As we enjoy more local experiences within Metro Vancouver, we can take advantage of this unique opportunity to explore what’s here in our own backyard.
It’s a place you know and love and couldn’t possibly forget! Right under the bridge, and just minutes away from downtown, is a 38 acre waterfront oasis right here in our city — Granville Island.
You can take a ferry boat, cycle the seawall, walk, or park your car for the day. There are tons of stalls, and though hard to believe in Vancouver, day parking is FREE.
At Granville Island, you will find a refreshingly diverse mix of experiences to engage all of the senses, including great food, craft breweries, self-guided walking tours, artisans, Indigenous works, marine adventures, and family activities.
Granville Island Public Market. Photo: Getty Images
The Public Market, which many call the jewel in Granville Island’s crown, is popular year round with Vancouverites who love to support and shop local. The indoor market showcases a variety of vendors from local food producers to growers, with hard-to-find ingredients and specialty food items.
Fun fact: four of Vancouver’s most renowned chefs have established a pop-up restaurant and patio called Popina, right behind the Public Market.
You can complete your grocery run and curate your own picnic in one go by picking up high quality rotisserie meats from L'Epicerie, charcuterie from Oyama, cheese from Benton Bros., and local and specialty wines from Liberty Wine Merchants – or even an award-winning gin from the Liberty Distillery.
Giants by Osgemeos. Photo: roaming-the-planet / Flickr.
The open-air Maritime Market is home to even more locally and globally-influenced boutiques. At Make, you can make your own assortment of super fun and cool custom creations. The market also showcases artisans that are making a difference through their craftwork. Handmade in Kenya and designed in Vancouver, Kasandy Locally Global’s colourful fair trade products help support third-world countries. Mawlana Cashmere & Silk features works made by refugees in the Middle East and across the world.
If you’re interested in creating your own art, head to the Net Loft. Here, you can rent a pottery wheel at Kingsmill Pottery Studio or take a textiles workshop at Maiwa Supply. Or, if you’re more of an art appreciator, view the Northwest Coast Native Art at Wickaninnish Gallery and support the works of B.C. craftspeople at Circle Craft Co-op.
Pottery wheel at Kingsmill Pottery Studio. Photo: Granville Island.
Over in the Railspur District, you can take a stroll along the artist studios. Discover Artisan Sake Maker, the first boutique premium sake winery in Canada, and visit Upstart & Crow, a bookstore and literary arts studio that’s just one of eight new shops and businesses that have opened in the past couple of months on the Island.
If you want to have fun out on the water, Granville Island’s marina is a great base for water sports on False Creek, such as renting a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddleboard (SUP) from Vancouver Water Adventures.
View of Granville Island from False Creek. Photo: Getty Images
And if you thought whale watching and boat excursions are just for tourists, think again! You can easily book a marine-watching tour with Prince of Whales and Wild Whales Vancouver or rent a speed boat with Granville Island Boat Rentals to explore the coastline on your own.
End your day on Granville Island with a refreshing beer at Granville Island Brewery, craft cocktails at Liberty Distillery’s bar, or dinner and drinks at popular spots like Dockside’s waterfront restaurant and patio in the Granville Island Hotel, Sandbar’s rooftop deck, or the large waterfront patio at Bridges.
Whether you’re spending a couple of hours, planning a full day trip, or plan to return time and time again, there’s so much to see and do on this small island community with plenty of room to roam.