Granville Island was a little further down my list when planning my trip to Vancouver. I was so excited about going to see Capilano Suspension Bridge and riding my bike through Stanley Park that a trip across to Granville island was not at the forefront of my mind. None the less it came up a lot when reading up about the city so we decided to go check it out… and boy are we glad we did! We had such a cool morning exploring everything it had to offer. So I’ve put together this perfect guide to help you get the most out of your visit too.
Where is it?
It is located across False Creek from Downtown Vancouver.
FUN FACT: Granville island is man-made! It was actually created using material dredged from False Creek and was completed in 1916.
Getting to Granville Island
You can access it by car (parking is limited) but the most fun way is to take a boat! Once in the downtown area, the AQUA bus is easy to pick out as it’s brightly coloured and you will see several at once zig-zagging across the water to and from the island. You can hop on these at the Aquatic centre, Yaletown, Science World, Davie street or Hornby street where we got on) and it costs $3.75 each way.
The Public Market
First built in 1979 it is hailed as foodie heaven and it’s easy to see why! I don’t particularly identify myself as a foodie but this place was really filled to the brim with fresh produce including seafood, meat, cheese, baked goods and more! everything looked so yummy. If I lived in Vancouver I would definitely be heading to the public market to do my weekly shop.
An array of cuisine is offered up and there are ample seating areas in the food court if you want to grab a bite to eat. I have to confess… I am an absolute sucker for cakes so naturally, I was drawn to them… I mean, come on! *drools*
Food goodies were not the only thing the market had to offer though. You can also pick up unique handmade gifts to take home.
Watch a Show
Granville Island certainly has no shortage of shows to keep you entertained. The Improvu centre is home to Vancouver TheatreSports League hosting a variety of comedy shows throughout the year it is bound to have you holding your sides laughing. The Arts Club Theatre produces professional live theatre such as musicals and contemporary comedies. Not got the time for a full show? Don’t worry maybe you will catch a street performer as we did!
Arts and Crafts
Granville Island is littered with art galleries and craft stores that are really nice for a browse and to perhaps purchase some souvenirs to take home. Think paintings, sculptures, ceramics, jewellery and more! If you want to have a nosey ahead of visiting at what shops are available this directory is great.
Opening in 1984 this was Canada’s first microbrewery! The queue was outside the door so I’m guessing it is worth taking a tour which run multiple times a day. I’m not a beer drinker myself so it didn’t appeal to me. A little research though and I found out they sell award-winning 100% natural craft beers if that’s your thing and of course you get tasters!
The Kids Market
It’s hard to miss with it’s bright yellow and red exterior. Whilst we only briefly popped our head inside (we were kid free!) It seems to have the whole kid thing covered with plenty of toys, puppets, games and candy on sale but the highlight would probably be the multi-level play area. It also offers up bumper care and an arcade!
Whale Watching Tours
Not so funny story… We had a whale watching tour booked from Granville Island but sadly we had to take the decision to swerve it at the last minute. I was gutted but the other half has had bad seasickness in the past and when the guide came out and literally said: “if your prone to seasickness today is not your day!” Yep, apparently six-foot waves! I would have loved to see wild orcas… so if you would too then you can book that here.
Food & Drink
Granville Island is home to some great restaurants serving up fresh seafood and various other dishes. Many of these are situated along the waterfront offering stunning marine side views. We stopped at the Vancouver fish company but we weren’t hungry because we had eaten breakfast and cake haha! But we had some nice cocktails and a seal also popped up a bit further along to say hello which drew a crowd of excited tourists (me included! lol)
A Bread Affair
You should definitely check out this little gem of a place, your nose should lead you there! They are skilled organic artisan bakers offering up bread (shocker haha!) cakes, pastries, cookies, tarts and more!
Artisan Sake Maker
This is the first boutique premium sake winery in Canada. Despite loving wine we didn’t venture in but worth a mention as it is something different!
The Liberty Distillery
Wine or beer not your jam? How about spirits then? Vancouver’s first 100% craft distillery where you can take a tour, shop for spirits or try a cocktail or two from their creative menu.
Top Tips for visiting Granville Island
- Go hungry… like seriously! I was so annoyed that I wasn’t really hungry! or better still go twice!
- Visit in the morning as it is less busy, we left around 2pm and it was way busier than when we arrived.
- If you can spare a full day then this would be ideal to just chill out and soak it all in.
It would seem Granville Island is just another gem adding to the splendidness of the city of Vancouver be sure to visit, even if only briefly to devour some of its sumptuous foods!
Would you like to visit Granville Island? or if you have what was your favourite thing about it?
Rachael 🙂 x