Coal Harbour District in Vancouver
Coal Harbour is the modern part of the city lined with glass skyscrapers overlooking Burrard Inlet.
From along its stunning seawall you’ll see multi-million-dollar yachts, Stanley Park from across the water, Harbour Air Seaplanes landing and taking off, ships coming in and out of the port, and lots of people riding their bikes, walking and taking in all the beautiful scenery.
Coal Harbour (or at least its easternmost edge) is the area along Vancouver’s waterfront where you’ll find Canada Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre and the terminal for the Harbour Air seaplanes. It’s also where you’ll see massive skyscrapers, yachts in the marinas, and people walking and jogging along the seawall between downtown and Stanley Park.
Being in the heart of the city, for many visitors, Coal Harbour can be an ideal area to be based. It’s close to a variety of hotels and restaurants. Its easternmost section is also within walking distance of Waterfront Station with its bus, SkyTrain and SeaBus public transit connections to the rest of the region.
Coal Harbour Seawall & Area Restaurants
While out for a stroll in sunny weather (if it’s sunny), consider stopping for a refreshment at one of the small ice cream shops along the way, at The TapShack outdoor patio restaurant (which has a fantastic fountain area nearby for kids to play in during the summer), or one of the upmarket restaurants like Cardero’s or the Lift Bar & Grill right on the water.
The Westin Bayshore Hotel is located in the heart of Coal Harbour at 1601 Bayshore Drive. It’s a fabulous place to stay, and its restaurant, the H2 Kitchen & Bar, is a great place to eat! Just a block from the hotel is PAL Studio Theatre where companies like Western Gold Theatre sometimes offer shows.
Further along, at various locations around the outside of the Vancouver Convention Centre, are other trendy restaurants like the Cactus Club and Mahony’s. Reserve a window seat and enjoy the scenery, or just keep on walking, jogging or cycling in this absolutely breathtaking part of Vancouver.
Coal Harbour is also where you board Harbour Cruises which depart for trips up Burrard Inlet, across to the North Shore, or under the Lions Gate Bridge around Stanley Park and into English Bay (the body of water, not the beach).
To learn more about one of Vancouver’s best places for a walk, jog or cycle, see our article about the Coal Harbour Seawall.
Harbour Green Park
A nice park along the Coal Harbour Seawall is Harbour Green. It’s located just west of the Vancouver Convention Centre. The middle of the park is at the end of Bute Street.
At the centre of the park is a plaza with fountains that kids can play in during the summer. There is also a bar-style restaurant – the TapShack – with an outdoor patio. It operates during the warmer months of the year.
Another special feature of Harbour Green Park is the fact that, as of the summer of 2021, adults ages 19+ can drink alcohol openly in the park. You can bring your own alcoholic beverage and drink it during designated hours. The legal consumption of alcohol at the park is in effect year-round.
Coal Harbour Around Canada Place
At the easternmost edge of Coal Harbour is Canada Place with its majestic large white sails. Inside Canada Place is Vancouver’s FlyOver Canada attraction. The multi-dimensional flying theatre shows films year-round with special films showing around holidays such as Halloween and Christmas.
Right next to Canada Place is Jack Poole Plaza. The plaza was the home of the Olympic flame for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, which were held at various locations across Vancouver and Whistler.
Liven Up Coal Harbour
New for 2023, Liven Up Coal Harbour is a free event that features a number of festive light sculptures along the Coal Harbour waterfront in December. It also features live music and other entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays that month.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most of your experience in the Coal Harbour neighbourhood.
TIP #1: Want to explore Stanley Park by bicycle? You can rent bikes from several places along the Coal Harbour seawall or on Denman Street.
PHOTO TIP #1: The skyscrapers along Coal Harbour are usually in the shade in the middle of the day, but the views of the water and North Shore mountains are in the sun pretty much all day. From anywhere along the seawall you’ll find amazing shots of the city, boats and seaplanes in Burrard Inlet, and Stanley Park from across the water. Coal Harbour is definitely one of Vancouver’s top places to take photos.
PHOTO TIP #2: One of the best places from which to take photos in Vancouver is from the deck of one of the Harbour Cruise boats. The view of Coal Harbour from the water on a sunny day can be spectacular.
Other interesting areas in downtown Vancouver include the following:
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Stanley Park
- False Creek Seawall
- Stanley Park Seawall
- Coal Harbour Seawall
- Vancouver’s Best Restaurants
- Downtown Vancouver Hotels
- Best Places for a Walk, Jog or Cycle