VANCOUVER — Stunning Beauty, World-Class Attractions

Stunning Beauty, World-Class Attractions

Story by David Burke | Images by Joern Rohde

Vancouver at night. Downtown Vancouver. Stanley Park.

TIME magazine recently included Vancouver on its list of World’s Greatest Places 2023. The list of 50 countries, regions, cities and towns featured places chosen by the magazine’s international network of correspondents and contributors, focussing on destinations that offer new and exciting experiences for visitors.
The article lauded the city’s ability to attract events such as the 2025 Invictus Games and 2026 FIFA World Cup, as well as the famed Stanley Park, its vibrant dining scene, its walkability, and its arts and culture, boosted by the recent opening of the permanent location of the Chinese Canadian Museum in the city’s famed Chinatown.

Canada’s West Coast hub (metro area population 2.5 million) boasts one of the planet’s most stunning urban backdrops, with the North Shore mountains looming over the city, Burrard Inlet and English Bay. It also features world-class attractions in both winter and summer.
During the colder months, Vancouver’s mild climate allows for numerous outdoor activities, even for non-skiers. On a clear day or night, a ride up the Grouse Mountain gondola affords spectacular views of the sprawling urban landscape below.

The famed Stanley Park Seawall is available for both biking or walking, and the Robson Street Plaza, including the city’s only open-air ice skating rink (rentals available), is a great place to enjoy an afternoon from December through February.
The plaza is just steps away from Granville Street, home to many of the city’s most popular entertainment venues. If you have an interest in sports, the Vancouver Canucks hockey team plays at nearby Rogers Arena.

Robson Square Skating Rink

False creek with views toward Science World at dusk.

If you only have a couple of days, it’s a good idea to take a hop-on, hop-off bus tour that visits key attractions — Stanley Park, including the Seawall and Vancouver Aquarium, as well as Yaletown and Chinatown. The tours leave from near the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is close to other attractions, including Gastown and its famous steam clock.
Food lovers will undoubtedly find a delectable variety of choices from among the more than 350 restaurants participating in the 22nd annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival, Jan. 17 to Feb. 4, 2024.

Art is ever-present, and the downtown core has two of the best-known galleries: the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) and the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art. The VAG includes works by well-known Canadian, Indigenous and acclaimed international artists, as well as visiting exhibitions. The exhibition “A Room of Her Own” showcases 25 works of famed British Columbia artist Emily Carr from the gallery’s collection.

Gastown at night

Vancouver Art Gallery.

The Bill Reid Gallery is another place to be inspired by the contemporary works of Northwest Coast Indigenous artists. It includes a collection of creations by its namesake, best known for his two- and three-dimensional depictions of Haida mythology and legends.

Vancouver Public Library

Science World is a great place for young and old to engage their inner scientist. It includes interactive, indoor and outdoor displays and demonstrations.

The Moshe Safdie, Richard Archambault and Barry Downs-designed central branch of the Vancouver Public Library is one of the most interesting pieces of local architecture, meant to mimic the Roman Colosseum. Its spacious atrium is a great place to hang out, as is the ninth-floor rooftop garden that affords views of downtown, including nearby B.C. Place Stadium.

Queen Elizabeth Park is best known for its formal, sunken gardens complete with waterfall, and the Bloedel Conservatory, a triodetic dome that houses a display of tropical and sub-tropical plants. Originally called Little Mountain Park because it sits on a high point with great views of the Vancouver skyline, the park’s name was changed in 1940 to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth I (a.k.a. the “Queen Mom”).

Queen Elizabeth Park and MacMillan Bloedel Conservatory

Chinese Canadian Museum

UBC Gardens

The UBC Botanical Garden is a great place to stroll through coastal rainforest, including internationally recognized collections of rhododendrons, maples and magnolias. The nearby Nitobe Memorial Garden is a traditional Japanese tea garden designed in memory of Dr. Inazo Nitobe, whose wish was to foster world peace.

Vanier Park, just across False Creek from downtown, is home to the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) and H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. MOV explores the city’s history and features temporary exhibits, including “Refuge Canada,” showcasing the stories of those who came to Canada as refugees, through Feb. 2, 2024.
Next door, the family-centred H.R. MacMillan Space Centre includes exhibits on the wonders of space, including a planetarium.

The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre with Planetarium

The Chinese Canadian Museum’s feature exhibit “The Paper Trail to the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act,” running until June 30, 2024, commemorates 100 years since the act’s passage.

The Granville Island Public Market, on False Creek, is where you’ll find shops, studios and galleries where you can visit with the creators and browse for everything from silk to jewellery to custom-built canoes.

Granville Island.

Questions about Vancouver-area sights and attractions can be directed to Tourism Vancouver’s Virtual Visitor Centre via live chat at or phone 604-683-2000, email, or visit Alternatively, visit each location’s website.