue. 

Vancouver skyline

The Best Insurance for Your 4 Days in Vancouver

If you are not Canadian, make sure you get travel and health insurance before your trip. Safety Wing is my go-to and they are cheap and easy to claim with.

Safety Wing also allows you to sign up when you are already traveling, unlike a lot of other travel insurance providers.

Granville Island

If you liked this post, check out some of my other Canada content:


How To Spend 4 Days in VancouverThe Perfect Vancouver Itinerary 4 DaysUltimate 4 Day Vancouver Itinerary

14 Comments on The Best Vancouver Itinerary: 4 Days in Summer

    • Hi Chandi, you really don’t need a car except for maybe the hiking day although there are a lot of hikes you can reach by public transport too. The public transport in Vancouver is really good.

    • Will be traveling from either Seattle or Portland via train to Vancouver BC. Total trip will be 8 days. Appreciate any recommendations and how to break the trip up between Portland, Vancouver, WA and Vancouver, BC. Trip will be ithe end of July.

      • Hi Thom, I’m traveling for the next 2.5 weeks with limited wifi but send me an email at theworldonmynecklace and let me know your interests and I can give you some suggestions.

  1. Thanks for the reminders. Lived in Vancouver most of my life but am now in Saint Hubert, Quebec.
    I like the culture and bilingual aspect here, but nothing beats Vancouver for scenery. And Chinese food!

  2. I was lucky enough to have a stopover in Van during Gay Pride 2016, but unlucky that it was only one day. Just aching to go back, your post has whetted my appetite. Would like to take in free music festivals wherever I am. For example The French Quarter Festival in early April in New Orleans. Please can you mention free things to do like this?

  3. Vancouver is easily near the top of my list when it comes to international cities I want to visit. Saving this post for future travels — love the suggestions!

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