Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in the world. Set between the ocean and mountains it is no wonder it was chosen for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. When traveling with kids in a large city it’s hard to know what the best spots are for getting to know the city as well as keeping the kids entertained. Here are some highlights of Vancouver that both you and your kids can enjoy in 48 hours:
Granville Island is a fabulous place for people of all ages, the busy public market may be hard to negotiate with a stroller but not impossible. Once you’ve gathered you food supplies for the day you can step outside onto the wharf area and watch the boats silently slip by while your kids feed and chase the pigeons. On a warm summer day the kids will like to head over to the playground/waterpark near the community center to cool off and release some energy. Everything is easily walkable and during a round trip around the edge of the “island” you’ll take in birds, seals, kayakers, beautiful sailing boats and a community of houseboats all with a fantastic cityscape background.
From here you can easily head by foot to Kitsilano Beach (aka Kits Beach). Either walk or bike along the seawall it’s easy to negotiate and less than 5km. Once you’ve reach Kits Beach there’s a fabulous, relatively new, playground, basketball courts, beach volleyball or just relax in the sand and play at the water’s edge.
Kits Beach has a full restaurant available with a sweeping view of the city but another option close by is the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Located just a 5-15min walk away the restaurant has a built in play kitchen for children which let’s mommy and daddy enjoy their dinner together without having to entertain the kids while gobbling down their food before it gets cold. From here you can easily circle back to Granville Island to pick up your car or hop on transit.
While the above works for a full day of walking around the city it would be remiss to not include both the Vancouver Aquarium and Science World as must dos for the Vancouver Area.
Science World, a great silver globe at the end of False Creek, can easily be seen from Granville Island. Plan to spend at least a half a day here and take your time exploring, you can also take in a a film in the Omnimax theatre (additional $6 fee), shows run on the hour. At Science World you can immerse yourself in the world of the dinosaurs, learn the ins and outs of the human body and much more.
Walking distance from here is the Olympic Village where there are plenty of restaurants to choose from. To make it kid friendly order take out and sit in the promenade in front of Craft while you eat the kids can run and play on the street art close by.
Also plan to spend a half-day or more at the Vancouver Aquarium located in Stanley Park. It can get quite busy so I recommend trying to go first thing in the morning during the middle of the week if possible. If you find your family there on a weekend just remember to give yourself ample amount of time to enjoy everything it has to offer. A word of caution the 4D show experience can be too much for children under 5 years who may wind up on your lap for most of the show.
A hidden gem is Kokopelli café on Dunbar it offers great food, excellent granola and a well stocked play area for kids, a nice one to remember on those rainy days on the wet west coast.
Have you been to Vancouver before? What were your favourite places to visit?