Vancouver’s Stanley Park enjoys a stellar natural setting, surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and laid out against the backdrop of the snow-capped North Shore Mountains. At nearly 1,000 acres (405 hectares) in size, it’s a mix of coastal red-cedar forest, lakes and lagoons, and scenic meadows. A walk along the public park’s seawall is an essential part of experiencing Vancouver.
Visitors can see Stanley Park as a part of a Vancouver sightseeing tour, or dive in deeper with a guided tour along its wooded trails. Those interested in history will want to check out the First Nations Interpretive Walking Tour, which explains the local indigenous history and culture. Guided photography tours take a closer look at the beauty of the area’s temperate rain forest, while fans of the outdoors will enjoy the park’s natural beauty—and a verdant escape from the city—along its winding cycling and hiking paths. Families with kids can stop at the Vancouver Aquarium (Canada’s largest) and the Stanley Park Miniature Train, a replica of the Canadian Pacific Railway engine made famous for pulling Canada’s first transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver in the late 1880s.
Things to Know Before You Go
- A free shuttle bus travels around the park, though many bike or walk to get around.
- Old-fashioned horse-drawn carriages offer one-hour tours and are a great—and romantic—way to get an overview of the area.
- Restaurants and cafés are scattered throughout the park.
How to Get There
Stanley Park is located at the west end of downtown Vancouver. The park’s information booth is near the Georgia Street entrance, along the seawall. Walking and cycling paths lead from downtown to the peninsula where the park is located. The TransLink #19 bus and Skytrain are public transport options, or you can park your car easily using a daily parking pass.
When to Get There
The park is open year-round; March to November bring the mildest weather, and it can get quite cold in the winter. To have the park (relatively) to yourself, the best times to visit are typically early morning and mid- to late afternoon.
Where to Find Stanley Park’s Best Views
Certainly one of the best views in Stanley Park is from the seawall looking back at the Vancouver skyline and Coal Harbour. For natural beauty, it’s tough to beat the views of the surrounding mountains, but the rose garden and beaches come close. There’s also the wildlife, including bald eagles, beavers, and birds. Culturally, the First Nations art and totem poles are a must. Other scenic spots worth seeing include the Lost Lagoon, Hollow Tree, and Beaver Lake.