Corraled by the English Bay on one side and the Vancouver Harbour on the other, this stunning stretch of land was declared the city's first public park in 1886. Unlike most city parks, Stanley Park was not laid-out by a landscape architect, but instead, grew organically over the years. The rainforest forms the core of Stanley Park, with trees towering to a height of 76 meters (249 feet) and close to 100 years old, while the seawall hems the park's waterfront. Scattered throughout are monuments, landmarks and public art, as well as gardens with vivid floral displays and totem poles; a tapestry of varied habitats teeming with native wildlife that is held together by a network of trails. The park is also home to attractions like a miniature railway, the Malkin Bowl and the Vancouver Aquarium.
Since 1973 the Cultch has been providing Vancouver with quality contemporary productions in the arts. The theater was actually originally a Methodist church, long since converted into the venue that it is known and loved. The Cultch also provides art programs for youth and hosts an annual youth arts festival. See website for more details.
Although it's safe, you will want to grip the rope as you step out on to the creaky wooden planks of Capilano Suspension Bridge, which provides a look at the glorious Capilano River raging down at 230 feet (70 meters). This popular attraction, situated at the park of the same name, isn't recommended for those who fear heights. Ten minutes from Downtown, the attraction includes a restaurant, post and gift shop and offers guided tours as well. All the park attractions are included in the admission price.
Occupying a sizable space in Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium offers unseen glimpses into the beauty of the marine kingdom with enchanting displays and a strong emphasis on conservation. Officially known as the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, this aquarium is divided into distinct spaces that feature aquatic wildlife from the Arctic to the Amazon. Nearly 58,000 creatures inhabit in this sprawling marine centre, from playful yet majestic Steller sea lions and genteel dolphins who dive through the air, to killer whales and African penguins. There is a touch pool for visitors to discover the magic agility that cownose and southern stingrays are blessed with. The aquarium also acts as the crusader of sorts for sea creatures, evident from its Ocean Wise program. Not only does it employ professional naturalists to interpret animal behavior, but also contains a living exhibit that illustrates the issues faced by marine life in the Georgia Strait.
This award-winning glass and concrete structure hold one of the world's most extensive collections of Northwest Coast First Nations art. This University of British Columbia Museum is a must-see while you are in the city. History, culture and art are on display in an atmosphere of tranquillity and light. See totem poles, canoes and sculptures in silver, gold and wood. There's also a gift shop if you wish to buy some souvenir for your family or friends.
Orpheum Theatre was built in 1927 and restored in 1976 to its former glory. Originally opened as a vaudeville house, it is now a beautiful, much-loved city landmark. Located in the entertainment district Downtown, it is the perfect venue for a glamorous night out on the town, offering a variety of concerts, musicals and ceremonies as well as being the home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
For an evening of laughter and merriment, visit Yuk Yuk's Comedy Club, nestled in Downtown Vancouver. This, chain of comedy clubs created in 1977 by Mark Breslin, a stand-up comedian, is one of Canada's prime places for a laughter riot. A line up of events by popular names like Sean Cullen, Nikki Payne and various artistes from New York, leaves the audience in splits of laughter. Yuk Yuk's is one of the best places to drop by when you are gloomy. After a show take home a memorabilia from Yuk Yuk's; you can choose from sweatshirts, tank tops, bags, hats and more. Visit the store and check out their collection.
Fondly known as the golf ball because of the glittery geodesic dome that sits atop it, this science center is a former Expo '86 pavilion. Today, it is a top family destination, offering educational, entertaining and interactive exhibits. Three main galleries explore the areas of biology, physics and music. A 3D laser show presents fun images. The biggest attraction is the OMNIMAX Theatre, which features science and nature films on one of the world's largest dome screens.
This massive domed theater, one of the largest in the world, transports its visitors to a myriad of spectacular locations. It's a 400-seat theater with a five-story screen and 28-speaker digital sound system. And as if that wasn't impressive enough, Omnimax Theatre shows award-winning science and nature films from around the globe.
The Monte Clark gallery established in 1992 houses works of select artists like Roy Arden, Karen Bubas, Evan Lee and others. It specializes in showcasing contemporary Canadian art and has been a dominant fixture on the contemporary art scene in Canada. This gallery is a non profit organization with an aim to promote and document Canadian art. It takes great pride in exhibiting visual arts and photography by leading Canadian and international artists.
Initially opened in 1931 as a vaudeville and movie house, this Art Deco establishment is now under the management of the Arts Club Theatre. It is another testament to Vancouver's current cultural rejuvenation. The historic landmark seats 650 and is currently home to musicals, theater productions and comedies. The venue now has full bar service and is within walking distance to pre-theater and post-theater dining. There is ample parking in the surrounding residential streets. Check website for more details on current and upcoming events.
Brimming with a delightful vibrancy, Granville Island is a veritable haven of shopping, entertainment and culture located only a few minutes away from Downtown Vancouver. At the crack of dawn, water taxis can be seen ferrying across False Creek, bearing local wares and fruit crates ready to be sold at the Public Market. The Island's colour, warmth and jubilant personality are fed by each of the 300 businesses and vendors that inhabit its charming stretch. Whether it is the assortment of handicrafts, Aboriginal Art and locally curated souvenirs sold at its homegrown shops and galleries or the pull of culture on display at its performing arts venues, Granville Island saves something for everyone. Notable among its many landmarks is the Emily Carr University of Art and Design, the Vancouver Theatresports League and the Granville Island Brewing Company.