things to do in vancouver

Stanley Park & Horse-Drawn Tours

Stanley Park is Vancouver's largest, and most beloved urban park. Explore the 400-hectare natural West Coast rainforest and enjoy scenic views of water, mountains, sky, and majestic trees along Stanley Park's famous Seawall. Discover kilometres of trails, beautiful beaches, local wildlife, great eats, natural, cultural and historical landmarks, along with many other adventures. The park offers a wide range of unforgettable experiences for all ages and interests, including Canada’s largest aquarium.

 

Step aboard one these old-fashioned horse-drawn vehicles and take a relaxed trip through the natural beauty of Stanley Park, Vancouver's number one attraction.


The Vancouver Aquarium

With a worldwide reputation as a leading marine science centre, the Vancouver Aquarium was the country’s first public aquarium when it opened in 1956, and is Canada’s largest. It is home to more than 70,000 animals, more than 60,000 children take advantage of its school programs each year, and each year it welcomes more than 1 million visitors from around the world. The numbers are impressive, but it’s the actual wildlife — the whales, otters, snakes, dolphins and more — that amaze the hundreds of thousands who pass through the door of the aquarium each year, which is situated in the middle of Stanley Park just on the outskirts of downtown Vancouver.


Chinatown

Few neighbourhoods in Vancouver embody the city’s history, diverse cultures and vibrant future like  Chinatown. Located on the eastern side of downtown Vancouver, the bustling district is North America’s third largest Chinatown by population, after those in San Francisco and New York. Its roots trace back to the late 1800s, when early Chinese immigrants who arrived to work on B.C.’s railroads and in the mines were settled in a ghetto on the edge of the city. With time, the neighbourhood grew into a proud centre of Chinese culture, home to traditional restaurants, markets, temples and gardens, as well as a booming business district. Today, Chinatown reflects this rich heritage but is also in the midst of a renaissance, with trendy bars and restaurants reclaiming historic spaces.


Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Named the World’s Top City Garden by National Geographic, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is the first classical Chinese Garden in Canada. It is the perfect place to visit year-round, with covered walkways and beautiful pavilions protecting you from Vancouver’s famous rainforest conditions! The jade green pond, koi fish, collection of 150-year old miniature trees and tai hu rock imported from China, are some of the delights the Garden offers. Built in 1986 by fifty-three master craftsmen from China and 950 crates of traditional material, it was constructed using 14th century methods - no glue, screws or power tools were used. The Garden offers free guided tours and traditional Chinese tea as well as one of a kind finds at the Eight Treasures Shop. It is wheelchair accessible and family friendly (entry includes a scavenger hunt for children!)


Grouse Mountain

Also referred to as the Peak of Vancouver, Grouse Mountain is Vancouver’s most visited attraction, and has a unique combination of adventure, sophisticated leisure, and rugged recreation truly make it a must-see destination. Take gondola up to get a spectacular bird's-eye view of the city, or if you're fit, hike 3 gruelling kilometres to reach the summit.


Vancouver Art Gallery

If you don’t equate Vancouver with the fine arts, it’s time you discovered the Vancouver Art Gallery. Housed (for the time being — its new home will be built at West Georgia and Cambie) in a beautiful neoclassical courthouse located in the thick of Robson Street’s hustle-and-bustle, the Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest public art museum in Western Canada. Spend an afternoon exploring photographs by masters such as Ansel Adams, as well as important works by Emily Carr and other respected British Columbian artists. Read on for everything you need to know about this downtown highlight.


Vancouver Lookout

Located in the downtown Harbour Centre, the Vancouver Lookout, at a height of 130 metres (430 feet), is the perfect place to survey the city and plan - or reflect upon - your day.


Science World

Ignite your mind and discover the wonders of science with popular, hands on interactive displays, inspirational feature exhibitions, jaw-dropping science demonstrations on Centre Stage, immersive films in the domed OMNIMAX® Theatre and awesome shows in the Science Theatre.


Fly Over Canada

See Canada like never before at Vancouver's new must-see attraction! FlyOver Canada is a breathtaking, all-ages, flight simulation ride like no other. Take off into a huge dome screen with the latest in projection and ride technology creating a true flying experience, complete with wind, scents, and mist!


Capilano Suspension Bridge

Make your way across the swaying suspension bridge, which stretches 137 metres (450 feet) across a canyon and the Capilano River 70 metres (230 feet) below. Then explore the beautifully lush fir- and fern-carpeted forests via a series of elevated suspension bridges in the Treetops Adventure, and the thrilling Cliffwalk.


H.R. Macmillan Space Centre

No trip to Vancouver would be complete without a visit to the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, BC’s top space attraction that brings the wonders of space to Earth, while providing a personal sense of ongoing discovery. Kids, adults, the entire family — there's something for everyone.


VanDusen Botanical Garden

Explore VanDusen Botanical Garden, an inspiring 55 acre outdoor oasis with over 7,500 plant species and varieties. Spot and photograph local wildlife, enjoy the hedge maze with the kids and relax in a serene setting located in the heart of Vancouver.


Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver’s horticultural jewel, is a major draw for floral display enthusiasts and view-seekers, and as a popular backdrop for wedding photos. At 152 metres above sea level, it’s the highest point in Vancouver and makes for spectacular views of the park, city, and mountains on the North Shore. The 52-hectare park is home to the stunning Bloedel Conservatory. There is also a gorgeously landscaped quarry garden, the arboretum with its collection of exotic and native trees, sculptures including one by internationally renowned artist Henry Moore, and diverse recreational offerings such as tennis, lawn bowling and pitch & putt. The park is also the perfect setting for fine dining at Seasons in the Park, a picnic or stargazing!


Granville Island

Granville Island is a peninsula and shopping district in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It is located across False Creek from Downtown Vancouver under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge. The peninsula was once an industrial manufacturing area, but today it is a hotspot for Vancouver tourism and entertainment. The area has received much acclaim in recent years for its buildings and shopping experience.


Britannia Mine Museum

Greatest show under earth! Britannia Mine Museum opens up a little-seen world that fascinates all ages, turning out awe-inspiring sights and memorable family experiences. 

  • Rumble aboard our underground train as it rolls into authentic mining tunnels. 
  • Push up your sleeves and try our Gold Panning Pavilion where you can keep what you find. 
  • Explore 10 acres of historic buildings, including our massive Mill No. 3.
  • Learn and engage with our interactive exhibits.
  • Take a tour with informative but informal tour guides sharing fun facts about mining, history and life at Britannia. 


Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel

Visitors to this unique attraction will be transported  to the 1920s as they stroll down the streets of the village exploring at their own pace. Period costumed townsfolk welcome visitors and give demonstrations in the homes, businesses and shops. Visitors can feel the heat of the forge in the Blacksmith Shop, hear the rhythm of the platen press at the Print Shop, and smell the coffee as its being ground in the General Store. A walk up the path to the Love Farmhouse is always rewarding. Visitors will discover what's growing in the gardens and maybe even churn some butter on the porch. A stop into the Tram Barn reveals a restored 1912 Interurban Tram; visitors are encouraged to take a seat and imagine a trip on the region’s early transportation system. Another treasure from 1912 is the C.W. Parker Carousel. Riders, of all ages, can experience the thrill of this vintage machine.


Kitsilano Beach

If Vancouver is "Hollywood North," then Kitsilano Beach, known as "Kits Beach" to locals, is our Venice Beach. Buff and bronzed bodies are sure to make their rounds, but don't be worry, you're sure to fit in somewhere among the mix of joggers, stroller-pushing families, sun-worshippers and your everyday loungers. Grassy patches above the tide line are perfect for tossing the disc, the tennis courts are always popular, and the beach attracts volleyball players from all over the city. And don't forget Kits Pool where kids and adults can splash away the day in an outdoor, heated salt-water pool with a wrap-around view of the city, ocean and mountains. It's almost three times the size of an Olympic pool.


Spanish Banks

To commemorate the discovery of the Spanish explorers in 1792, the British named this particular shore Spanish Banks. The least crowded of Vancouver's beaches, this stretch of sand is a wonderful retreat for those who wish to escape from the pace of city life. Skimmers alert: this is the perfect place for skim boarding once you learn the optimal tidal conditions.


*List compiled by Tourism Vancouver