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If you don't have much time in Vancouver, you'll probably still want to spend at least a half day in Stanley Park: start out early for a walk, bike, or shuttle ride through the park to see the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, enjoy the views from Prospect Point, and stroll the seawall. If you leave the park at English Bay, you can have lunch on Denman or Robson Street, and meander past the trendy shops along Robson between Jervis and Burrard streets. Or, exit the park at Coal Harbour and follow the Seawall Walk to Canada Place, stopping for lunch at a harbor-front restaurant.
A couple of hours at the Granville Island Public Market are also a must—plan to have lunch, and, if you have time, check out the crafts stores.
Walking the downtown core is a great way to get to know the city. Start at Canada Place and head east to Gastown and Chinatown; that's a good half day. Then head north to Yaletown and travel back via Robson Street, by which time you'll have earned yourself a glass of British Columbia wine at one of Vancouver's excellent restaurants.
If you're traveling with children, make sure to check out Science World, Grouse Mountain, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge or Lynn Canyon.
For museums, adults and older children love the displays of Northwest Coast First Nations art at the Museum of Anthropology. The Bill Reid Gallery is pretty impressive, too.
While most Vancouverites don't let a little drizzle stop them, heavier rains might inspire you to seek indoor activities. Obvious options include museums—the Museum of Anthropology at UBC is a worthwhile trek. If you're downtown, the Vancouver Art Gallery is good for an hour or two, as is the Vancouver Aquarium and Science World. Less obvious choices are the Bill Reid Gallery, the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (it has covered walkways), or Granville Island Market (it's inside; you just have to get there, but then you can spend hours browsing and snacking). Lonsdale Quay is another colorful indoor market on the North Shore and getting there, via the SeaBus, is half the fun.