Fruit and cheese. Sunshine. A blanket and grass. With Vancouver's gorgeous summer weather, it's a crime not to enjoy it with an old-fashioned picnic. The city offers an infinite number of scenic spots, whether it's on the steps of a museum or on the beach. We've compiled seven of our only-in-Vancouver favourites where you can take your picnic pals and have a grand time. Have more unique picnic ideas for Vancouver visitors? Visit our Facebook fan page and leave a comment.
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Stanley ParkPicnicking here is obviously a no-brainer for Vancouver visitors or locals, but actually narrowing down the exact site is another matter. You could have a memorable picnic practically anywhere in Stanley Park: a secluded spot on the seawall, a bench at Prospect Point, a patch of grass in the rose garden. That said, we like Ferguson Point for its views of English Bay. Previously a military lookout, the area sits right by the water. The large grassy area is an inviting space to plop down on a blanket, or you can chill on one of the benches overlooking the water.
Dr. Sun-Yat Sen Park
Located right next to the famous Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
, the adjacent public park provides picnickers with an opportunity to experience the delights of a traditional Chinese garden free of charge. The differences between the park and garden are mostly in the materials that were used to make the park - most of the park's originated in Vancouver, while the garden's were imported from China. Have your picnic underneath a weeping willow tree or on the rocks that line the meandering path through the park. If you want to walk off your lunch, take a complimentary tour while enjoying some Chinese tea at the authentic Chinese Garden.
How could Granville Island
not be on this list? Head to the famous Public Market, where you can pick up all your picnic ingredients in one fell swoop. Strawberries, cherries, desserts, breads, deli meats and drinks are all available in wide variety. You can even pick up some flowers for decorations. If you're aiming for convenience, visit any of the restaurants in the market for a meal to go. There's not much you can't find, since the food shops span the globe, offering burritos, pizza, sandwiches - even freshly made sushi. Head outside and sit on a bench while watching the False Creek ferries shuttle visitors to the island, or make your way to duck pond and take a seat on the grass.
Just a 13-minute SeaBus
ride from downtown's Waterfront Station, this market is quieter than Granville but no less vibrant. Fun gourmet shops are great places to pick up extra picnic items, and several convenient restaurants anchor the market's food scene. But what sets Lonsdale Quay apart is the decidedly sea-filled atmosphere. Some attribute it to the vast Burrard Inlet and the seaside activity - the wind or a horn from a SeaBus departure. Whatever it is, it sure makes a relaxing picnic spot.
Vancouver Art Gallery
You might not think of the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery
as a great place to picnic. After all, there aren't huge stretches of trees, and chances are you won't hear birds chirping in the background. What you will see is downtown Vancouver at its best. UBC students come here to hang out, businessmen pass by on their way to power lunches and you'll probably hear a street musician or two jamming the hours away. Plus, after you eat, you can visit the museum and check out its world-class British Columbian art.
Queen Elizabeth Park
We'll take the cue from Dana Lynch's blog post on insidevancouver.com
. She says, "Positioned atop the city's highest point, Queen Elizabeth Park is everything a world-class park should be: beautifully landscaped, easy to navigate and boasting some of the prettiest gardens and scenic views in all of Vancouver." Prime picnic spots? Grab a bench at the park plaza, where the views go on and on and the dancing fountains give the area amusement park flair. If you think a picnic without flowers isn't a picnic at all, not to worry. The park is also home to the Bloedel Floral Conservatory, recognizable by its giant dome. Inside, you'll find more than 100 exotic birds and some of city's most gorgeous flora.
English Bay's Inukshuk StatueRight by English Bay Beach, the area that's home to the Inukshuk Statue - the official symbol for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics - is simply too beautiful to not spend a few hours soaking up. After all, isn't that what picnics are for? Sit either on the grass or snag a bench. The wide-open views of English Bay and the mountains in the background are simply stunning, and sunsets are just about as romantic as it gets.