You can’t visit Vancouver without visiting Stanley Park! Stanley Park is renowned across the world as being one of the great parks, and is as famous (though larger) as Central Park in New York. Whether it’s just a quick visit or you have the time to spend longer here, there’s plenty to do in Stanley Park.
Stanley Park is difficult to miss! Measuring 1,000 acres (400 hectares), it is the largest city-owned park in Canada and it sits at the top of the downtown peninsula. Commonly described as being at the north foot of Georgia Street, there are in fact several access points into the park from West End, and also from the North Shore via the Lions Gate Bridge.
You can get here by transit on bus number 19, or if you’re on one of the hop on/hop off city tours you’ll have a stop in Stanley Park. You can also drive into and around the park. A free shuttle bus running around the park is designed to get visitors out of their cars for the sake of the environment and to ease traffic flow, hence you can park in one of the multiple parking lots (for a fee) and then board the shuttle bus to see the park in more detail. If you prefer a slower pace, why not take a ride in one of the (fee paying) horse-drawn carriages?!
Being a city-owned park, entrance into Stanley Park is free. This means you can come and go as you please, 24 hours a day and do as much or as little as you like!
Since 1888, Stanley Park has been attracting visitors for various reasons, though currently there are a couple things which really stand out and attract the 8 million visitors Stanley Park greets each year – the first is the Seawall; a 5.5 mile (8.8km) path spanning the perimeter of the park, and the second is the views! Stunning views all around the edge of the park are in abundance – the water, the mountains and the city, all make this a photographers dream!
Stanley Park does have a lot more to offer than this though, so if you do have the time to visit for longer, we really advise that you do so! Below are some of the highlights of a visit to Stanley Park.
Here you can take a stroll, jog, run, rollerblade, skate or cycle whilst enjoying the amazing views around the perimeter of the park. If you’re not up to the whole 5.5 miles, you can access the Seawall from many different points. Why not rent a bicycle and cycle the Seawall – a real highlight of any visit to Vancouver! See our Getting Around Vancouver by Bicycle page for more information on renting bikes.
As well as the famous Seawall, Stanley Park also has numerous other trails which, if you like getting closer to nature, are a lot quieter and less used than the Seawall. There are a total of nearly 17 miles (27km) of trails winding their way through Stanley Park’s interior forest. View the Trails Map website on the Vancouver City website for more details.
Stanley Park boasts two of the best beaches in Vancouver and you can read all about these on our Vancouver Beaches page.
At the eastern tip of Stanley Park is Brockton Point. There are several attractions here, including the 9 o’clock Gun. This gun was cast in England and brought here in 1894 and used to warn fishermen of closings. Now it’s a famous Stanley Park monument and is fired (electronically) every night at 9pm. Right at the tip is the Brockton Point Lighthouse which was completed in 1915, and from around here you also get some great scenic views of the North Shore. There’s also the most visited tourist attraction in the whole of British Columbia, the Totem Poles, which you can read about below.
A colorful and intricate reminder of the First Nations cultures who once inhabited the area, the Totem Poles are a collection of poles from different parts of the province. Originally it was intended that the Park Board built a full replica of an Indian Village, and though this idea never took off, the totem poles have always been a very popular sight. Visit the information center next door to find out the origins and more information about the current totem poles.
If you follow the Seawall up to the northern tip you’ll get to one of Stanley Park’s most impressive lookout points. Prospect Point looks out over the Lions Gate Bridge towards the North Shore Mountains and beyond. If you’re lucky enough to be here when a cruise ship comes under the bridge you’ll have to fight the other tourists with their cameras all trying to get a great photo – it’s quite a sight!
The Vancouver Aquarium is another of Stanley Park’s most popular attractions and you can read all about what you can see and do here on our Vancouver Aquarium page.
A short distance from the Aquarium you’ll find the Stanley Park Miniature Railway and the Children’s Farmyard; both great attractions if you have little one with you! The miniature train takes visitors along a mile and a quarter of winding track through the forest, whilst at the Children’s Farmyard, kids can interact with a variety of animals – over 200 animals, birds and reptiles in total are here, representing about 50 different species.
Near the main park entrance is Lost Lagoon. This was once part of Coal Harbour, but was split off from the rest of the harbor when a causeway was built in the 1920’s. Now you can enjoy watching a variety of birds as it’s become a wild-bird sanctuary, and has the picturesque Jubilee Fountain in its center. At the Lost Lagoon Nature House you find out more about the wildlife, not only here but in the rest of Stanley Park too.
Stanley Park is renowned for being a place for active people, and there are a variety of sports which you can get involved with here. Amongst those on offer are the Stanley Park Pitch & Putt and Putting Green, free tennis courts, lawn bowling, and more, including spectator sports too.
As if the above wasn’t enough to keep you occupied, there’s still yet more attractions at Stanley Park for you to enjoy too…
For information on everything you can do here at Stanley Park, including opening hours and admission prices of the paid-for attractions, please visit the Vancouver Park Board Stanley Park website.