Skytrain near Rogers Arena

A world class city like Vancouver certainly has a lot to offer to its visitors, but there really is no way that you can really experience it all in just one day. This is true of many other major cities, like New York or Tokyo, but it got me thinking: if someone came to visit Vancouver for 24 hours and asked you to show them around, where would you take them?

It is that exact hypothetical question that I posed on Facebook and Twitter yesterday, mostly because I was curious about the kinds of responses I would get. For my own part, my local bucket list is primarily outside of the city and any of them could be a day trip on their own. So, for someone who is visiting from out of town, what would they most likely want to see and experience?

Grouse Mountain

There’s no better way to see the city than from way up on a mountain. Given the time constraints of a 24-hour tour, I likely would not recommend taking the visitor on the Grouse Grind. Just pay for the gondola ride up and have a great look at the city. A cheaper alternative would be the Cypress lookout, which is particularly amazing at night. For this reason, you may consider having this toward the end of the day rather than toward the beginning.

Stanley Park Seawall

Again, given the 24 hour timeframe, a proper tour of Stanley Park just isn’t possible unless it’s the only thing you want to do. As a whirlwind tour of this great urban park, a visit to the totem poles, a short stroll along the seawall, and perhaps a trip to English Bay would be a good way to sum it up.

Granville Island

This was also a popular suggestion. Strolling through the public market can be quite interesting, as is browsing through the various artisan shops. It’s just an amazing place to look around, especially if there happens to be one of the many festivals going on at the time.

Cultural Areas

One of Vancouver’s greatest assets is its embrace of different cultures from around the world. It would be impossible to visit all the different cultural areas in the city in just one day, so you’ll need to be selective based on the preferences of the visitor. Chinatown and Punjabi Market are worth visiting, for instance.

Other Suggestions and Other Cities

The itinerary will really depend on whether the 24 hour period starts in the morning or if it starts later and straddles two days. In any case, this kind of tour — assuming that you include some truly world class food along the way — should give the visitor a good taste of what our fine city has to offer.

If you are afforded more time, you could certainly explore so much more, like driving the scenic Sea-to-Sky Highway up to Whistler, relaxing at our various beaches and parks, shopping along Robson Street, visiting historic Steveston, and so much more.

And this is where I turn to you, the Beyond the Rhetoric audience. If I were to come and visit your city for just 24 hours, where would you take me and why?