North Vancouver has some of the Lower Mainland’s most spectacular attractions and places to visit, including mountains, numerous parks and miles of nature.
There are few cities anywhere, in fact, 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.
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). When you look across Burrard Inlet at the North Shore mountains from Canada Place or Coal Harbour, the beautiful city you see at the base of the hills is North Vancouver, or just “North Van” for short.
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 include the following:
- 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.
- The Capilano Suspension Bridge – one of Metro Vancouver’s most famous attractions.
- Cates Park – a greatl 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 Mountain – Vancouver’s most accessible and popular ski hill, and home to two captive grizzly bears, zip-lining, the world-famous Grouse Grind hiking/stair-climbing trail and more.
- Lonsdale Quay – one of Metro Vancouver’s two best and most famous public markets, and one of the best views of Vancouver from across the water.
- Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve – a great park and 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 Farm – a former dairy farm that now features pigs, chickens, horses and hundreds of birds and other farm animals, making it a fun place for young children.
- Mt. Seymour – Metro Vancouver’s favourite ski hill for young families and snowshoeing enthusiasts.
- Northlands Golf Course – one of Metro Vancouver’s best public golf courses.
- Rice Lake – a beautiful lake in the woods 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.
- Shipyard Night Market – a seasonal artisan market at Shipbuilders’ Square near Lonsdale Quay with evening concerts on Fridays from May until September.
- Trans Canada Trail – the longest hiking trail in the world which passes through some of North Vancouver’s finest natural areas.
If you love nature and outdoor recreation, then you’ll love North Vancouver – it has the most of everything, including rain, snow, mountain bikes, sports equipment stores 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.
The following are North Vancouver events of special interest:
- Penguin Plunge – a New Year’s swim in the frigid waters of Deep Cove every January 1st 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.
- North Vancouver Summer Concert Series – free outdoor concerts in July and August in Lynn Valley, Edgemont Village and Deep Cove.
- Lynn Valley Day – a small community festival in Lynn Valley at the end of May.
- 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.
- Fun City Festival – a two-day Car Free Day event featuring a giant 1000-foot waterslide and other carnival-type events in mid-August.
- 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.
- Polish Festival – a small Polish festival at Lynn Valley Village in early September.
- Music in the Park – a free event showcasing local musicians and artists at the Cleveland Dam on Labour Day Monday at the beginning of September.
- Coho Festival – a festival in early September celebrating salmon. The event takes place primarily in West Vancouver, but the Coho Walk portion of it occurs in North Vancouver’s Capilano River Regional Park.
- Holiday Hi-Light Festival – Christmas light displays at Park and Tilford garden in December.
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