Whether you’re a tourist, visitor or new citizen of Vancouver, this city has marvellous places which would be a shame to miss out on. If you’ve got a free weekend ahead, or trying to think of a place to take your kids, make sure you look into my top picks for Vancouver fun and sightseeing – for families or individuals.
1. Canada Place
2. Vancouver Lookout
3. Science World
4. Vancouver Art Gallery
6. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
7. Capilano Suspension Bridge
8. Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
9. Grouse Mountain
10. Historic Gastown
11. Burnaby Village Museum
12. Stanley Park
13. The Vancouver Aquarium
14. Granville Island
15. Robson Street
Canada Place is definitely one of the most spectacular spots to visit in Vancouver. It is a combination of cruise ship and convention centre with a hotel inside, and it represents one of the best architectural delights the city has to offer, right on the waterfront. The panoramic view of North Vancouver and the surrounding mountains makes it an ideal place for taking dates or taking pictures – or just watching the city pulse.
The Vancouver Lookout tower sits atop Harbour Center and with its 360° observation deck, it's one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver. By taking a ride in the rapid glass elevator you'll get 147 m above street level in a mere 40 seconds. Aside from admiring spectacular views of Vancouver, you can visit the Armstrong Gallery (named after astronaut Neil Armstrong), featuring the art of local artists. There are also historic photo panels documenting how much have the views from the Lookout changed over the years and of course, if you get hungry you can visit the Top of Vancouver Revolting Restaurant with a very special feature – it rotates during the day, so while you're enjoying a tasty meal, the view changes around you.
A great kid-friendly museum that offers prolonged hours of fun and education. It is located on Main Street at the far east end of False Creek. The site also offers a fabulous view of the Vancouver skyline.
Vancouver Art Gallery
Located in the former main Vancouver courthouse, The Vancouver Art Gallery is the fifth-largest art gallery in Canada. The gallery's collection varies from historical, classical artists to more contemporary ones. With its ionic columns, formal porticos, a central dome and ornate stonework, the building itself is a spectacle.
Vancouver’s Chinatown is the largest in Canada, which makes sense considering that Chinese-Canadians make up the largest minority group in the city. Chinatown is filled with great markets, offering the freshest vegetables, mushrooms, oriental medicine and seafood, both fresh and dried. Visitors will enjoy this part of town – it’s loaded with cultural influence, making it unique and fun.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Situated in the heart of Vancouver's Chinatown, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is the first of its kind built outside of China. As a scholars' garden reminiscent of those built in 15th century China, its architecture and choice of foliage is based upon philosophical principles of Taoism and Feng Shui. A multifarious selection of lush plants chosen to emphasize seasonal changes, pond with fish and turtles, pagodas and rock formations representing mountains evoke an overall atmosphere of mystical tranquility.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
For thrill-seekers suffering from low adrenaline levels, the Capilano Suspension Bridge will provide the much needed cure, all set in cedar-scented rain forest trails around North Vancouver’s most famous landmark. During the summer, the park is open from 9 AM until 9 PM, with an admission fee of $25 for adults and $18 for children. British Columbia residents are eligible for a discount that comes with a season pass. The best months to visit are May through September.
Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
Offering similar excitement as above, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is free to visit. While not as high and long as the Capilano, it’s narrower and moves about a lot more. It is a part of the Badon-Powell trail, which is a popular hiking route.
One of the premier attractions of Vancouver, Grouse Mountain offers outdoor sport enthusiasts many activities including skiing and snowboarding (with 25 runs), skating, sleigh riding, snowshoe trails and hiking. You may just catch one of the many events held there, such as the World Famous Lumberjack Show. The Observatory restaurant provides an excellent panoramic view of the downtown area, and the great West Coast cuisine will ensure that nobody leaves hungry. You can also visit the Grouse Mountain Website.
Gassy Jack is a historical figure that you may already have read about in the short history of Vancouver article on this site. He is credited as being one of the most important figures in Vancouver’s past. Just as he would have liked, today Vancouver represents a mix of art and entertainment. It’s full of nightclubs, restaurants, art galleries and studios, but you can find film schools and media and design companies as well. Make sure to check out the steam-powered clock which can be found at the corner of Cambie and Water Street.
Burnaby Village Museum
Burnaby Village, an open air museum, is a reconstructed 1920s village, with more than 30 full scale buildings, some of which are originals, moved from other locations in the community and restored. The costumed staff is representing traditional trades, most popular being the blacksmith, the farmhouse or the print shop. There is also an old interurban tram, which was restored to its original appearance in 2008.
A former marine base turned into a recreational park more than a century ago, Stanley Park offers a wide range of things to do – from renting a bike, hiking, playing golf, swimming in the ocean, water park or heated pool to taking a ride on a miniature replica of a locomotive engine or visiting a farmyard with your children, not to mention the famous Vancouver Aquarium, there is always plenty to do in Stanley Park.
The Vancouver Aquarium
A definite must-see for animal enthusiasts, the Vancouver Aquarium offers a glimpse of more than 60,000 exotic and fantastic living creatures from all over our planet. The aquarium contains a total of 9.5 million litres of water in 166 tanks. Kids will enjoy watching shows with dolphins, whales and belugas which are featured daily. Vancouver Aquarium Website | Google Maps Directions
A unique neighbourhood completely transformed from its industrial past, it’s a fabulous place for shopping or lounging at one of the many cafes. Adults may enjoy the historic beer brewery. Granville Island is located on the picturesque waterfront.
Robson Street (named after the premier of British Columbia from 1889-1892, John Robson) is one of the most famous shopping districts in Vancouver. Nicknamed Robsonstrasse, after strong immigration from postwar Germany, Robson Street was well known for being the center of German commerce and culture in Vancouver. Nowadays, Robson Street is lined with stores of famous world designers as well as smaller boutiques. If you get hungry or thirsty, there are many restaurants, cafes and eateries offering wide variety of cuisines.