Vancouver is Western Canada's biggest city, with a warm, welcoming atmosphere and excellent transportation links. Tourists come in every season due to the spread of festivals and outdoor pursuits on hand, but the most comfortable time for all-around sightseeing is from June to August.
Customs and etiquette
Canadians are friendly and open-minded. Canada began welcoming immigrants in the 19th century, and Vancouver is a culturally diverse place because of the country's early welcoming policies. Visitors will find people from all walks of life living together in harmony.
Visitors will have no problems as long as they remember that openness and tolerance of Vancouverites is not only something they extend to others, but it's also something they expect in return. Visitors that put a priority on courtesy and respect will have a memorable experience.
The Canadian dollar is the national currency, and it's just a touch lighter than the US dollar. By all rights, shopping and dining in Vancouver will cost just as much as in any major Western city, especially on Robson Street or in other central districts. Buying bundled attraction cards for museums and other downtown sites is a good way for tourists to streamline their expenses.
ATMs are widespread and wired to accept international debit cards. Cash is needed for the markets of Granville Island, Chinatown and Punjabi Market, but credit cards are widely accepted in all mid-level to top-end shops, restaurants and hotels.
Vancouver's maritime climate is similar to Seattle's, with mild year-round temperatures. Winters are cold and rainy, but the nearby heights of Whistler and other ski resorts see plenty of snowfall. The city itself quiets down during the winter months, but the outlying region is busy with skiers and snowboarders.
Summer is the best time for non-skiers to visit Vancouver. Cloudy mornings usually give way to sunny afternoons and daytime temperatures are comfortably warm. The weather is as perfect for strolling along Robson Street as it is for hiking in Garibaldi Provincial Park or Grouse Mountain.