Photo credit: Lisa Nixon / Flickr
“When I was working on this album, I walked the seawall every morning, just listening to music, getting ideas. That’s a big part of my creative time. I’m inspired by Vancouver and where I live, and the fresh air and hiking. That gives me inspiration away from the piano.” – Diana Krall
One of Vancouver’s top attractions is nothing more than a paved pathway that stretches some 28 km (17.5 miles) around the city’s waterfront. But what a path it is! Known simply as “the seawall,” you’ll find that following this route, whether on foot or bicycle, is one of the best ways to discover Vancouver. In fact, spending a day exploring Vancouver’s seawall ranks as one of the very best ways to spend a day while you’re in the city.
The seawall starts at the Vancouver Convention Centre on the north-east side of the downtown peninsula, and heads north to Stanley Park and around to English Bay, then south and east up False Creek to Science World before heading west past the Olympic Village, Granville Island, Kitsilano Beach and as far as the beaches of Spanish Banks. In a city known for mountains, the seawall is mostly flat, making it an easy ride or walk for those of all abilities and ages.
As you make your way along the route, every corner reveals a different breathtaking view – the majestic North Shore Mountains, the Lions Gate Bridge arching into West Vancouver, the sandy beaches of English Bay, the First Nations inukshuk statue that inspired the Vancouver 2010 Olympic logo, the glittering downtown Vancouver skyline, and the sun high over Burrard Inlet.
The 9 km (5.5 mile) Stanley Park section is the most popular portion, and it’s easy to see why. Rent a bike from one of the many shops around Denman Street and the park’s entrance and you can easily make your way around the loop in an hour. But even along just this small portion of the path, you’ll want to budget extra time for stops to take in attractions like the legendary totem poles, the Vancouver Aquarium, landmarks like the Nine O’Clock Gun and the Girl in a Wetsuit sculpture, Prospect Point’s lookout to the North Shore, the Siwash Rock, and the beaches along the west side of the park.
But for those with the time, exploring further along the seawall is definitely recommended. Make a day of it, stopping to grab a coffee to enjoy on Stanley Park’s Third Beach, taking a dip in the water at the heated Second Beach Pool (or if you’re a bit braver, in English Bay), and picking up picnic provisions as you pass through Yaletown or from Granville Island. Check out an exhibition at the Museum of Vancouver in Vanier Park, enjoy your lunch at Kitsilano Beach, and head to Jericho Beach for a kayaking tour. The only directions you’ll need all day are “keep following the seawall.”
Vancouver has the BEST skyline!
"July 20, 2016 / VLOG NO. 28 – I seriously think Vancouver has the best skyline. I just love the skyscrapers and nature around the city! We spent the day exploring the city while riding a bike—which made it so much better!"
Stanley Park Seawall - Street View