ComeBack to Attractions this Summer

There’s something about getting a new perspective on a place you thought you knew well. Now that many of Vancouver’s beloved attractions are reopening their gates, bridges, and gondolas, it’s an excellent chance to look at the city with fresh eyes. Put yourself in the shoes of a tourist and explore one of the world’s top city gardens, marvel at local and international art, embark on a water adventure and basically have an answer when out of town friends ask you about fun things to do around here. Use this list as a jumping-off point to start from this summer!

 

The Polygon Gallery

Photo credit: The Polygon Gallery

Looking out at the North Van harbour from the SeaBus, your gaze can’t help but gravitate towards The Polygon Gallery. The reflective modern architecture catches the light and shimmers like a beacon of creativity. This one of a kind space offers exhibits ranging from Avant-garde photography to spotlighting emerging Indigenous voices. The current exhibit, Canucks: A Photo History of Vancouver’s Team, is an intimate look at the storied franchise on and off the ice. Open Thursday to Sunday, the gallery has an impressive selection of art books for sale as well as a gift shop that is worth the trip alone.

Tickets do not need to be pre-purchased online. Admission to the Gallery is by donation. Check their website for summer hours

 

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

You might not even know this gem of the city was there, save for its surrounding fortress-like walls. Tucked away in Chinatown, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and it’s weaving ponds transport visitors into an experience like no other in Vancouver. Named by National Geographic as one of the world’s top city gardens, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen is far more than just an attraction, it’s become a community hub. Hosting workshops, tours, and even yoga classes, this is a stop that might become a frequent location in your event itinerary. Also notable for being home to one of Vancouver’s most controversial celebrities, the renegade otter.

Plan your visit to the Garden using their new online ticketing platform.

 

Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours

Photo credit: Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours

 

Take a peek behind Vancouver’s postcard veneer and follow the trail of intrigue. Forbidden Vancouver Walking Tours offers a glimpse at the city’s history of scandal and crime with several themed walks such as The Lost Souls of Gastown and The Dark Secrets of Stanley Park where you’ll be led into the unknown by resident experts on each subject. Thick with atmosphere and theatrical whimsy, this is an evening catered to curious minds young and old.

All walking tours can be booked online.

 

Museum of Anthropology

Home to a world-renowned Northwest Coast First Nations collection, the Museum of Anthropology is a must for anyone interested in art or local history. Surrounded by trees, flooded with natural light and overlooking the ocean below, the stunning building beautifully compliments the land it was built on. You’ll be awestruck standing in the shadow of each towering carving in the great hall. The craftsmanship on display will give a new appreciation for artists who solely work by hand. Dedicated to preserving the traditional art from other cultures as well, the MOA is also home to art native to Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. An inspiring destination that wonderfully marries the beauty of nature with the creative spirit of the past.

Museum admission is on a timed-entry basis only. All visitors must pre-book a ticket online to be admitted into the Museum.

 

UBC Botanical Garden

You really could spend the whole day wandering the UBC Endowment Lands. As Canada’s oldest university botanical garden, this attraction is home to 14 hectares of meticulously cared for plants and flowers. A variety of different gardens make up the grounds, with greenery from the world over. In the Alpine Garden, you’ll walk amongst the species native to the cliff faces of Europe, while in the Asian Garden you’ll see the cultivation of wild temperate plants from the Himalayas, Japan, Korea and China. You can then take your walk into the trees themselves with the Greenheart TreeWalk Adventure- a canopy walkway suspended from towering Douglas firs, cedars and grand firs, many of which are over 100 years old.

Purchase tickets and plan your visit by reserving your entry time online.

 

Bloedel Conservatory

You’ll think you stepped into a tropical gateway as you enter The Bloedel Conservatory. Lush with 500 different kinds of equatorial plants, the temperature-controlled dome is a rainforest at the peak of Queen Elizabeth Park. Watch over 120 exotic free-flying birds as they flutter from branch to branch inspecting your arrival. Built to better understand and appreciate the world’s plants, the conservatory meets that mandate by offering a fascinating look at the flora and fauna you’d never see in Vancouver otherwise.

Tickets are only available for purchase online and members are also required to book in advance.

 

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

One of Canada’s most notable Indigenous artists, Bill Reid was a master goldsmith, carver, and sculptor. This gallery highlighting his work and that of contemporary Indigenous artists of the Northwest Coast is a testament to the importance of preserving cultural tradition. Kids will marvel at the intricate detail of each piece while they learn about Canada’s first peoples. With the Bill Reid Gallery’s discreet location in the downtown core, you might not have known the gallery was there, but once you witness the grand scale of some of the carvings, you won’t soon forget the discovery.

Tickets do not need to be pre-purchased online. Note: every Thursday from 9:30-11 am will be reserved for seniors, vulnerable people and first responders to visit.

 

Exploration By Sea

If you’ve never been taken to the water for a bit of sight-seeing, then it’s high time you hit the waves. By kayak or paddleboard, you’ll wonder how you never pushed out sooner. Whether you’re trolling around Racoon Island in Deep Cove, spotting wildlife, or out to catch your next meal, there’s always something to see from the water. There are plenty of businesses to help you get your sea legs, and appreciate the side of home you’ve been missing while on the shore:

 

A city with so many things to offer, it warranted a second list of our favourite attractions. Pair up any of these outings with a meal from one of Vanover’s best kitchens, and make a day of it or an overnight stay at one of Vancouver’s many downtown hotels. So come out, get some air and we’ll see you soon (at a distance)!

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