Renowned for its scenic beauty and endless opportunities for outdoor activities, Vancouver is also a cosmopolitan city with all the urban amenities – fine dining, shopping, museums, galleries, music and theatre.
If you only do one thing in the city, cycle or stroll along the Stanley Park seawall, a paved 10-km loop with every moment of it privy to magnificent mountain, ocean, forest and city views. While you're in the park, pay a visit to the internationally-acclaimed Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, one of North America's five largest aquariums.
Hit the nightclub scene or wander through ethnic enclaves. Relive memories of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games with attractions and activities related to the Olympics. Visit the aquarium, take a city tour or stroll through Stanley Park, the city's urban wilderness, or explore the surrounding area on an interesting driving route.
Don't miss the year-round markets or fail to take in a hockey game. Festivals? There is always something to celebrate in Vancouver. If all else fails, there is always that fabulous outdoor life the city is renowned for.
Visit Vancouver trip ideas to discover individual travel itineraries for family activities, outdoor adventures, dining, spas and wellness, and more.
Stanley Park is the crown jewel of Vancouver's parks. Crowds of international tourists and locals alike can be found enjoying a brisk jog or leisurely stroll all year round.
As one of North America's largest urban parks, Stanley Park offers tourists and locals much in the way of seeing and doing. Stroll the gardens. Visit marine life at the Vancouver Aquarium. Play a game of tennis. Let the kids let loose at the water park or ride the much-loved miniature train. Marvel at the totem pole collection at Brockton Point - it's considered the province's most-visited site.
Or just spend an incredible day walking, cycling or rollerblading the paved 10-km (6.2-mi) Seawall marveling at the magnificent mountain, ocean, forest and city views.
Other park amenities include picnic areas, a pitch-and-putt, children's petting zoo and Malkin Bowl, an outdoor theatre.
Step aboard one of our old-fashioned horse-drawn vehicles and meander in comfort through the natural beauty of Stanley Park, Vancouver's thousand acre wonderland. A professional guide fully narrates the tour which highlights Deadman's Island, Vancouver's Harbour, Lions Gate Bridge, a Coastal Red Cedar Forest, and includes stops at the Totem Poles, the Girl in a Wet Suit Statue, the S.S. Empress of Japan Figurehead, and the Rose Garden.
Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours
You can take a bus tour anytime, but how often do you get the chance to see the sights by horse-drawn carriage? Bring your camera along for a great family experience long to be remembered.
If you're downtown, hop on one of the small passenger ferries that can actually appear like bathtub toys as they cruise through False Creek to the island, famous for its year-round indoor farmer's market, boutique micro-brewery, street buskers, artisan studios and live theatre.
An eclectic mix of shops, boutiques and galleries, Granville Island is perhaps most famous for its large and bustling Public Market, where local food vendors and artisans peddle their wares.
Browse the charming shops of the Net Loft, where retailers offer everything from exotic stationary to beads of every shape and kind, funky hats, First Nations gifts, books and locally-made fashions.
The Maritime Market clusters together retailers who specialize in all things ocean related: kayaks, boat rentals, marine souvenirs and of course, seafood.
Kids adore the Kids Market. Here, independent sellers of atypical toys, books, games, clothing, candy and adventure offer a refreshing alternative to the usual.
Granville Island is also dotted with an array of arts-and-crafts studios and galleries dedicated to local and regional work.
You can find Granville Island just under the Granville Bridge, across from downtown Vancouver.
While many people prefer to hike up to the top via the Grouse Grind, also known as "Mother Nature's Stairmaster," a scenic (and saner) option is to ride up on the 100-passenger tram, appreciating breathtaking panoramic vistas of the Lower Mainland en route.
Just 15 minutes from downtown, Grouse Mountain has the ticket to summer adventure. Upon arriving, the Super Skyride whisks you 3,700 feet above the city to a mountaintop of hiking trails, a grizzly bear habitat, live shows and four restaurants.
Grouse Mountain's restaurants showcase some of the best of British Columbia. Situated 3,700 feet above the city of Vancouver, venues range from fine dining at The Observatory to flavorful apres in Altitudes Bistro to outdoor BBQs at Rusty Rail patio.
Every major city has a famous shopping and cruising strip; ours is Robson Street. Head here for the high fashion, trendy restaurants and bars, the coffee-shop culture and even a little star spotting; don't forget, this is the Hollywood of the North, and Robson Street is a favourite spot for visiting stars to shine.
The place to see and be seen in Vancouver, energetic Robson Street boasts over 200 shops, cafes and services.
Spend a day on the strip - spoil yourself in trend-setting fashion boutiques or sip a latte as you relax and people-watch from a sidewalk cafe. With a weekend average of some 80,000 streetgoers, there are plenty of people to watch!
If you prefer less jostling among crowds, head to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Housed in a former early-20th-century courthouse, the VAG is a haven for art lovers.
Finish the day with dinner at one of Robson Street's many fine restaurants.
Robson Street runs east-west through downtown Vancouver, from Yaletown to the West End.
Home to one of the world's most magnificent collections of First Nations totem poles, carvings and other artifacts, the museum is housed in an award-winning glass-and-concrete building designed by the world-renowned architect, Arthur Erickson, based on traditional Northwest Coast post-and-beam structures.
UBC Museum of Anthropology
The Museum of Anthropology houses one of the world's finest displays of First Nations art in a spectacular building overlooking mountains and sea. Free gallery tours, an elegant Shop, and endless opportunities to discover, reflect, teach and learn await you.
It's shaky, but worth the walk across this swaying suspension bridge - located in the middle of a lush west-coast rainforest - for thrilling canyon views 70 m below.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Naturally thrilling since 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge is breathtakingly suspended 450 feet (135m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. Cross over to Treetops Adventure and walk from one magnificent Douglas fir to another via a series of seven elevated suspension bridges, some reaching as high as 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor.
Some go for the books, but most go for the architecture. Think ancient Roman Coliseum meets reconstructionist, post-modernism and you'll see why this full city block became an instant landmark in 1995.
Vancouver Public Library Square
Designed by Moshe Safdie and Associates with Downs Archambault and Partners, the Vancouver Library Square became an instant landmark upon its completion in 1995.
The largest capital project ever undertaken by the city, the square contains Vancouver's Central Library (public), a federal government office tower as well as retail shops and services. It occupies a complete city block.
The seven-storey, rectangular-box structure houses book stacks and library services. This is surrounded by a free-standing elliptical wall which features reading areas accessible by bridges. The roof of the library serves as a large, public garden.
The glass-roofed concourse serves as an entry foyer. Here, visitors will find lots of pedestrian activity, shops and eateries.
Vancouver Library Square is located just southeast of the downtown core, within easy walking distance.
Vancouver is home to one of the largest Chinese communities in North America. Its downtown Chinatown (the other major centre is in Richmond) is worth a visit for the historic buildings (including the world's narrowest), exotic markets and herbal apothecaries, not to mention bargains on imported goods, particularly kitchen supplies.
Chinatown and Chinatown Night Market
During late spring and summer, the streets are closed to vehicles once a week for the Chinatown Night Market, an exotic flea market with everything from great fashion finds to bargain Asian food.
Vancouver has been home to a vibrant Chinese community since the mid-19th century. Today, the city's Chinatown is one of the largest in North America.
If you are looking for an authentic Asian encounter complete with unique architecture, exotic culinary aromas and an array of exotic imported goods, then Chinatown awaits your arrival.
No visit to Chinatown is complete without a trip to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. A tranquil Ming Dynasty-style garden, it is the first authentic classical Chinese garden to have been built outside of China.
The Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives presents an impressive collection of Chinese memorabilia. It also houses the Chinese Canadian Military Museum.
Make sure to see the Sam Kee Building. At just 1.5 m (6 ft) wide, it's the world's most narrow office building - and easy to miss!
On weekend evenings from late May through to September, thousands of visitors pour into the closed streets for the popular Chinatown Night Market. The Asian-style flea market offers a host of great finds.
Chinatown can be found just east of downtown Vancouver.
Modeled after private gardens developed in China, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden is the first Ming Dynasty style classical garden created outside of China. In the heart of bustling Vancouver, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden offers a unique cultural experience. It is a feast for the senses and the mind and is acclaimed for providing peace, tranquility and harmonious delight for the nature lover, cultural tourist, and sightseeing visitor. Within this paradise, enjoy a cup of complimentary tea and a guided tour.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Each year English Bay is lit up in a symphony of fire when Vancouver hosts a four-night spectacular international fireworks competition.
HSBC Celebration of Light
The observation deck at approximately 50 storeys above Vancouver is the BEST FIRST STOP. Enjoy the spectacular 360 degrees view of the city, Canada's largest port, the majestic mountains and perhaps even Vancouver Island just off the Pacific Coast. Your experience starts as you climb the outside of the building in an exterior glass elevator, which takes approximately 50 seconds from street level to the deck. Relax, sit back and enjoy a West Coast sunset or the city night-lights from the lounge. With admission ticket(s) valid for same day return, enjoy the view as often as you like.
The Vancouver Aquarium, located in world-famous Stanley Park, is home to over 70,000 fascinating creatures. You'll come face-to-face with majestic beluga whales, acrobatic dolphins, seals, Steller sea lions and more! In the Amazon rainforest, you'll find free roaming animals including birds, lizards, tortoises, seasonal butterflies and two-toed sloths. Venture into the Tropic Zone where you'll find sharks, moray eels and brilliantly coloured fish. Other highlights include jellies, octopus, daily whale and dolphin shows, shark dives and otter feeds. Ask about unique hands-on adventures where you can train and feed the beluga whales, otters and Steller sea lions. And be sure to visit our new building Aquaquest - the Marilyn Blusson Learning Centre. Aquaquest is home to the Canaccord Capital Exploration Gallery, which includes new interactive exhibits, an expanded children's area, a theatre, an environmental newsroom, classrooms and a wet lab.
The Aquarium is open 365 days a year, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with extended summer hours.
Vancouver Aquarium |
Stanley Park (Physical Location)
Get onboard with Harbour Cruises & Events for a unique Vancouver experience. Enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline, the surrounding Coastal Mountain range and many of the area's most famous landmarks. With daily cruises around Vancouver's inner harbour, a luncheon cruise up the secluded Indian Arm, and the ever popular Sunset Dinner Cruise, Harbour Cruises offers a relaxing sightseeing adventure for everyone. Special Event cruises are available throughout the year including during the annual Fireworks competition and December's Christmas Carol Ships. Located next to the world famous Stanley Park.
Harbour Cruises & Events|
#1, North Foot of Denman Street, Vancouver, BC
Enter a whole world of wonder and fascination with Science World at TELUS World of Science. Experience interactive displays, hands-on experiments and live demonstrations. This summer, don't miss Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body. Sometimes it's stinky; sometimes it's crusty; and sometimes it's slimy. Explore why your body produces mushy, oozy, crusty, scaly and stinky gunk at Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body. Based on the best-selling book Grossology, this exhibition uses sophisticated animatronics and imaginative exhibits to tell you the good, the bad and the downright nasty about runny noses, body odour and other unmentionables.
1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver, BC
The IMAX Theatre Canada Place is conveniently located in downtown Vancouver at Canada Place. Treat your senses to the most powerful and involving movie experience yet created. The IMAX Experience is as unique and powerful as the technology behind it. Images of immense size and striking clarity. Sound so clear and deep you can feel it. Giant screens that immerse you in new worlds. And specially designed theatres that transport you there. Only IMAX state-of-the-art technology creates The IMAX Experience.
IMAX Theatre at Canada Place
201-999 Canada Place
The Vancouver Art Gallery's collection of nearly 9,000 works of art represents the most comprehensive resource for visual culture in British Columbia. Established in 1931 with the founding of the Gallery, the collection grows by several hundred works every year. It is a principal repository of works produced in this region, as well as related works by other Canadian and international artists. Works from the collection are in active use. They are presented in exhibitions at the Gallery and are loaned to other institutions locally, nationally and internationally. The collection is also used by researchers, scholars and students, as well as authors, publishers and other museums and galleries, who reproduce images in print and online publications.
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby Street (at Robson)