Mountains and trees frame the foreground of a city that sits by the sea.

It's easy to step outside in the warm weather, and there are many ways to explore the city without a car.

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If you are staying in the city, sightseeing can be done by foot, ferry, bike, bus or boat, but you will need wheels if you want to go further away.

There are a lot of things to do in and around the city. During your next stay, here are the best ways to explore the city.

Stretch your budget by taking public transportation

It's easy to get around without a car with a public transportation system. You can get to the best places in and around the city by using the Translink services.

Adding the Translink App to your phone is a planning tip. It is easy to use and offers a number of services.

Navigate your way through the city by bus

There is a safe and extensive public bus network in the city. The majority of vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

The concession rate, including seniors and youth ages 13 to 18 are included in the fares. The children are free to ride.

The bus network spans three fare zones and runs from 5am to 1am in central areas.

Zip to the suburbs by SkyTrain

Skytrain is a great way to get into the city from the airport, or to explore the regions outside the downtown core. It is a completely automated transit service that has wheelchair accessibility.

You can take the train to reach some of the city's suburbs, or you can take the SkyTrain to see the city. There are three routes to choose from, including the Canada Line which goes to the YVR airport and the Millennium Line which goes east from the city.

SeaBus passengers view downtown Vancouver and Burrard Inlet on the way to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. Urban skyline shows the waterfront in winter.
The 12-minute trip across the Burrard Inlet offers breathtaking views of the Vancouver skyline © Getty Images

Cross the calm waterway by SeaBus 

The Lower Lonsdale neighborhood is a hub for shopping and dining and an entryway to the hiking trails and local ski hills of the NorthVancouver region, thanks to the passenger only ferry.

The ride across the burrard inlet is worth the trip because of the amazing views. The bus loop will take you to all the sites further up.

Blur motion of car driving on Lions Gate Bridge at Stanley Park in Vancouver BC Canada
You’ll want wheels if you plan to explore one of the amazing day trips from Vancouver © Getty Images / iStockphoto

Take the wheel and hit the road with a car rental

There are several locations around the city where you can get a car rental. The use of handheld devices while driving is not allowed in the city.

DriveBC has live web cam footage, traffic delays, and direct route suggestions for you to choose from.

It's a good idea to plan ahead if you want to find a parking spot in downtown Vancouver. You can use EasyPark to figure out where to park and pay.

Hire a rideshare or a taxi to let someone else do the driving

It's a great alternative to public transportation or renting a car when you're in a busy neighborhood.

Taxis can be found throughout the city, with the most well-established being Yellow Cab.

Rollerbladers and cyclist on the Stanley Park seawall.
Bike-rental shops can be found around Stanley Park, home to Vancouver’s popular Stanley Park seawall © Marc Bruxelle / Shutterstock

Take a two-wheeled adventure and cycle Vancouver by bike

Traveling by bike can be a safe and inexpensive way to get around the region and the city.

You can use the Bike Hub to plan your bike routes. There is a bike-sharing program for people who don't own their own wheels.

Stanley Park is home to the popular Stanley Park seawall, and there are bike-rental shops around the park as well as throughout the city.

People waiting for a recreational boat at Vancouver’s Granville Island, in British Columbia, Canada
Cruise through the scenic waters of False Creek to see the city’s sights from the sea © Getty Images

Make your way along the city’s coast by miniferry

As a coastal city, it is possible to travel quickly and easily. There are mini passenger ferries throughout the downtown area.

AquaBus Ferries are bike and wheelchair-friendly and stop at eight docks throughout the city. One-way ride tickets range from $3 for youth and seniors to $4.50 for adults, or you can purchase a day pass that will allow you to travel for free.

If you want to see the city from the sea, you can take a cruise through the scenic waters of False Creek.

Journey beyond the city’s borders by ferry

BC Ferries will take you to many small islands beyond the city limits for unforgettable day or weekend trips. BC Ferries have both passenger and vehicle options.

Children under the age of 5 are free on passenger fares. If you travel in a standard-size car, there will be an additional fee.

Travel by air for a bird’s-eye view of Vancouver

It is quick and easy to connect to the coast by air.

Harbour Air is a passenger-only float plane that connects to many destinations in Canada and the United States. The company offers scenic flightseeing tours if you want to see the city from above.

There are charter flights that take passengers to the coast by helicopter. Depending on the destination, season and time of day, prices for Harbour Air and Helijet routes are different.

Accessible travel in Vancouver

One of the most accessible travel destinations in the world, Vancouver offers a complete and immersive visitor experience that keeps varied needs in mind. Wheelchair accessible modes of public transportation are provided by Translink.

Most of the downtown sidewalks have sloping ramps, and the buildings, beaches and parking lots have accessible corridors, paths, ramps, and elevators for easy access. Most city crosswalks have audible signals that can be used to guide people who are hard of hearing or blind. All restaurants, shops and hotels are legal places to have a service dog.

To learn more about the progressive efforts to make the city an all- accessible destination, visit the City ofVancouver website. You can get a free accessible travel guide from Lonely Planet.

The article was published in June 2021.