North Vancouver is right where its name says it is: north of the city of Vancouver. It is on the north side of Burrard Inlet. In fact, it is considered a suburb of the big city, but it still has a city feel. It is an urbanized waterfront community that has been around since 1907. Parts of it are now filled with new homes.
North Vancouver has a lot to offer and is a great place to spend a holiday. Visit North Vancouver as a side trip from the bigger city of Vancouver, or go there on its own and enjoy the many outdoor activities that are available all year long. The city has a lot to offer, including mountains, canyons, parks, and the quay. Here are the 10 best things to do in North Vancouver if you want to plan a trip there.
1. Check out the dock
Lonsdale Quay is the city’s main transportation hub. It is also a great place to visit because there is always something going on there. Watch boats come and go, sailboats go by, and people float around.
Walk along the quay and look out over Vancouver Harbour. You can take pictures of the city skyline and Canada Place, which is shaped like a boat and is a famous convention center. Stop by one of its many restaurants or Green Leaf Brewing to have a beer.
Don’t forget to stop by the Lonsdale Quay Market to get your senses going while you’re here. Not only is the market a great place to buy fresh fruit, but it’s also a great place to buy souvenirs from one of the many local vendors who sell everything from clothes to wine made by hand.
2. Take a walk along the water
Or jog, cycle or inline skate. The 35-kilometer North Shore Spirit Trail starts at Lions Gate Bridge Road in West Vancouver and goes all the way to Lynn Creek, which is at the very east end of North Vancouver.
The trail is a well-marked path that is away from traffic, so people of all ages can use it safely. It’s a beautiful trail with a lot to see and do along the way, like beaches, parks, and small towns.
The North Shore Spirit Trail also goes by a lot of city sights, like Waterfront Park, Lonsdale Quay, the Park and Tilford Gardens, and the Park and Tilford Gardens. There are also many places to rest, eat, and take in the sights along the way.
3. Take a break and smell the roses
The Park & Tilford Gardens, a complex at the very east end of North Vancouver near Lynn Creek, is the place to do this. The complex was built in 1969 as a project for the community. It had eight different areas.
Today, the garden is only half as big as it used to be, but it is still as beautiful as ever. It still has eight themed gardens, such as a rock pool, a herb garden, and an Oriental garden.
Check out the Native garden and the totem exhibit, which has carvings by Squamish Nation member Cody Mathias. There are also busts of Carl Linnaeus, David Douglas, and James Menzies in the gardens.
4. Go shopping….at night
The Friday night Shipyards Night Market happens every summer from May to October. It is arguably the best place in all of North Vancouver to spend a Friday night. The market is open from 5 to 10 at night.
This is by far the best place to eat, shop, and have fun, since every week there are great food trucks, local artists, and local bands set up. Everything happens in the old Shipyards District, which is right by the harbor.
Over 100 farmers, artists, and bakers from all over British Columbia come to sell their goods, which include clothes, jewelry, soaps, preserves, and chocolate. Also, there are more than 40 food trucks that serve delicious, lovingly made food.
5. Take a long look at pictures
Even though it is best known for its photographs, the Polygon Gallery has more than just those. In fact, it’s the biggest non-profit photo gallery in all of Western Canada!
The gallery has been open since 1981, but in 2017 it moved to a new spot on the water between the Lonsdale Quay Market and the Shipyards Night Market. The new gallery has more than 2,300 square meters of space for art.
The Polygon Gallery has works by Vancouver photographers Stan Douglas and Fred Herzog, as well as Andy Warhol and Ansel Adams, who are known all over the world. It also has shows with great photographers from all over the world, so if you’re in town, be sure to find out what’s going on.
6. Walk over a bridge.
If you don’t have a fear of heights, you should walk across the Capilano Suspension Bridge. The 140-meter-long bridge goes over the Capilano River in the District of North Vancouver, which is just west of the city.
The bridge is 70 meters above the river and is visited by more than 800,000 people every year. It’s also much more than just a suspension bridge, as there are many things to do on the other side.
Treetops Adventures is on the west side of the bridge. It has seven footbridges that are 30 meters above the floor of a beautiful Douglas fir tree forest. There are also nature trails, gardens, and the biggest private collection of First Nations totem poles in all of North America.
7. Enjoy a picnic
Or a swim, a hike, or a great view. All of this and more can be done in Stanley Park, which is a huge 405-hectare park surrounded by English Bay and Vancouver Harbour.
The park was made by nature when a forest grew and changed over time. Most of the man-made structures were built between 1911 and 1937. It has a lot of history, a lot of interesting things to see, and a lot of fun.
There are places to have picnics, beaches, forests, trails, and lakes, as well as swimming pools, tennis courts, and an 18-hole mini golf course. If that wasn’t enough, the park is also home to one of the largest great blue heron colonies in a city in North America.
8. Get up close and personal with a sea lion
Dolphins, sea otters, penguins, and beluga whales also live at the Vancouver Aquarium. In fact, the aquarium is home to more than 50,000 animals from 30 different habitats.
Steller’s Bay is home to beluga whales, sea lions, fur seals, and walruses. The Wild Coast is home to a Pacific white-sided dolphin, harbour seals, and British Columbian invertebrates. If you want to look at fish, go to the Tropics to see clownfish, black tip reef sharks, pajamafish, and an Asian turtle that is in danger of going extinct.
The Vancouver Aquarium is more than just a place to see sea creatures; it is also a place where animals can get help. A lot of rescued animals live here, and when they are healthy enough, they are released back into the wild.
9. Head for the hills
In North Vancouver, the mountains are right outside your door. This makes it easy to ski, snowboard, or do anything else you want to do on the slopes. Grouse Mountain, which is part of the Pacific Ranges and has a height of 1,200 meters, is the one that is closest.
Alpine skiing is done on the mountain, which has 33 runs that are served by four chairlifts and one magic carpet. There are runs for everyone, from beginners to advanced skiers.
During the warmer months, you can hike on one of the trails that goes up to 853 meters. Grouse Mountain also has a wildlife refuge, a mountaintop theater with 100 seats, an aerial tramway, a zip line, and a disc golf course.
10. Feed ducks and rabbits
Maplewood Farm is a must-see if you’re traveling with kids. The kids can see farm animals and feed them as well.
Over 200 birds and animals, like donkeys, goats, rabbits, chickens, pigs, ducks, and rabbits, live on the farm. Also, you are not only allowed to feed the ducks and rabbits, but you are encouraged to do so. Make sure to bring some food for them.
There are many places to have a picnic on the farm, and some of them are completely covered. There is also a playground, a place to pet animals, and tractors that can be rented for a fun ride.