Vancouver

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Vancouver - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coastal Art

    Downtown

    Named after one of British Columbia's preeminent artists, Bill Reid (1920–98), this small aboriginal gallery is as much a legacy of Reid's works as it...

    Named after one of British Columbia's preeminent artists, Bill Reid (1920–98), this small aboriginal gallery is as much a legacy of Reid's works as it is a showcase of current First Nations artists. Displays include wood carvings, jewelry, print, and sculpture, and programs often feature artist talks and themed exhibitions such as basket weaving. Reid is best known for his bronze statue The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, The Jade Canoe—measuring 12 feet by 20 feet; it is displayed at the Vancouver International Airport, and its image was on the back of Canadian $20 bills issued between 2004 and 2012. More Bill Reid pieces are at the Museum of Anthropology. 

    639 Hornby St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 2G3, Canada
    604-682–3455

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$13, Closed Mon. and Tues., Oct.–May
  • 2. Granville Island Public Market

    Granville Island

    The dozens of stalls in this world-renowned market sell locally grown fruits and vegetables direct from the farm and farther afield; other stalls stock crafts,...

    The dozens of stalls in this world-renowned market sell locally grown fruits and vegetables direct from the farm and farther afield; other stalls stock crafts, chocolates, artisanal cheeses and pastas, fish, meat, flowers, and exotic foods. On Thursdays in the summer (July to October), farmers sell fruit and vegetables from trucks outside. At the north end of the market, you can pick up a snack, lunch, or coffee from one of the many prepared-food vendors. The Public Market Courtyard, on the waterside, has great views of the city and is also a good place to catch street entertainers—be prepared to get roped into the action, if only to check the padlocks of an escape artist's gear. Weekends can get madly busy.

    1689 Johnston St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6H 3S3, Canada
    604-666–6655
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  • 3. Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site

    Located at the mouth of the Fraser River in the historic fishing village of Steveston, this cannery grew from a single salmon canning line in...

    Located at the mouth of the Fraser River in the historic fishing village of Steveston, this cannery grew from a single salmon canning line in 1894 to BC's biggest salmon cannery—with 2.5 million cans packed annually until the 1930s. Through the years, production was impacted by the landslide at Hells Gate, the onset of the Depression, and World War II, when much of its activities turned to canning herring for wartime consumption by troops and civilians. Designated a Federal Heritage site in 1987, the cannery now operates as a west coast fishing industry museum with ongoing interpretive programs and tours. You can check out the canning line, learn more about BC's fishing industry, and explore the heritage of the various ethnic groups who worked on-site. The Gulf of Georgia Cannery is a 35- to 40-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver; by public transit, take the Canada Line to Brighouse Station, then change to Bus 401, 402, or 407.

    12138 Fourth Ave., Richmond, British Columbia, V7E 3J1, Canada
    604-664–9009

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$11.70, Daily 10–5
  • 4. Lynn Canyon Park

    Bridge/Tunnel

    With a steep canyon landscape, a temperate rain forest complete with waterfalls, and a suspension bridge (circa 1912) 166½ feet above raging...

    With a steep canyon landscape, a temperate rain forest complete with waterfalls, and a suspension bridge (circa 1912) 166½ feet above raging Lynn Creek, this 616-acre park provides thrills to go with its scenic views. There are many hiking trails, including a popular one that ends at a waterfall where you can swim. Lynn Canyon Park's on-site Ecology Centre distributes maps of area hiking trails, waterfalls, and pools as well as information about the local flora and fauna. There's also a gift shop and a café here. To get to the park, take the Lions Gate Bridge and Capilano Road, go east on Highway 1, take the Lynn Valley Road exit, and turn right on Peters Road. From Downtown Vancouver, you can take the SeaBus to Lonsdale Quay, then Bus 228 or 229 from the quay; both stop near the park. The suspension bridge here is shorter than the Capilano Suspension Bridge (130 feet versus 450 feet at Capilano) so the experience is less thrilling, but also less touristy.

    3663 Park Rd., at end of Peters Rd., North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7J 3G3, Canada
    604-990–3755-Ecology Centre

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Ecology Centre by donation, suspension bridge free
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  • 5. Museum of Anthropology

    Point Grey

    Part of the University of British Columbia, the MOA has one of the world's leading collections of Northwest Coast First Nations art. The Great Hall...

    Part of the University of British Columbia, the MOA has one of the world's leading collections of Northwest Coast First Nations art. The Great Hall has dramatic cedar poles, bentwood boxes, and canoes adorned with traditional Northwest Coast–painted designs. On clear days, the gallery's 50-foot-tall windows reveal a striking backdrop of mountains and sea. Another highlight is the work of the late Bill Reid, one of Canada's most respected Haida artists. In The Raven and the First Men (1980), carved in yellow cedar, he tells a Haida story of creation. Reid's gold-and-silver jewelry work is also on display, as are exquisite carvings of gold, silver, and argillite (a black shale found on Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands) by other First Nations artists. The museum's visible storage section displays, in drawers and cases, contain thousands of examples of tools, textiles, masks, and other artifacts from around the world. The Koerner Ceramics Gallery contains 600 pieces from 15th- to 19th-century Europe. Behind the museum are two Haida houses, set on the cliff over the water. Free guided tours—given several times daily (call or check the website for times)—are immensely informative. The MOA also has an excellent book and fine-art shop, as well as a café. To reach the museum by transit, take any UBC-bound bus from Granville Street Downtown to the university bus loop, a 15-minute walk, or connect to a shuttle that scoots around the campus and will drop you off opposite the MOA at the Rose Garden. Pay parking is available in the Rose Garden parking lot, across Marine Drive from the museum. A UBC Museums and Gardens Pass will save you money if you're planning to visit several attractions at UBC.

    6393 N.W. Marine Dr., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z2, Canada
    604-822–5087

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$18; Thurs. 5–9 pm C$10, Closed Mon. mid-Oct.–mid-May
  • 6. Richmond Night Market

    Now a flagship summertime event and an experience unmatched anywhere else in Canada, the bustling Richmond Night Market has grown to include more than 100...

    Now a flagship summertime event and an experience unmatched anywhere else in Canada, the bustling Richmond Night Market has grown to include more than 100 Asian street food stalls, 250 retail booths, carnival rides, children's amusement area, and family-friendly entertainment. Just steps from the Canada Line's Bridgeport Station beside the River Rock Casino, the market is open nightly Friday to Sunday and holiday Mondays from mid-May to mid-October. For those driving, there are more than 1,000 free parking stalls available on-site.

    8351 River Rd., Richmond, British Columbia, V6X 1Y1, Canada
    604-244–8448

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$4.75, Mid-May–mid-Oct., Fri.–Sat. 7 pm–midnight, Sun. and holiday Mon. 7 pm–11 pm
  • 7. Stanley Park Beaches

    Stanley Park

    There are two fine beaches accessed from Stanley Park, with other unnamed sandy spots dotted along the seawall. The most popular with families is Second...

    There are two fine beaches accessed from Stanley Park, with other unnamed sandy spots dotted along the seawall. The most popular with families is Second Beach, which has a playground and large heated pool with slides. Third Beach is a little more removed than the other central beaches. It has a larger stretch of sand, fairly warm water, and unbeatable sunset views. It's a popular evening picnic spot. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; parking (fee); toilets. Best for: sunset; swimming; walking.

    7495 Stanley Park Dr., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6G 3E2, Canada
  • 8. Stanley Park Seawall

    Stanley Park

    Vancouver's seawall path includes a 9-km (5½-mile) paved shoreline section within Stanley Park. It's one of several car-free zones in the park and it's popular...

    Vancouver's seawall path includes a 9-km (5½-mile) paved shoreline section within Stanley Park. It's one of several car-free zones in the park and it's popular with walkers and cyclists. If you have the time (about a half-day) and the energy, strolling the entire seawall is an exhilarating experience. It extends an additional mile east past the marinas, cafés, and waterfront condominiums of Coal Harbour to Canada Place in Downtown, so you could start your walk or ride from there. From the south side of the park, the seawall continues for another 28 km (17 miles) along Vancouver's waterfront to the University of British Columbia, making it the longest shoreside path in the world, and allowing for a pleasant, if ambitious, day's bike ride. Along the seawall, cyclists must wear helmets and stay on their side of the path. Within Stanley Park, cyclists must ride in a counterclockwise direction. The seawall can get crowded on summer weekends, but inside the park is a 27-km (16-mile) network of peaceful walking and cycling paths through old- and second-growth forest. The wheelchair-accessible Beaver Lake Interpretive Trail is a good choice if you're interested in park ecology. Take a map—they're available at the park-information booth and many of the concession stands—and don't go into the woods alone or after dusk.

    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • 9. Vancouver Aquarium

    Stanley Park

    Massive floor-to-ceiling windows let you get face-to-face with sea otters, sea lions, dolphins, and harbor seals at this award-winning research and educational facility. In the...

    Massive floor-to-ceiling windows let you get face-to-face with sea otters, sea lions, dolphins, and harbor seals at this award-winning research and educational facility. In the Amazon Gallery you walk through a rain-forest jungle populated with piranhas, caimans, and tropical birds; in summer, hundreds of free-flying butterflies add to the mix. The Tropic Zone is home to exotic freshwater and saltwater life, including clown fish, moray eels, and black-tip reef sharks. Other displays, many with hands-on features for kids, show the underwater life of coastal British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic. Sea lion and dolphin shows, as well as dive shows (where divers swim with aquatic life, including sharks) are held daily. Be sure to check out the stingray touch pool, as well as the "4-D" film experience (it's a multisensory show that puts mist, smell, and wind into the 3-D equation). For an extra fee, you can help the trainers feed and train otters, belugas, and sea lions. There's also a café and a gift shop. Be prepared for lines on weekends and school holidays. In summer, the quietest time to visit is before 11 am or after 4 pm; in other seasons, the crowds are smaller before noon or after 2 pm.

    845 Avison Way, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6G 3E2, Canada
    604-659–3474-information line

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$42
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  • 10. VanDusen Botanical Garden

    Cambie

    An Elizabethan maze, a formal rose garden, a meditation garden, and a collection of Canadian heritage plants are among the many displays at this 55-acre...

    An Elizabethan maze, a formal rose garden, a meditation garden, and a collection of Canadian heritage plants are among the many displays at this 55-acre site. The collections include flora from every continent and many rare and endangered species. The Phyllis Bentall Garden area features hybrid water lilies and carnivorous plants (a hit with kids). From mid-May to early June the Laburnum Walk forms a canopy of gold; in August and September the wildflower meadow is in bloom. The garden is also home to five lakes, a garden shop, a library, and the Truffles Café (serving breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea) and Shaughnessy Restaurant. Special events throughout the year include the spectacular Christmas-theme Festival of Lights every December. From Downtown, catch the Oak Bus 17 directly to the garden entrance; alternatively, ride the Canada Line to Oakridge/41st Street, then take the UBC Bus 41 to Oak Street, and walk four blocks north to the garden. Queen Elizabeth Park is a 1-km (½-mile) walk away, along West 37th Avenue. Because this was once a golf course, pathways make this garden extremely wheelchair accessible.

    5251 Oak St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6M 4H1, Canada
    604-257–8335-garden

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$11.25 Apr.–Sept.; C$8 Oct.–Mar., June–Aug., daily 9–9; Apr.–May and Sept.–Oct, daily from 9 am, Nov.–Mar. daily from 10 am (call for seasonal closing times)
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  • 11. Ambleside Park and Beach

    Just off Marine Drive at the foot of 13th Street, this long stretch of sand is West Vancouver's most popular beach. There are tennis courts,...

    Just off Marine Drive at the foot of 13th Street, this long stretch of sand is West Vancouver's most popular beach. There are tennis courts, volleyball nets, and a water park in the summer, as well as superb views of Stanley Park from all along the Seawall. There's also a pitch and putt course and a huge off-leash area for dogs. Just west of the park, the historic Ferry Building is now a small art gallery. A half-hour walk west along the Seawall path takes you to another beach at Dundarave. West Vancouver's Marine Drive continues west to several quiet litte beaches, including (from east to west) West Bay, Sandy Cove, Caulfeild Park, and Kew Beach. Amenities: food and drink; parking; showers; toilets. Best for: sunrise; swimming; walking.

    Argyle Ave. at 13th St., West Vancouver, British Columbia, V7T 1C2, Canada
  • 12. BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

    Yaletown

    Inside the BC Place Stadium complex, this museum celebrates the province's sports achievers in a series of historical displays. One gallery commemorates the 2010 Winter...

    Inside the BC Place Stadium complex, this museum celebrates the province's sports achievers in a series of historical displays. One gallery commemorates the 2010 Winter Olympics that were held in Vancouver; another honors the province's aboriginal artists. You can test your sprinting, climbing, and throwing prowess in the high-tech participation gallery. The Scavenger History Hunt quiz is equally engaging though not as energetic. An hour-long audio tour is included with admission. As you leave the museum, the Terry Fox Memorial is to your left. Created by artist Douglas Coupland, this series of four statues, each larger than the next, was built in honor of Terry Fox (1958–81), a local student whose cross-Canada run—after he lost his leg to cancer—raised millions of dollars for cancer research. Although Fox succumbed to the disease before he could complete his "Marathon of Hope," a memorial fund-raising run is now held annually in cities across Canada and around the world.

    777 Pacific Blvd. S, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 3C1, Canada
    604-687–5520

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$18, Daily 10–5
  • 13. Beaty Biodiversity Museum

    Point Grey

    If you can imagine a vast underground library but instead of books, the stacks are filled with bones, fossils, and preserved lizards, then you can...

    If you can imagine a vast underground library but instead of books, the stacks are filled with bones, fossils, and preserved lizards, then you can begin to imagine this modern museum on the UBC campus that exhibits more than 2 million specimens from the university’s natural history collections. The most striking attraction hangs in the entrance atrium: a 25-meter-long (82-foot-long) skeleton of a blue whale—the largest on view in Canada (the blue whale in New York’s American Museum of Natural History is 94 feet long). On the lower level, you’ll find scads of animal skulls, taxidermied birds, and other creatures displayed through glass windows (many of which are at kids’ eye level). In the interactive Discovery Lab, you can play scientist yourself; you might compare the claws of different birds or examine animal poop under a microscope. There’s also a family space stocked with books, art supplies, and kid-size furniture. To find the museum from the university bus loop, walk west to the Main Mall and turn left; the museum is just south of University Boulevard. A Museums and Gardens Pass will save you money if you’re planning to visit several attractions at UBC.

    2212 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Canada
    604-827–4955

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$14, Closed Mon., Tues.–Sun. 10–5
  • 14. Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site

    Linked to Steveston's historic waterfront, this 8-acre park offers a rare glimpse of life within a once-thriving mix of canneries, boatyards, residences, and stores. Britannia...

    Linked to Steveston's historic waterfront, this 8-acre park offers a rare glimpse of life within a once-thriving mix of canneries, boatyards, residences, and stores. Britannia Heritage Shipyard dates back to 1885 and is the oldest remaining shipyard structure on the Fraser River. Weathered to a silver-gray color by a century of exposure, many of the buildings are the last examples of their type on the entire coast. Several buildings have been restored. These include Murakami House, once the three-room home of the 11-member Murakami family; boatworks buildings; shipyard residences; stilt houses; the last surviving Chinese bunkhouse on the west coast; and a board-and-batten First Nations House similar to traditional 19th-century Coast Salish longhouses. Year-round programs include the restoration of wooden boats.

    5180 Westwater Dr., Richmond, British Columbia, V7E 6P3, Canada
    604-238–8050

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, May–Sept., Tues.–Sun. 10–6; Oct.–Apr., Sat. 10–4, Sun. 12–4
  • 15. Byrnes Block

    Gastown

    After the 1886 Great Fire, which wiped out most of the fledgling settlement of Vancouver, George Byrnes built what is now Vancouver's oldest brick building....

    After the 1886 Great Fire, which wiped out most of the fledgling settlement of Vancouver, George Byrnes built what is now Vancouver's oldest brick building. It now houses shops and offices, but for a while this two-story building was Vancouver's top luxury hotel, the Alhambra Hotel, charging a dollar a night. The site of Deighton's original saloon, east of the Byrnes Block where his statue now stands, is the starting point from which all Vancouver street addresses begin.

    2 Water St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 1A4, Canada
  • 16. Canada Place

    Downtown

    Extending four city blocks (about a mile and a half) north into Burrard Inlet, this complex mimics the style and size of a luxury ocean...

    Extending four city blocks (about a mile and a half) north into Burrard Inlet, this complex mimics the style and size of a luxury ocean liner, complete with exterior esplanades and a landmark roofline that resembles five sails (it was made with NASA-invented material: a Teflon-coated fiberglass once used in astronaut space suits). Home to Vancouver's cruise-ship terminal, Canada Place can accommodate up to four liners at once. Altogether, the giant building is definitely worth a look and the very cool Flyover Canada ( 604/620–8455, www.flyovercanada.com) attraction, a simulated flight that takes you on a soaring and swooping virtual voyage across the country, is an excellent reason to go inside. If this dramatic journey above Niagara Falls, the Rocky Mountains, and the vast Arctic sparks your curiosity about other parts of Canada, follow the Canadian Trail on the west side of the building, which has displays about the country's provinces and territories. Use your smartphone or tablet to access multimedia content along the way: there's free Wi-Fi. Canada Place is also home to the posh Pan Pacific Hotel and the east wing of the Vancouver Convention Centre. On its western side stands the newer and much larger convention center—its plaza stages the 2010 Olympic cauldron and the Digital Orca sculpture by Canadian artist Douglas Coupland. A waterfront promenade from Canada Place winds all the way to (and around) Stanley Park, with spectacular vantage points from which to view Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains; plaques posted at intervals have historical information about the city and its waterfront. At the Port of Vancouver Discovery Centre at Canada Place, at the north end of the Canada Place complex, you can take in a history wall with artifacts, imagery, and interactive displays.

    999 Canada Pl. Way, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 3E1, Canada
    604-665–9000

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Flyover Canada C$29, Discovery Centre Free
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  • 17. Capilano River Regional Park

    This small but spectacular park is where you'll find old-growth Douglas fir trees approaching 61 meters (200 feet). There are 26 km (16 miles) of...

    This small but spectacular park is where you'll find old-growth Douglas fir trees approaching 61 meters (200 feet). There are 26 km (16 miles) of hiking trails and footbridges over the Capilano River, which cuts through a dramatic gorge. At the park's Capilano River Hatchery (4500 Capilano Park Rd., 604/666–1790), viewing areas and exhibits illustrate the life cycle of the salmon. The best time to see the salmon run is between July and November. The Cleveland Dam (Capilano Rd., about 1½ km [1 mile] past main park entrance) is at the north end of the park. Built in 1954, it dams the Capilano River to create the 5½-km-long (3½-mile-long) Capilano Reservoir. A hundred yards from the parking lot, you can walk across the top of the dam to enjoy striking views of the reservoir and mountains behind it. The two sharp peaks to the west are the Lions, for which the Lions Gate Bridge is named. The park is off Capilano Road in North Vancouver, just north of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

    Capilano Park Rd., North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7R 4L2, Canada
    604-224–5739

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Park daily 8–dusk. Hatchery June–Aug., daily 8–8; May and Sept., daily 8–7; Apr. and Oct., daily 8–6; Nov.–Mar., daily 8–4
  • 18. Capilano Suspension Bridge

    At Vancouver's oldest tourist attraction (the original bridge was built in 1889), you can get a taste of rain forest scenery and test your mettle...

    At Vancouver's oldest tourist attraction (the original bridge was built in 1889), you can get a taste of rain forest scenery and test your mettle on the swaying, 450-foot cedar-plank suspension bridge that hangs 230 feet above the rushing Capilano River. Across the bridge is the Treetops Adventure, where you can walk along 650 feet of cable bridges suspended among the trees. If you're even braver, you can follow the Cliffwalk, a series of narrow cantilevered bridges and walkways hanging out over the edge of the canyon. Without crossing the bridge, you can enjoy the site's viewing decks, nature trails, and totem park, as well as history and forestry exhibits. There's also a massive gift shop in the original 1911 teahouse, and a restaurant. May through October, guides in 19th-century costumes conduct free tours on themes related to history, nature, or ecology, while fiddle bands, and other entertainers keep things lively. In December, more than 1.5 million lights illuminate the canyon during the Canyon Lights winter celebration. Catch the attraction's free shuttle service from Canada Place; it also stops at hotels along Burrard and Robson streets.

    3735 Capilano Rd., North Vancouver, British Columbia, V7R 4J1, Canada
    877-985-7474

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: C$53.95; Parking: $7.50, Mid-May–Labor Day, daily 8:30–8; Labor Day–mid-Oct. and mid-Mar.–mid-Apr. daily 9–6; mid-Oct.–Nov. and Jan–mid-Mar., daily 9–5; Dec. daily 11–9; mid-Apr.–mid-May daily 9–7
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  • 19. Cathedral Place

    Downtown

    One of Vancouver's most handsome postmodern buildings, the 23-story Shaw Tower at Cathedral Place has a faux-copper roof that mimics that of the Fairmont Hotel...

    One of Vancouver's most handsome postmodern buildings, the 23-story Shaw Tower at Cathedral Place has a faux-copper roof that mimics that of the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver nearby. The three large sculptures of nurses at the building's corners are replicas of the statues that adorned the Georgia Medical–Dental Building, the art deco structure that previously occupied this site. Step into the lobby to see another interesting sculpture: Robert Studer's Navigational Device, suspended high up on the north wall. The small garden courtyard, which also leads to the entrance of the Bill Reid Gallery, is an unexpected respite from Downtown's bustle.

    925 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6C 3L2, Canada
    604-669–3312
  • 20. Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives

    Chinatown | Museum/Gallery

    The Chinese have a rich, grueling, and enduring history in British Columbia, and it's well represented in this Ming Dynasty–style facility....

    The Chinese have a rich, grueling, and enduring history in British Columbia, and it's well represented in this Ming Dynasty–style facility. The art gallery upstairs hosts traveling exhibits by Chinese and Canadian artists, and an on-site military museum recalls the role of Chinese Canadians in the two world wars. Across the street is the Chinatown Memorial Monument, commemorating the Chinese-Canadian community's contribution to the city, province, and country. The monument, shaped in the Chinese character "zhong," symbolizing moderation and harmony, is flanked by bronze statues of a railroad worker and a World War II soldier.

    555 Columbia St., Vancouver, British Columbia, V6A 4H5, Canada
    604-658–8880

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: By donation, Closed Mon.

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