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Vancouver is meant to be experienced outdoors. The city boasts many green outdoor areas, Stanley Park being the largest, thanks to its temperate temperature and plentiful rainfall. Visit some of the city’s other well-liked outdoor sites instead, such as Queen Elizabeth Park or VanDusen Botanical Garden, if you don’t feel like meandering across its roughly 1,000 acres. Take a stroll across the 230-foot-high Capilano Suspension Bridge for a thrilling experience. At Granville Island and Lonsdale Quay, you may choose from a variety of delectable market fare when you’re ready to refuel. Enroll on one of the top Vancouver food tours if you need some assistance navigating the city’s amazing dining scene.
Some of the most popular and often visited attractions in the city are located in this almost 1,000-acre park in the “thumb” tip of Vancouver, just north of the West End. You could actually stay here for more than a day and still not see everything this urban gem has to offer. The roughly 20-mile Seawall that borders Vancouver’s shoreline is perfect for walking, cycling, or jogging around if you want to see the park the way the people do. The walkway travels from Spanish Banks Beach Park to the Vancouver Convention Centre. If you don’t feel like walking, there are various bike rental shops close to the park. You can travel the more than 17 miles of woodland paths, which are far less popular than the rest of the park, on your bike. The South Creek Trail, which goes to Beaver Lake and is lined with lily pads, is highly recommended for bicycling. If you don’t feel like getting all that activity, you may take a train or a horse-drawn carriage for a 15-minute trip through the forest. Recent visitors praised the park for being a wonderful getaway from the city and for having one of the most beautiful seawall walks in the area.
There are numerous family-friendly activities available here for families with children, including an outdoor water park and a different heated outdoor pool. Four playgrounds and a small train that travels through more than a mile of forest are also featured in the park. In the park, but at an additional expense, lies the Vancouver Aquarium.
#2 Granville Island-Vancouver
Today, one of Vancouver’s most cherished neighborhoods is located on this former industrial site. Granville Island’s former factories are now home to hip restaurants, galleries, and theaters, effectively creating its own mini-city. The Granville Island Public Market, which is frequently cited as one of the top open-air marketplaces in North America, is the main attraction here. You may discover a range of food vendors selling everything from baked delicacies to ethnic snacks among the apparently endless aisles of fresh vegetables and local crafts. Try to get a spot by the water if the weather is pleasant. While taking in the acts of the buskers who frequently play for market crowds, you may see ferry boats putter back and forth in English Bay. After filling yourself on market fare, visit the Kids Market, which is often crowded. This playtopia offers an indoor play space in addition to selling toys and crafts. Visit Granville Island Brewing, Canada’s first microbrewery, if you don’t have children with you. In the taproom, you may take advantage of daily tours and tastings.
#3 Queen Elizabeth Park
One of Vancouver’s most well-liked outdoor areas is Queen Elizabeth Park, which draws more than 6 million visitors annually (second only to Stanley Park). The park, which spans around 130 acres, includes a rose garden, a finely maintained quarry garden, and an arboretum with about 1,500 domestic and foreign trees. When you’re done admiring the park’s plants, visit the animals within the Bloedel Conservatory. The conservatory has three different climate zones, 500 tropical plants, and more than 120 free-flying exotic birds. When you step outside the conservatory, you will see the Dancing Waters fountain show and several sculptures dotted about the plaza. The park offers breathtaking views of the city skyline, mountains, and shoreline from the fountain plaza because it is located at the highest point in Vancouver.
If you don’t have enough time to spend a whole day exploring Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, which is situated about two miles south of the center of Vancouver, is a fantastic substitute. Many people claim that it has the nicest city views available, and the grounds are kept up beautifully. Despite the fact that entrance to the park is free, parking is chargeable. You can anticipate paying CA$3.50 (or $2.70) per hour or CA$13 (or $10) each day from May 1 to September 30. From October 1 to April 30, rates drop to CA$2.50 per hour (or $1.90) and CA$7 (or $5.40) per day. The Oakridge-41st Avenue Station on the Canada Line of the SkyTrain is close to the park, and it is also possible to reach the park by walking from there.
#4 Kitsilano Beach
When the weather’s nice, follow Vancouverites down to the shores of English Bay to Kitsilano “Kits” Beach. Often compared to L.A.’s Venice Beach, this shoreline along the northern edge of Kitsilano is the city’s most popular swim spot, especially for the city’s 20-something crowd. When you’re not relaxing on the sand or admiring the skyline views, you’ll find areas for in-line skating and volleyball, along with tennis courts and a playground. Visitors do warn that the beach can get quite busy in summer, but it is clean and always has “good vibes.” If you’re in the mood for swim but the bay water is just a little too chilly for your liking, try the area’s heated, saltwater Kitsilano Pool (open May to mid-September). You can also visit the nearby Vancouver Maritime Museum, which offers an educational respite from the summer sun. When you need to grab a refreshment, you’ll find several concession stands as well as a more formal dining room at The Boathouse Restaurant on Kits Beach.
#5 Spanish Banks Beach
A few characteristics distinguish Spanish Banks from the other popular shorelines in the city. Spanish Banks is the least busy and most tranquil due to its position around 5 miles northwest of downtown Vancouver. Due to the low tidal conditions, it’s also the ideal location to try out skimboarding, a sport that combines skateboarding and surfing (at low tide the water is more than half a mile off shore). Pick-up volleyball matches can be played on several of the volleyball courts if the ocean water is too cold. Visitors praise the beach’s beauty and claim that exploring during low tide can be a lot of fun, especially for young children.
#6 VanDusen Botanical Garden
The VanDusen Botanical Garden is situated in the middle of Vancouver and spans 55 acres. Travelers frequently refer to it as a hidden gem. Recent visitors praised the garden’s tranquility. The garden is divided into numerous areas, including a favorite of previous visitors, a hedge maze, and a stone garden. The Laburnum Walk, which is depicted above and is said to be the most photographed part of the garden’s 55 acres, is arguably the most well-known element of VanDusen. The yellow, chain-like blossoms that dangle from the Laburnum branches make the route stand out. Mid-May is when these plants bloom to their fullest, but if you won’t be in Vancouver during that time, use our bloom calendar to see what will be in season when you go.
Since it changed from being a warehouse neighborhood to the hip location it is now, Yaletown has been Vancouver’s go-to destination for late-night fun. Yaletown, which is frequently compared to SoHo in New York City, is home to upscale shops, eateries, and lodging options, including OPUS Vancouver, one of the best hotels in the area. Even if you don’t intend to stay at OPUS, you should still make time to visit the establishment’s cocktail lounge. Pierre’s Lounge, Bar None, and Yaletown Brewing Co. are a few additional popular nightlife destinations. There are many different dining and drinking alternatives available at different price points, according to recent visitors, so there is something for everyone there.
#8 Grouse Mountain
Since it towers over North Vancouver, Grouse Mountain has long been a well-liked destination for outdoor enthusiasts, especially because on a clear day, the top offers panoramic views of the entire city. Grouse, which was formerly primarily utilized for skiing, now has year-round activities available, including the Grouse Grind, a roughly 2-mile track that locals frequently refer to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” (there are a total of 2,830 stairs along the trail). You can keep busy during the winter, a favorite season for locals, with a wide variety of events. 33 ski and snowboard runs, four chairlifts, six terrain parks, and four snowshoeing trails can be found on Grouse Mountain’s slopes. There are also a Starbucks and The Observatory, a formal dining room with 360-degree summit views, a zip line, a skating pond, a high-def cinema, a wildlife refuge, and a number of restaurants. Previous guests gushed about the top’s wonderful (albeit expensive) meals.
#9 Museum of Anthropology at UBC
The region on which Vancouver was founded has a rich, cultural history, despite the fact that the city hasn’t had many birthdays. One of the most spectacular collections of artwork and artifacts from the First Nations of the Northwest Coast is kept at the Museum of Anthropology, which is a component of the University of British Columbia. You may see ornately adorned boats, ceremonial masks, totem poles, and other Native American artifacts only in the Great Hall. The museum also features local artwork, precious jewels, and pottery from the fifteenth century in other sections. You are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the museum, however recent visitors strongly advise doing what the docents direct. Three times a day on average, tours are available; for exact timings, visit the MOA website. Recent visitors praised the collection but noted that younger children might not be interested.
#10 Vancouver Lookout
The Vancouver Lookout, according to several tourists, ought to be your first sightseeing trip. You can get a 360-degree view of the city below from the panoramic observation deck, as well as views of Stanley Park and the Olympic Peninsula, and North Shore Mountains.
The overlook, which is located on the 55th floor of the Harbour Centre building in downtown Vancouver, is accessible via a glass elevator that transports passengers more than 550 feet to the top in 40 seconds. Visit on a clear day to make the most of the breathtaking vantage position; according to recent visitors, you won’t get your money’s worth if there is cloud cover.
‘#11 Vancouver Aquarium
Those in the know advise visiting the Vancouver Aquarium regardless of whether you’re traveling with children or are simply trying to expand your understanding of marine life. This is an excellent place to get to know both domestic and exotic animals because it is the home to more than 50,000 different animals from 734 different species. But don’t anticipate SeaWorld when you come here; according to previous guests, the aquarium places more of an emphasis on interactive exhibits and education than it does on choreographed animal performances. The cold tanks of the Canada’s Arctic display to the vibrant clownfish and menacing black-tip reef sharks hiding in the Tropic Zone are just a few examples of how different exhibits replicate different climates. The Graham Amazon Gallery, a sizable atrium where three-toed sloths and magnificent tree frogs hide from the hourly simulated rainstorms, should not be missed.
While some recent visitors lament the high price of entrance, they also assert that the fee is justified if you allow adequate time. You can join an aquarium behind-the-scenes tour for a small additional fee.
#12 Capilano Suspension Bridge
Overcome your vertigo and discover Vancouver through the eyes of the birds. The 450-foot-long, 230-foot-high Capilano Suspension Bridge, which opened to the public in 1889, is the city’s oldest tourist destination. It provides breathtaking views of the Capilano River below. Visitors describe it as thrilling, exciting, and a wonderful experience in general. Even after you cross the canyon, there are even more suspension bridges and thrilling things to experience at the Treetops Adventure. You may climb 110 feet above the forest floor from viewing platform to viewing platform on this canopy walk, which is situated among the park’s 250-year-old Douglas fir trees. Continue to tempt doom by meandering along the Cliffwalk, a network of cantilevered and hanging walkways. Recent visitors enjoyed the attraction’s unique experience, but they weren’t as delighted with the pricey entrance or the scarce parking. Plan your visit for the morning to avoid the school throng.