Where to Go

Vancouver, Canada: A Budget-Friendly Guide, No Matter How You Travel

Explore this unique city your way, without breaking the bank

The Vacationeer
Aerial of Downtown Vancouver skyline and bay at sunset

Venture to Vancouver, Canada, the largest city in British Columbia, where nature and urban entertainment blend together beautifully. With its wide array of outdoor activities, restaurants, art galleries, museums and more, Vancouver is the ultimate playground for all types of travelers looking for budget-friendly things to do year-round.

Two hikers by a river in the forest north of Vancouver   

For Nature Lovers

Lush landscapes, beautiful beaches and beyond — there are plenty of inspiring sights to see, for little to no cost.

Check out the 130-acre Queen Elizabeth Park featuring walking trails, flower gardens and panoramic views of the city. During your stroll, stop by the Bloedel Conservatory to witness exotic birds, over 500 varieties of tropical plants and more.

VanDusen Botanical Gardens is another popular outdoor spot, boasting 55 acres of plants from around the world and a living maze kids love. Visit during the holidays for a winter wonderland at the highly anticipated Festival of Lights — it really sets the mood for the season. If traveling in the warmer months, be sure to check out one (or a few) of Vancouver’s beaches. Lounge in the sand, soak up some sun, people watch — some of the best things in life are free.

For Thrill Seekers

A group of people on Mount Seymour in North Vancouver   

If you’re looking for an affordable adrenaline fix, you’ll find it in Vancouver.  

Dreaming about shredding fresh powder? Vancouver’s skiing and snowboarding scene is sure to please. Head to Mt Seymour to hit the slopes, snowshoe through scenic trails or visit the snow play area for some family-friendly tubing and tobogganing.

If hiking is more your thing, check out some of the best trails in Vancouver or brave Capilano Suspension Bridge amid the temperate rain forest.

Pick up some speed on one of the many exhilarating biking trails. Rentals are readily available for a reasonable price.

Once you’ve gotten your fix of land adventures, try an exciting water sport like kayaking or canoeing.         

For Foodies

When it comes to eats in Vancouver, there’s something for every taste and budget. Check out some highly rated spots like CRAFT Beer Market at English Bay where you’ll discover a wide array of bites — from burgers to tacos, pizza and more — beer and cocktails (slushies, too!).

View of downtown Vancouver and snowy mountains in the background   

Stop by The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant for a fish fix and head to the Italian Kitchen for beautiful handmade pasta and authentic Italian cuisine. These are just a few of the many amazing restaurants you’ll find.

For a late-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up, stop by the Granville Island Public Market where local merchants and vendors share their produce, baked goods and beyond.

For Art And Culture Cravers

Get inspired at one of Vancouver’s many art galleries. Vancouver Art Gallery is one of North America’s most exciting and innovative visual arts institution and includes work by renowned Canadian Modernist painter Emily Carr. Or, take the family to the Vancouver Maritime Museum — a hidden gem in Kitsilano, just outside Vancouver — to learn about the maritime and boating history of the Pacific Northwest and Arctic.

For Wanderers

Vancouver is considered a walkable city, which can save you money on rental car and rideshare costs. You could also take the city’s SkyTrain to help get you around town — day tickets and reloadable compass cards can be purchased at the stations.

SkyTrain bridge over the Fraser River in Vancouver   

Spend an afternoon walking around popular Stanley Park — one of the largest urban parks in North America — where you’ll discover teahouses, beachfront hideaways, totem poles and more.

If traveling around Halloween time, consider a haunted walking tour in Gastown — the oldest commercial district in Vancouver.

For Everyone

Even if you’re just window shopping, there are plenty of stores to explore. Be sure to check out Metropolis at Metrotown, British Columbia’s largest shopping center. Treating yourself is optional but encouraged.

If you’re into festivals, Vancouver has you covered. Plan your trip around the Hot Chocolate Festival, Winter Solstice Lantern Festival, Cherry Blossom Festival, PRIDE week or other. Most festivals will either request donations at the door or require a small fee — it’ll be worth all the fun once inside.

For a family-friendly and educational activity, head to H.R. MacMillan Space Centre at Vanier Park to learn more about stars and our universe.

Whatever your budget and travel style may be, you won’t run out of things to do and see in Vancouver.

Take note of these budget-friendly travel tips for your next getaway and beyond.

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The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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