How one feels about Vancouver as a destination for vacation will ultimately depend on what he/she is seeking. For the traveler who seeks a beautiful location and peace of mind, Vancouver is almost ideal. I'd also recommend it for an outdoorsman/woman or a family vacation.
I do not mean to suggest that Vancouver does not have its' fair share of other attractions. There is, after all, shopping (including luxury shopping on Robson Street, which houses every major designer from Hermes to Louis Vuitton), a number of casinos, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Museum of Anthropology. Nevertheless, when a tourist asks for the must-sees, the inevitable list consists of mostly of parks and neighborhoods to explore and almost entirely of outdoor attractions--Grouse Mountain, Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Capilano Bridge, Van Dusen Botanical Gardens--I could go on and on and on. There's nothing wrong with any of this, of course, just a note for those who may be interested in things other than nature. That said, because the city is so beautiful, try to get up high for the views, whether that means the lighthouse, Sea to Sky Highway (both of which I wanted to get to, but time did not permit), a seaplane or simply a high point in the city.
Vancouver is a very walkable city, which I loved. Although I had a car--and would suggest the same for anyone planning to stay longer than a few days--I spent much of my time on foot. As mentioned above, neighborhoods are a significant part of the Vancouver experience. I'd suggest Downtown, Gastown, Yaletown, Chinatown and Deep Cove Village. Deep Cove Village and Gastown, while entirely different, were my favorites. Deep Cove Village features shops and dining, but most importantly, a marina, a lovely park, beautiful water views and access to water activities, including kayaking. Gastown, on the other hand, leans more heavily to the shops and dining side, but is also a key part of Vancouver history, with its' statues, plaques and cobblestone streets.
Foodies will love Vancouver. The restaurants are quite diverse and good authentic cuisine is easy to find. Other Asian food lovers will find themselves enamored of if not overwhelmed by their choices thanks to the large Asian population in Vancouver. I also indulged in a non-Asian restaurant, Brock House, which I will return whenever I revisit Vancouver (I'd recommend reservations and a tolerance for an intimate dining experience).
All in all, I found Vancouver to rank average to above average among the places I've traveled. I would return given the chance, which is a plus. I should also note that the people were some of the nicest and friendliest I've encountered.