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.
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.
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.
Towering at 1,250 meters (4,100 feet), Grouse Mountain's ethereal peaks bear testament to the unspoiled beauty of British Columbia. Named after the native dusky grouse that inhabits the alpine reaches of the province, this soaring attraction forms part of the North Shore mountains of North Vancouver. The mountain's all-year-round access means that life's luxuries don't escape even this great natural landmark. Grouse Mountain is home to a stunning mountaintop cinema, a chalet and lodge built along its base, and a nifty chairlift that allows for sweeping panoramic views of the soul-stirring scenery of the region. There is also a wildlife refuge and a ski area that occupy the mountain's alpine corners.
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.
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.
The Village is made up of 110 unit low-rise complex bordering False Creek. Along with the 2730 athletes and trainers housed during the Winter Olympics, the facilities also hosted the 350 Paralympic athletes. The Olympic Village completes the full renovation and development of the False Creek waterfront area and puts the athletes within easy walking distance to downtown sights as well as the evening Victory Ceremonies. The Village was designed to become a sustainable and affordable community after the Olympics. All construction that was part of the Village was designed and constructed with LEED Green Building Certification Gold Standard or higher in mind, making it one of the most sustainably constructed sites in Canada to date.
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.
The False Creek is a creek that divides downtown from the rest of the city. You can see that the creek is made up of the four major water bodies of Vancouver. The creek was named by George Henry Richards a hydrographer in his survey of 1856-63. A beautiful inlet and a must-see.
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.