Undeniably, Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is the third most populous city in Canada and is the capital of British Columbia. It is now a major business and industrial centre of the country. Both in winter and in summer, Vancouver attracts thousands of tourists who want to see its beauty.
In the summer the city is host to yachting competitions and other sporting events; in the winter atmosphere is ideal for skiers. In 2010, Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympic Games. In addition to its unique natural environment, there are many attractions here, which are better to see once than hear about a hundred times.
If you are going to visit this magnificent city for the first time, learn our list of top ten things to do in Vancouver.
1. Stanley Park
Stanley Park is the green and bright attraction of Vancouver, one of the most favourite places of the city’s inhabitants. Here you can find a suitable place for everyone: for lovers of quiet relaxation and family picnics, for gay youth companies, and for artists seeking inspiration.
The park is an evergreen peninsula with area of 1000 acres, located near the city centre. The main feature of Stanley Park is that the main designer of it was nature. At the end of the 19th century there were impenetrable forests around, and part of this virgin forest has managed to be retained. It makes up a large proportion of the park.
There is a rose garden, containing an amazing varieties of roses here, which is open from April to September. Another feature of the park is the huge aquarium, zoo and a tropical terrarium. On the beaches of the park there are volleyball courts for adults and water attractions for children.
2. Granville Island
One of best 10 things to do in Vancouver is visiting Granville Island. It’s a peninsula and shopping district of Vancouver. It is located in the Bay of False Creek in front of Downtown, under the southern side of the Granville Street Bridge. Nowadays the centre of Granville Island is the Public Market.
The building of the market has an area of over 4,500 square metres, and it is forbidden to open chain stores – each of the local shops is unique. In the market you can find a variety of goods, from seafood, cheeses, pastries and exotic food to flowers, handicrafts, clothing and souvenirs.
Families’ attention is usually attracted by the Children’s Bazaar, where they can buy goods for the little ones.
There is also the sea market, where there are some boat builders, you can pay a visit to a thematic museum, take a boat trip and buy equipment and clothes for boating and sailing. The magical Granville Island won hearts of collectors and art lovers by its art galleries. In addition to this, the theatre and the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design on Granville Island regularly host exhibitions of student work. From May to September you can visit the biggest Water Park of British Columbia, which is on Granville Island.
Gastown is a small part of history, located in the heart of Vancouver, not far from Chinatown, and allows turn back the clock and see the city as it was in ancient times, with cobbled streets, gas lamps, Victorian architecture and a mazes of narrow streets and patios.
A symbol of Gastown is the first steam clock. Every quarter of an hour you can hear chimes from the striking mechanism of the clock, and every hour it spews forth a huge cloud of steam. Special attention should be paid to the famous building in the shape of an iron. It is the “Europe” hotel, built in the early twentieth century and which became the first fireproof building in Vancouver. Nowadays the hotel is closed to the public. One more curious thing in Gastown is the Police Museum.
4. Capilano Suspension Bridge
Among exciting things to do around Vancouver is walking through the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in Canada. It is situated in the northern part of Vancouver. The height of the bridge is 70 metres, length is 136 metres.
The Suspension Bridge is private property and it’s a paid attraction, nevertheless it attracts about 800 thousand tourists annually. The Bridge over the raging Capilano River was built back in the year 1889, by Scottish engineer Grant McKay. A complete overhaul of the bridge was carried out in 1956.
The current owner is Nancy Stibbard. In 2004 the seven pedestrian bridges attraction on the west side of the gorge was opened. All constructions are completely safe, but a strong wind or a large gathering of people make bridges sway, causing a rush of adrenaline. From the height of the bridges, you can see a magnificent view of the green age-old forests and snow-white mountain peaks.
5. Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain a the world-renown resort, one of the most visited attractions in Vancouver. Grouse Mountain is a part of the North Shore mountain range, which is located near Capilano Lake, in the northern part of the city. Its height is 1251 metres, but the basic infrastructure is located at an altitude of 275 metres.
Tourists climb the mountain in cablecars, from the windows of which they can admire a breathtaking views. Guests and inhabitants of the city adore this place not only because of its beautiful views, but for the variety of extreme activities available to them. Paragliding, snowboarding, skiing, zip-line (descent by cable on the winch rope) and many more things besides.
If you are looking for things to do in Vancouver in December bear in mind that on the mountain there are 5 lifts, 25 slopes and numerous tracks with total area of 86 hectares for the use of tourists. For inexperienced ones and those who don’t love the more thrilling slopes, there are several lowland trails. After all of which, you can go to a cosy cafe and enjoy views of the landscape while drinking hot coffee.
6. Canada Place
One of the most popular things to do and see in Vancouver is visiting the Canada Place. The Canada Place is a pier, which is one of the main attractions in Vancouver. The complex looks like a giant sailboat. Such an impression is created by the roof, which is in shape of five sails with “promenade decks” on each floor.
From the observation platforms you can observe the life of the port, including taking off and landing of seaplanes. In the northern part of the complex you can discover the administrative information centre, where visitors can watch films about activities of the port, and see pictures of the old waterfront of Vancouver.
The Canada Place pier is located in the middle of the complex and is capable of taking up to four cruise ships simultaneously. In addition to this the complex includes a conference centre, hotel, shopping and restaurant area.
7. The Vancouver Aquarium
It’s necessary to include in our top things to see in Vancouver a visit to Vancouver Aquarium. The main centre of attraction at the Vancouver Aquarium is considered to be the massive pools with transparent walls, which allows being face to face with a beluga whale, sea otters and sealions as well as dolphins and seals.
No less fascinating will be a trip to the gallery of the Amazon jungle, where you can meet piranhas, alligators and tropical birds, and in the summer even take a walk surrounded by hundreds of fluttering butterflies. There are also interactive exhibits for children, introducing the underwater world of coastal British Columbia and the Canadian Arctic. Undoubtedly you will be impressed by the tropics gallery, where exotic freshwater and marine life, including clown fish, moray eels and Blacktip reef sharks peacefully live together.
Every day in the aquarium they organize a show, where beluga whales, sea lions and dolphins take part, as well as divers who dive into a pool of sharks.
8. Museum of Anthropology at UBC
For those who are interested of history and culture, one of the Vancouver best things to do is visiting the Vancouver Museum of Anthropology. It’s a part of the University of British Columbia. Museums acquaint you with the culture of the world, but the main emphasis is the culture and art of Canadian Indians.
The largest collection is presented in the Great Hall of the museum. Here you can see the amazing totems from cedar, chests made of carved wood and canoes with colourful patterns. You can also visit the part of the museum where there are a lot of boxes of tools, household items, masks and other artifacts from around the world.
In addition to the exhibition halls in the museum there is a bookstore and a shop selling works of art, as well as an outdoor cafe. Behind the museum you can see two houses of the Haida nation, located on a cliff above the water.
9. Robson Street
Robson Street is Vancouver’s busiest shopping street, lined with sidewalk cafes and chain stores along with galleries and luxury boutiques. The street connects the city centre with the West End. One of the busiest parts of Robson Street is the area between Jervis and Burrard Streets; it’s impossible to fall asleep until late at night due to street musicians and artists.
At the intersection of Robson Street and Cardero Street there is the indoor Robson market. Externally, the building of the market in many ways is like London’s Crystal Palace. On the ground floor there is a food court that offers the visitors a wide variety of cuisine. The remaining area is occupied gastronomy and shops which specialize in selling non-food items.
10. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden
One of the unique things to see in Vancouver is Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden. It is a classical Chinese garden, which is famous for the atmosphere of peace and tranquility. Based on original Chinese garden principles, this garden was built during 1985-86 at the initiative of the Sun Yat-Sen company, which aims at supporting and strengthening mutual understanding between Chinese and Western culture.
52 craftsmen from China were working on the landscape of the park, putting all their knowledge and skills to use. The opening took place on 24th April, 1986. The park is created in the style of classical gardens of the Ming Dynasty era. Its area is very small, only 0.16 hectares. However, in 2011 it won first place among in the urban gardens in the world ranking of National Geographic.
Beautiful ponds, arbours, winding paths, asymmetrical arrangement of plants and stones spark the imagination of any traveller. At this place you can feel the flow of energy, but at the same time, it is in tune with lyrical and thoughts. All lovers of beauty fall in love with the magic of Vancouver that is Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden.
This list is only small part of cool things to do in Vancouver. This amazing city is worthwhile visiting and learning about. And don’t forget to go to the island of the same name, the capital of which has the proud name of Victoria. The beauty of Vancouver Island, from the earliest times, surprised and amazed all travellers who managed to get to this place. But, despite of the age of high technology, on the island you can still find places which have not been touched by the hand of civilization.