One of Canada’s largest and most vibrant cities, Vancouver has something for everyone. Its location provides easy access to the slopes in winter and to the beaches in summer, while the city itself features a comprehensive mixture of great food, heritage sites, museums and galleries as well as numerous opportunities for shopping.
Here are some places you should definitely check out:
A 1,000 acre public park which borders downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park features a host of activities for outdoor lovers, including numerous trails surrounded by towering fir, cedar and hemlock trees and the seawall, a 8.8 km paved pathway bordering the park which provides picturesque views of the harbor and the city.
The famous Vancouver Aquarium can also be found here while English Bay, one of Vancouver’s most popular beaches, is located just outside the park.
This neighbourhood has come a long way from its roots as an industrial manufacturing area, becoming one of the city’s premier destinations for entertainment. Granville Island is home to numerous performing arts schools and companies including Arts Umbrella, Vancouver Theatresports League and the Arts Club Theatre Company. The Granville Island Public Market is widely considered one of the top open-air markets in North America.
A short drive from downtown Vancouver, Grouse Mountain provides unparalleled views of the city. You can reach the summit by taking the SkyRide Gondola or by tackling the famous Grouse Grind trail. The latter is also known as “Mother Nature’s staircase” which stretches 2.8 km up the mountain.
Just a word of warning: the trail itself does require a certain level of fitness so anyone who chooses to take this path should make a realistic assessment of their health and have the right equipment before attempting it. During the winter months, Grouse also boasts a number of slopes for skiing and snowboarding.
Hanging 230 ft above the Capilano River, the Suspension Bridge has been a major attraction since it first opened in 1889. Besides the famous bridge, Treetop Adventures provides visitors with a unique view of the forest through a series of suspension bridges hanging up to 100 ft above the forest floor. The park also features a number of exhibits as well as guided nature and history tours.
UBC isn’t just for college students! Besides its role as one of Canada’s top universities, UBC also boasts a number of attractions for visitors. The Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is home to an extensive collection of ethnographic and archaeological objects from around the world. Meanwhile, the Nitobe Memorial Garden (part of the UBC Botanical Garden) is widely known as one of the top five Japanese gardens outside Japan.
Over the years, the Rose Garden has also provided a gorgeous backdrop for numerous graduation and wedding ceremonies. Directly beside the Rose Garden is the Chan Center for Performing Arts which regularly features a variety of performances ranging from music concerts to opera productions.
Depending on when you’re in town, there are also some events and festivals that are not to be missed!
- Dine Out Vancouver (January) – This is your chance to try a variety of Vancouver’s best restaurants at a discounted prices
- Celebration of Lights (July) – Vancouver’s annual firework competition which features displays from teams across the world culminating in a grand finale.
- The Fair at the PNE (August) – A 17 day summer fair featuring numerous exhibits, food stalls and performances
- Festival of Lights (December) – VanDusen Botanical Garden’s stunning winter lights display which feature over 1.4 million Christmas lights covering the entire gardens
Vancouver is also home to a number of professional sports teams, including the Vancouver Canucks (hockey), BC Lions (football) and Vancouver Whitecaps FC (soccer).
Finally, Vancouver is also known by its nickname: Hollywood North. Chances are you might recognize some parts of the city from the numerous blockbusters and tv shows have been filmed here over the years! The village of Steveston doubles as Storybrooke from ABC’s Once Upon a Time series while numerous parts of the city also provided the backdrop for movies such as the Twilight series.
Vancouver is a lovely city where there is something for everyone to check out. Let us know your Vancouver recommendations in the comments1