6 Compelling Vancouver Shore Excursions

Gastown steam clock

It’s officially cruise season in Vancouver and aren’t you lucky that you a) have a port of call in this beautiful West Coast city, or b) are going to start/end your cruise here. With so many shore excursion or pre/post cruise options and likely not that much time to fit it all in, I’ve narrowed it down to some excellent options tailored to how long you might be in the city for. All are incredible value for money because each attraction organically multitasks for you. Get the most out of your time in Vancouver, without sacrificing quality of experience!

Ask your travel agent or cruise activity director about these shore excursion options:

Vancouver Lookout

The view from the Vancouver Lookout | Photo via Vancouver Lookout Facebook page

Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre 

With a stunning 360° view of Metro Vancouver, the North Shore Mountains, and as far as the eye can see across the water, the Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre is the place to see ALL of Vancouver without having to do more than take a swift glass elevator ride to the top (167 metres above sea level). Learn about the city during a free tour around the observation deck, and if you can’t get enough of the view, perhaps stay for lunch or dinner at the revolving restaurant, Top of Vancouver! Sunset, anyone?

Great for: Pre/Post-Cruise, only a few hours at port

FlyOver Canada at Canada Place | Photo via attraction Facebook page

FlyOver Canada 

See Canada from coast-to-coast and experience the attractions and beauty that the country is renowned for – all from one spot! As FlyOver Canada is considered a ride, this activity is not recommended for those experiencing ‘rocking’ from your cruise, but is definitely something to check out so you can see Canada in all its glory from one seat. Located steps away from the cruise ship terminal, you’ll be right near your boat and some excellent sightseeing options for after.

Great for: Pre/Post-Cruise, only a few hours at port

Sea to sky views gondola Vancouver

Capture spectacular views at the Sea to Sky Gondola | Photo courtesy of Yasmine Hardcastle

Sea to Sky Gondola

The Sea to Sky Gondola is a fabulous half-day trip to experience the sea-to-sky views the attraction is named for. A 45-minute scenic shuttle drive away from Downtown Vancouver, the site is adjacent to the very popular Stawamus Chief hike. There are many walking and hiking trails for all ages and abilities, making the site accessible for a back country adventure or a stroller/wheelchair friendly walk. The suspension bridge and viewing deck will give you epic photo opps, and when you’re done wandering, sit down at the lodge for a glass of wine and some lunch.

Great for: Pre/Post-Cruise, at least a half-day at port

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]For relaxing pre/post cruise ideas, click here![/perfectpullquote]

Gastronomic Gastown

Named a Canadian Signature Experience by Destination Canada, Gastronomic Gastown should be on the list of anyone who has an evening to spend in Vancouver. The Destination Canada tourism honour has been given to only ten Vancouver-based attractions, so it is wonderful to see this mecca for foodies be recognized. Designed by Vancouver Foodie Tours, this food tour is the ultimate visitor multi-task, taking you around the historic Gastown area with stops at local restaurants for exceptional tastings. Each tour includes:

  • An in-depth guided tour of Vancouver’s history
  • A progressive meal at 4 uniquely Gastown restaurants
  • 4 x craft beer, wine and cocktail pairings


Great for: Pre/Post-Cruise, at least a half-day at port

A horse-drawn tour around Stanley Park

Stanley Park and the Vancouver Aquarium

The only way to describe Stanley Park is that it is Vancouver’s crown jewel. It is so beautiful and I love walking around it along the Seawall and through it along the paths winding through the forest. See the park on foot or via horse-drawn carriage (highly recommend!), and make sure to visit the Vancouver Aquarium, conveniently located inside the park. The aquarium is one of the leading marine science centres in the world and is home to 70,000 animals.

Great for: Pre/Post-Cruise, at least a half-day at port

Go for a walk or cycle

You might have the option to sign up for a walking or cycling tour, but if you’re wanting to shake off your sea legs and have some time to yourself or have it be just you and your travel companions, the Coal Harbour leg of the famous Seawall is just minutes away from the cruise ship terminal. There are restaurants along the way, all with excellent patio views of the seaplanes taking off and of our gorgeous North Shore mountains. Just make sure to set a reminder on your phone for when you need to head back to the boat! For more info on the Seawall and walks around the city, click here.

Great for: Pre/Post-Cruise, only a few hours, or whatever time you have at port

Share your #VeryVancouver shore excursion adventures with us by tagging @inside_vancouver on Instagram!

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