Grouse Mountain#8 in Best Things To Do in Vancouver
Towering over North Vancouver, Grouse Mountain has been a popular outdoor getaway for years, especially since the views from the summit span the entire city on a clear day. Originally used only for skiing, Grouse now offers year-round activities, including the Grouse Grind, a nearly 2-mile trail often referred to by residents as "Mother Nature's Stairmaster" (there are a total of 2,830 stairs along the trail). During the winter – a favorite time for locals – you'll have a bevy of activities to occupy your time. Grouse Mountain's slopes boast 33 ski and snowboard runs, four chairlifts and six terrain parks, not to mention four snowshoeing trails. There's also a zip line, a skating pond, a high-definition cinema, a wildlife refuge and several eateries, including a Starbucks and The Observatory, a formal dining room with 360-degree mountaintop views. Many past visitors raved about the excellent (albeit pricey) food at the top.
There are two ways to reach the top: You can break a sweat on the Grouse Grind or enjoy a scenic ride on the Skyride gondola (the cost of which also covers several of the activities offered at the summit). General admission can be a bit pricey at CA$44.95 (about $34) for adults and CA$25.95 (about $19) for children, but includes entry to several activities located at the summit. If you choose to tackle the Grouse Grind, you don't need to pay for the hike up, but you will have to pay CA$10 (about $7.70) for the Skyride back down. (Downhill hiking is not allowed.) Grouse Mountain welcomes visitors every day of the year, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Full-day lift tickets for adults cost CA$63 (about $48.50) and CA$45 (approximately $35) for youths ages 13 to 18; tickets for children 5 to 12 years old cost CA$28 (about $21.50). If you don't have your own gear, make sure you factor in the cost of equipment rental, too. The Skyride offers round trips from 8:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For a complete list of Grouse Mountain activities and prices, visit the Grouse Mountain website.
More Best Things To Do in Vancouver
#1 Stanley Park
This nearly 1,000-acre park on the tip of Vancouver's "thumb" (just north of the West End) is home to some of the city's favorite, most-visited attractions. In fact, you could easily spend more than a day here and still not see everything this urban oasis has to offer. If you want to experience the park the way the locals do, walk, cycle or jog around the nearly 20-mile-long Seawall that hugs Vancouver's waterfront. The path starts at the Vancouver Convention Centre and ends at Spanish Banks Beach Park. If you're not up for the walk, you'll find several bike rental companies near the park. With your bike, you'll be able to explore the more than 17 miles of forest trails that are much less crowded than the rest of the park. Travelers recommend biking the South Creek Trail, which leads to the lily pad-covered Beaver Lake. If you're not up for all that exercise, you can ride a hop-on, hop-off trolley or a horse-drawn carriage. Both guided tours (offered seasonally) include informational narration. Recent visitors said the park offers a great escape from the city and has one of the prettiest seawall walks around.
Families with kids in tow will find plenty of family-friendly to-dos here as well, including an outdoor water park and a separate heated, outdoor pool. The park also boasts four playgrounds and a miniature train that snakes through more than a mile of forest. The Vancouver Aquarium is also nestled within the park, but costs extra. Art and history buffs will likely want to stop at Brockton Point to see the First Nation totem pole display (along the Seawall). It's estimated that some of the original totem poles were carved in the late 1880s.
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