Vancouver Making your way to Vancouver for the first time, or just looking to learn more about the city, whether you've been here or not? This section is full of what you need to get to know Vancouver> More
In 1859 a British surveyor discovered that a centuries-old fishing settlement that he was interested in, did not connect to Vancouver's inner harbour. He was so disappointed with his discovery that he dismissed the area as a "false creek". Today it is lined with wonderful restaurants and waterfront condominiums on the downtown/Yaletown side, and the fabulous markets, marinas and shops of Granville Island on the other.
Begin your walk at the Main Street SkyTrain station to take a look at the area's last remaining industrial waterfront along First Avenue. Pass under the Cambie Street Bridge and over into another world . . . parkland, seawall footpaths, marinas and enclaves of charming houses and apartments. A short walk to Granville Island and its famous public market. Or hop a ferry across the creek to explore the other side of False Creek known as Yaletown.
Yaletown previously was known as a warehouse district without much to draw people in other than business. During the dotcom boom of the late 90s, Yaletown began to be transformed into the hub of emerging high-tech companies. It quickly became the place to work, live and eat, with restaurants, coffee shops, nightclubs and condos developing at an intense rate! Now Yaletown is a bustling community with fantastic amenities, activities and sights.
Start at Mainland or Hamilton and take a moment to grab lunch or coffee from the many establishments in the area.
Continuing down Davie, you soon come across the Seawall. Originally Stanley Park's Seawall ended at the Burrard Bridge, but now continues through Yaletown to Main Street/Science World. Turning left at the end of Davie, takes you for a walk along the water to Science World - or the 'golf ball' as locals call it - and past that all the way to Granville Island, if you desire a long walk. Or by turning right at the end of Davie, you can saunter along False Creek towards Stanley Park. This is a pretty, easy walk past wonderful parks, waterfront apartments and stores.
Stanley Park is truly a walker's paradise right in the heart of the city. It's one of the largest urban parks in North America, with 400 hectares (1000 acres) of woodlands, gardens, flowers, trails, lakes, beaches and wildlife.
Circumnavigate the park via the seawall (a brisk 2-hour walk) or take the road less traveled around Lost Lagoon or Beaver Lake to view the resident geese, swans and raccoons. Stanley Park is home to the Vancouver Aquarium as well as tennis courts, pitch and putt golf course which makes it a great family outing.
Known for its public markets, fresh bakeries and unique stores, you can spend an entire day exploring all that this area has to offer. After checking out all the wonderful foods and fares of the market, navigate your way through the narrow roads and lanes of Granville Island, stopping to go through book stores, art exhibits, the Kids Only centre and head to the walking paths along the water. Going East, you can walk the beautiful False Creak Walk, continue to Science World, or even further to Yaletown.
Heading West you pass the marinas of Granville Island, more enviable waterfront condominiums with views across False Creek to downtown Vancouver, and eventually cross under the Burrard Bridge. Continuing along the water and following the pathways eventually leads you to Vanier Park, which is where the summer Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival and Children's Festivals are held each year. The Vancouver Museum and H.R. MacMillan Space Centre are also located in this area, so if your feet need a rest, stop in at these attractions.
Imagine a place where parks and green spaces are plenty, where picturesque streets of "fairy tale" homes are lined with Oak and Fir, where yacht clubs, breathtaking views and quaint shops are commonplace. Arguably the loveliest in the city, the Point Grey community is certainly quintessential Vancouver.
Start at the Camosun Bog at 19th and Camosun (the edge of Pacific Spirit Park). Follow the boardwalk until you come to Courtenay. At Courtenay and 14th stop to look past the screen of bamboo at the home of renowned architect Arthur Erickson. The house isn't much to look at but the garden is stunning.
Keep heading north, passing through the West 10th shopping district and Trimble Park before coming to Jericho Beach. Springtime is magical here, alive with birdsong and fluffy ducklings. Head east and you'll come across Hastings Mill Store, the oldest building in Vancouver. Barged here from its original location on Burrard Inlet, it is now a museum.
Head along Cameron and soon you will come to steep stairs that lead down to the Point Grey foreshore. Marvel at the bluff-clinging houses as you stroll along the beach. If the tide is out you can wend your way through the logs and rocks, or head back up to Point Grey Road to view the million-dollar homes with million-dollar views.
University of British Columbia
UBC can seem like a city unto itself. The campus stretches 402 hectares, flanked by the picturesque University Endowment Lands community and the Pacific Spirit Regional Park forested parklands. The campus itself offers much to see and do with amazing views of the ocean, mountains and city, and wonderful attractions such as the renowned Museum of Anthropology and UBC Botanical Gardens. Wandering the campus grounds can take a full day, but it's the various trails and walkways that attract the avid walkers.
Paths throughout the campus parks and greenery make for pleasant strolls, while the Endowment Lands offer enjoyable walks for all ages. The views along these walks range from impressive homes and fantastic ocean and mountain views, to flourishing gardens, natural flora and of course spectacular forests throughout the parklands. Many trails are marked with walking directions and distance.
West Vancouver Seawall
The West Vancouver Seawall starts at beautiful Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, across the Lions Gate Bridge, about 20 minutes from downtown. The Seawall runs from the Park to the community of Dundrave.
Located directly across from Stanley Park, this walk provides extraordinary views of the park, ocean and Lions Gate Bridge. West Vancouver has taken great care in ensuring the Seawall is well maintained, lined with wonderful flora and foliage, and a special fenced path for dogs.
As it is literally only a few feet above the ocean waters, there have been several times during its history when huge storms have damaged the walk, sending large logs and other debris up onto the Seawall! But due to its beauty and popularity, it has always been quickly fixed and available for the morning, noon and night regulars.
Dundrave has many wonderful restaurants, quaint shops and coffee bars to stop for a refill before making a return walk to Ambleside.
Capilano River - North Vancouver Trails
The Capilano River runs from the base of Grouse Mountain at the Cleveland Dam, down through North Vancouver into the Pacific by the Park Royal shopping centre, Ambleside Park and underneath the Lions Gate Bridge. Along the river there are many outstanding walking and hiking paths.
You can begin your walk at the mouth of the Capilano River by Park Royal. At the end of the West Vancouver Seawall is a pathway that leads you to the beginning, or end - depending on your start - of the Capilano Pacific Trail. This path leads you along the west side of the river, up into the Capilano canyon to the Fish Hatchery and eventually to the Cleveland Dam. The entire trail takes between three to four hours to complete round trip and can range in difficulty as there are some steep areas within the canyon.
You can also begin the trail from the Cleveland Dam, and there are several other trails and shorter/easier walks or hikes to choose from the Dam. They are marked, but it is also a good idea to bring along a guidebook.
Seymour Conservation Reserve
The Seymour Conservation Reserve provides a fantastic walk or hike - depending on your interest and abilities. Find out more about this amazing area on the North Shore by seeing our Seymour Conservation Reserve page in the Day Trip section.
Local Mountain Trails
Mostly known for skiing, the three local mountains of Vancouver - Cypress, Grouse and Seymour - all offer excellent walking and hiking trails in the Spring and Summer months. Varying levels and lengths are available and each mountain provides well marked trails and information from their customer service centres.
Hiking the Grouse Grind video
Heritage Walking Tours
Many visitors are instantly drawn to the picturesque walkways along the sea, lush forest paths or spectacular mountain walking and hiking paths when interested in taking a walk in Vancouver. However, there is so much to see in the city itself, especially for those interested in architecture and the city's heritage, here are just a few ideas.
Chinatown is not just a great destination for shopping, but the sights, sounds and heritage buildings of the area are worth a walk around!
Gastown is well known for its history, and guided tours are available through a number of companies showing off the world-renowned steam clock, cobbled streets, and impressive heritage buildings.
Yaletown, now known as one of the best areas for restaurants and shopping, and offering fantastic seawall walks, also houses some of the oldest architecture of the city. Where else can you enjoy a latte in a heritage building?
Shaughnessy is a must see for anyone interested in heritage real estate - or just really impressive mansions! One of the older areas of the city, and certainly one of the most affluent, Shaughnessy offers some truly incredible homes on a lovely walk through this posh neighbourhood.
For wonderful walking route suggestions and interactive maps of what you can see in each of the above areas, visit The City of Vancouver website.
Many people think about Greenways in the traditional sense of nature trails or pathways through natural areas or along waterfronts. In Vancouver, Greenways are that and much more. Greenways in Vancouver are linear public corridors for pedestrians and cyclists that connect parks, nature reserves, cultural features, historic sites, neighbourhoods and retail areas. They have a legacy dating back to the Bartholomew Plan of 1928, with his vision of a continuous waterfront parkway from Stanley Park around False Creek. Vancouver Greenways can be waterfront promenades, urban walks, environmental demonstration trails, heritage walks and nature trails. Greenways expand opportunities for urban recreation, provide alternate ways to move through the city and enhance the experience of nature, community and city life.