No trip to Vancouver is complete without a visit to Stanley Park, one of the biggest urban parks in North America. An 8.8km seawall, 400-hectare rainforest, beautiful beaches, wildlife, and restaurants make this huge public park hard to beat. You can spend an entire day in Stanley Park and not have experienced everything. Scratch that, you could spend several days and not have seen it all. It’s the perfect place to get lost in and explore.
Located within Stanley Park, Vancouver Aquarium is a popular local attraction. It is home to over 50,000 fascinating creatures from the Arctic to the Amazon. Be sure to catch daily dolphin, shark and sea otter shows, and for an unforgettable extra try a hands-on animal encounter.
Hiding in Stanley Park’s shadow is Queen Elizabeth Park. The center of Queen Elizabeth Park, Little Mountain, marks the highest point in Vancouver, and its elevated position affords excellent views of the city center and the mountains to the north.Spread out across nearly 130 acres, the park features a rose garden, a meticulously manicured quarry garden, and an arboretum with about 1,500 native and exotic trees.
Known as the Peak of Vancouver, , Grouse Mountain has a cable car, which means it’s an accessible place to visit in both winter and summer. When the snow flies, Grouse Mountain is a winter wonderland offering outdoor skating, snowshoeing, skiing, and snowboarding. The ski runs are not particularly difficult, and Grouse Mountain is a fun family outing. It's also a great place to learn how to ski. Come summer, Grouse Mountain is a hiker's paradise with trails, including the famed Grouse Grind - affectionately called Mother Nature's StairMaster.
The oldest part of the city, Gastown is an area of restaurants, galleries, and shops set in carefully restored Victorian buildings. Heritage structures, cobblestone streets, and iron lampposts give the district its distinctive atmosphere. This is also where you'll find the famous Gastown Steam Clock, one of only a few working steam clocks in the world. Every quarter hour, the clocks shoots steam from its five whistles and on the hour it gives off a toot from each whistle.
Oceanfront English Bay offers shopping and high-end restaurants, but is also a popular outdoor area where people come to walk, bike, rollerblade, or hang out with the public art installations. One of the biggest events of the summer is Celebration of Light. Generally occurring around the last week of July, spectacular fireworks are set to music. Another popular event is the New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim, when hardy swimmers take a dip in the chilly Pacific waters.