The gem of British Columbia, Vancouver is Canada's third largest city, with a population of about 2.5 million. Despite its size, it deserves and maintains its reputation as a green, nature friendly city. This is due to a couple of factors, mainly innovative urban planning that has kept the city center free of highways, as well as a spectacular natural setting that means you're never far from the water or mountains.
Harbor and water tours are a great way to see the city and its surroundings. For a quick tour on the cheap, take a ride on the Seabus from the Waterfront Skytrain Station to Lonsdale Quay and back. A memorable experience, if you happen to be here during the Christmas holiday season, is a ride on one of the Carol Ship tours--their ships are brightly decked out with lights, and cruise the inland waterways amid much merriment.
Vancouver is most well known for its skiing. Nearby Whistler Mountain and the surrounding areas are so good, in fact, that they have been chosen as the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics, meaning that their already excellent facilities will only improve as preparations for the games accelerate. Numerous trails are here for the hiker. In particular, the ones along the road from Horseshoe Bay to Squamish offer excellent views, but don't let their short distance from Vancouver lull you into forgetting to take adequate safety precautions.
Vancouver establishments run the gamut from luxury hotels with impeccable service to do it yourself youth hostels. A good middle ground is found in the lovely bed and breakfasts in the Kitsilano area. If you are up for some live music, the city's principle venue for big name acts is General Motors Place.