There’s plenty for conference attendees to do, see, (and eat!) in and around Vancouver during downtime. Best of all, the city is walkable and easy to navigate. Here are our favorite green-inspired sites:
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Many don’t realize Vancouver is a rainforest habitat—albeit a temperate one, receiving 6 to 9 feet of rain annually. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a stunning example with lush greenery on display in each of the four seasons. The sprawling tree canopy, unfurling ferns and active fauna are continuously on spectacular display.
Jaw-dropping views from the swaying 450-foot cedar-plank bridge suspend intrepid hikers 230 feet—more than 20 stories—above the rushing Capilano River. More than a few have dropped their cellphones midselfie, so avoid catastrophe from the safer vantage point along one of the many trails here. We recommend the Cliffwalk, with its even higher viewpoint of 300 feet and extended walkway over the gorge.
Stanley Park. This beloved park is one of the top public recreational spots in the world with more than 1,000 acres of verdant parkland, fronted by water on three sides and situated just along the edge of downtown Vancouver.
Birders, joggers, families and outdoor enthusiasts find a peaceful escape from the rigors of the city in this tranquil green space. Visitors can take tours through horse-drawn carriage rides, First Nation (indigenous Canadian people) gardens and totem poles, spectacular rose gardens or simply take in the scene on a quiet bench.
Vancouver Aquarium. This loved site found inside the park grounds and offers visitors face-to-face encounters with beluga whales, sea otters, rays, sharks, 50-foot-high tanks of neon jellyfish and endless wonders of local ocean waters.
University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. The vibe here is more parkland than 70-acre research site, especially when visitors embark on the 1,000-foot-long Greenheart TreeWalk. Adventurers need to hang on tight as navigation is along a network of suspended footbridges that sway considerably. Spy raptors among the massive cedars and hemlocks looking for a meal in the greenery below. Respite comes by way of eight platforms where breath-catching and snapping photos are good options.
Granville Island Public Market. Visitors should come hungry to this gastronomic touchstone, the heart and soul of Vancouver’s burgeoning foodie scene. Just-caught seafood and smoked fish, fresh produce and flowers, coffee, tea, artisanal chocolate and some of the city’s most delectable baked goods have visitors climbing aboard water taxis all day long for the short ride across False Creek at Vancouver’s West End to this bustling market.
The market is host to dozens of locals-only food shops tempting all the senses. Scout out Oyama Sausage Co., charcuterie wizards and home of the special British Columbia red wine prosciutto and bison bresaola. Lee’s Donuts may put a dent in the diet, but the massive fritters (the apple-maple variety is over-the-top) and honey-dipped raised doughnuts bring back memories of Grandma’s homemade fried cakes.