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.
Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park is a myriad of awe-inspiring sights rolled into one. This verdant retreat is the crown jewel of Vancouver's urban landscape, perched at the city's highest point, in full view of the North Shore Mountains and the city itself. The park is a diverse tapestry of luxuriant spaces, each a cornucopia of delights. At the Quarry Garden, the former wasteland has been transformed into a lush garden complete with a babbling brook and cascading waterfall, while the Rose Garden abounds in variously hued floral displays. Nearby, the Arboretum shelters a collection of native and exotic trees, interspersed with sculptures and public art by the likes of Henry Moore. The Dancing Fountain is another popular feature, as is the Painters' Corner where local artists can be seen working on picturesque landscapes, their original artwork on display. For the more actively inclined, the park also features sports facilities like tennis courts, mini-golf and lawn bowling.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Anza Club is a down-to-earth club that is favored by locals for the sheer range of musical extravaganzas it features the year round. You can attend any of the vibrant gigs or partake in any of the numerous themed events where you can groove to rock, funk or acid notes (Psych nights) and let your hair down during the DJ events. Bluegrass lovers will love the array of concerts, sessions, workshops and other gatherings organized to popularize this rare genre. A Celluloid Social Club encourages filmmakers to screen their films here, enabling them to reach out to a larger audience, thereby increasing their scope. Anza also organizes a huge number of outdoor activities. Check website for more details.
If you are looking for a good time at an unpretentious place that's known for exciting music, then head to the Open Studios at Mount Pleasant. This splendid venue, which also doubles up as a party house, is known for hosting DJs and bands that give out some excellent music. DJs pack a punch with thumping house and electronic music, while indie rock bands give out some awesome, foot-tapping tunes. Make sure you visit Open Studios enjoy your night in Vancouver.
Army Navy & Airforce Veterans Club - Taurus #298 or Anavets Unit No. 298 is a rocking club for not only military veterans but also civilians. This enduring favorite has karaoke nights, shuffleboards and cheap drinks. You will find the place cramped on Wednesdays and Saturdays for the karaoke nights and if you don't come in early, you might miss the bus. This is the place where you get to mingle with hipsters and cool vets who can give a run for your money, so don't wager on anything be it the karaoke, darts or shuffleboard unless you are sure of it.