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This article contains the following information about the Vancouver Lookout:
The Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre
At about 550 feet (or 168 metres) high, Vancouver Lookout offers visitors a truly spectacular birds-eye view of the surrounding area.
From the venue you can see Canada Place and the whole of Vancouver’s downtown core, as well as Stanley Park, the North Shore Mountains, Burrard Inlet, and as far away as Surrey and beyond (assuming good weather).
The journey to the top of the Lookout is part of the experience on its own. The entire front of the elevator is glass, and most of the way up is on the outside of the building. This gives a unique view of downtown Vancouver and beyond as you ride up to the observation deck.
The deck is circular and wraps around the building. There are multiple places with tables and chairs that you can enjoy the view from. There are also information plaques all around the deck, providing insight into much of what you can see.
Attraction Status and COVID-19
As a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Vancouver Lookout suspended operations completely for a number of months beginning in the spring of 2020. Just above the tourist attraction in the Harbour Centre building is the Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant. It too closed for a period of time, but then reopened for dine-in service in mid-June of last year. It’s also a great place to check out the views!
As of July, 2022, Vancouver Lookout has fully resumed operations, including for walk-in visitors! For a long time only private groups could visit the attraction but now anyone can once again.
For more information, including the current status of the attraction, see the Vancouver Lookout website.
Where is the Lookout?
The attraction’s address is 555 West Hastings Street. It’s located in the heart of downtown Vancouver about a block from Waterfront Station in one direction and a block from the entrance to Gastown in the other.
Not far from the Vancouver Lookout are Canada Place, Granville Street, the Vancouver Convention Centre and Coal Harbour. One of the city’s most popular tourist attractions – FlyOver Canada – is also close by. FlyOver Canada is a multidimensional theatre experience where you can fly across the country. It’s located just a short walk away at Canada Place.
Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant
Situated at the edge of Gastown in the Harbour Centre building, visitors can have a memorable meal at the Top of Vancouver revolving restaurant. It’s a good restaurant, it offers Happy Hour specials and it offers the same views as you’ll find at the Vancouver Lookout. And yes, the place really does spin around, but thankfully only very slowly.
Note: The Lookout and the Top of Vancouver restaurant are two separate businesses. To visit both places you have to pay for each separately.
Urban Grind Event in March
The Urban Grind is an event that takes place on Tuesday afternoons in March (or at least it does in years without COVID-19). During the Urban Grind event, for around $5 and at set times, the public is welcome to get exercise by climbing up the 633 steps of the Harbour Centre Building to the Vancouver Lookout.
When the event does happen, included with the $5 admission most years is a complimentary beer at the top and a $5 food voucher for use in the downstairs food court. The event takes place between 4:30 and 6:30 pm every Tuesday in March. During those hours guests are allowed to climb up and down as many times as they like!
In addition to being great exercise, the Urban Grind is also a fundraiser. There is a coat check at the bottom near the entrance where, for a donation, jackets and other items can be left. In 2020 all donations collected went to the Kettle Society which is a charity that helps people with mental health illnesses, poverty, substance use and homelessness.
In 2020 the Urban Grind celebrated its sixth year. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, however, out of precaution, the event in the second half of the month that year was cancelled. It has not yet returned since.
Click Urban Grind for further details.
December Night Lights Event
The Lookout might have been closed to drop-in tourists in 2021, but it was open for private groups and rentals! And on select weekends in December you and up to 12 friends and family members could rent the space for some holiday fun for just $200!
The popular attraction offered exclusive entry to its observation deck for one-hour timeslots for groups of up to a dozen people. The private group could enjoy the 360-degree views from the entire deck. Holiday music and Christmas decorations were also provided. This was an exceptional opportunity for friends, work colleagues, or two or three families to get together and celebrate the holiday season.
The venue could be booked during the Friday and Saturday evenings of December 10th, 11th, 17th and 18th. Available timeslots began at 4:45, 5:45, 6:45, 7:45, 8:45 and 9:45 pm. Whether this event will continue in future years is unclear as of the summer of 2022.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit to the Vancouver Lookout.
Suggestions on When to Go
TIP #1: We recommend visiting the Vancouver Lookout on a sunny day. Vancouver is especially beautiful then as clouds can hide the spectacular North Shore Mountains. On the clearest days you can see as far as Mount Baker in Washington State.
TIP #2: If you are visiting from out of town, unless the weather forecast is better earlier in your stay than later, we recommend you visit the Vancouver Lookout at the end of your holiday. This is because it’ll be more interesting when you can recognize places you’ve visited in the distance.
Other Tips and Information
TIP #3: Especially if you’re into photography, it’s good to know that you are usually allowed to go up and down the Vancouver Lookout more than once during the day (or at least you could the last time we checked). This means you can go back when the sun is facing different parts of town, or in the evening when it’s setting over the horizon.
TIP #4: Upon request employees at the Vancouver Lookout can often provide guided tours around the observation deck. It’s a great way to learn about the landmarks you’re seeing. If you get the chance for a tour, take one! Be sure to ask.
TIP #5: The venue can be rented for private events. If you’re looking for a place with impressive views, the Vancouver Lookout is a great option. Weddings, corporate events and private parties take place here from time to time.
Other Things to Do
TIP #6: While in the area, be sure to also check out Gastown. Located just down the street from the Vancouver Lookout, it’s a historic part of town that’s full of interesting shops, restaurants and heritage buildings. Especially if you are from out of town or new to Canada, we also recommend checking out the film at FlyOver Canada at Canada Place.
TIP #7: If you’re looking for a really unique touristy experience, in addition to the multidimensional experience at FlyOver Canada, you might also want to check out Vancouver Mysteries and Forbidden Vancouver. The first is an outdoor game company that offers adventures in the streets of the city. The second is a tour company that offers guided walking tours around Gastown and other neighbourhoods in downtown Vancouver.
Check out the official Vancouver Lookout website for more information about this great attraction and its amazing views.
For a list of other great attractions click Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver’s Historic Gastown
- Vancouver Restaurants
- Downtown Vancouver Hotels
- Vancouver’s Festivals & Events Calendar