Vancouver is simply incredible. It’s one of my favorite cities and one of the most desirable places to live in the world. It is the perfect place to live both an urban and outdoor-driven lifestyle because of its proximity to the great wildernesses of British Columbia!
I spent my first year of university on Vancouver Island studying at the University of Victoria. Most of the friends I made at UVIC were from the great city of Vancouver, therefore I had the best locals show me around and offer me a taste of the Vancity lifestyle. We would visit the city on holiday weekends via ferry and stay at each other’s houses in different neighborhoods of the city. Because of my great friends, I was able to explore West, East, North, Central, and South Vancouver in its entirety!
In this post I’m going to share with you my top rated spots in the the city and where exactly you should go during your time in Vancouver. Before I get into the details, I want to share the travel edit I made after my six-day trip to Vancouver! I talk about all of these film locations in this post. Enjoy!
Stanley Park Sea Wall
If you’ve heard of Vancouver, you’ve probably heard of Stanley Park. This is the most iconic spot in the center of the city and a must-visit park. This is where West, North, and Central Vancouver meet and lead into a forest oasis. One minute you’re walking in the bustling city and the next you’re hearing birds chirping in the evergreen trees (only in Vancouver can you suddenly be transported from city into the wilderness)! It’s a very expansive park, but only takes an afternoon to walk around the Sea Wall. It takes an even shorter amount of time if you bike or roller blade along the pathway. I highly recommend stopping at a thrift store and buying super cheap roller blades to use just for the day.
The Stanley Park Sea Wall offers the best panoramic views of the city skyline and is a great place to watch the boats dock, the sea planes take off, and the sea birds gather on the shore. The park is lively with happy, positive, and excitable spirits enjoying this beautiful setting. You’ll come across street performers, wedding shoots, and if you’re lucky, you might even see sea otters swim by.
Stanley Park is the most popular place in Vancouver to unwind from the city life and relax in the wide-open grass fields. If you’re feeling more active, there is a labyrinth of trails that wind through the forests and kayak/ canoe rentals along the shore. Also located in the park is the Vancouver Aquarium (we never made it here, but it’s highly regarded).
For many of my Vancity friends, this is the dream neighborhood to live in. Until they make millions upon millions of dollars to spend on their homes, it’s still a great place to visit and walk along the waterfront. Yaletown is located on the central peninsula of Vancouver and is one of the highest-end neighborhoods in the city. It offers a new sea wall perspective that faces Grandville Island and the Science World dome. This sea wall is busy with walkers, runners, bikers, and roller bladers alike. The walk is beautifully manicured with floral gardens and cherry blossom trees–everything about this area is relaxing and pleasant. My favorite spot on the walk is George Wainborn Park, which faces directly towards Grandville Island. It has one of the most magnificently placed swings that offers great views overlooking the city.
You must visit Granville Island if you’re ever in Vancity, no exceptions! Granville Island is a festive and lively area located just nearby the city center. There isn’t an ingredient you can’t find in the colorful Granville city marketplace. The marketplace also offers all international cuisines…deciding what you’re going to eat here may be the biggest challenge during your trip. Mountains of fresh fruits and vegetables, towers of pastries, and layers upon layers of decadent desserts creates a feast for the eyes. Along the pedestrian walkways of Granville Island, there is a wide assortment of quirky shops, a wide variety of art galleries, many inviting restaurants, and several competing bakeries. There is almost always live music in the area, completing the festive vibe of Granville.
Walk around the harbor and admire the gorgeous yachts and sailboats that are docked there. I can guarantee you won’t get bored in Granville!
Gas town is a completely different vibe than the rest of Vancouver. The primary architecture of the city is very modern sky-rises and eco-friendly designs. Contrary to this, gas town has much more rustic feel. There are so many fascinating a unique stores on this street that are worth checking out. There are several high end furniture and clothing stores that my fiends and I loved going into without the intention of buying anything fancy, just to look at! When walking through gas town you’ll stumble upon one of Vancouver’s most iconic landmarks: the steam clock. It’s the oldest (and still running) steam clock in the world.
Science World is one of the most iconic buildings in all of Vancouver with it’s extra-terrestrial looking dome that illuminates at night. Inside is a maze of jaw-dropping displays that will blow your mind! The main floor of the center is mostly a collection of mind-boggling puzzles that will keep you endlessly entertained. The main displays include biology, human body, natural, ecological, and physics topics. Forewarning you, this is a very popular place to take children and there are a lot of them in the museum throughout the day. If you’re worried that the museum is mostly catered towards the younger crowd, there are numerous displays that will engage adults as well. Science World can easily occupy you’re entire morning/afternoon depending on how involved and engaged you are with the puzzles/displays.
Lynn Canyon Suspension Park
If you’re not as interested in the city-related activities, this is the perfect place to start your exploration of British Columbia’s nature. Located in North Vancouver, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Park is a free-access suspension bridge that goes over a rushing river and numerous waterfalls. Most of my friends recommend going here as opposed to paying admission at other suspension bridge parks because it offers the same natural sightings, just on a smaller scale. There are several trails that stem from the bridge aswell.
I only recommend visiting West Vancouver if you love to explore. I for one love spending my travel days just wandering around or driving through unfamiliar places (exploration is free of charge!) West Vancouver is the highest-end area to live in the city (if Vancouver wasn’t fancy enough). The endless roads of mansions are spectacular to check out. I loved admiring the design variety of homes and gardens. If you also like to look at dream homes, West Vancouver is the perfect place to do just that! Perhaps the best place to do that! The mansions along the water and up on the hilltops offer amazing skyline views of the ocean and city.
Quarry Rock in Deep Cove
Deep Cove is one of the most pleasant places I’ve ever visited. This quiet and quaint neighborhood is located in North Vancouver, and is a well-known place to visit for lunch, a beach day, or for the hike to Quarry Rock! We did this hike in about two hours roundtrip and enjoyed the 360 degree view at the top. Along the trail are several rushing water streams and towering evergreen trees. A great hike to admire the beauty of British Columbia.
This is one of the first places my friends took me in Vancouver, and made several trips back. Cartem’s Donuts is a very popular place to get some of the wackiest flavors of donuts in the city. Even if you aren’t into the extravagant flavors, the conventional donut flavors are amazing as well. It’s located right in the city center near Gas Town, Canada Place, and the premiere shopping area of the city. If you have a sweet tooth, I definitely recommend!
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Written by Jeff Hyer