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Queen Elizabeth Park | © Hayley Simpson
Queen Elizabeth Park | © Hayley Simpson
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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Vancouver

Picture of Hayley Simpson
Writer
Updated: 4 May 2017
Vancouver is one of Canada’s most popular cities, full of fun things to do, places to see and neighbourhoods to enjoy. Here are 20 attractions you must visit during your next trip to Vancouver.
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Stanley Park

One of the biggest urban parks in North America, Stanley Park is nearly entirely surrounded by water. There’s plenty to see in and around the park, like its beaches, lagoon and lake, with stunning views from every angle, and its seawall, where you can exercise. Stanley Park is also the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, at 28 kilometres (17 miles).

Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 681 6728

Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tour | © Hayley Simpson

Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tour | © Hayley Simpson

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FlyOver Canada

Called the “ultimate flying ride”, FlyOver Canada takes visitors on a journey across the country through state-of-the-art technology; i.e., suspending them by their feet and dangling them over a spherical screen! The special effects and motions make this an unforgettable Vancouver experience.

FlyOver Canada, 201-999 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 620 8455

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Gastown

Gastown is Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhood, and it’s located just next door to the downtown area. Highlights in the area – besides the food and drinks – include the steam clock (one of only a few left in the world), Hotel Europe’s Flatiron Building-like exterior and Gassy Jack’s statue.

Gastown, Vancouver, BC

Gastown's Hotel Europe | © Hayley Simpson

Gastown’s Hotel Europe | © Hayley Simpson

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Metropolis at Metrotown

For shopping lovers, a visit to Vancouver isn’t complete without checking out the stores in British Columbia’s largest mall. Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby (in the Greater Vancouver area) is also the third largest mall in Canada, with over 400 stores across four floors. It has shops for everyone on every budget: from Forever21 and Old Navy to Michael Kors and Guess.

Metropolis at Metrotown, 4700 Kingsway #604, Burnaby, BC, +1 604 438 4715

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Granville Island

A little peninsula over the bridge from Vancouver’s city centre, Granville Island is known for its thriving artists’ community, brewery and public market. The market is open every day and features a food court and stalls selling fresh produce, delicious treats and handmade products. Its waterside location makes for picturesque photos, too.

Granville Island, Vancouver, BC

Granville Island Public Market Entrance | © Hayley Simpson

Granville Island Public Market Entrance | © Hayley Simpson

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Vancouver Aquarium

Located within Stanley Park, Vancouver Aquarium is a popular local attraction. As a non-profit organisation, the aquarium is “dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through education, research and direct action”. Some of the animals include dolphins, sea otters, penguins, reef sharks, rays (which you can touch!) and sea lions.

Vancouver Aquarium, 845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 659 3474

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Science World

Science World has hundreds of interactive exhibits inside its interesting geodesic dome exterior, including art displays, hands-on areas, live science shows, puzzles, and the current Made in Canada exhibition. Another feature is its OMNIMAX Theatre, which is currently showing A Beautiful Planet.

Science World at TELUS World of Science, 1455 Quebec Street, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 443 7440

Science World | © Hayley Simpson

Science World | © Hayley Simpson

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Museum of Anthropology

Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology is located in Point Grey, on the University of British Columbia’s beautiful campus. It’s known for having one of the world’s finest collections of Northwest Coast First Nations art. Its building is an award-winning design too, by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson.

Museum of Anthropology, 6393 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 822 5087

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Queen Elizabeth Park

Hiding in Stanley Park’s shadow is Queen Elizabeth Park. This 130 acre park in suburban Vancouver offers stunning views of the city and its surrounding mountains. It’s perfect to visit in every season, thanks to the ever-changing vista. People can wander the grounds outside, or head inside to Bloedel Conservatory and its indoor tropical garden.

Queen Elizabeth Park, 4600 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 873 7000

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Grouse Mountain

One of three major mountains in North Vancouver, Grouse Mountain has a cable car, which means it’s an accessible place to visit in both winter and summer. Around the holidays, the mountain transforms into the Peak of Christmas, with ice skating, Santa photos, sleigh rides and the usual winter activities. In summer, tackle the Grouse Grind and then enjoy the Lumberjack Show on top of the mountain.

Grouse Mountain, 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver, BC, +1 604 980 9311

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BC Place

Labelled as Western Canada’s premier venue for live events, BC Place is a glowing piece of the city’s skyline. It has a retractable roof, which is the largest of its kind in the world. It hosts concerts, as well as Vancouver Whitecaps and BC Lions games. It’s also home to BC Sports Hall of Fame.

BC Place, 777 Pacific Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 669 2300

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Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest gallery in Western Canada, and features both historical and contemporary exhibits by regional, national and international artists. It’s housed in the former provincial courthouse, and its exterior is used in many films and TV shows.

Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 662 4700

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Kitsilano Beach

Known to locals as Kits or Kits Beach, Kitsilano Beach is where you will find a lot of residents in the summertime. There’s ample park space around the beach for picnics, plus volleyball nets and Kitsilano Pool. The 137 metre outdoor pool is Vancouver’s only saltwater swimming pool, open from mid-May to mid-September.

Kitsilano Beach Park, 1499 Arbutus Street, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 873 7000

City views from Kitsilano Pool and Beach | © Kyle Pearce / Flickr

City views from Kitsilano Pool and Beach | © Kyle Pearce / Flickr

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Commercial Drive

One of Vancouver’s hippest neighbourhoods, Commercial Drive’s main hub runs from Venables Street in the north to 13th Avenue in the south. There are over 400 businesses here, which are predominantly owner-operated. Whether you’re searching for food, locally-brewed beers or a quirky boutique, the Drive has it all.

Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC

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Lighthouse Park

Found in West Vancouver, Lighthouse Park is one of the most scenic parks on the West Coast. There are many hikes that take people along the coastline or through acres of Douglas firs, but seeing the lighthouse on the cliff is the best part.

Lighthouse Park, 4902 Beacon Lane, West Vancouver, BC, +1 604 925 7275

Lighthouse Park | © Lucian Savluc / Flickr

Lighthouse Park | © Lucian Savluc / Flickr

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Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of Vancouver’s top tourist attractions. Besides the bridge, which is suspended above the North Vancouver forest, there’s also a cliff walk, other foot bridges, a story centre and treetop adventures.

Capilano Suspension Bridge, 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver, BC, +1 604 985 7474

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Museum of Vancouver

The Museum of Vancouver’s mission is to “inspire a deeper understanding of Vancouver through stories, objects and shared experiences”. It achieves this through exhibits on the city’s history, plus a First Nations art and artefacts collection.

Museum of Vancouver, 1100 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 736 4431

Museum of Vancouver | © Guilhem Vellut / Flickr

Museum of Vancouver | © Guilhem Vellut / Flickr

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English Bay

English Bay’s First Beach is the most populated beach area in Downtown Vancouver. Although it’s known for being the place to watch the annual Celebration of Lights festival, English Bay is also at the end of West End’s Denman Street, which is filled with food and drink options. Head here for a sunset you won’t forget.

English Bay, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 873 7000

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Vancouver Lookout

Vancouver Lookout offers 360 degree views of Vancouver and beyond. Its Observation Deck is 168.8 metres (553.16 feet) above Vancouver. The lookout’s UFO-shaped design is the main feature of Vancouver’s skyline.

Vancouver Lookout, 555 W Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 689 0421

Sunset from Vancouver Lookout | © gags9999 / Fickr

Sunset from Vancouver Lookout | © gags9999 / Flickr

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VanDusen Botanical Garden

VanDusen Botanical Garden is close to Queen Elizabeth Park in suburban Vancouver. Although it doesn’t offer the views of the park, VanDusen is a large garden filled with various plants and flowers. It also transforms into a light-filled wonderland during the holidays.

VanDusen Botanical Garden, 5251 Oak Street, Vancouver, BC, +1 604 257 8335