I spent a week in Vancouver (prior to a week-long Alaskan cruise) a few years ago. We went in May/June. This was before the Olympics, so I don’t know what has changed.
I did not enjoy the time I spent in the city itself. I found it boring, unfriendly, unsafe due to daylight-hour crime and homeless person prevalence, and generally a difficult city (note: I am a native city girl, so this usually isn’t an issue when I travel). The only area I found charming was Gastown, a touristy section with brick sidewalks, small shops, and ok restaurants.
I LOVED Vancouver Island! I strongly recommend going to Victoria and exploring the gorgeous seaside town with historic streets, shops, and a few lovely museums. Also, do NOT miss Buchart Gardens if you go during the warmer months, it’s a gorgeous series of gardens full of colorful flowers, and really was the highlight of our trip.
If you have time to visit the University of British Columbia, go to their Museum of Anthropology to learn about the native cultures of the area. I think it has just undergone some major project renovations, but it was still fantastic and educational when we were there.
It’s rare when I don’t have any comments to make about lodging, food, or transportation, but I disliked Vancouver (the city) enough to simply advise not spending much time there. Perhaps there are remnants of the Olympics left that would be interesting to see, and maybe all the construction on the highrise apartments has ceased, but I would still caution against a prolonged visit.
Please, Vancouverite bees, don’t take this as a personal judgement on your home city, it’s from a purely tourist perspective. Maybe I just didn’t “do” your city properly, and I’ll go back someday to be proven wrong.
Let me know if you’d like more, or more specific, information.