The District of West Vancouver
With a population of close to 43,000, West Vancouver is home to movie stars, professional athletes, old wealth families and successful business people from around the world. It’s also home to splendid parks, ski trails, beaches and miles and miles of natural beauty.
Top West Vancouver Attractions
The top attractions in West Vancouver include the following:
- Ambleside – one of Metro Vancouver’s most popular beaches with paved walking and biking trails.
- Dundarave – an attractive seaside neighbourhood and beach.
- Cypress Bowl – Metro Vancouver’s largest ski hill with the most advanced terrain.
- Cypress Falls Park – a forested park with hiking trails and a few waterfalls.
- Cypress Provincial Park – a large forested park with hiking opportunities in spring, summer and fall, and snow sports in winter.
- Horseshoe Bay – a picturesque seaside town and gateway to Vancouver Island and Bowen Island via one of BC Ferries‘ main terminals.
- John Lawson Park – an ocean-side park with a fabulous children’s play area that’s halfway between Ambleside and Dundarave.
- Gleneagles Golf – an exceptional par 35 9-hole golf course that’s open to the public.
- Lighthouse Park – one of the Lower Mainland’s most stunning, yet lesser known parks.
- Park Royal – a large shopping centre with a couple hundred stores not far from Ambleside Park.
- West Van Aquatic Centre – a swimming pool facility with water slide and large children’s play areas.
- Whytecliff Park – a rugged ocean-side paradise near Horseshoe Bay.
- Whyte Lake Park – a park in West Vancouver with trails and a small lake.
West Vancouver Festivals & Events
West Vancouver is also host to four of the North Shore’s main festivals, all of which take place in or around Ambleside Park during years when there isn’t a pandemic:
- Persian New Year Fire Festival – around the third week of March.
- Bridge Festival – a 2-day event with a parade, live music and various family-friendly activities at Ambleside Park
- Canada Day in West Vancouver – the district’s July 1st celebrations at John Lawson Park include live music and fireworks.
- Squamish Youth Nation Powwow – at Capilano Reserve Park in July.
- Harmony Arts Festival – a festival with concerts, outdoor movies and food in August.
- Rock Ambleside – a music festival featuring rock bands from decades past in August.
- Coho Festival – a community event with live music, family-friendly activities and a salmon barbecue in early September.
- Remembrance Day – a parade and ceremony on November 11th at Memorial Park.
- Light Up The Village – a free community event marking the start of the Christmas season at Park Royal Shopping Centre in mid-November.
- Dundarave Festival of Lights – Christmas lights every day in December with live entertainment on weekends at Dundarave Beach.
What to do in West Vancouver
There is a fair bit to do in West Vancouver. It’s a beautiful place with amazing homes, fabulous places to walk, and fine places for a swim.
House Window Shopping
In addition to visiting the above first-class venues, an interesting activity is to simply drive around the residential areas of West Vancouver admiring all the private estates. British Properties in particular has some especially spectacular homes.
Walks and Bike Rides
A popular pastime for locals of all ages on the North Shore is going for strolls (or bike rides) along the seawall from Ambleside to Dundarave. Just a block or so up from the waterfront, and running parallel to the seawall, is Marine Drive which represents downtown West Vancouver with all its shops and restaurants. This can be a good area for shopping or getting a bite to eat.
West Vancouver is blessed with some amazing beaches. Ambleside is beautiful, with views of Stanley Park across the water, the Lions Gate Bridge and English Bay. Dundarave also has a nice beach, and swimming is also popular at Lighthouse Park and Whytecliff Park, although with less sandy beaches.
Another popular place for locals (especially ones with kids) is the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre, which has one of Metro Vancouver’s best pool facilities complete with leisure pool, swimming lanes, hot tubs, sauna, steam room and giant water slide.
Check out West Vancouver’s Best Bars and Restaurants for places to eat and drink on the North Shore.
For a list of places to stay on the North Shore, see our article about North Vancouver Hotels.