Granville Island Walking Tour, Vancouver

Granville Island Walking Tour (Self Guided), Vancouver

Successfully transformed, back in the 1970s, from an industrial wasteland into one of the most beloved public spaces in Vancouver, Granville Island is now viewed as a premier artistic and cultural hub famous for its balance of functionality and flare. It is equally popular as a shopping destination, too, with a plethora of other attractions like art galleries, markets, and a brewery to boot. Let's dive into some of the notable sites in Granville Island and see what they are.

The Creekhouse Shops, nestled along the waterfront, feature a variety of artisanal boutiques and galleries showcasing unique handcrafted goods. Nearby, Rogers' Chocolates tempts visitors with delectable sweets and treats, perfect for satisfying one's sweet tooth.

The Net Loft is a lovely, industrial-looking building that houses boutique shops and artisan studios, allowing visitors to explore an array of locally made products. Just steps away from it is the Granville Island Public Market, a food lover's paradise featuring an assortment of fresh produce, gourmet foods, and international cuisine.

For a memorable dining experience with waterfront views, you can visit Bridges Restaurant, known for its seafood dishes, or the Keg Steakhouse and Bar, which offers a delectable selection of steaks and cocktails.

Families with children will enjoy the Kids Market, a fun-filled space with toy stores and activities to entertain the little ones. Meanwhile, adults can explore the Granville Island Brewery, known for its craft beers, or relax at the Granville Island Water Park on a sunny day.

Art enthusiasts can appreciate Forge & Form, a unique metalwork and sculpture studio, while those seeking tranquility can unwind at Ron Basford Park, a green oasis perfect for picnics and leisurely strolls.

Indeed, Granville Island offers a diverse and enriching experience fit to satisfy multiple interests and tastes. Whether you're a foodie, art lover, or simply looking for a relaxing day by the water, this charming island will leave you wanting to return again and again.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Granville Island Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Granville Island Walking Tour
Guide Location: Canada » Vancouver (See other walking tours in Vancouver)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.1 Km or 0.7 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Creekhouse Shops
  • Rogers’ Chocolates
  • Net Loft
  • Granville Island Public Market
  • Bridges Restaurant
  • Keg Steakhouse and Bar
  • Kids Market
  • Granville Island Brewery
  • Granville Island Water Park
  • Forge & Form
  • Ron Basford Park
Creekhouse Shops

1) Creekhouse Shops

Every year, Granville Island draws in millions of tourists, largely due to the presence of the Creekhouse. This area encompasses an assortment of stores, boutiques, and galleries, interconnected by walkways, courtyards, and decks that are open to the public. Situated directly beneath the Granville Street Bridge, roughly midway along its expanse, the Creekhouse is home to various establishments, including Hollyfield Home & Garden, the Stone Age Art Company, the Granville Island Soap Gallery, and the Gallery Indigena Vancouver (also known as the Inukshuk Gallery), which specializes in Inuit sculptures and prints, along with numerous others.

Access to the Creekhouse can be found a bit further east from the Aquabus terminal. Following a meandering path through the buildings will eventually lead you back to Johnston Street. While a number of the shops within the Creekhouse might cater to tourists, they still offer an enjoyable browsing experience, particularly for those exploring the island for the first time.
Rogers’ Chocolates

2) Rogers’ Chocolates

What to buy here: Vancouver Chocolate.

A visit to Vancouver is never complete without a taste of local chocolate that is steeped in tradition and has earned the city a reputation of being a home to one of Canada's premiere chocolatiers. There are two well-known chocolate makers in Vancouver that are longstanding operators of quality chocolate and candy items. One of them is Purdy’s which is usually seen in any Mall in the lower Mainland, while the other is Rogers.

The first Rogers’ chocolates were made by Charles “Candy” Rogers in the backroom of his Heritage Store in Victoria B.C. in 1903. That shop soon proved to be a success and has remained so to this very day. Presently, there are overall 11 retail Rogers' Chocolates stores throughout British Columbia, boasting an astounding and uniquely Victorian variety, including the original Victoria Cream recipe. You can purchase an entire box of these little pieces of chocolate history or just taste one. Prices are in the range of specialty chocolates and can be as little as $2.00 per piece or up to $60.00 for a large variety box.
Net Loft

3) Net Loft

Situated right across from the Granville Island Public Market, just west of Edible Canada, Net Loft, with its instantly recognizable industrial-looking blue exterior, is one of Granville Island’s best-kept secrets! This rather unsuspecting, small shopping mall offers curious (and hungry) visitors a plethora of options. At a glance, it is quite easy to assume that Net Loft is yet another home for artisan goods, which is actually so and not quite so at the same time.

Inside its doors there is an array of shops, some of which have just as many “staple goods” as they do “splurge items”. If you are looking for kitchen ware, handcrafted fashions or gifts, or a quiet bite to eat, or would like to explore a very unique variety of specialty paper goods, then look no further. The local vendors have it all!

Market Kitchen, this sort of quaint Sur La Table is less of a showroom and more like a pantry of your own, where, alongside scrubbers, tart pans and tea balls, you will find some truly fun and unique items fit to add sparkle to your kitchen.

In the centre of Net Loft is a serene courtyard with the eponymous Net Loft Cafe. Here, you might want to pause a bit for some breakfast, lunch or dinner, especially given that this place is reserved for solo acoustic guitar acts (no vocals or non-musical acts, such as magicians, are allowed), which may be rather comforting on one of those hectic days in the Public Market.

And if you really get the kick out of pretty stationary, then the local Japanese paper shop Paper-Ya (“Ya” means “shop” in Japanese) will make your day for certain! Whether you have a wedding in the making or wish to wrap up a present, or in need of a greeting card or a notebook to write down some recipes, you will go “Paper…YEAH!!!” in here!
Granville Island Public Market

4) Granville Island Public Market (must see)

Granville Island Public Market is one stop that foodies and gourmands won't want to miss on their tour of Vancouver. This market is home to over 50 different vendors, peddling coffee, baked goods, local produce, wine, chocolates, and food of every type. Many of these vendors are small business owners that only sell their wares at the Public Market, making this venue the only place where you'll get to experience many of the tastes and smells of Vancouver.

Some of the shops sell Vancouver culinary specialties, like fresh oysters, smoked salmon slices, salmon jerky, or salmon sausage. The Public Market is also an excellent resource for hard-to-find ethnic foods and spices. The city boasts a large population of Asian descent, and the market has a shop dedicated solely to procuring specialty items like Thai chilis, ginseng, kalamansi lime, jujube, morels, chutneys, and more. Other stores sell freshly-made portions of pasta, charcuterie, imported teas, or even different types of salt and sugar.

It's possible to take guided tours of the Granville Island Public Market with Edible Canada. This gives visitors the unique opportunity to see all that the Public Market has to offer, in the company of other foodies.

Why You Should Visit:
Lovely atmospheric place to visit, especially when at its most vibrant on a Sunday.
Plenty to see & do and plenty of choice of food available, as well as beers from the miscellany of breweries in the area.

You can't get into a drinking venue unless there's a free seat – a strange BC legislative requirement, apparently.
Be careful eating market food outside – some of the baked goods are so tasty that seagulls will steal your meal if you aren't careful.
If you like this market and want to see more, consider checking out Lonsdale Quay – the Lower Mainland's other "best public market".
Bridges Restaurant

5) Bridges Restaurant

Located on the western tip of Granville Island, past the market and at the very end of Johnston Street, Bridges Restaurant has been a local landmark since 1980. Its postcard-perfect patio of yellow-umbrellaed tables is nothing short of an institution and is the place to be in Vancouver when the sun comes out to play. Indeed, for decades now, the locals know that the surest way to tell if summer has truly arrived is when the patio at Bridges officially opens up for business.

Paired with the stunning views of Vancouver’s skyline, fishing boats in False Creek and the mountains of the North Shore, it proves to be an unbeatable combination! Other than a picturesque location, still, Vancouverites flock here regularly for a choice of fresh, masterly-prepared seafood and fish, rich meats and local produce delivered in a casually elegant atmosphere.

On the 2nd floor, the place boasts a dining room with a vaulted ceiling, highlighting the original beams and trusses dating back to the 1920s, complete with the floor-to-ceiling windows capturing every part of the view.
Keg Steakhouse and Bar

6) Keg Steakhouse and Bar

The iconic Granville Keg Steakhouse and Bar was the fifth Keg to open its doors in Canada and has been a beloved fixture on the island since 1973, even before the local Public Market was established! Its classic cocktails, signature appetizers, and an outstanding wine list round out the classic menu of mouth-watering, tender, juicy steaks, slow roasted prime rib, succulent shellfish, the freshest of salads, and, of course, irresistible dessert.

The location's nostalgic charm complete with its personable, outgoing, and knowledgeable staff showing a genuine desire to please, create an atmosphere that encourages guests to enjoy, relax and return again and again. Whether you’re getting together with friends or celebrating with family, you’ll always be welcomed here with a smile.

The place is open daily for lunch, brunch, dinner, takeout and delivery.
Kids Market

7) Kids Market

If you're a family person, no trip to Granville Island would be complete without taking your young ones to the Kids Market. Housed in an old factory, this two-storey family fun and adventure destination boasts a wide variety of activities, retail toy shops, clothing boutiques, a family entertainment center and a food court, as well as services, including a children’s only hair salon in the main building.

Here, you can shop for everything kids-related, from toys, magic, crafts, and games to candy, clothing, and costumes, and get an experience the whole family will equally enjoy, regardless of their age! You can also find pet treats in the 50-year old Canadian Pacific Caboose out front and more retail and food in the two annex buildings at the back.

The Kids Market is open daily, 11 am - 4 pm.
Granville Island Brewery

8) Granville Island Brewery

The Granville Island Brewing Company, or GIB, stands as Canada's inaugural microbrewery, established in 1984 on the picturesque Granville Island in Vancouver. GIB has pioneered inventive recipes, daring brewing methods, and approachable styles that resonate within the community. Their flagship creation, the Granville Island Lager, harkens back to the traditional Pilsner style, meticulously brewed in accordance with the venerable Bavarian Purity Law of 1516.

Through the passage of time, Granville Island has consistently unveiled fresh and imaginative beers tailored for diverse occasions. Drawing inspiration from the vibrant murals adorning Granville Island, the spirit of artisan craftsmanship, and the rugged charm of industrial corrugated metal architecture, they have revitalized their brand and packaging.

In essence, GIB remains a dynamic "test kitchen," continually crafting premium, limited-release small batch beers. It serves as a hub for pioneering innovation, exploring novel techniques, and conceptualizing unique styles. The brewery's offerings are in constant rotation, employing only the finest ingredients. This results in frequent one-of-a-kind brews on tap. Regardless of the specific assortment of delectable beers available on any given day, visitors to the brewery's taproom can anticipate an array of captivating variations to indulge in and provide real-time feedback.
Granville Island Water Park

9) Granville Island Water Park

The Granville Island Water Park is the biggest free water park in North America, and, just as its name suggests, is located on Granville Island, next to the False Creek Community Centre. With a large fun water slide, plus the multitude of water pipes, fire hydrants, sprays and fountains, this is one of the most popular Vancouver water parks. Created specifically for the young kids (note: this isn't an attraction for adults or even teens), the park has a special grass area for toddlers, making it an ideal choice for families with very small children.

The ground is pavement, so make sure your kids have water-proof shoes they can use while there. Kids can also go barefoot, but water-proof shoes will make it easier to run and play. The Granville Island Water Park can be enjoyed for free during the summer month weekends from the Victoria Day long weekend in May until the end of June, and then seven days a week from July until Labour Day in September.
Forge & Form

10) Forge & Form

"Forge & Form" is a European shop and gold/silversmithing artisan lab based on Granville Island, just past the False Creek Community Centre. The store is owned by German master metal designer Jürgen Schönheit, who has created a wonderful collection of extremely high quality gold and silver jewelry and other fine objects from an unexpected variety of precious stones and an opulent palette of golds and silvers. Among all kinds of good handmade items here, you can find supple chains, elegant cutlery, bold rings, and more equally superb stuff.

Jürgen is particularly renowned for his specialty – gold and silver bow ties. He is also the creator of unique “tension set” rings, which can hold a stone in place without setting. Stepping into his fine workshop and talking to Jürgen about his work will allow you to go through all the steps that the master faces while creating his unique items.

The studio is a one-man operation and is open by appointment only.
Ron Basford Park

11) Ron Basford Park

Tucked away from the hoards of tourists in the southeastern corner of Granville Island, between Performance Works and the Granville Island Hotel, Ron Basford Park is a tiny little hill with a flag pole at the top, proudly bearing the Canadian flag. It is also the largest green space on the island, yet somewhat under-appreciated. The park is named after the prominent Canadian politician, Ron Basford, who initiated a transition of Granville Island from an industrial to a more people-friendly area, and thus earned himself the nickname "Mr. Granville Island" for his support of the island redevelopment project.

Today, when it is increasingly hard to find a quiet spot on Granville Island, this grassy area overlooking the water draws attention of those who seek to hold outdoor events, such as wedding ceremonies, etc. The park is particularly famous for its inviting amphitheater, which in the summer hosts Carousel Theatre's Teen Shakespeare performances. And if you really want to have fun, you may do some human log rolling down the hill – should watch out for the bird poop, though! During winter, the park is just as much fun for those keen on using their crazy carpet sleds and toboggans – a care should be taken not to slide down the hill which faces False Creek, though!

On a beautiful sunny day, having a picnic in this super chill area with the yummies brought over from the Granville Island Public Market may be a good idea. Otherwise, you can simply relax/de-stress and get fresh air/sunshine on one of the few benches at the foot hill, or bring yourself some coffee from Agro Cafe and gaze out at the wonderful view of the harbour, Yaletown, False Creek or the Granville Bridge nearby. This park is never crowded with tourists and the photo-opps from the man-made hill are always good.

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