As Canada’s second-most visited destination, Granville Island can be a very busy and overwhelming place. We host the daily walking food tours of the Granville Island Public Market and picked up a few tricks to make your trip to Granville Island a success.
10 Things to Do When you Visit Granville Island:
1. Bike, Walk or Take the Aquabus
Visitors to Granville Island are often surprised to discover that Granville Island has several complimentary parking spots, for up to 3 hours. However, these parking stalls are at a premium. Driving is NOT a thing you should do on Granville Island…the area gets impossibly tricky to navigate as tour buses, pedestrians, and deliveries arrive!
Unless you are visiting Granville Island before 10am, we strongly recommend that you bike, walk, or take the False Creek Ferries!
2. Get on the Granville Island Market Tour
The Granville Island Public Market is the crown jewel of the island. With towers of dazzling fruit and fresh flowers, there are 3 buildings and over 90 vendors to spoil your senses. Unlike other Public Markets around the world, most of the market vendors supply ingredients versus prepared foods. The 2-hour Granville Island Market Tour is the ONLY way to experience a progressive meal at the Market.
Not only will you learn the history of the Island and meet local artisans, but you’ll skip-the-lines and feast your way through breads, meats, cheeses, fruits, sweets and hot honey-dipped donuts for a grand total of 20+ Signature Canadian tastings. The tour even includes a sit down food and wine pairing at a famous local farm-to-table restaurant, Edible Canada!
The Granville Island Market Tour is a designated Canadian Signature Experience and departs daily at 10:30am.
3. Take Time to Explore the Island
There is so much to see at Granville Island, especially beyond the Public Market. After the Granville Island Market Tour, you won’t want to miss exploring the Island’s art galleries, glass-blowing studios, and numerous cultural landmarks. It’s easy to spend 3-4 hours at Granville Island, especially when you realize all of the places to eat and drink!
4. See the Giants
The Giants – colourful concrete silos that were painted as larger-than-life cartoon giants – are one of Vancouver’s most iconic art pieces. Walk 2 minutes from the Public Market and snap a photo with their colourful faces!
5. You’ll Want to Mind the Seagulls
Seagulls rule Granville Island. They are accustomed to eating the best food in Vancouver and they won’t be shy to claim your meal! It’s best not to leave your food unattended on a bench and to keep your eyes peeled while sitting under trees!
6. Bring a Bag (Or Buy a $2 Granville Island Public Market Tote)
Vancouver is attempting to be the World’s Greenest City by 2020 and eliminating plastic bags is a big part of this initiative. Pack a reusable bag for your trek to Granville Island or purchase a $2 souvenir tote bag from the machines inside the Public Market!
7. Stop to Watch a Busker
There are over 20 locations on Granville Island for street performers – musicians, artists, and entertainers – to perform. Buskers sign up on a first-come-first-serve basis are only able to reserve 1-hour time slots. So, if you are enjoying the music or would like to see the show, stop to take it in! It’s likely that the same performer will not be there when you return.
8. Visit Railspur Alley
Aside from the Granville Island Public Market, one of our favourite places to eat, drink and explore is Railspur Alley. Along this pathway, you can stop for a gin tasting at Liberty Distillery, try on a hand-painted silk, taste artisan sake made with locally-grown rice…and so much more!
9. Go Inside Net Loft
Directly across from the Granville Island Public Market is a blue building called Net Loft. There’s so many gems to explore here, but Net Loft is home to our favourite stationary shop and a place called Market Kitchen, where we love to buy gifts for fellow foodies!
10. Find Ron Basford Park
The stepped-slope at Ron Basford Park is a local secret at Granville Island. This quiet green space is on the Eastern-most edge of the island, with fantastic views of False Creek. The park is about a 15-minute walk from the Public Market and a perfect place to enjoy a picnic!