Granville Island is one of the most interesting and unique places in all of Vancouver. This tiny shopping district is tucked away on a peninsula under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge. Here you can spend the entire day and night browsing the shops, exploring the sreets, relaxing beside the waters of False Creek, grabbing drinks with friends, and enjoying the local entertainment. You can come for a couple hours to look around or you can stay overnight and get the full Granville Island experience.
You can get to Granville Island by bus, aquabus, car, foot, or bike. If you’re driving there, be aware that parking is very limited and you may need to park just outside of Granville Island and walk in on busier days. By bus you can take the #50 to Anderson St and West 2nd Ave and look for the large Granville Island sign after exiting the bus. The Aquabus and False Creek Ferries will drop you off on the docks right in the heart of Granville Island.
Granville Island Public Market
The Public Market may be the number one reason to visit Granville Island. The Market features rows upon vendors selling produce, seafood, meats, arts, crafts, and countless other foods and wares from their tightly packed stalls, counters, and cases. The majority of these products are locally grown, handmade, or sourced by the many different artists, artisans, and farmers from around the city. The market can get very busy and crowded but the lively environment creates a wonderfully electric atmosphere.
If you’re coming to Granville Island with your kids, a visit to the Kid’s Market is an absolute must. This place is basically a mini shopping center dedicated just to the little tykes. There are over 25 shops and services that kids will love to browse through, including 7 different toy stores, 4 kids clothing stores, an arcade, bumper cars, and an indoor Adventure Zone play area. There’s even a hair salon designed just for kids with hairdressing chairs styled into their favorite cartoon cars and trains. Your little ones will agree that you could almost spend a full day exploring just the Kid’s Market alone.
Granville Island Water Park
For more kid friendly fun, check out the Granville Island Water Park. Located next to the False Creek Community Centre, this park features a waterslide, sprays, and fountains. Best of all, this park is totally free. Be aware that it’s only open during the summer months and it’s a popular spot that can get very busy. It operates daily from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
Not only are there a ton of shops to browse, but nearly every shop is filled with locally made wares, hand-crafted treasures, and the most unique gifts. Granville Island isn’t the place to go if you’re looking for big name brands and popular clothing chains. The stores here are all very boutique and original. There are countless art studios and craft stores as well, including places like Beadworks, where you can make your own jewellery, or Rhinoceros Accessories, a funky boutique shop filled with eccentric odds and ends.
Granville Island is filled with seafood restaurants, bistros, bakeries, cafes, and a ton of other eateries where you can grab a bite, relax, and take a break from shopping. Many of these establishments feature patio seating which allows their customers to take in the beautiful views of False Creek while they enjoy their meals. The Sandbar provides not only some of the best views on Granville Island but also some of the best seafood as well. For more fresh and delicious catches from the sea, head over to the Vancouver Fish Company Restaurant & Bar for a plate of sockeye salmon, sablefish, lobster, crab, and many other fishy delights.
Bars and Pubs
Many of the restaurants on Granville Island are excellent places to grab a drink and hang out on the patio but there are a few noteworthy watering holes you might want to check out. Start the afternoon with a brewery tour at Granville Island Brewing and then take a seat in their taproom to sample a few more craft brews. Head over to the Liberty Distillery for premium whiskies, gin, and spirits, all crafted through a triple distillation process in their handmade copper stills. Later into the evening you can finish your night off with some live music and good times at the Backstage Lounge.
Granville Island Hotel
Whether you’re visiting from out of town or you’re a local who has come to hit up the nearby drinking establishments, staying a night in the Granville Island Hotel can be both pleasantly luxurious and incredibly convenient. Every room is unique, with options of balcony rooms, suites, and penthouses. This boutique hotel sits directly on the waterfront, providing its guests with gorgeous views of False Creek. You’ll be able to enjoy the sights of the waterfront and the mountains beyond even further when dining in the hotel’s Dockside Restaurant. The dining area’s floor to ceiling windows and the open air patio are the perfect spots to take in the scenery.
Explore all Day and Night
Granville Island is an excellent shopping district to venture through and simply spend the entire day explore the streets and shops. You can bus in, park for the day, or book a room at the Granville Island Hotel and plan to see everything on this peculiar little peninsula. So much of what you’ll find here is unique, handmade, or locally grown. Buskers perform on various corners, smells of freshly baked goods waft out of the bakeries, and the sidewalks and markets are always full of people perusing the wares. This neighborhood is the perfect spot to spend the day with friends, with your kids, or for a romantic day with your significant other. There’s definitely something here for everyone.