North Vancouver has some of the Lower Mainland’s most spectacular attractions and places to visit including mountains, numerous parks and miles of nature.
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North Vancouver, BC
There are few cities anywhere with as many world-class outdoor recreational venues and as much natural beauty as North Vancouver.
Based at the foot of the North Shore Mountains, the area is home to ski hills and some of the most spectacular (and extreme) mountain biking and hiking trails on the planet.
About North Vancouver
Located across from Vancouver via either the Lions Gate Bridge or Iron Workers’ Memorial Bridge, North Vancouver is actually made up of two separate municipalities: the City of North Vancouver (population ~48,000) and the District of North Vancouver (population ~83,000).
The City of North Vancouver is the municipality that is more or less bordered by the waters of Burrard Inlet (to the south), MacKay Road (in the west), 29th Street (to the north) and parts of the North Shore east of Lyn Creek. The much larger District of North Vancouver meanwhile is pretty much everything else between West Vancouver and both Deep Cove and the waters of Indian Arm.
The more urban City is in the middle and it’s surrounded by the slightly more rural District. Except for political purposes and taxation, most people simply refer to both places collectively as just “North Vancouver”.
When you look across Burrard Inlet at the North Shore Mountains from Canada Place or Coal Harbour, the beautiful community you see at the base of the hills is North Vancouver, or just “North Van” for short.
North Vancouver is on the traditional unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. Reserve lands for both the Squamish Nation (or Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw) and Tsleil-Waututh (which means People of the Inlet) are spread out across the area including near Lions Gate Bridge and Cates Park.
North Vancouver’s Best Places
North Vancouver has some of the Lower Mainland’s most spectacular attractions and places to visit. North Van’s highlights are listed below.
North Vancouver Places in Nature
- Baden Powell Trail – an amazing hiking route through the forests and across the North Shore Mountains.
- Capilano River Regional Park – stunning views, hiking trails and the source of 30% of Metro Vancouver’s pristine drinking water. Also home to the Capilano River Hatchery.
- Cates Park – a great park for young children and from which to kayak in the summer.
- Cleveland Dam – a site to visit at the Capilano River Regional Park with beautiful views and nearby walking trails.
- Deep Cove – a picturesque seaside village that’s perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding. It’s also great for hiking, with excellent trails leading to a lookout at Quarry Rock.
- Grouse Grind – the North Shore’s most famous hiking trail (which goes up Grouse Mountain and involves over 2000 stairs).
- Inter River Park – a park with walking trails, off-leash dog areas, sports fields and a BMX bike park.
- Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve – a park that’s home to beautiful Rice Lake and the Seymour Demonstration Forest.
- Lynn Canyon Park – a first-class park with trails through the forest and a free suspension bridge.
- Lynn Headwaters Regional Park – exceptional hiking trails for both beginners and experts.
- Maplewood Flats Conservation Area – a nature preserve that’s home to large number of birds.
- Mount Seymour Park – the provincial park where Mt. Seymour Ski Hill is located. It’s full of trails for hiking, mountain biking and snowshoeing.
- Rice Lake – a beautiful lake that’s great for fishing and walking around.
- Seymour Demonstration Forest – one of the best places to take the family for a bike ride with its paved cycling trails through the woods.
- Trans Canada Trail – the longest hiking trail in the world passes through some of North Vancouver’s finest natural areas.
Tourist Attractions in North Vancouver
The following are North Vancouver tourist attractions and other places of interest.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge – one of Metro Vancouver’s most famous attractions.
- Grouse Grind – a world-famous hiking/stair-climbing trail.
- Grouse Mountain – Vancouver’s most accessible ski hill and home to ziplining and other year-round activities.
- Lonsdale Quay – where you’ll find the Lonsdale Quay Public Market and the North Shore’s SeaBus terminal.
- Lonsdale Quay Public Market – one of Metro Vancouver’s two best and most famous year-round indoor public markets
- Lower Lonsdale – the area of North Vancouver that’s home to the Polygon Gallery, Lonsdale Quay and Shipyards.
- Maplewood Farm – a former dairy farm that now features pigs, chickens, horses and hundreds of birds and other farm animals.
- Mt. Seymour – Metro Vancouver’s favourite ski hill for young families and snowshoeing enthusiasts.
- Museum of North Vancouver (MONOVA) – a new museum (scheduled to open in 2021) near the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue.
- Northlands Golf Course – one of Metro Vancouver’s best public golf courses.
- Polygon Gallery – an art museum located at 101 Carrie Cates Court in Lower Lonsdale.
- Shipyards – an area in Lower Lonsdale that features a public plaza, a 700-foot pier, free ice skating in winter and community events throughout the year.
If you love nature and outdoor recreation, then you’ll love North Vancouver – it has the most of everything, including rain, snow, mountain bikes and wait times at the hospital’s emergency room (due to all the extreme sports activities in the region)!
Check out North Vancouver’s Best Bars and Restaurants for places to eat and drink on the North Shore.
North Van Festivals & Events
North Vancouver hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year. Some are small and community-focused, and others are major events that attract people from all across the Lower Mainland.
Below are North Vancouver events of special interest that usually occur in years without pandemics.
The following are music-focused events with free admission at various times of the year in North Vancouver:
- Friday Night Live in Lynn Valley – a community comedy improv show that takes place in North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley on Friday evenings most months of the year (but not in December or the summer).
- North Vancouver Summer Concert Series – free outdoor concerts in July and August in Lynn Valley, Edgemont Village and Deep Cove.
- Shipyards Summer Sessions Concerts – free concerts on Saturday evenings in July and August at Shipbuilders’ Square.
Cultural Festivals and Other Events
The following events take place at various times of the year. Some have a cultural theme, some are community-focused and some are just fun or interesting in other ways.
- Canada Day at Waterfront Park – North Vancouver’s Canada Day celebrations every July 1st at the park just a couple of blocks from Lonsdale Quay.
- Caribbean Days Festival – a festival celebrating Caribbean culture at Waterfront Park in late July each year.
- Deep Cove Daze – a small community festival with music, food and family activities in North Vancouver’s Deep Cove on the last Sunday in August. (Note: This event has not happened for a couple of years. It might take place again one day, but it also might not.)
- Lynn Valley Days – a community festival in Lynn Valley.
- Polish Festival – a small Polish festival at either Lynn Valley Village or the Shipyards in early September.
- Remembrance Day – the City of North Vancouver’s main Remembrance Day event includes a small parade through the streets and a ceremony at Victory Park each year on November 11th.
- Philippine Days – a Filipino cultural event at North Vancouver’s Waterfront Park near Lonsdale Quay in June.
- Shipyards Festival – a music festival and street party at the bottom of Lonsdale Avenue in September.
- Shipyards Night Market – a seasonal artisan market at Shipbuilders’ Square near Lonsdale Quay with evening concerts on Fridays from May until September.
- Vancouver’s North Shore Craft Beer Week – a beer-themed series of events involving North Vancouver craft breweries in October.
In addition to the above, North Vancouver also hosts the Lonsdale Quay Farmers Market on Saturdays from May until October. It’s a tiny market with about a dozen or so vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to clothing.
Below are Christmas holiday-themed events that happen in winter. The list also includes a fun (but crazy) New Year’s Day activity.
- Canyon Lights – Christmas lights and family-friendly things to do at Capilano Suspension Bridge from late November until January.
- Carol Ships Shoreline Celebration – a community event with a giant bonfire, music, family-friendly activities and a procession of boats with Christmas lights in December.
- Deep Cove Penguin Plunge – a New Year’s Day event involving live music, a community bonfire and a mass polar bear-style swim in the ocean at Panorama Park.
- Holiday Hi-Light Festival – Christmas light displays at Park and Tilford garden in December.
- Peak of Christmas – ice skating, sleigh rides and holiday decorations at Grouse Mountain in December.
- Shipyards Christmas Festival – Christmas celebrations at Shipbuilders’ Square on the first Saturday in December.
North Vancouver Hotels
To learn more about these and other places to stay on the North Shore see our article about North Vancouver Hotels. For information about accommodations on the other side of Burrard Inlet, see our article about Downtown Vancouver Hotels.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- West Vancouver
- City of Vancouver
- Vancouver’s North Shore
- Metro Vancouver
- North Vancouver Hotels
- North Vancouver Restaurants
To learn more about the community see the City of North Vancouver and District of North Vancouver‘s websites. Also, for information about local businesses, and for general facts and statistics about the region, see the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce‘s website.