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Family-friendly way to tour Vancouver?


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Hi, we are disembarking from our ship the morning of July 1 and not flying out until the evening of July 3 (red-eye to the east coast). It’ll be me, my husband, and our 10 yo son. We are staying right by Canada Place. I’ve been looking, but are there tours you all recommend as the best way to hit the city’s highlights? My husband has some mobility issues that flare up, so we can’t count on him being able to walk for hours on end. On our list of potential targeted time are the Canada Day celebrations, the aquarium, and maybe a baseball game. Also, any restaurant recommendations for two adventurous eating adults and a picky kid?
thanks!!!!!

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There is always the hop on hop off bus tours to get an overview. But your ideas really aren't touring the city but rather doing specific things in which case you might just take a taxi to the sites. 

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I think @5waldosmakes a very good point - none of these things are really compatible with a tour, unless you would consider hiring a private guide for the day.

 

The HOHO route might be altered on July 1st - we now have confirmation of the scheduled events for Canada Day and since there are things going on at both the pier and Jack Poole plaza the road itself between them will almost certainly be closed except for direct access to the pier for cruise transport vehicles. Normally there is a stop on Canada Place that may need to relocate somewhere else - probably just a block or two away and there should be signage.

 

Local baseball is summer-only, very, very minor league - but in one of the oldest ballparks on the continent and (for a small, not completely enclosed one) IMO quite an attractive stadium. That's next to Queen Elizabeth Park, a great place to wander (and free, unless you go into the tropical plants & birds Bloedel 'biodome') but a distinct schlep uphill from the nearest SkyTrain, so a cab or Uber is definitely a good idea for anyone with mobility problems. Games starts at Noon on July 1st, and I'd arrive at least 30mins early even if you have dealt with your bags, an hour before if you will need them hand-searched.

 

Key problems are luggage and transport - if you go to QEP, you will be unable to bring the suitcases into the ballpark as they have ridiculously strict rules these days (clear plastic bags or else a manual check, and even with a check the max size means not even a carry-on is allowed inside at all - details on the link to the team schedule above). You'll also have to backtrack to collect bags if you store them near the pier - but since the fireworks have been cancelled this year everything shuts down by 7pm. Depending on the time of your flight, that might mean no crowds at all when you come back - but it also rules out the pier storage itself as that shuts way too early.

 

Frankly I'd drop the baseball unless you're mad keen on low-level sport, and also willing to rent a car or hire a guide with a car - the logistics of getting there in time and back for your bags, the length of time on-site restricting what else you can do, it has a really high opportunity cost.

 

Check out the performers and the schedule for the celebrations here. You could squeeze in your Aquarium visit first - and you could walk back past all of the sites easily, Harbour Green park to Jack Poole to Canada Place on the Seawall if hubby feels up to it. Depending what aspect of his mobility is compromised, a strategic rental of a tandem bike or adult tricycle might be beneficial - so someone else can provide the muscle, or any balance issues are removed from the equation.

 

Other kid-friendly, relatively compact options include Science World - DH can sit down here while the kid runs about. The park right outside it is very popular with kids, especially the zipline. Granville Island can be reached from here by the little ferries, and it's a good all-ages spot with one dedicated kids building, full of toy stores and an adventure play area up in the attic level. There's a mini water park outside, if you can handle bringing spare clothes/towels with you.

 

Adventurous and picky eaters in the same resto? Somewhere with a very broad menu then, or a food court style option - Granville Island at lunchtime fits the bill well, as you can sit together but all order from different food prep places. If the weather is nice and you don't mind watching out for thieving gulls, you can sit outside and watch the buskers - plenty of indoor tables too. Food Trucks will also be around, more than usual given the holiday - but most of them will also be more daytime focused, so dinner is going to be more challenging. One of the better hotel restos will definitely work - you could eat some of the fanciest and most boundary-pushing food at Botanist in the Fairmont Pacific Rim near the pier, but the kiddo can eat chicken nuggets & fries from the generic kids menu.

 

Normally I'd include links to all of these, but CC boards have been brutal recently at wiping out my longer posts while in the middle of making them - so I'm trying to stick mostly to plain text to see if that's more reliable. Googling all the restos & sites plus Vancouver will easily find them - but I linked the Vancouver Canadians baseball direct in case you get a sea of hits from such generic words...

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