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.
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, the Olympic Village, 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 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.
- Orpheum Theatre – one of the city’s largest, oldest and most beautiful theatres.
- 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.
- The Vancouver Lookout – one of the city’s top attractions with spectacular 360 degree views of Vancouver and located right next to Gastown.
- Vancouver Police Museum – a museum near Chinatown with exhibits about the history of law enforcement and criminal activity in Vancouver.
- Yaletown – a trendy neighbourhood close to False Creek with restaurants and skyscrapers.
Around False Creek
The following places are near downtown, but not in the core of the city. They are just south of the downtown area around and close to False Creek.
- 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.
- Science World – one of the city’s most popular attractions, especially for young children.
- Vancouver Maritime Museum – where you’ll learn about the North Pacific and Arctic’s maritime history.
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.
- Commercial Drive – an interesting street full of shops, restaurants, cafés and theatres.
- Jericho Beach – one of Vancouver’s finest beaches.
- Kitsilano Beach – another one of Vancouver’s best beaches, with a giant outdoor pool and spectacular views.
- 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.
- New Brighton Park – a nice park with a large outdoor swimming pool and small sandy beach in East Vancouver.
- Oakridge Centre – an upscale shopping mall and urban development (that has been closed due to major renovations).
- Old Hastings Mill Store Museum – a small museum near Jericho Beach.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Coquitlam – a city that’s home to a number of parks, forest and mountains.
- 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.
- Maple Ridge – a municipality between Pitt Meadows and Mission.
- New Westminster – one of the region’s original communities and a former colonial capital.
- Port Moody – a small city near Belcarra Park and Buntzen Lake.
- 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.
Note: The City of Vancouver is on the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations. Of the three, the Musqueam Nation is the only one with its reserve community within the City of Vancouver.
To learn more about British Columbia’s largest municipality, see the City of Vancouver‘s official website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Metro Vancouver
- Downtown Vancouver Hotels
- Vancouver Restaurants
- Vancouver Festivals and Events
- Shows & Entertainment Calendar
- The A to Z’s of Vancouver