Vancouver walking tours provide tourists and residents alike with a unique experience of exploring the city. Go through every nook and corner of the city to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Vancouver.
There is no need to worry about walking on the streets of Vancouver because they are very friendly to pedestrians. The moderate and oceanic climate in the city also provides a comfortable environment to go on Vancouver walking tours, even if they last the whole day.
A List of Vancouver Walking Tours
1. A Wok Around Chinatown
Take a “wok” around Chinatown to discover both its culture and food. The adventure begins at 578 Carrall Street, by the entrance to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Night owls do not have to worry about waking up too early. Participants of the tour only have to be there by mid-morning, or at 11:00 a.m.
From there, you can go through each of the specialty shops and stalls along the street. Take a bite of barbecued crispy duck, sip on some tea, and stock up on herbal medicines. You can even purchase cookware supplies so that you can whip up Chinese food when you get home.
Knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides will accompany you throughout the three-and-a-half hour experience. They will give you information about the historic landmarks in Chinatown and the exotic foods that are popular in China. This will surely be a treat for both the stomach and the curious mind.
Come lunch time, participants will enjoy a feast that includes dim sum.
Price: $80.00, exclusive of taxes
Inclusions: admission to the Chinese Garden and a dim sum lunch
Schedule: Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00 am – 2:30 pm
2. Historical Chinatown Tours
You’ll never doubt that Judy Lam Maxwell knows what she’s talking about as she guides you through the Historical Chinatown Tours. She studied History at the University of British Columbia and then obtained a certificate from the Centre for the Study of Historical Consciousness. Judy is also active as a board member in different organizations in Chinatown.
Walking Tours and Field Trips
She offers walking tours that are customized to your preferences. You get to choose the date, time, and duration. Because of this, you don’t need to be limited by any preset schedules. You can go on a tour at the convenience of your time.
Price: varies depending on specifics of the tour
Chinatown Walk, Historic Talk, and Dim Sum
Enjoy a traditional Cantonese dim sum lunch and widen your knowledge of Chinese culture through the perspective of food. After this, walk around the streets of Chinatown to see its heritage buildings and listen to the history behind them. This whole experience lasts for three hours, but you’ll be thinking about the delicious food and interesting history for days afterward.
3. Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours
This is truly a unique walking tour for those who are avid fans of history, mystery, and crime. Will Woods, the founder of the Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours, said that “we tell the stories that don’t make it onto the tour buses, tales of crime, corruption, and sin.”
The first ever tour was held in 2012. Since then, it has grown to become one of the most popular things to do when in Vancouver. It has also won numerous awards and recognitions from different institutions over the years. Behind this tour is a group of passionate and creative people, all working together to provide individuals with an interesting aspect of the history of Vancouver.
One of the tours that you can book this month is the “The Lost Souls of Gastown Tour.” On this walking tour, you’ll learn more about the Great Fire, the ladies of the Gold Rush, an unsolved murder mystery, Gaoler’s Mews, George Vancouver, smallpox outbreaks and heartbreaks, and many more. It will run at 7 pm every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of the month. The dark night sky will surely add to the suspense of the walking tour. This one-of-a-kind experience will start at the corner of Water and Cordova Streets and end at Maple Tree Square.
Price: $32, exclusive of taxes
4. Vancouver Walking Tours by Toonie Tours
The Free Walking Tour of Vancouver
Starting in April 2022, one of the most famous walking tours in Vancouver will become available again. Individuals will get to explore the city of Vancouver not just as tourists, but as locals do. Highlights of this walking tour include visiting Gastown, Downtown Vancouver, and Chinatown. Participants will also get to know more about local Canadian heroes.
This two-and-a-half-hour walking tour will start at the Gastown Steam Clock. Make sure to wear your most comfortable walking shoes because the tour is 5 kilometers long, just like what you would expect in a marathon, albeit at a more relaxed pace. By the end of the tour, participants will be treated to a spectacular view of the North Shore Mountains.
As its name suggests, this walking tour is free of charge. However, participants are encouraged to give tips to their local tour guides.
Street Art and Craft Beer Walking Tour
For those interested in street art and craft beer, the same company offers a walking tour for such. At the very start of the tour, participants will already get to try craft brews at Main Street Brewery. After this, the rest of the tour is filled with more local craft beer, street art mural stories, and connecting with other individuals who share the same interests.
It will run for two and a half hours and will end in an area surrounded by eight different local craft breweries. Participants can then choose any of the local craft breweries to continue their exploration of craft beers and spend more time with newfound friends.
Price: $39.97 in September to May, $44.96 in June to August
5. Vancouver DeTours
Joining the Vancouver DeTours will let participants immerse themselves in the “multilayered history and spaces of the city” through an experience that is anything but ordinary. This walking tour lives up to its name. Just as a detour refers to taking a less direct route, participants will be challenged to unlearn their idea of what Vancouver is. At the same time, they will be pushed to think of the city in a different way than what they are used to.
Learn more about the social history, public art, built form, and contemporary processes that, altogether, make Vancouver what it is today.
Vancouver DeTours also offers free walking tours in Gastown, Chinatown and the Old East End, and the Downtown Waterfront. Participants can marvel at the historical and cultural sites all over the city. These include the well-known steam-powered clock, the Sam Kee building, and the Jack Poole Plaza, to name a few.
Although no tours are available now due to the pandemic, they are set to open to the public once more this year.
6. Vancouver Foodies Tours
Food enthusiasts will be in for a treat with the Vancouver Foodies Tours. They offer three tours; namely, the Gastronomic Gastown Tour, the Granville Island Market Tour, and the Authentic Asian Eats Tour.
The Gastronomic Gastown Tour
The Gastronomic Gastown Tour officially became one of the “Canadian Signature Experiences” in 2018. This designation isn’t just freely given to any activity in the country. Rather, it is only awarded to travel experiences that truly show what Canada can offer to the rest of the world.
On this tour, participants will taste many of the most mouth-watering dishes in Gastown while learning more about the history of the city and enjoying its must-see places. The 3-hour tour will take participants to four of the best restaurants in the neighborhood, all of which are owned by locals. Their list of restaurants includes Tuc Craft Kitchen, Wildebeest, Nicli Antica Pizzeria, Meat and Bread, Sardine Can, Bauhaus, and La Mezcaleria. As mentioned, only four of the listed restaurants will be included in one booking. So, you’ll get to experience something new when you book another tour with them.
However, many of the restaurants have permanently closed over the past years of the pandemic. Don’t fret because the team behind the tour will not let you down when they accommodate participants again.
Savor dishes such as pork belly crackling, tempura bacon scotch eggs, and crispy parsnip fries. Those with a sweet tooth will also get a taste of the desserts in Gastown.
For individuals who want to splurge a bit more, they can pay an extra $38 to experience four different food and alcohol pairings.
Unfortunately, you will have to wait until they resume operations. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they have decided to take a pause in the conduct of their food tours. But make sure to be on the lookout for their reopening in May 2022. It will be worth the wait.
Price: $106.99 CAD and above
Going on any of the Vancouver walking tours listed above will surely be an experience to remember. It is a great opportunity to discover something new, learn while having fun, and make new friends. So, don’t wait any longer and book your slot as soon as possible. You’ll miss out if you don’t!