Follow Granville Street southwest through downtown and cross False Creek  by bridge or ferry to reach Granville Island. Regarded as one of North America’s most successful inner-city, industrial-site redevelopments, the jazzed-up island is the place to go on a bright sunny day. Allow at least several hours or an entire afternoon for this hive of activity.
You can spend the better part of a day just walking around the island looking at the marina, the many specialty businesses that reflect the island’s maritime heritage, fresh food markets, gift shops, restaurants, and theaters. The highlight is the colorful Granville Island Public Market (daily 9 a.m.–7 p.m.), a hub of activity from dawn to dusk and a lot more than a tourist attraction. Inside the market you’ll find all kinds of things to eat—fresh fruit and vegetables, seafood from local waters, a wide variety of meats, specialty ingredients, and prepared ready-to-go meals—as well as unique jewelry and crafts, potted plants, and cut flowers.
At the opposite end of the island is the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (1399 Johnston St., 604/844-3800, daily 8:30 a.m.–11:30 p.m., free). Named for one of Canada’s best-known artists, the facility attracts students from across the country to study fine arts, applied arts, and media arts. Two galleries are open to the public.
To get to the island by boat, jump aboard one of the small False Creek Ferries. The boats run regularly between the island, Vancouver Aquatic Centre at Sunset Beach ($3), and Science World  ($5.50). Parking on the island is almost impossible, especially on weekends. If you do find a spot, it’ll have a three-hour maximum time limit. For general information on the island and local businesses, visit www.granvilleisland.com .