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Is a car required for Vancouver sightseeing

Is a car required for Vancouver sightseeing

Old Oct 20th, 2004, 10:00 PM
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Is a car required for Vancouver sightseeing

My husband and I are travelling to Vancouver in May next year, we will be hiring a car and driving to Whistler, Victoria and also to Banff, Jasper and Lake Louise. Should we extend our car hire for the 4 days we have in Vancouver or is it easy enough to get around and see the main sights and attractions without a car. Is public transport good in Vancouver. We don't really want to pay for 4 days car hire if we don't really need it but are happy to if we will use the car.
Hills is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2004, 10:21 PM
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I'm not sure how I'd spend 4 days in Vancouver (other than being cooped up at a conference) but I DO recommend the guy that takes you on a short tour of Vancouver in an antique convertible. He restored the car while working as a PE teacher and retired when the tour business brought in more $$$ than teaching. It was a lot of fun! (He was waiting outside the aforementioned conference center).
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 01:08 AM
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Public transit is pretty good in Vancouver. It can be less good if you are using it to go outside the city. If you are staying downtown and want to visit UBC, it is a little more convenient to have a car. List the places you want to go and the place you are staying at, and I'll give my opinion.

I think it should be very easy to use up 4 days in Vancouver, particularly if you have any inclination for nature and walking.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 08:22 AM
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Hello Hills,

I consider Vancouver's public transportation to be good. You don't need a car to see the attractions that are centrally located (Stanley Park, Granville Island Market, etc.).

In order to visit the North Shore sights (Grouse Mountain, Lynn Canyon or Capilano Canyon, etc.), you need either a car or a day tour.

Similarly, as WillTravel indicated, if you want to visit the University of British Columbia (where the excellent Museum of Anthropology is located), it is easier if you have a car.

If I were you, I would try to see the centrally located sights on my first couple of days in Vancouver. I would try to see the outlying sights on my last day or two in Vancouver. For those sights I would rent a car, which would then be ready for the trip to the mountains.

I don't know the intended format of your visit to Victoria (day trip or overnight trip by car/ferry combination, bus/ferry combination or plane). I mention that because it'll influence the timing of your visit to Victoria. If you want to catch the bus/ferry to Victoria, it makes sense to do that before you take delivery of your rental car.

In case you want to visit Victoria by bus/ferry, here is Pacific Coach Lines' website:


For a great explanation of the bus/ferry combination, see this thread, especially April's post:


In case you want to drive a car onto the ferry, here is BC Ferries' website:


During the busy summer months, it is absolutely essential to reserve space for your car on the ferry. I don't know if that applies to May.

Here's a thread with information about the float planes that ply between Vancouver Harbour and Victoria Harbour:


If you click on the Destinations link at the top of the Fodors screen, and go to Canada / Vancouver / Best in 4 Days, you will find good suggests for spending your time there. My one disagreement with Fodors is that they mention Grouse Mountain on Day 4. It deserves a higher priority than that.

Sorry, all this may seem to be way off at a tangent, but I think it would help to know these things before deciding when to take delivery of your rental car.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 12:35 PM
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I actually disagree on the need for having a car to visit UBC. I'm a student at UBC and commute (by choice) by bus. You can catch a bus to UBC from almost anywhere in the city, from almost any hour. There are various direct buses that leave downtown Vancouver for UBC, and the frequent 99 B-line bus goes east-west down Broadway, stopping at UBC at its western end. The UBC bus loop is one of the largest in the city, so if there's anywhere best suited for taking a bus to, UBC is it.

The only thing to note is that UBC is a large campus, so walking will be required when visiting... but that's how you have to view UBC as most of main areas are pedestrian-only. You don't see much by driving by.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 02:49 PM
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I went to Grouse Mtn. just fine with public transport. I can't drive-so I chose places with good public transport to go on vacation. Vancouver was AWESOME!! Absolutely no problems.

Side note, if you are looking for the best (and affordable) B&B : The Johnson Heritage House was one of the BEST B&B's I've ever stayed at (and I have been to several!)
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Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 04:38 PM
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Wow - what timing. Just back (3 hours ago) from 8 days in Vancouver. Public transit is quite good and will get you to Capilano and Grandville Island etc. with no problem. Lots of stuff within walking distance too, if you're staying in the West End. That having been said, we rented a car for 3 days because it was just more convenient (we had friends to visit in Surrey and also wanted to drve to Whistler). A note of caution, if you do rent. We ended up renting on a daily basis. We would reserve a car the day before and just go pick it up when we wanted (there's a National/Alamo outlet on West Georgia) and drop it off at the end of our day. This was because car rental was 28.00 CAD/day for a compact (which we hardly ever got - were upgraded 2 out of 3 days), but parking at the hotel was $25.00 a day (WOW!). It made a whole lot more sense to just use the car for a few hours and drop it off and walk 2 blocks back to the hotel.


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Old Oct 25th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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I was in Vancouver in the spring and I had a rental car that I drove from Seattle. I never used it except the last day when I went driving around all of Vancouver.

You can definitely walk, if you are in good shape and like walking, but I was mostly in the West End and I like to walk, so I had no problems. I took busses or trolleys on other days when it was more convenient. The trolley tour takes you all over (the touristy spots anyway and you can ride it pretty much all day). Try that at least one day. Rent a bike on one day. I did not, but I would have if I was there for more than four days.
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