Find Thrilling Things to do in Vancouver
One of the best things about staying on Robson Street is that when you wander out to the sidewalk there will be a steady flow of people. Not an insane crush of humanity, just a steady stream of folks. And not just West End residents on their way to and from work, but people from everywhere - Europe, Asia, The Americas. A veritable vertical mosaic of culture. Every one of them chatting, drinking endless lattes and cappucinos, and looking for a great bargain or the perfect sushi dinner. Listen carefully try to identify the languages - one local counted 19 just walking from Burrard to Jervis! So, aside from just drinking in the cosmopolitan feeling of this city, what else to do?
Hop on a trolley, rent a bike, take a cab or just put on your best walking shoes and head out. The best Vancouver attractions are never more than 15 to 20 minutes away via some form of transportation or another.
Take a stroll through Stanley Park, the largest city park in Canada. Hundreds of acres of lush green forest, pristine lakes and grassy meadows. Check out the family picnics at 2nd Beach, the cricket game at Brockton Oval, the water park at Lumbermans Arch, the rose gardens, dodge a marathoner on the 10 km seawall or befriend the adorable sea otters at the Vancouver Aquarium.
If youre feeling ambitious, walk across Lions Gate Bridge and stop midway for a bird's-eye view of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore mountains. Cypress, Grouse and Seymour are the major mountains you see and the source of endless outdoor activity. If you're game, strap on your skis, lace up your skates or just tie up your hiking boots and head on up...way up!
Its hard to believe that 100 years ago it was so quiet on Burrard Inlet you could holler across to call a ferry (think rowboat) to come and get you. Nowadays, we recommend the SeaBus as a preferred mode of transport across the inlet. From your comfortable vantage on this floating bus, take a gander at Canada's largest and busiest port. The cranes are for loading and unloading the endless parade of cargo ships, and in case youre wondering - the huge mountains of fluorescent yellow are sulphur.
Anyhow, back to Robson Street. Why not turn right when you leave the lobby? A block past the crush of stores and restaurants youll find the Vancouver Art Gallery. It is moot what other exhibits are on what you must see is the paintings of Emily Carr. A contemporary of the Group of Seven and a curmudgeonly but wonderful woman who lived most of her life in Victoria surrounded by dogs, cats and monkeys, Emily Carr painted the essence of British Columbia. She captured the hugeness of the forest, the green-ness, and the grand-ness in paintings like The Red Cedar and A Skidegate Pole.
Head south on Hornby Street, under the bridge and on the south shores of False Creek youll find Granville Island. Its part farmers market, part artist studio and part magnet for the creative and curious. Watch buskers, glassblowers, bakers and candlestick makers all peddle their wares. Entertain dreams of living in one of those thoroughly charming houseboats, feed the sea gulls, watch the kayakers. When its time to head back to the West End head to the end of the dock near the Arts Club Theatre and hop on board a False Creek Ferry and bob across to Science World or the Maritime Museum. From Science World youre not far from historical Chinatown home of the Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden and some of the most exotic seafood vendors this side of the Pacific.
If youre staying in one of our Museum Floor rooms you're probably curious about British Columbia's aboriginal First Nations culture. If so, you'll need to head out to the University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology to see their Haida longhouse, their forest of totems and the remarkable Bill Reid sculpture The Raven and the First Men, plus thousands of other artifacts. While you're there - if you're feeling brave - wander down the trail to Wreck Beach, one of the most famous nude beaches in the world!
Are you a garden fan, then check out Nitobe Gardens, the rose gardens at UBC, the VanDusen Gardens or the Queen Elizabeth Arboretum. The rose garden at Stanley Park is just north of Lost Lagoon and well worth strolling through. The city has countless community gardens, the Strathcona one is a favourite and well worth hunting for, it is off Prior Street near Hawkes. There are two great ones in the West End, Mole Hill is located in the lane between Comox and Pendrell, Bute and Thurlow and there is one right next to the Aquatic Centre (a great place for a swim by the way!)
For festival fiends there is the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Playhouse International Wine Festival, Writers and Readers Festival, Theatre under the Stars, Bard on the Beach, the Childrens Festival and some of the finest choirs and jazz performers anywhere - we have a lot of the latter right downstairs at O'Douls!
And whether you like to play or watch sports there is plenty to amuse. Over a dozen golf courses within the city limits, three great mountains beckoning hikers, skiers and snowboarders, and teams like the Canucks and Ravens and annual events like the Molson Indy are all waiting.
So get out there! Check out this city, its amazing sites and vistas, its restaurants and theatres. Take it all in, and come back again soon.
LWH Top 10 must see attractions
Stanley Park, Vancouver's first park, is an evergreen oasis of 400 hectares (1,000 acres) close to the heart of Vancouver's downtown core. Its natural west coast atmosphere offering a back drop of majestic cedar, hemlock and fir trees embraces visitors and transports them to an environment rich in tranquility.
The Vancouver Aquarium has become the largest in Canada and one of the five largest in North America and is home to 60,000 aquatic creatures, comprised of 800 different species. The Aquarium is internationally recognized for display and interpretation excellence, and was the first facility to incorporate professional naturalists/interpretive specialists into galleries to explain animal behaviors.
Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery, the largest art gallery in western Canada, presents national and international exhibitions of works by a range of artists, from groundbreaking contemporary visionaries to historical masters. Founded in 1931, the Gallery has more than 7,900 works in its collection, valued at over $100 million.
Museum of Anthropology
Vancouver's Museum of Anthropology is Canada's largest teaching museum, located in a spectacular building overlooking mountains and sea - its collections, exhibitions and programs renowned for giving access and insight into the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world.
English Bay is an eclectic community located in the West End portion of Vancouver's downtown core. Its main thoroughfares, Denman and Davie Streets, are lively, vibrant and decidedly upbeat. They cut through an area that manages to be one of the most densely populated districts in Canada, and yet, there's a certain calming presence about the place - it's easy to find yourself strolling along one of its quiet, tree-lined streets following the fragrance of the sea down to its expansive beach.
Surrounded by marinas and enriched by views, Granville Island is located on the south shore of False Creek, in Downtown Vancouver. Granville Island is connected to the city by a causeway, epitomizing the West Coast outdoorsy lifestyle. Day and night, it's a thriving warren of shops, public markets, artists' studios, restaurants, theatres, nightclubs and galleries.
This is North America's second biggest Chinatown, after San Francisco's. There are lots of interesting markets and stores, wonderful restaurants and gardens.
Fun for children and adults alike, Science World features hundreds of interactive exhibits in five unique galleries, wrap-around movies in the giant OMNIMAX® Theatre, five live science demonstrations every day at Centre Stage and year-round special events and extraordinary things to do.
High above towering Douglas fir, breathtaking views of the city of Vancouver, sparkling Pacific Ocean, Gulf Islands, and snowy peaks unfold as you journey up the mountainside. North America's largest aerial tramway is your gateway to the majestic nature of the Peak of Vancouver, and an experience in itself.
Historic Gastown is a refreshing mix of old and new, downhome and upscale, a place for tourists, Vancouver residents and office workers alike. Various shops have the streets buzzing during the day. A host of restaurants and nightspots keeps the area humming into the wee hours.