Vancouver Lookout#10 in Best Things To Do in Vancouver
Some travelers say the Vancouver Lookout should be your first sightseeing stop. From the panoramic observation deck, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the city below, including the North Shore and Olympic Peninsula Mountains, as well as the sprawling Stanley Park.
Sitting on the 55th floor of the Harbour Centre building in downtown Vancouver, the lookout is reached via glass elevator, where the 40-second ride takes visitors up more than 550 feet to the top. Make the most of the spectacular vantage point by visiting on a clear day; recent visitors said you won't get your money's worth if there's cloud cover.
The Vancouver Lookout is open daily, with seasonal summer and winter hours. From October to May, it welcomes visitors from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; from May to October it's open from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Consult the lookout's website for specific opening and closing times. Admission, which includes free guided tours, is valid throughout the day and evening. Recent travelers advise taking advantage of this daylong admission by returning for sunset viewing.
Tickets for adults cost CA$17.50 (about $13.50); admission for youths ages 13 to 18 costs CA$12.50 (about $9.60). Tickets for children 6 to 12 cost CA$9.50 (about $7.30). You'll find Harbour Centre about a 7-minute walk from the Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal in downtown Vancouver. If you're getting here via SkyTrain, you'll find Harbour Centre across the street from the Waterfront Station.
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#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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