Blessed with ocean, mountains, forests, parks, beaches, ski hills, a mild climate and numerous attractions, Vancouver is ranked as one of the world’s best places to live and visit.
CITY INITIATIVES TO COMBAT COVID-19
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the City of Vancouver announced that, as of March 16th, 2020, all civic-owned theatres, rec centres, public libraries and Park Board facilities were closed to the public and would continue to be so for the immediate future. As of the first week of May, this was still the case. Since May 19th, however, some facilities have been reopening.
City Parks themselves did not shut down, although events at them were (including team sports activities). Playgrounds have also been closed, as did parking facilities at some parks including at Kitsilano Beach, English Bay, Queen Elizabeth Park and Stanley Park. As of May 23rd, 2020, parking lots remain closed only at English Bay and Stanley Park).
Places like the Bloedel Conservatory, VanDusen Garden, the Stanley Park Miniature Train and municipal golf courses also ceased operations. As of early May, however, VanDusen Garden has reopened, but with certain restrictions, as have some golf courses.
As of May 9th, municipally-run tennis courts are open again at certain parks including at Kitsilano, Stanley Park, Queen Elizabeth Park, Trout Lake and a couple of other places. Outdoor tennis courts at other City of Vancouver parks and recreation centres have also begun to reopen as of May 15th.
For more information about the municipality’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, see the City of Vancouver website.
For updates on other events and attractions affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus, see our article about COVID-19 in Metro Vancouver.
Vancouver, British Columbia
The City of Vancouver is actually just one of several municipalities within Metro Vancouver. Within the City of Vancouver itself, popular neighbourhoods near the downtown core include Chinatown, Coal Harbour, Gastown, Yaletown and the West End.
For the best places to visit within the entire region, click Top Metro Vancouver Attractions. Otherwise, see below for the top attractions within the city itself. Also, for background information on the City of Vancouver, visit the About Vancouver page.
Vancouver’s Best Places
The City of Vancouver is home to many of the region’s top attractions and places of interest including sandy beaches, parks, museums, shopping districts, historical sites, restaurants and more.
Downtown Vancouver Places
Some of the best places to visit within Vancouver’s downtown core include the following:
- BC Place Stadium – home of the BC Lions and Vancouver Whitecaps.
- Canada Place – with its views of the port and North Shore mountains from its promenade deck.
- Chinatown – the largest one in Canada.
- Coal Harbour – for walks, jogs and cycling while admiring the views.
- Denman Street – a trendy district leading up to English Bay.
- English Bay – Vancouver’s premier downtown beach.
- False Creek – the beautiful strip of water along which runs a walking/cycling path connecting English Bay with Science World, Granville Island and Kitsilano.
- FlyOver Canada – a film and flight simulation ride attraction at Canada Place.
- Gastown – a great shopping and restaurant district in the historic part of the city.
- Granville Street – for shopping and nightlife.
- Pacific Centre – a high-end downtown shopping mall.
- Robson Street – one of Vancouver’s best streets for shopping.
- Robson Square – a popular area at the corner of Robson Street and Howe with free outdoor ice skating in winter.
- Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – a beautiful oasis in the heart of Chinatown and named the World’s Top City Garden by National Geographic.
- Vancouver Art Gallery – the city’s main art museum.
- Vancouver Lookout – one of the city’s top attractions with spectacular 360 degree views of Vancouver and located right next to Gastown.
- Yaletown – a trendy neighbourhood close to False Creek with restaurants and skyscrapers.
Outside the Downtown Core
Best places to visit just a short distance from the downtown core, at the edges of the city centre, include the following:
- Bloedel Conservatory – an indoor botanical garden in a glass-domed building on the top of Queen Elizabeth Park.
- Granville Island – one of Vancouver’s best places to visit with its art studios, theatres, restaurants and world-famous public market.
- H.R. MacMillan Space Centre – home of Vancouver’s planetarium.
- Jericho Beach – one of Vancouver’s finest beaches, and host venue of the Vancouver Folk Music Festival every July.
- Kitsilano Beach – another one of Vancouver’s best beaches, with a giant outdoor pool and spectacular views of the city and North Shore mountains.
- Locarno Beach – a beautiful sandy beach located between Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks.
- Museum of Vancouver – a good museum showcasing the history of the city.
- Olympic Village – a modern residential and commercial district on False Creek that was used to house athletes during the 2010 Olympic Games.
- Queen Elizabeth Park – the region’s second most famous city park with pitch and putt golf, the Bloedel Conservatory, beautiful gardens and stunning views of the city.
- Science World – one of the city’s most popular attractions, especially for young children.
- Spanish Banks – an exceptional beach with miles of sand at low tide.
- Stanley Park –one of the world’s most famous and beautiful city parks located on the edge of downtown.
- Vancouver Aquarium – one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions, located in Stanley Park.
- Vancouver Maritime Museum – where you’ll learn about the North Pacific and Arctic’s maritime history.
- VanDusen Garden – a beautiful garden, especially from late spring to late fall, and in December with its Christmas lights at night. The place is also famous for its light displays at Halloween, and for its numerous other events throughout the year.
Looking for a place to eat or drink while somewhere within the city? Then check out our recommendations at Vancouver’s Best Bars & Restaurants. Or, if you are somewhere else in Metro Vancouver or the Lower Mainland and feeling hungry or thirsty, then find a list of top places at Metro Vancouver’s Best Bars and Restaurants (which includes best restaurants within the city).
More of Metro Vancouver
The City of Vancouver is just one of over 20 municipalities that make up Metro Vancouver. Other major centres just a short drive away with their own best places to visit including the following:
- Burnaby – the third biggest city in Metro Vancouver and home to beautiful parks, BC’s largest shopping mall and a great (and normally free) outdoor museum.
- North Vancouver – located at the base of the North Shore Mountains and home to two ski hills, a year-round public market, and some of the region’s best places in nature.
- Richmond – Metro Vancouver’s fourth largest city and home to YVR airport, dykes along the water and a historic fishing village.
- Surrey – the second largest city in BC, and one of its ethnically most diverse.
- West Vancouver – Canada’s wealthiest city and one of its most beautiful.
For other cities within Metro Vancouver and nearby, click Other Cities in the Lower Mainland.