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.
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.
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.
Get a 360-degree view of Vancouver and its outlying areas from one of British Columbia's tallest buildings at the Harbour Centre. Its observation deck gives an unobstructed view of the city, Burrard Inlet, the North Shore mountains, Burnaby Mountain, West Vancouver and Bowen Island. Getting there is a fun experience in itself; glass elevators whisk you up 168 meters (553 feet) in just 40 seconds. There are multilingual guides available for those who are interested.
As part of the complex of museums located in Vanier Park, Vancouver museum is paired with the Macmillan Planetarium at the Pacific Space Centre. It has been in operation since 1894, with most exhibits and presentations focusing on the history of the city and the regions surrounding it. Renowned for its collection of natural history, ethnology, archaeology, and Asian artifacts, there are many things here to see and explore.
Considered one of the best such facilities in North America, this structure has had many transformations. Aside from the planetarium and observatory, H.R. MacMillan Space Center also features the Cosmic Courtyard hands-on gallery, a Virtual Voyages full-motion simulator, Ground-station Canada exhibits and multimedia and popular laser shows. Its overnight adventures and space camps are popular. Don't forget to visit the gift shop with space-related souvenirs. Check the website or call ahead for timings of the evening laser shows. Admission prices mentioned are applicable throughout the day.
Charleson Park is a 2.89-hectare (7.14-acre) park nestled in the Fairview neighborhood and overlooking False Creek. Its northern end that touches the creek offers a panoramic view of the Downtown skyline. This park is frequented by adults and children alike for its greenery, pond, waterfall, trails and playgrounds. It also has a seawall, five tennis courts and a soccer ground. It houses a Dog Park where dogs can roam freely off-leash while their owners enjoy some moments of peace.
Choklit Park features a gradation of terraces and steps lined by shrubberies and tall trees. This 0.07-hectare (0.17-acre) park has been so named as it was originally the site of Purdy’s Chocolate Factory. Besides natural beauty, this park also affords glimpses of the tall buildings of Downtown Vancouver, from open spots between trees. Certain areas within the park also have views of False Creek. This park has a playground and is a good neighborhood spot for a leisurely walk or for children to run about.
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 Great Northern Way Campus is a business and education complex that caters to digital media. The grounds house a number of facilities for various uses. See website for more information.
Granville Loop Park has an area of 0.42 hectares (1.05 acres) and is situated in the Fairview neighborhood of Vancouver. This neighborhood park, though not usually on tourist must-see lists, is popular with locals for walking and recreational activities. It has fountains and water bodies, gray walkways stretching through green lawns, beautiful vegetation and benches at regular distances for relaxation. It also houses two tennis courts and a playground, and thus, it is often frequented by amateur tennis players.
This trigonometric dome sits on the highest point of the city, in Queen Elizabeth Park. Enter a miniature world of waterfalls and bamboo bridges. You can talk to parrots or watch 50 species of birds fly around 500 plant species, in climates ranging from lush tropics to deserts. Colorful fish swim in an indoor pond. The huge conservatory is also home to seasonal garden displays.