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Most Fun Things to Do in Vancouver BC 2023

Greetings, Internet Stranger, and welcome to the most fun things to do in Vancouver BC. Vancouver is already an extremely fun city, with a beautiful park, excellent museums, and tons of amazing restaurants. If you’re looking for a day of fun activities in Vancouver, it’s not hard to find some.

However, my personal list of most fun things to do in Vancouver BC would include my favorite museum in Vancouver, the beautiful botanical gardens, and a delightful and surprising meal. I hope you’ll join me for a day full of fun!

Want to cut right to the chase, Internet Stranger? The best activity in Vancouver is this fabulous Granville Island food tour right here with tons of five-star reviews!

Or if you want to explore all tours in Vancouver, check this search engine right here to find the best deals!

Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC

Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC

Where Should I Stay?

Vancouver is the third largest city in Canada, and it’s pretty spread out. That’s why it’s important to pick the right neighborhood.

I recommend the Victorian Hotel, located right near the atmospheric Gastown neighborhood. It has several charming amenities, but the best are the fresh croissants every morning, which is really all you need in life.

I also recommend the Burrard, if you are looking for a hotel in Downtown Vancouver. It was easy to get to many of Vancouver’s most popular restaurants and attractions from here, and my room was very comfortable and clean.

If you’re looking for a great deal on the Victorian, click here. And if you want to check out deals on over a hundred other amazing hotel options in Vancouver, just click here. This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay as the base for your day of the most fun things to do in Vancouver BC. With hundreds of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.

most fun things to do in vancouver bc

Most Fun Things to Do in Vancouver BC

Morning: Visit the Museum of Anthropology

The Museum of Anthropology is definitely my favorite museum in Vancouver. You can find anything here from sculpture to paintings to boats to fabulous hats. It’s basically an Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum.

The Museum is widely considered to be one of the best in all of North America, and there’s tons to see here, so I strongly suggest setting aside a good portion of your day to explore. There will be special exhibits, docent tours, and so much more when we discover…

Approximately Top 5: Museum of Anthropology

most fun things to do in vancouver bc
1) Porcelain

Have you ever wanted to see an entire room filled with porcelain? Well, if that’s your jam, you can experience it at the Museum of Anthropology. After all, an anthropology museum is dedicated to basically everything that humans have ever done, and humans have certainly made a whole bunch of porcelain. That’s what I learned at this museum.

My favorite pattern came from an 18th century factory that used to be in Hungary, but is now in Slovakia. (The factory didn’t move; the country’s borders did. Central European geography is complicated.) I just like it because of all the pretty flowers. I can’t always be full of deep thoughts.

most fun things to do in vancouver bc
2) Northwest Coastal First Nations Screens

One thing the Museum of Anthropology is truly famous for is its collection of First Nations art. We’ll see many different examples here at the museum. However, one of my favorite pieces is this screen, which was designed to be used in potlatch ceremonies.

In front of the screen, public events would take place like dancing, eating, teaching, and other conversation. However, behind the screen was meant for private discussion or storing regalia for the potlatch. What a beautiful way to remind people that they shouldn’t go behind the screen! So much nicer than a keep out sign!

fun things to do in vancouver bc
3) The Great Raven

The Great Raven Mask is perhaps my favorite object in the entire museum. I love everything about it from the colors to the shapes to the beautiful patterns on its beak. The Museum of Anthropology is really good at providing contextual quotes from First Nations people, which is how I learned that most families didn’t have the right to have a Great Raven Mask.

This mask was used by the Kwakwaka’wakw people, and it belonged to one of their chiefs, John Scow, who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century. It would have been used during the potlatch dance.

Sadly, potlaches were made illegal by the Canadian government until the 1950s. Why on earth would they do such a thing? I know it was meant to suppress First Nations cultures, but they must have been some very sad people to be against masks, dancing, and feasts.

fun things to do in vancouver bc
4) Dolls, Figures, and Puppets

Unlike the porcelain, which was just fun, dolls and puppets are very serious business. The Museum of Anthropology has an incredible collection of various dolls and puppets, including dolls from Chinese shadow theater and puppets from Taiwanese puppet theater.

Perhaps the most interesting were these Ere-Ibeji, which are figures from the Yoruba people of West Africa. They are made if one of a set of twins dies. The feeling in the community is that the surviving twin is in danger, so they make this figure to keep that twin safe. I can imagine few things more horrible than losing a twin, so I do hope this provides some comfort.

fun things to do in vancouver bc
5) Lunch at Great Dane

So, one thing to know about the Museum of Anthropology is that it’s located on the University of British Columbia campus. You’re probably not staying at a hotel anywhere nearby, so I suggest taking a bus or an Uber to get here. (I’ve done both.)

There’s also not a ton of restaurants nearby, but we will definitely need a snack on our day of the most fun things to do in Vancouver BC. That’s why I suggest picking up some lunch at this cute cafe called Great Dane, which has very nice lattes. We have a big dinner ahead of us, so I didn’t get anything large, just a muffin. But they have more savory baked goods, if you’re looking for something of that nature.

fun things to do in vancouver bc

Most Fun Things to Do in Vancouver BC

Afternoon: University of British Columbia Botanical Garden

Now that we’re all muffined up, we’re going to continue to take advantage of all the University of British Columbia’s cultural attractions. That means that we’re heading out to the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. (You can just call it the UBC Botanical Garden for short.)

This garden has an amazing number of stunning plants and trees. And since we’re in the Pacific Northwest, these trees are going to be quite green and tall, just like I like my men.

I don’t have time to introduce you to every plant in this garden, but I can show you

Three Fun Facts: UBC Botanical Garden

fun things to do in vancouver bc
1) Are there any special trees in the Botanical Garden?

There are many special trees in the Botanical Garden, but perhaps the specialist is the red cedar tree. First Nations people used this tree in many ways, to build boats, houses, fishing poles, and totem poles. (If you are able to take a day trip to Capilano Suspension Bridge while you are in Vancouver, you can learn more about this.)

This red cedar tree especially likes to live on the coasts because the weather suits it best. Yes, I hope that’s why the tree prefers the coasts, and not because he thinks that the middle of the continent is “Flyover Country” or some such nonsense.

fun things to do in vancouver bc
2) Are the plants just there to look pretty?

Absolutely not! The plants serve many important purposes. One of the neatest parts of the Botanical Garden is the Physick Garden, which is dedicated to medicinal plants. Physick is spelled that way because these kinds of gardens were especially important in medieval and Renaissance times when they didn’t know how to spell.

Life was very dangerous back then because you could like of scurvy or scrofula or avada kedavra or a bunch of other diseases that I just made up. Many of these gardens were kept in monasteries and, according to the UBC signs, they were the first botanical garden.

How nice that these gardens used to serve such a valuable purpose for society. I mean, they still serve a valuable purpose because being outside and getting fresh air is important. But curing scurvy and expelliarmus is even more important.

most fun things to do in vancouver bc
3) What’s the most unusual garden?

In my opinion, that is the lovely Alpine Garden. First of all, I didn’t even know that the UBC Botanical Garden was in the Alps, so that’s on me. I thought the Alps were in Europe. But apparently Alpine plants mean plants that grow in the mountains, not just plants that grow in the Alps. Hmmm, they should work on that name because I can see how people would get confused.

Alpine plants are usually low to the ground so that they can survive the heavy winds that blow on the top of mountains. That makes a lot of sense. I think a tall tree on top of a mountain would have been blown over or struck by lightning a long time ago.

The smaller the plant, the more likely it is to be from a true Alpine region. So this is really what they mean when they say that something smaller is better.

fun things to do in vancouver bc

Most Fun Things to Do in Vancouver BC

Evening: Dinner at Pidgin

After a full day of walking, we must have worked up quite an appetite. And of course, no day of the most fun things to do in Vancouver BC is complete without a fabulous dinner. That’s why I suggest stopping for the evening at Pidgin. (Technically PiDGiN is supposed to be written like that, but I am not sure why. Is it a restaurant run by kidnappers.)

Anyway, I didn’t see even one kidnapper when I dined at Pidgin, just a lot of delicious food. The food is Asian-French, so you’re going to find a lot of creative combinations. I recommend getting the tasting menu so you can try as many dishes as possible. You can even do it if you are a solo diner. I know because I did.

The first course was just an amuse bouche with a scrumptious gin cocktail. The little snacks in the amuse bouche change on a regular basis, but when I visited, I snacked on miso eggplant, pickled chanterelle mushrooms, and fermented cucumbers. It was a perfect combination of salty, sour, and savory.

most fun things to do in vancouver bc

The first course was tuna tartare, celery, ikura, seaweed puree, and taro root crisps. Ikura is salmon roe, not to be confused with Ikuru, which is a classic Japanese movie about a little old man. We can clearly see the Japanese influence on this dish, although you could certainly find tuna tartare at a French restaurant as well.

As far as I was concerned, this was a super classy version of chips and dip. I approve because if there’s one thing I love, it’s a classy snack.

most fun things to do in vancouver bc

Our next dish is a little bigger than the first. (The dishes are going to get progressively larger unless we meet our dessert and our stomachs explode with glee.) It’s a rabbit terrine with shiitake mushrooms, radish, garlic scapes, and sake kasu mustard.

Again, rabbit is a tres francais ingredient, but there are other elements like the sake and the shiitake mushrooms that let us see the Asian influence. I almost feel guilty eating rabbit because they are so cute, but then I remember that they are delicious, and I don’t feel so guilty.

most fun things to do in vancouver bc

We’ve got two seafood courses coming up, and the first is this tempura crab with yuzu-hondashi mayo. Yuzu is a citrus fruit that’s popular in Japan, and hondashi is an instant form of the dashi broth that’s an important part of many Japanese dishes. I guess it’s like the Japanese equivalent of those bouillon cubes my mother always had in the house when I was a kid.

I have eaten many types of tempura, but never before had I tried tempura crab. It was so soft and tender. Ordinarily I would think it’s a waste of good crab to fry it, but not in this case.

most fun things to do in vancouver bc

And here we go! I’m not convinced you can say that you’ve had dinner in Vancouver if salmon wasn’t involved somehow. This is sockeye salmon with spot prawns, and a truly insane list of ingredients: ponzu, tosazu rhubarb, morel mushrooms, and komatsuna greens. I can’t remember the last time I had a meal with so many ingredients I had never tried.

I mean, I’ve eaten morels and ponzu, but this was my first experience with komatsuna greens and tosazu rhubarb. Hopefully it won’t be the last! (Also, I like that the salmon looks like it’s wearing the prawn as a hat.)

most fun things to do in vancouver bc

Finally, we have this gorgeous chocolate cake with vanilla mousse and yuzu curd. It was almost too beautiful to eat, but I definitely ate all of it. It looks like a majestic volcano exploding with vanilla mousse, and I didn’t even know that there were volcanoes in Vancouver.

But I didn’t know that there were Alpine gardens in Vancouver either, so you learn something new every day. And this was definitely the perfect end to our day of the most fun things to do in Vancouver BC.

Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC

Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC

Tools For Travel

  • A cell phone charger so you can take photos throughout your day of the Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC
  • My favorite guide book to Vancouver
  • My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you exactly how solo travel can take your life from BLAH to amazing!
  • The most reliable travel umbrella that is small enough to fit in my purse, but strong enough to stand up to powerful winds on our day of the Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC
  • These great TSA approved clear toiletries bags, so I can always keep spare toothpaste and travel sized toiletries in any carry-on.
Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC

Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC

How to Get There

I can’t tell you exactly how to get from your home to this day of the Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC

But I can tell you that I used a lovely airplane to get from my hometown NYC to Vancouver, and I recommend Expedia for the best way to find the cheapest flight to Vancouver at the best time of day.

Just click here to start looking for the best possible deals on your flight, so you can head out to your day of the Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC

Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC

That’s the Most fun things to do in Vancouver BC!

What do you think are the most fun things to do in Vancouver BC? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Vancouver now? Please email me at stellajane@aroundtheworldin24hours.com

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a day of the most fun things to do in Vancouver BC. If you have time for another One Day in Vancouver Itinerary, try this itinerary.

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