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The 6 Vancouver Attractions You Have To See While In the City

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Science Center in Vancouver at dusk with reflection.
Science Center in Vancouver at dusk with reflection.

So you’ve checked in at the Patricia Hotel, settled into your room and are now ready to explore Vancouver. Where to begin? There are dozens upon dozens of exciting things to do in the city, from exploring the great outdoors to dining at any one of the hundreds of delicious restaurants in and around the downtown core (also check out our attractions page). We’ve narrowed down your options to give you the best of what you should see in Vancouver to ensure you don’t miss out on any must see attractions while in town. Check them out below and take your pick from the best of what Vancouver has to offer!


Stanley Park

Stanley Park forest in Vancouver, Canada.


 You can’t leave Vancouver without visiting the famous Stanley Park! With 400 hectares of forest, Stanley Park is the third largest park in North America. Located on the edge of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park has a famous sea wall that takes you around the entire park. You’ll pass by beaches, parks, restaurants, historical landmarks, ocean and wildlife, not too mention the Vancouver Aquarium (Canada’s largest aquarium!). Stanley Park is a national historic site of Canada and the biggest park in an urban environment in all of British Columbia. With so many fun attractions and activities located in one place, believe us, you’ll have a hard time coming spending only one afternoon in this urban oasis!


Grouse Mountain

Grouse Mountain is a haven for the outdoor enthusiast, boasting a slew of exciting outdoor activities for the entire family to enjoy. For those wanting to get in a workout while in town, the Grouse Grind is a must when exploring Grouse Mountain. A challenging hike known for its steep vertical terrain and 2,830 stairs, the Grouse Grind will be one key thing you can check off your Vancouver bucket list while also getting in a killer workout! For something a little more laid back, take the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain for some quality nature time. Grouse Mountain has a list of activities for you to choose from, from a lumberjack show to mountain zip-lining to even breakfast with bears! One can easily spend the entire day exploring everything Grouse Mountain has to offer so make sure to give yourself plenty of time when visiting this famous Vancouver attraction.


Granville Island

Shot from above Granville Island Market and Vancouver skyline
Shot from above Granville Island Market and the Vancouver skyline.

Granville Island is a unique island located in the middle of Vancouver, directly across from downtown Vancouver by False Creek. It features a daily public market that offers locally grown produce, baked goods and fresh seafood, not too mention beautiful handcrafted products and gifts. There’s also a Kids Market designed specifically for children to enjoy! The Kids Market boasts an Adventure Zone, water park, magic acts and live turtles guaranteed to entertain the kids. At night, Granville Island opens its doors to improv performances, with comedy shows, theater productions and classic plays being performed nightly. In between all of the shopping and exploring, take a minute to take in the beautiful view from the docks- you’ll be able to take in the entire downtown Vancouver skyline from your spot on Granville Island!


Science World at the Telus World of Science

No matter what age group, the Science World at the Telus World of Science is an absolute must see for travelers visiting Vancouver. Located on Quebec Street next to the Main Street sky train station, Science World is “a charitable organization that engages British Columbians in science and inspires future science and technology leadership throughout our province.” The centre features daily exhibitions, galleries, films and educational camps. Visit the current art exhibition on display, take in a live science demonstration show, then sit down for a spectacular, state-of-the-art OMNIMAX film presentation. The line up changes weekly so you never have to worry about seeing the same show twice when you visit the Science World. From a unique lightbox display for children to a special “Science World After Dark” for adults, there’s something here for everyone.


English Bay

English Bay sunset in downtown Vancouver.
English Bay sunset in downtown Vancouver.

English Bay is located on the west side of downtown Vancouver. It is home to the famous English Bay beach, not too mention dozens of delicious restaurants, water sports and one spectacular summer sunset. Make it a day trip and take in west coast living at its finest. Spend the morning at English Bay beach, go for lunch on Denman Street, then spend the day out on the water, trying out any one of the slew of watersports available. From stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, jet skiing, scuba diving and kayaking, there’s an activity available guaranteed to please every member of the family. English Bay also plays host to a number of famous events throughout the year, from the thrilling Polar Bear Swim on New Year’s Day to the Celebration of Light fireworks competition every summer in July.


The Steam Clock

The Steam Clock located on Water street in Gastown is one of only six running steam clocks in the world. It was built in 1977 by horologist Raymond Saunders, who was commissioned by local merchants to design the steam clock as a monument. While it was built only forty years ago, the steam clock was designed to look like it came from the Victorian era, a time when Vancouver was only beginning to grow as a city. The Steam Clock is actually powered by descending weights and connected by a rubber belt to an electric motor, making it much more reliable than steam power. With its smooth running system, the Steam Clock whistles and shoots steam every quarter hour and tops off the hour with a toot from each whistle. A quirky part of Vancouver history, the Steam Clock makes for an easy pit stop on the way to dinner in Gastown.

Author: Lauren Martineau