Skip to main content
Header image
Editor Pick

Top Things to Do in Vancouver Before or After Your Cruise

Updated: March 29, 2024

Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Katie Broome

Welcoming nearly 1 million passengers each year, the Vancouver cruise port at Canada Place is a bustling hub of activity in spring and summer and a popular launching point for those embarking on—and disembarking from—an Alaska cruise. Whether you have just a few hours before or after your cruise or an entire day, there are plenty of fun things to do in Vancouver near the Canada Place cruise terminal.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Location: 3735 Capilano Rd.

If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Vancouver before a cruise, consider a day trip to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver. Fun things to do at this park include a jaw-dropping walk across a swinging footbridge, guided nature tours through a West Coast rainforest and the Cliffwalk, a series of cantilevered walkways that offer a rock-climber’s view of the forested canyon. A free shuttle service from Canada Place cruise terminal is available in summer. Be sure to allow at least 2.5 hours to explore the park, plus 20-30 minutes of travel time each way.

Grouse Mountain

Location: 6400 Nancy Greene Way

Great for families and group travel, Grouse Mountain offers enough activities to fill a whole day. During cruise season (May through September), your admission comes with a free round-trip shuttle from Canada Place to the base of Grouse Mountain, where you’ll transfer to a Skyride aerial tram for a scenic trip up the mountainside. At the top you’ll find a lumberjack show and a birds-in-flight demonstration—two fun things to do with kids—in addition to ranger talks, a bear habitat and guided eco-walks. For an extra fee you can book a zipline tour or even a private helicopter ride.

Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tours

Many post-cruise excursions in Vancouver offer a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, and for good reason. It is the easiest way to see the top tourist spots in the city in a short amount of time. Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing's Hop-on, Hop-off Bus Tour picks up at Canada Place and covers the city on two separate loops, one through the downtown core and one that includes Stanley Park and Granville Island. Note: If you need a place to store your bags during the tour, inquire at the cruise terminal about short-term luggage storage and airport transfers.

Museum Excursion

If you only have a few hours (or if you need things to do on a rainy day), consider a trip to one of Vancouver’s indoor attractions. Kids will have a blast with the interactive exhibits at Science World, located just a short light rail ride from the cruise terminal. Adults in search of some history and culture will want to head out of downtown to the Museum of Anthropology at UBC, where they’ll find a collection of totem poles, canoes, carvings and other First Nations items and artwork.

Sample Local Cuisine at Nearby Restaurants

Seafood and Asian-inspired dishes are plentiful in Vancouver, so sample the cuisine at one of many local restaurants. You’ll find dozens of places to eat within walking distance of the cruise ship terminal or a short taxi ride away. Perched over the water is Cardero's Restaurant, with fresh oysters, seafood platters and flash-fried wok dishes on the menu. Dungeness crab and live-caught seafood are specialties at Blue Water Cafe, a bustling dinner spot in Yaletown. If you’re wondering where to eat Asian cuisine, head to Guu Original on Thurlow Street or Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie in Chinatown.

Shopping on Robson Street

If an afternoon spent shopping is more your thing, add a stroll down Robson Street to your itinerary of things to do near the Vancouver cruise port. Start at the intersection of Robson and Granville streets (about a 15-minute walk from Canada Place) and then browse Holt Renfrew and 60-plus other stores at the upscale Pacific Centre mall. Continue west for more shopping on Robson and plenty of local restaurants, cafés and things to see along the way.

Stanley Park

Location: 7500 Stanley Park Dr.

One of the most fun things for couples to do is to explore Stanley Park by bike. Rent a cruiser bike or a tandem from one of the many local outfitters stationed outside the park entrance on West Georgia Street, then follow the Stanley Park Seawall on its counterclockwise loop around the park. Allow for at least an hour to make it around the park, plus a little more if you plan to stop and soak up the views (recommended!).

Stay an Extra Day

Travel websites and your AAA Travel Agent will most likely recommend arriving in port at least one day prior to your cruise in order to avoid any last-minute headaches. An extra day will give you more time to explore the city, too, and you’ll have a safe place to store your luggage. Fairmont Waterfront and Pan Pacific Vancouver are two hotels near the Vancouver cruise port and within walking distance of things to do downtown.

Whale-Watching Tours

If you have a full day to spare, consider booking a whale-watching excursion out of Vancouver. Cruise season aligns perfectly with whale-watching season, so there is a good chance you’ll be able to spot killer whales in the wild along with other marine wildlife. Tour companies provide 3- to 5-hour trips that are perfect for group travel, with many outfitters offering pickup and drop-off service in the downtown area. Consider tours from Prince of Whales Whale Watching or Vancouver Whale Watch for starters.

Plan your stay in Vancouver with AAA

Take advantage of your AAA membership benefits by booking your cruise and other travel with AAA to get exclusive savings and benefits, like onboard spending credits on select cruises. You can also save and take some the stress out of travel planning by working with a AAA Travel Agent.

Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Katie Broome

More Articles


Travel Like an Expert with AAA and Trip Canvas

Get Ideas from the Pros

As one of the largest travel agencies in North America, we have a wealth of recommendations to share! Browse our articles and videos for inspiration, or dive right in with preplanned AAA Road Trips, cruises and vacation tours.

Build and Research Your Options

Save and organize every aspect of your trip including cruises, hotels, activities, transportation and more. Book hotels confidently using our AAA Diamond Designations and verified reviews.

Book Everything in One Place

From cruises to day tours, buy all parts of your vacation in one transaction, or work with our nationwide network of AAA Travel Agents to secure the trip of your dreams!