Travel Guide: Vancouver, the Most Beautiful City in Canada (Vancity)

Vancouver, Canada is one of the most beautiful places in the world. A city that combines busy urban centers with expansive natural landscapes, creating a dazzling concoction that is Vancouver. It is a place where no one feels out of place. A city where people from different walks of life come together and live in perfect harmony. Safe to say that it’s definitely a place that’s worth a visit.

A look into the Vancouver downtown and snow mountain across the strait.
Credits: VegNews

Stanley Park

Stanley Park is one of the if not the most renowned tourist attractions in Vancouver. It is also one of the largest urban green spaces in North America. Filled with winding nature trails, family attractions and breathtaking views of the oceanfront and mountains. These features will make your visit to Stanley Park a truly unforgettable one.

Moreover, the 8.8 kilometer seawall trail is a local favourite. However, if walking along nature trails isn’t your speed, there are fabulous wildlife attractions that could perhaps take your fancy. The Lost Lagoon is a bird sanctuary that hosts a wide variety of rare bird species. It’s a special place because it also serves as a habitat and reserve for these birds. Combining both entertainment and sustainability.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

This bridge is an iconic landmark in Vancouver, and is one of the world’s longest and tallest pedestrian suspension bridges. Its thick steel cables are firmly rooted in the concrete below, so you need not worry about falling. Moreover, there are additional attractions in and around the park. Attractions such as; a glass-bottomed cliffside walkway and a canopy trail through the trees.

As this is a very popular attraction, it’s advisable to arrive early during the really busy months. In doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy attractions such as the historical exhibits, totem poles and countless nature trails at your own pace. While you’re there, don’t forget to browse B.C.’s biggest souvenir shop of First Nations art. The shop is home to some of the most unique and culturally rich artwork that you will ever come across, definitely worth the visit. Moreover, during the winter, the park is filled with an endless stream of sparkling fairy lights. Which makes the park feel very magical and euphoric during the winter time. Furthermore, there is a year-round shuttle bus from downtown Vancouver that will take you straight to the park.

Science World

Under the infamous geodesic dome, lies Science World. A scientific museum that is home to a wide array of scientific exhibits along with a very lively outdoor park. Within the museum, there are two floors dedicated to educational games, using plasma balls and whisper dishes. It also contains attractions like the Sara Stern gallery that displays living organisms. Similarly, you’ll come across the Bodyworks area, which is the bodily functions exhibit, after which you’ll be able to fly over a city on a virtual reality bird ride.

Other than the scientific exhibits, there are also entertainment centers that showcase scientific principles in an entertaining and fun-loving manner. For children, there is the massive Omnimax Theatre that hosts a wide variety of educational films and documentaries that are presented in a spirited and entertaining manner. However, if you’re an adult looking for some time away from the kids, look out for the adults only after dark events. These events combine bar drinks and some riveting live entertainment which will definitely get your money’s worth.

A picture of the geodesic dome at Science World in downtwon Vancouver.
Credits: Science World

VanDusen Botanical Garden

This botanical garden is 22 hectares, and is home to around 255,000 different species of plants. It is also a local favorite among Vancouverites. The park contains picturesque pathways that weave through the specialized garden areas. For example, the Rhododendron walk is sprayed with color during springtime and is a beautiful attraction. In addition, there are also attractions, like the Korean Pavilion, which contains a riveting collection and is a brilliant representation of Korean culture.

The park is also home to various animals. Including, but not limited to, herons, owls and turtles. They can be found in the hedge maze within the botanical garden. Moreover, there are fantastic gift shops and cafes located in and around the area should you want to take a break from the sight-seeing. During Christmas time, the garden really embraces the holiday spirit by placing countless sparkling fairy lights on the winter plants. Doing so in a very aesthetically pleasing and satisfying manner.

A picture of the beautiful Vanduesen botanical gardens in Vancouver.
Credits: tripsavvy

Second Beach

Second beach is a popular destination for all Vancouverites. It is located in the family-friendly area on Stanley Park’s Western Side. It contains an enthralling amusement area with a grassy playground, an ice cream stand and the infamous Stanley Park Pitch and Putt. During summertime, there are free outdoor movie screenings, but the main attraction is definitely the outdoor swimming pool.

If you are still looking for more, it’s advisable to go to the Third Beach, which is also quite close. Here you will find what is probably the best sunset viewing spot in Vancouver. The beach is positioned in such a way that visitors can marvel at a completely unobstructed view of the beautiful Vancouver sunset. They can watch the sky set ablaze with a vivacious combination of summertime colors. Making for a truly unforgettable experience.

Vancouver Police Museum & Archives

The Police Museum provides visitors with a very unique and thrilling experience with the multitude of exhibits and displays. It gives visitors an insight into the crime-addled past of Vancouver. The museum has had a makeover, uncovering the former coroners room and tidying up exhibits like the gallery of real life cases. However, the most remarkable attraction is the old autopsy room, with preserved slivers of human tissue and bullet-damaged brain slices.

The museum is also home to the infamous Sins of the City walking tour. Which gives you a glimpse into the underbelly of Vancouver, which has been ever-present over the years. Other than the tours, the museum hosts a wide range of activities. For example, it hosts a speaker series, movie screenings from September to April and late-opening adult nights.

Bloedel Conservatory

Located in Queen Elizabeth Park, this domed conservatory is a tourist attraction worth mentioning. Here, you’ll find tropical trees and plants with hundreds of beautiful free flying birds. Each with its own unique features. Make sure to listen for the resident parrots but also keep an eye out for rainbow-hued Gouldian finches. The conservatory is also home to majestic African starlings and the dramatic Lady Amherst pheasant.

If you ask nicely, the attendants may even let you feed the smaller birds from a bowl. One can pick up a free bird watchers checklist from the front desk so that you can record the birds you see. The walkways are also easily accessible for strollers, so it is a great place to take the family on an outing.

A picture of the inside of the Bloedel Conservatory. Home to a wide range of endemic flora and fauna.
Credits: Inside Vancouver

Museum of Anthropology

The Museum of Anthopology is a cultural trinket of Vancouver, synonymous with the culture of First Nations people who settled in these lands centuries ago. It’s one of the best museums that Vancouver has to offer. Studded with majestic totem poles and intricate carvings that represent First Nations culture. Furthermore, the museum also hosts artifacts from cultures all around the world. From intricate Swedish lace to bright Sri Lankan folk masks. It’s advisable to take one of the free daily tours, but you can also explore the museum by yourself and at your own pace.

The museum also introduced a new gallery recently. Filled with beautifully crafted aboriginal exhibits native to the region. Make sure to look out for the carved tobacco pipe shaped like a baby bird. Moreover, the European Ceramics Gallery is also worth a visit. It contains a wide array of artifacts and exhibits, including fragile figurines and elaborate bear steins.

A-maze-ing Laughter

Created by Yue Minjun, this is one of Vancouver’s most photographed public artworks. It is located only a few steps away from English Bay Beach. You can expect to come across large groups of visitors, all smiling at this mind-boggling installation. The installation itself is a collection of 14 oversized bronze statues. What’s unique about these statues is that each one of them looks like they’re about to burst out laughing.

Lost Lagoon

This is a beautiful, secluded area located just outside the Stanley Park entrance. It was originally part of the Coal Harbour, but after a causeway was built in 1916, the new waterfront was renamed. It transformed itself into a freshwater lake a few years later. Currently, it’s a sanctuary for local flora and fauna. Make sure to keep an eye out for beady-eyed herrons. In addition, its perimeter pathways are definitely a favored trail for nature-loving Vancouverites.

Furthermore, the Stanley Park Nature House provides viewers with countless exhibits. All of which display the park’s wildlife and ecology. Also, make sure to ask around about the various nature trails that are on offer. From bird-watching strolls to casual natural trails, the Lost Lagoon has it all!

Roedde House Museum

This museum is an apt example of what the West End looked like before the advent of apartment blocks. This handsome 1893 Queen Ann-style mansion now serves as a museum. One that the Vancouverites are extremely fond of. The museum was designed by renowned architect Francis Rattenbury and is widely known for its unique and creative design. The rustic antique-studded rooms have a lived-in feel that accurately represents what traditional West End decor looked like in the 1890s. Moreover, the guided tour tells you all you need to know about its middle-class Roedde Family residents.

It’s advisable to visit on Sundays when your $8 ticket also includes cookies and tea served in traditional Chinese teacups. The museum is also one of Vancouver’s most exciting live music venues, staging regular jazz and classical concerts in the venue rooms downstairs. Tickets for these shows go for about $15 on average. The home is located in Barclay Heritage Square, a one-block site containing nine historic West End houses dating from 1890 to 1908.

Granville Island Public Market

The public market is perhaps the main feature of Granville Island and is most definitely a local favourite. It includes a plethora of local produce, including, but not limited to, fish, cheese, fruit, teas and bakery treats. One can also pick up supplies for a picnic in the neighbouring Vanier Park. If that doesn’t take your fancy, be sure to check out the international food court.

However, it’s important to note that it’s not all about food. The market also hosts a wide variety of stands and exhibits that display various arts and crafts, from filigree jewelry to knitted baby hats. Furthermore, if you’re a visiting foodie, it’s advisable to consider one of the taste-tripping guided wanders around and beyond the market. The tour is hosted by Vancouver Foodie Tours and costs $70 for an adult ticket and $60 for a child.

Marine Building

The Marine Building is one of Vancouver’s most romantic and rustic tower blocks. It’s also one of the most aesthetically pleasing buildings in Vancouver. The tower is a tribute to the city’s maritime past. Be sure to check out its elaborate exterior of seahorses, lobsters and streamlined steamships. You can then duck into the lobby, which is like an exhibit in itself, full of artwork. Stained-glass panels and a polished floor laden with images related to zodiac signs are only some of the artistic marvels that await you.

Moreover, be sure to take note of the inlaid wooden interiors of the brass-doored elevators. The Marine Building was also the tallest building in the British Empire when it was completed in 1930. It’s also said to have bankrupted its owners in the process and now houses offices.

A picture of the lobby of the historic art deco Marine Building, downtown, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Credits: AgeFotoStock

Maplewood Farm

This well-known farmyard attraction includes many hands-on activities and a collection of more than 200 birds and domestic farm animals. It’s a great family spot where the kids can go crazy and pet as many animals as they’d like. You can also watch the milking demonstrations and feed some hungry ducks and chickens. Be sure to check in with Petunia the pot bellied pig. However, the highlight is definitely the daily round-up that takes place at around 3:30 pm when all the animals head back into the barn for dinner. One can marvel at all the animals present in the barn in one sitting in the barn.

It’s recommended to book in advance for a behind-the-scenes tour where your kids can learn what it’s like to be a farmer. From grooming to collecting the eggs and preparing the feed, Maplewood’s got it all! The $28 fee covers one adult and one child, so make sure to plan and budget your visit accordingly.

A picture of the infamous Maplewood Farm located in North Vancouver.
Credits: Tripadvisor

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Vancouver, Canada would definitely be during the summer or springtime. Around this time, the trees and surrounding countryside are lush and full of leaves. Moreover, you’re likely to catch more sunny days and longer days compared to the Winter and Autumn seasons. Therefore, it’s recommended to visit Vancouver from March to May or during the summer from June to the beginning of September.

A picture of downtown Vancouver with a serene background of the ocean and the neighbouring mountains.
Credits: BIV

References:

Lonely Planet

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