When I first moved to Vancouver nine years ago I always compared Vancouver to the hot, younger sister of the Canadian trinity of cities (hello Toronto/Montreal I’m looking at you, elder siblings). I felt like Vancouver was flighty, a little vapid at times but, boy oh boy, was she a looker.
The longer I live here, the more I realize that Vancouver has a big heart and brains to match her stunning good looks. From all the social justice, education and tech institutions located here to her ability to host a great party to her parks to her greatest asset, her people, Vancouver has much be ranked. She’s the kind of city that some may love to hate (again, looking at you Toronto) because she is the whole package: brains and beauty.
I’ve gathered up a list of some of best places to admire Vancouver at her most beautiful. Herewith is my personal list of 10 of Vancouver’s prettiest viewpoints or lookouts. This list is not meant to be an exhaustive compilation but instead a start to a conversation about just where we can admire views of our brainy, bodacious city.
Wreck Beach /3rd Beach – Some argue Vancouver’s best assets are her beaches. According to National Geographic, Vancouver is one of the world’s top 10 beach cities. I high five this ranking each time I hoof it to Wreck Beach or 3rd Beach. They both have it all: golden sand, gentle waves and 180 degree views of the Strait of Georgia.
Vancouver Rowing Club – Attend a regatta or special event hosted in the 127-year old club and you’ll be treated to views of Coal Harbour, Canada Place, the Vancouver Convention Centre and the city skyline.
Fraser River Park– The Fraser River played a key role in how our city developed. Canneries, lumber mills and First Nations communities all lined the 1375 km long river and its Vancouver-area tributaries. Pack a lunch, bring your dog (much of the park is an off-leash zone) and check out tug boats and nimble log drivers as they work up and down the mighty Fraser.
Lighthouse Park – There are so many spots to enjoy the view from Lighthouse Park. Basically the water edges of the park all equate to fantastic views of Stanley Park, Lions Gate Bridge and the University of British Columbia or towards the Gulf Islands or even Vancouver Island on an uber-clear day.
Grouse Mountain – After you sweat out the 2.9 kilometre, 853-metre vertical rise of the Grouse Grind enjoy a beverage at Altitudes Bistro. Or if you don’t fancy a go at Nature’s stairmaster then take the Skyride to take in the panoramic Vancity vista.
Cambie Street Bridge – I once heard local broadcaster Steven Quinn extol the virtues of watching the sunset from the Cambie Street bridge. I took his advice. The bustle of boats on False Creek below, the silhouettes of the Granville and Burrard Street bridges and English Bay framed my sunset view perfectly.
The Three Brits Public House – The view from the Three Brits is awesome on a lot of levels: you can people watch, statue gaze and English Bay beach watch from the same spot. Get there early as prime evening seating gets snatched up on sunny nights.
Dockside – When it comes to water views in Vancouver, I love gazing east as much as west. The patio at the Dockside offers vistas of False Creek and Science World. It’s a lovely place to kick back, nosh on some local Oceanwise seafood and fantasize about owning a yacht.
Seasons in the Park – Hands down, Seasons in the Park is one of the most romantic places to dazzle your date with stunning panoramas of the northshore mountains. Reserve a seat in the Skyline room, order the rib-eye or steelhead trout and raiser your flutes to clear views of Hollyburn Ridge, the Lions, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour. Afterward, stop by one of the lookouts perched throughout Queen Elizabeth Park.
Adanac Bike Route – Next time you need to go to Commercial Drive on bike, take the Adanac bike route. Between Commercial and Victoria Adanac gets steep. Stop at the top of the hill, catch your breath and turn around. Drink in the view of tree-lined streets, BC Place and downtown Vancouver.
What are your favourite Vancouver viewpoints? Share your best Vancouver views in the comment section below.