How to Go Stargazing in Vancouver

A field of stars and one shooting stars against a night sky

Photo: Federico Beccari/Unsplash

Vancouver’s spectacular scenery continues after dark when the stars come out. From scientific telescopes to dark sky parks, to quiet campgrounds, and more, here’s where to stargaze around Vancouver.


Stargazing Tips

  • Check the weather forecast and aim for a clear night.
  • Look up the astronomical twilight time so you know what time to go. Astronomical twilight occurs each morning and evening when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon and all of the sunlight has faded from the sky.
  • Avoid bright lights, which make the stars harder to see. That means getting away from city lights like street lamps, buildings, and cars.
  • Let your eyes adjust to the dark. Avoid lights for at least 15 minutes for the best night vision. Use a red flashlight to see and avoid using your phone.
  • Bring binoculars or a telescope to get a better look.
  • Download a stargazing app like Night Sky which has an augmented reality setting that can help you identify the constellations you’re looking at.


Where to Go Stargazing in Vancouver

Spanish Banks Beach

While most of Vancouver has too much ambient light to make for good stargazing, you can still see the stars without leaving the city. Head west to Spanish Banks Beach for an unobstructed view of the stars. Stop at Siegel’s Bagels in Kitsilano on the way there to fuel up with freshly baked Montreal-style bagels. You can pop in on the way back from stargazing too since they are open 24 hours a day!


HR MacMillan Space Centre

You can look at the stars no matter the weather or time of day at the Planetarium Star Theatre at the HR MacMillan Space Centre in Vanier Park. They have several fun space-themed shows that both kids and adults will love. Or view the night sky through the huge telescope at the centre’s GMS Observatory on Wednesday and Friday nights.

A scientist stands next to a boy who is looking through a giant telescope in the GMS Observatory at the HR MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver

Photo: HR MacMillan Space Centre


Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour

One of the best ways to get a clear view of the sky is to go up a mountain. Head up Cypress Bowl Road in West Vancouver to the Cypress Lookout for stargazing with a great view of the city. Or follow Mount Seymour Road to the Mount Seymour Viewpoint. Stop at late-night favourite Breka Bakery & Cafe on your way out of downtown Vancouver to pick up some baked treats to share.

Stars in a purplish-pink night sky with trees in the foreground

Photo: Ryan Hutton/Unsplash


Trottier Observatory at SFU

Head to the Trottier Observatory at SFU every Friday night for the free Starry Nights program. Volunteers from the university and amateur astronomers will help you look through their huge telescope and point out planets and stars.

The exterior of the SFU Trottier Observatory in Vancouver at night with the telescope door open and the building lit up with soft colourful lights

Photo: SFU Trottier Observatory/Facebook


Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Located about 45 minutes north of Vancouver on Howe Sound, Porteau Cove Provincial Park is a favourite stargazing spot for locals. The long pier gives you a great view of the night sky and the remote location means there isn’t much light pollution. Visit for the evening or book a campsite so you can stargaze from your tent!

Stars at Porteau Cove near Vancouver

Night Sky at Porteau Cove. Photo: Ankush Nath Sehal/Unsplash


McDonald Park Dark Sky Preserve

Tiny McDonald Park in Abbotsford about an hour east of Vancouver is one of only two dark sky preserves in BC. The unique geography of the area means that you can get a clear view of the sky while a nearby mountain blocks light pollution from the city. Stop at SippChai Cafe on your way for incredible house-made chai tea and doughnuts.

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