Home The City of Vancouver

The City of Vancouver

Cathedral Spire and Downtown Vancouver

Vancouver is a modern city with numerous attractions including Stanley Park, VanDusen Garden and other places of interest.

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.


In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, the City of Vancouver initially closed many public facilities. However, as of July 29, 2020, some facilities have resumed operations. Parks, playgrounds, sports courts and beaches are all open. Public libraries have reopened with limited services, whereas civic theatres remain closed.

Places like the Bloedel Conservatory and VanDusen Garden are also open, along with all municipal golf courses and most outdoor swimming pools. Concession stands have also now reopened at the city’s parks and beaches, and lifeguards are on duty as well.

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.

Chinatown and Chinese Cultural Centre
Vancouver’s Chinatown

Downtown Vancouver Places

Some of the best places to visit within Vancouver’s downtown core include the following:

  • BC Place Stadiumhome 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.
  • 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.
Yaletown's David Lam Park
False Creek at Yaletown by David Lam Park

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.
  • New Brighton Park – a nice park with a large outdoor swimming pool and small sandy beach in East Vancouver.
  • 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.

Vancouver from English Bay
Vancouver from English Bay

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.

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.




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