Tips on getting around Vancouver

If you’re coming to visit one of the most gorgeous cities in Canada, take advantage of our tips from locals to getting around our incredible city.

getting around Vancouver

Don’t Stress About the Rain

Although it is frequently raining in Vancouver, the city is one of the driest places to be from June-September.

Although it rains during most months, the rain usually isn’t so severe that you can’t walk around outside and enjoy yourself. Many locals joke they grew up in Vancouver for a few years before they ever owned a raincoat!

Keep in Mind That Vancouver is a Small City

Many people are surprised by how small Vancouver is.

It only takes 40 minutes to walk from one extreme corner of the city to the next. It’s almost entirely flat. So if you find yourself in the heart of downtown, rest assured that everything is within a 20-minute walking distance from where you are standing.

Just about every neighborhood is 20 minute walking distance from downtown. You can bike to some within minutes, walk to others, and take the bus to the rest – none of which are more than 40 minutes away.

Use Uber!

After seven years of being banned, Uber is finally operational in Vancouver as of January 2020. In a new era of transportation, companies such as Uber and others have been granted permission to operate so that people can finally get around Vancouver the same way they do in most other places on Earth.

Don’t Rent a Vehicle

Although Vancouver is a small city, it has numerous visitors and attractions, driving can be difficult, costly, and time-consuming. A rental car is not the best method to see the city because it’s difficult to park, and can be very congested driving around. You should only consider renting a car if you’re leaving the city.

Choose A Central Location to Stay

Staying in the West End is the most convenient way to get around Vancouver. It’s a laid-back but densely populated neighborhood within walking distance of everything in the city center and convenient to the airport by train.

Stay in the area between Davie, Denman, Robson, and Burrard Streets. The Burrard is a fantastic location for a unique and well-positioned hotel. In fact, we are conveniently located just around the corner from Davie street.

There’s No Need to be Afraid of Walking at Night

Criminals exist in every city, including Vancouver. Of course it is important to make safe decisions and avoid dark alleys, but overall Vancouver is a very safe city. No matter where in Vancouver you go at night or day, the city is extremely safe both day and night.

Never Get Lost

The mountains can help you determine which way is which if you get lost. That’s the way to the North. The Mountains are one of the best ways to regain your bearings.

Just Be Careful When You’re Walking Around Skid Row

The Downtown Eastside is an urban hub in Vancouver that is home to many residences, businesses, and factories. However, it is where most of the city’s drug addicts and untreated mentally ill people are concentrated so being aware of your surrounding is naturally important.

Skid Row isn’t to be feared though because the area is constantly guarded by cops, so if you want to take a look, you can feel confident that you’re safe.

Vancouver Island is Not a Day Trip

A lot of the travelers we’ve encountered think Vancouver Island is a quick ferry ride from Vancouver and that it’d be an easy day trip. It’s definitely not a day trip and, in fact, we’d recommend planning a week (or even two) to fully explore Victoria. Plan a full itinerary and make sure to hit all the major hiking spots!

Take the SkyTrain to and From the Airport

The SkyTrain, Vancouver’s light rail/subway network, links the airport to the city center. For individuals and couples, it is often cheaper than taking a taxi and just as quick.

Public Transit is a Great Option

Many international visitors, especially Americans, are unaware of public transportation as a viable means of transport because it is unclean, unreliable, and inconvenient in their own city. It’s the complete opposite in Vancouver. In Vancouver, everyone uses public transportation and you should too.

Before You Take the Bus or Train, Learn How to Pay For it.

The transit system in Vancouver accepts credit cards as well as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

If you don’t utilize these type of payment methods, you’ll need to pay the full amount ($2.95 for one zone). If you want to keep your card for longer or use the bus frequently, obtaining one is the best way to go. The Vancouver transit system costs $6 for a day pass and saves you approximately fifty cents each trip. You can reload your pass using a credit or prepaid card.

Keep Your Transit Receipt

You may use the pass to board and depart Vancouver’s public transportation network as many times as you like during the 90 minutes after paying.

It’s more than 90 minutes since the beginning of your journey since you’re still on the bus or train when it reaches ninety minutes, so you’re safe.

Remember Transit zones When Traveling

If you travel outside of Vancouver after paying the standard fare, you’ll need to pay extra for each zone traveled.

All buses are one zone, so you won’t have to pay extra if you need to cross zones.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask the Bus Drivers for Help

Vancouver’s bus drivers, unlike many others, are generally pleasant and helpful, so don’t be afraid to ask for directions or let you know when your stop is approaching. If you’re not taking the bus, you can even ask them for directions.

Rent a Bike on a Nice Day

People in Vancouver who love cars are frequently expressing their concerns over the expanding amount of bike lanes throughout Vancouver.

Vancouver offers a 24-hour shared bike system called Mobi for only $10 per day, making it the cheapest and easiest way to explore.

If you’re planning on riding for a longer period of time, we recommend renting a better quality bike for $30 or more per day. Vancouver has some stunning scenery.

rent a bike in Vancouver

Really See Your City by Exploring it on Two Wheels and Public Transit

Don’t be frightened of putting your bike on the front of buses or taking it on the SkyTrain if you rent one, which we highly recommend. This will let you explore further by only riding one-way on bike routes.

No Matter Where You Go, Keep Your Bike Safe With a Lock

Vancouver has plenty of bike parking, but if you can’t find an open spot, it’s totally fine to lock your bike up to a sign, meter, tree, or whatever else is nearby. Just make sure that it’s secure and that it doesn’t block pedestrians or traffic.

FAQ About Getting Around Vancouver

1. Can you get around Vancouver without a car?

A car is not the best method to see the city because it’s difficult to park in and very congested. It’s only useful to have a car if you’re leaving the city.

2. What is the best way to get around Vancouver?

You can bike to some neighborhoods in minutes, walk to others, and take the bus to the rest of them, which are all no more than 40 minutes away from each other.

3. Is public transport expensive in Vancouver?

A one zone fee on public transportation costs $2.95. If you’ll be using transit often or plan to stay for an extended period of time, it’s best to get a Compass Card. A day pass for Vancouver transit costs $6, which saves you an average of fifty cents per ride. You can reload the pass onto your credit or prepaid card.

5. Are buses in Vancouver free?

No, they are not free. They cost $2.95 per zone. Compass cards may be purchased for $6 per day if you intend to stay for an extended amount of time.