This is an interesting post to make. Vancouver is my home, and it takes some extra effort to become a tourist of the city you think you know best.
If nothing else, do not miss out on an opportunity to walk along the Seawall. It's what I miss the most about Vancouver. There's also a theme park style train ride that gets modified for various seasonal events. I highly encourage you check it out; even if your time is limited.
I think I've gone to see the otters here a half dozen times at least. If you can't make it there, don't worry! You can check out their live feed. It's not quite the same as being there, but it's a good second option.
It's easy to make a day-event out of Stanley Park and the Aquarium coupled together. The diversity of wildlife and educational resources could keep you occupied from open to close if you let it.
Not to be confused with Rogers Place in Edmonton! As the Canucks home rink, you could of course catch an NHL game if you visit during an active season. Alternatively going to a concert or UFC event are great alternatives. The venue never fails to impress. They also have free wifi for Rogers customers, so you may not have to deal with crazy data usage from all the snapchats and tweets you send while you're there.
Whistler Village deserves it's very own post but it's worth briefly mentioning here at least. A mixture of resorts, zip-lines, hiking trails, camping spots, biking (or snowboarding/skiing in colder weather). This is a party hotspot for most of the year. If you want to do a bar crawl, camp and take advantage of the outdoors, this is the place. Whistler is half the reason for the tagline "Beautiful British Columbia".
If you're a foodie, fashionista and love seeing diversity around every corner then Robson Street is the place for you. It's known for the shopping available and incredible food trucks. You'll also enjoy the big name outlet stores & local restaurants. You walk passed high rises when you look up and people from all over the world in front of you. I (Jaimie) used to go to Robson street after a long week of work and needed some down time to myself. There's the ability to ALWAYS try something new.
The first thing that you see when on the sky train that actually catches your eye is the huge round thing in the middle of a city and right on the water; Welcome to Science world. A huge building with anything you can think of to learn and teach new things and not all of it is science related. Almost everything is hands on which makes it so fun for not only kids, but adults too.
Right on the water and by one of the most famous places in Vancouver; Canada Place stands what we call the "Olympic Village". This place is breath-taking. The ocean right there but still the feeling of vibrant city life. The Olympic Village is a huge torch in the middle of a plaza that was built when the olympics iconicity came to Vancouver, BC in 2010. If you love history, it's a must see.
I'm not doing the City of Vancouver any justice with this post. Jaimie and Austin spent 20 years in this area and hate to say it but I've become desensitized to it's true beauty. You just need to experience it for yourself. You won't regret it I promise you.