Welcome to your (potentially) new home!
Areas to Explore
Pacific Spirit Regional Park is made up of 763 hectares between Vancouver and the UBC Campus. The park “provides the perfect place to actively explore and appreciate the diversity and beauty of the forests and foreshore at the city’s edge”.
Granville Island has it all! What once was an industrial manufacturing area has now been transformed into a popular tourist spot (save for the cement factory that still remains). Granville Island is also a main centre for the arts in Vancouver and is home to the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. The island is the perfect place to spend a day exploring its many shops, restaurants, theatres. It’s also easy to get lost in the Granville Island Public Market with its numerous stands selling meats, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, desserts, flowers, crafts and more. You can also visit the Kids Only Market where you can relive your childhood memories, sifting through the many toys and books. Many theatres and seaside restaurants also provide excellent nighttime entertainment. Finally, a local favourite is the Granville Island Brewery.
Stanley Park is Vancouver’s very own backyard. Named after Lord Stanley of Preston (the Governor General of Canada) it is even larger than New York’s Central Park, with over 404 hectares of land! Stanley Park is filled with things to do during a free afternoon. You can visit the whales, dolphins, and seals in the renowned Vancouver Aquarium or try your hand at rowing at the Vancouver Rowing Club. There are also many restaurants located throughout the park such as the Fish House and the Tea House. Finally, you can explore the 8.8 km of seawall on bike, rollerblades, or foot and stop for a break at one of the park’s many beaches. Finally, Lost Lagoon, located right near Stanley Park, is by far one of the best places in Vancouver to enjoy a sunset picnic.
Kitsilano used to be a hotspot for counterculture followers and hippies in Vancouver in the 1960s. Today, Kits (as the locals call it) is mostly occupied by young families and students. It is filled with many popular organic markets, yoga studios, quirky stores and delicious restaurants along West 4th Ave and West Broadway. For a truly unique dining experience, try having breakfast at Sophie’s Cosmic Café or Mexican food at Los Margaritas. Kits and the nearby Point Grey Neighbourhood are also convenient if you want to hit the beach but don’t have time to get out of the city. Kitsilano Beach as well Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks in Point Grey, are all excellent spots to spend the afternoon taking in the Vancouver skyline, catching some rays, skim boarding, sailing, or joining in a game of volleyball. On a historical note, Kits is also where Greenpeace was founded in 1975 in an office on Cypress street just off West Broadway!
False Creek first took the world stage during Expo ’86 and then once again during the 2010 Olympics when the Athlete’s Village was constructed on its shores. Science World’s sphere-like building is also located in false creek and is a popular Vancouver attraction. BC Place (home to the BC Lions) and Rogers Arena (home of the Vancouver Canucks) can also be seen from False Creek. False Creek is surrounded by the sea wall and numerous parks making it a great place to have an afternoon picnic or go walking, rollerblading, and biking. You can also take a ride on the False Creek Ferries which sail between popular destinations in the surrounding the area such as Yaletown, Science World, and Granville Island. Finally, if you have the time, visit the Athlete’s Village to see where famous Olympians stayed during the 2010 Olympics!
Downtown Vancouver stretches from Burrard to Seymour and West Hastings to Smithe. Some of the highlights to explore in this area are Pacific Centre Mall, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Robson Square and for us lawyers-to-be, the Law Courts. Underneath Robson Square is where a skating rink was located during the 2010 Olympics. You may also visit the Law Courts during 1L if you attend the CBA Mentor Meet and Greet or if your criminal law class goes on a tour.
Just East of the downtown core you can find BC Place, Rogers Arena, and the must-see, coliseum-shaped Vancouver Public Library.
Gastown is located on the North side of downtown, past Hastings and along Water Street. You can easily reach Gastown by taking the Canadaline or Skytrain all the way to the gorgeous, towering, Waterfront Station. What true makes Gastown unique is its historical atmosphere. As Vancouver’s first downtown, Gastown still has cobblestone streets, tall arching trees, and of course, the famous steam clock.
Chinatown is located in the heritage area around Main Street and Keefer. Here you can find a variety of shops and summer markets where you can purchase food, clothing, and imported goods. Some of the main attractions to see in Chinatown are the beautiful Millenium Gate, West Han Dynasty Bell, Monument of Canadian Chinese, and China Gate. Chinatown is also home to the renowned Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Gardens.
Main Street divides the East and West sides of Vancouver. Between West Broadway and 33rd Ave, Main Street is crowded with numerous vintage stores and cafes where artists frequently perform for customers during the afternoon. There are also many small, trendy restaurants along this part of Main Street that offer a wide assortment of cuisines and atmospheres. Main Street is also famous for its assortment of local coffee shops so be sure to stop and enjoy a cup before walking on.
Commercial Drive is just a 5 minute drive or ride on the SkyTrain from downtown and the furthest East stop on the 99 B-line bus. Known locally as “The Drive” there are many coffee shops, restaurants, and quirky stores to explore along this street.
The North Shore
Vancouver is famous for combining city living with easy access to the great outdoors. Some of the best areas to explore the surrounding Vancouver wilderness are from across the Lion’s Gate Bridge on the North Shore. From here you can visit Grouse Mountain where you can reach the top either by gondola or the Grouse Grind . Please note, the grind is by no means a walk in the park so bring good shoes, lots of water, and be prepared to huff and puff your way to the top (unless you are in great shape)! At the top of Grouse Mountain are numerous tourist attractions such as ziplines, cafes, and a ski hill. North Vancouver is also where you will find the Capilano Suspension Bridge as well as Lynn Canyon (the suspension bridge here is free). If you are looking for ocean scenery then head to Lighthouse Park, Horseshoe Bay (also where ferries leave to Vancouver Island), or Deep Cove. Cypress Mountain is also situated on the North Shore and is where many Olympic events took place last winter. There are also many hiking trails in and around the North Shore area such as the Lions (the twin peaks you can see from Vancouver). Finally, if you are looking for an interesting way to reach the North Shore try taking the Seabus from downtown (it’s free with your U-pass).