8 must see parks in Vancouver

Published by: BouncePosted

Vancouver is on top of many bucket lists for various reasons. Tourists and locals alike love the city for its stunning mountain views, arts and culture scene, laidback atmosphere, friendly people, and a plethora of nature and outdoor activities. So where else you'd find the best and free outdoor fun if not in the parks of Vancouver, British Columbia?

The best parks in Vancouver are free and provide fun times for all ages and people from all walks of life. Whether you want to take a walk, clear your head and meditate, or want to work up a sweat and jog the winding hiking trails through creeks and evergreen forests, parks in Vancouver have it all. And you don't even have to venture further off, as many of the city parks are in downtown Vancouver or nearby.

And if you happen to find the perfect spot for a picnic or to stretch your legs but don't want to drag your belongings along, bounce luggage storage in Vancouver has you covered. We offer safe and convenient lockers where you can store your picnic basket or your backpack after hiking so you can enjoy the city parks hands-free.

Stanley Park

If you think New York's Central Park is the best park in the world, wait until you see one of Vancouver's most talked-about parks, Stanley Park. Stretching over an area of 1000 acres in downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park is one of the largest parks in the city and North America, a mix of an untamed rainforest and an urbanized parkland. This urban oasis in the heart of the city is always packed with people who visit daily for various reasons. Whether you want to enjoy the park's natural lagoons and sandy beaches, check out the colorful gardens, take a serene morning walk away from the city noise, or use the sports facilities, you're never short of things to do in this park.

A must-see in the park is the world-class Vancouver Aquarium, home to more than 50,000 marine animals, including dolphins, sea lions, seals, sea otters, and more. You'll also find a few cultural landmarks, such as the totem poles carved by Indigenous artists from the Pacific Northwest Coast. The 8-mile-long perimeter seawall is popular among hikers, joggers, rollerblades, and cyclists. What makes Stanley Park even more appealing is the fact that it's almost entirely surrounded by water and offers a variety of spectacular views, be it the ocean, the city skyline, or the North Shore Mountains.

When hunger strikes, you can head down to one of the three restaurants within the park and enjoy your meal with gorgeous scenery in the background. Stanley Park in Vancouver is open daily, all year around.

Pacific Spirit Regional Park

Spanning over 2000 acres, the Pacific Spirit Regional Park is one of the largest parks in Vancouver, offering a mix of wild and untamed natural beauty and urbanized parkland, from Douglas-fir and Sitka Spruce forests and wetlands to white sand beaches and 20 miles long hiking trails, out of which 90% are leash-optional. Located near the University of British Columbia, this nature lover paradise is the perfect getaway from the city and a place where you can connect with your green side.

People come here to hike, ride horses, jog, bike, or explore the park's beautiful gardens like the Japanese Rock Gardens and the University of British Columbia Rose Garden. Some of the highlights of the Pacific Spirit Regional Park are the Greenheart Tree Walk, the Nitobe Memorial Garden, and the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, home to rare and exotic species of plant life.

With over 200 species of birds, the park is also a popular spot for birdwatching, especially with the organized birding walks that happen throughout the year. Nearby places of interest are the Wreck Beach and the Museum of Anthropology, making it easier to visit in one day.

Once there, don't forget to pick up your free map and guide from the Park Centre at 4915 West 16th Avenue. And when you get the munchies, the park offers a variety of restaurants, enough to satisfy even the most sophisticated palate.

John Hendry Park

Also known as Trout Lake Park, the 67-acre park is one of the best parks in Vancouver for dogs and kids. Boasting views of the North Shore mountains, a lake, and beautiful green spaces, this lovely park allures locals and tourists year-round. Located in East Van, within a short walking distance of the Commercial SkyTrain Station and just a 15-minute ride from the city centre, Trout Lake Park is perfect for a Sunday picnic, walking, laying on the sandy beach, or letting your kids burn off some energy at the playground.

If you're active, the small park invites visitors to fish, swim, play tennis, softball, baseball, basketball, and even ice skate at the Trout Lake Rink. Sometimes the lake freezes solid, and it's ideal for ice skating, but that's a very rare occurrence. The Trout Lake Farmers Market is right next to the entrance on the north, making it easier to grab something to eat and turn it into a picnic under one of the many shaded areas.

Lynn Canyon Park

One of the best-hidden gems in Vancouver can be found east of North Vancouver. Lynn Canyon Park is one of the least commercialized parks in Vancouver, so you can take a bit more time to enjoy the tranquility of nature. With an area of over 600 acres, Lynn Canyon Park is also the largest park in the district of North Vancouver.

The vast public park offers a variety of walking and hiking trails crossing through forests and creeks, leading to waterfalls, beaches, and the natural “30 Foot Pool” swimming pool. One of the highlights of Lynn Canyon Park is the 130 ft long Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge that spans through Lynn Canyon Creek and provides visitors with lovely views of the creek and the surrounding area. Nearby attractions are Rice Lake and Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.

Traversing along the trails, you might come across a variety of wildlife, such as raccoons, deer, and bears. If you want to get familiar with the park's wildlife, check out the exhibit and visitors center at the Ecology Centre. There you'll also find the Lynn Canyon Cafe, where you can make a quick stop for food.

Queen Elizabeth Park

If you're looking for the best park in Vancouver for extraordinary views and gorgeous sunsets, this is the right place. Stretching over an area of 130 acres in the city centre, Queen Elizabeth Park is the highest point in the city, and it's the perfect green space to chill for the day. Manicured lawns, colorful gardens, and dancing fountains are the attraction of the park, alongside the Bloedel Conservatory, an indoor tropical garden home to exotic plants and birds.

The park also features sculptures by world-renowned artists such as Henry Moore. If you're into sports, you can hit the tennis or basketball court, play a game of lawn bowling or show off your skills at the pitch and putt golf course. When the stomach starts growling, you don't need to venture further off because you can splurge at the Seasons in the Park Restaurant or pack a picnic to save money.

There are a few places in the neighborhood worth checking out, such as the Hillcrest Aquatic Centre and the Nat Bailey Stadium, where the Riley Park Farmers Market takes place. The park is also close to the King Edward SkyTrain Station, making it easily accessible by public transport.

Vanier Park

Vanier Park is one of the best parks in Vancouver for museum lovers and festival-goers. The park stretches over 40 acres in the Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver, at the edge of English Bay, and is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Here you can relax at the beach, by the ponds, walk your dog, bring your kids for the day, fly a kite, enjoy the beautiful views of the city and Stanley Park, and more.

This lovely green space is home to several attractions in Vancouver, including the Vancouver Maritime Museum, the Museum of Vancouver and Planetarium, the H.R. MacMillan Space Sciences Centre, and the City of Vancouver Archives. Vanier Park is also a popular spot for outdoor events, especially in the summer, such as the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival and the International Children's Festival. 

Unlike most large Vancouver parks, with slopes and hills, Vanier Park is flat, and everything is within easy walking distance. Food trucks dot the area making it easy to grab a bite and make a picnic.

VanDusen Botanical Garden

If you're a nature lover or an anthophile, you'll love spending time in this garden. Taking up just over 55 acres of space in the upscale area of Shaughnessy in downtown Vancouver, the VanDusen Botanical Garden is a truly picturesque sight. The garden opened to the public in 1977 and has since grown its collection of plants and trees to 7,500 species and over 260,000 individual plants from all over the world.

Some of the highlights are The Elizabethan Maze, home to 100 species of hedging plants, the Meditation Garden, the Stone Garden, the Park's Waterfall, the Livingstone Lake, and the Rhododendron Walk, featuring over 300 species of rhododendrons. Besides the stunning gardens, you'll also find a number of sculptures and other artwork installations, making it a fun activity for art lovers. You can either walk the trails on your own or take a guided tour to make the most out of your visit.

When hunger strikes, you can find yourself a spot at the Shaughnessy Restaurant for upscale fine dining or the Garden Cafe with an outside terrace for casual dining. You can also grab something to eat from the food trucks if you want to save some money. Come December, the Van Dusen Botanical Garden is home to the Festival of Lights throughout the entire month.

Dude Chilling Park

Located in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood in East Van, just a 10-minute drive from the city centre, you'll come across a small green park known for the "Dude chilling reclining figure." There's not much to see and do here, but it's a trendy park that millennials might appreciate to take some selfies.

The park was originally known as Guelph Park, but shortly after a local artist Viktor Briestensky put up a sign naming the park The Dude Chilling Park as a prank, the name stuck even after the sign was removed. Besides people making a stop for photos, you'll see locals doing their morning exercise or taking an evening stroll. The park features a playground for the youngest, and there are two tennis courts for sports enthusiasts. There are also shaded areas and benches, making it a perfect spot for a picnic.

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market is just around the corner if you want to grab some food and pack it for a picnic, or you can head down to one of the many restaurants surrounding the park.

Take a respite from the city noise at the best parks in Vancouver

From untamed natural beauty, rainforests, and natural swimming pools to lush lawns and dream gardens, Vancouver parks are some of the best parks in the world, worth visiting any time of the year. Whether you're a nature lover, into sports, or just want to relax with a family picnic, you're never short of things to do in the best urban parks in Vancouver.

Vancouver is a huge city, and there's always something to do and see. Why not try one of the best hikes in Vancouver? If the ocean is calling, look to the beaches near Vancouver to discover the shore. This way you won't miss anything the great city has to offer.

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