There are a variety of tours to take around the city whether it’s by foot, bus, boat, or helicopter. Vancouver is a city that is full of incredible sights, both excitingly urban and relaxingly outdoorsy. There’s so much to see and do in the city that a guided tour can help to save you time, confusion, and headaches from staring too long at your map. These tours will take you around the heart of the city and beyond into the surrounding areas of BC’s lower mainland.
Vancouver has a ton of different walking tours that will take you all over the city and will introduce you to the vast history, architecture, and stories this city was built on. You can arrange for private tours if you have a large group or join an open tour to meet up with other tourists who are visiting Vancouver from around the world.
Sins of the City Tours
The Vancouver Centennial Police Museum provides various Sins of the City tours which allow tourists to see the darkest elements of Vancouver’s history. The available tours are “Soulfood and Shotguns”, “Vice, Dice and Opium Pipes”, and “Walking the Beat”. They will take the group through the oldest parts of the entire city to learn about the drug trade, bootleggers, the evolution of brothels, and other scandalous tidbits of Vancouver’s sordid past. Visitors can then enjoy free access to the museum and former city morgue upon their return. Visit their website for more information.
Forbidden Vancouver Tours
Another series of walking tours that might be of interest to those who are curious about crime, creepy stories, and dark secrets are the Forbidden Vancouver tours. They offer theatrical tours about the gothic era of Victorian Gastown, the times of mobsters, opium, and booze, as well as the bizarre art and secret cemeteries of Stanley Park. If you’re looking for something a little less chilling, they also offer the Art Deco & Chocolate Tasting Tour and the Really Gay History Tour. You can check out the tours and prices by visiting their website.
Architectural Institute of BC Tours
If you’re into architecture you can take a summer walking tour with the Architectural Institute of BC. Their tours will take you throughout downtown, Gastown, Chinatown, Yaletown, the West End, and Strathcona, showing you the most architecturally significant areas of the city. They have tours during the summer months but may be able to accomodate group tours at other times of the year, depending on guide availability. Check out tour details and prices on their website.
Vancouver Heritage Foundation Tours
Take a walking tour around the City of Vancouver with one of the Vancouver Heritage Foundation tour guides. Learn about the city’s birth, growth, and history with John Atkin, a civic historian, author, and heritage consultant, John Belshaw, a history professor with Thompson Rivers University, and Michael Schwartz, Director of Community Engagement at the Jewish Museum and Archives of BC. Book tickets through the Vancouver Heritage Foundation website.
Sightseeing Bus Tours
There are many types of bus tours that will take you to the most popular destinations of Vancouver and will handle all the details so you can just enjoy the sights. They will pick you up and take you on an adventure around the city, often covering any admission or entry fees when applicable. You just need to show up, sit back, and let them take you to the most interesting spots Vancouver has to offer.
Gray Line Tours
The Gray Line tour company offers a variety of tours throughout Vancouver’s neighborhoods and popular landmarks such as Canada Place, Stanley Park, English Bay, Gastown, and Granville Island. They also offer tours that take you to the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain or up the Sea to Sky Highway and into Whistler. Visit their website for more information on tours and prices.
Westcoast Sightseeing Tours
Westcoast Sightseeing offers unique tours such as the Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour, which takes you through a sinister journey of Vancouver’s darkest mysteries and most chilling stories, all via trolley. They also provide Hop-On, Hop-Off tours that will allow you travel through 30 different stops and enjoy the highlights of the city such as Chinatown, Gastown, Yaletown, Robson Street, Canada Place, Granville Island, and Stanley Park. Electric boat tours of the harbour and evening bus tours are available as well. Visit their website for prices and tour details.
Vancouver is a city that celebrates its gorgeous waterfront and picturesque skyline, so seeing the city from the ocean is an absolute must. There is no shortage of whale watching tours, dinner cruises, and sightseeing adventures in Vancouver’s inlets, rivers, and harbour.
Harbour Cruises Tours
The Harbour Cruises tour company offers cruises that will take you on a romantic dinner at sunset, a luncheon cruise through the Indian Arm, a harbour tour, or even an unforgettable fireworks cruise during the Celebration of Light. You will enjoy beautiful views, music, entertainment, and a delicious meal. Visit their website for bookings and for more information about their tour packages.
Prince of Whales Tours
If you’d like to see Vancouver’s marine life playing in their natural habitat, book a tour on one of the Prince of Whales whale watching boats. They offer 3-5 hour half day tours, zodiak tours, seaplane tours, and an Ultimate Day Tour to Victoria. The Ultimate Tour allows you to see whales and other marine wildlife, stop in at the Butchart Gardens in Victoria for the afternoon, then enjoy a 2.5 hours sunset cruise on your way back to downtown Vancouver. Visit their website for rates and other tour options.
Vancouver has many exquisite lookout spots to enjoy the most incredible views of the city, but there is no better view than from the air. You can jump on a seaplane or helicopter for a thrilling ride over the city or you can book a full day tour for an incredible adventure around Vancouver and its surrounding areas.
Harbour Air Seaplanes Tours
Flying in a float plane over Vancouver’s harbour may be one of the most memorable things you could do when visiting this beautiful city. Harbour Air Seaplanes offers tours departing from Vancouver, Richmond, Whistler, Victoria, Nanaimo, Sechelt, and Salt Spring Island. Every departure point offers different tour packages and if you’re travelling out of Vancouver you’ll have a lot to choose from. Check out the Alpine Lakes & Glaciers tour, the Mail Run tour, or the Coastal Discovery tour if you want to see some amazing sights and spend plenty of time in the air. Visit their website for more details.
Sky Helicopters Tours
If helicopter tours are more your style, book a Sky Helicopters tour to see the best of the bustling city or the beauty of BC’s backcountry. Tours depart from Vancouver Harbour Heliport or the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport. The wilderness tours may involve a backcountry landing to allow you to enjoy nature up close and personal. If you’re more of a city person, try a sunset flight over Vancouver or a journey up the Sea to Sky corridor. Craft beer and full day winery tours are also available for those who’d like to quench their thirst along the way. Check out their website to see which tour is right for you.
Vancouver is a massive city and there is just so much to see and do. Let one of Vancouver’s seasoned tour companies provide you with a guided experience through the city and surrounding areas. They’ll regale you with their stories, facts, amusing anecdotes about Vancouver and will show you places you never even knew existed. Pick a tour that fits your tastes and your budget and create some unforgettable memories in this intriguing city.