Vancouver’s must-see tourist attractions

I’m proud to live in one of the most inviting cities in the world. From panoramic views and lush greenery to high-end cuisine and thriving multiculturalism, Vancouver has a lot to offer and a lot to share with out of towners. Here are just a few of the things that make this city a top travel destination

Stanley Park

1
610 Pipeline Rd, Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4

This sprawling urban park is the perfect place to enjoy a few leisurely hours outdoors. Check out the Lost Lagoon, the Seawall, a beautiful forest of scenic trails and more – this place is an essential spot to visit on a sunny day. Additional attractions include bike lanes for cyclists and rollerbladers, a great swimming pool, numerous beaches, the Vancouver Aquarium, restaurants and lots of picnic space. Vancouver is a green city, and there’s no better introduction to it than this.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

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5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1

VanDusen is a feast for the eyes, and a soul-cleansing respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Located on Vancouver’s West Side, the city garden offers 22 hectares of beauty: wonderful landscapes, ponds and streams, and topiary delights like the Elizabethan hedge maze – a fun challenge, and a blast for kids – all await. You can also dine in the park and check out the educational exhibits at the visitor’s centre. But most of all, this is a place to appreciate the variety of plant life and discover species from all over the world.

Vancouver Public Library

3
350 Georgia St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 6B1

First off, the building itself is a marvel: recalling classical architecture but with a very modern feel, the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch is certainly one of the greatest pieces of architecture in town. The exterior has a Roman Coliseum quality while the interior space is open-air, which is excellent for browsing or simply looking. The branch is open to the public and hosts many events for children. Library Square is also home to a great pub if you need a pint after you’re done perusing.

H R MacMillan Space Centre

4
1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9

You might say this tourist attraction is out of this world. Founded in 1968, the Space Centre is an astronomy museum that features live presentations and an array of exhibits on all things celestial. It’s also home to the famous Planetarium Star Theatre, which offers some mind-blowing educational entertainment, and presents late-night laser shows for those of a psychedelic bent.

Science World British Columbia

5
1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC V6A 3Z7

Another Vancouver landmark, and one of the city’s most recognizable attractions, Science World has monthly exhibits on everything from human anatomy to dinosaurs, from the science of animation to the science of…cocktails! This is education like you never quite get in school: vivid and larger than life. One feature you don’t want to miss is the largest OMNIMAX theatre in the world. A staggering five stories high and 27 metres wide; this cinema will give you a dizzying, immersive experience.

Richmond Night Market

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3063-8700 McKim Way, Richmond, BC V6X 4A5

Bring cash and an empty stomach. Every May to October, nearby suburb Richmond turns festive with an open-air extravaganza of food and commerce, Asian-style. Live entertainment, a festive atmosphere and a huge array of food options make the outdoor market a Lower Mainland favourite. From burgers to shrimp dumplings, they’ve got every taste covered, although the fare leans mostly Eastward. You can also buy toys, DVDs and much more. You won’t leave hungry—that’s a promise.

Aberdeen Centre

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4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC V6X 4J7

Another Richmond hotspot, this mall gives locals and visitors a taste of Hong Kong in the Lower Mainland. It’s the area’s first Asian mall – a commercial monument, of sorts, to Pacific Rim multiculturalism. Aberdeen boasts approximately 100 stores, offering imported clothes, confectionaries, toys and a plethora of foodstuffs. The atmosphere is clean, a little fancy, and very bright: garish colours on lit-up signs, intensely coloured ornaments and faux-gold trim make this mall a vivid experience. Work up an appetite and be sure to hit the delicious food court!

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

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3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1

One of the most-visited – and, surely, least forgotten – attractions in the whole province is this gorgeous, green park. It features a dizzying suspension bridge, of course, and that will give you a thrill that would be worth the price of admission on its own. But there’s much more to discover amid the lush, old growth rainforest that visitors explore on paths that take you high above the ground. There’s also the Cliffwalk, a display of Native art and culture, and guided nature tours. Don’t leave this North Van destination off your list.

WaterMania

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14300 Entertainment Blvd, Richmond, BC V6W 1K3

Looking for a little indoor fun but still don’t mind getting wet? Watermania is the place for you! Richmond is home to this popular public aquatic centre with wave pools, spray hoses for water fights, ropes for those Tarzan swings into the water, and waterslides your kids will love. Adults can do laps in the 57-metre competition pool, or lounge in the steam room, sauna or either of the two large whirlpools.

Away from the civic hype, the tourists and the photo-snappers, here are the display galleries that draw me in week after week. These local Vancouver galleries support Canadian art in all its embattled glory; they may be small, but their power over me is strong.
Diversity: it’s what we thrive on as Canadians. So why do we so often forget about it when it comes to movies? Here’s a list of outfits in Vancouver where you can find alternatives beyond the mainstream: foreign, cult, revivals and more. There’s a wider world of cinema out there, and here’s how to get to it.
End the year on a full stomach and a high note! From fine dining to dancing under the stars, these spots share the promise of New Year’s Eve festivity and culinary bliss. On December 31st, spoil yourself – you’ve earned it. [Photo courtesy of Wildebeest]
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