The noble city of Vancouver leads the way on many things, and in particular shows a great appreciation for and deep connection with nature. This is why 11% of our metropolitan area is natural park land, which is more than any other urban centre in Canada. Most of this is of course the famed Stanley Park. In June of 2014, TripAdvisor named Stanley Park the number one park in the entire word!
Living in Vancouver, we may take for granted such a spectacular hunk of land, but it is still without a doubt one of our city's finer treasures. The park has received such high praise for good reason. It is not only stunningly beautiful, but it is also filled with near endless things to do.
So every once in awhile, get off the busy streets of downtown and reconnect with nature – Stanley Park is there for a reason, you might as well enjoy it.
The very popular Second Beach is a great place to relax on the sand and cool off in the sea. More of a hidden gem, Third Beach is also spectacularly pristine without as much of the riffraff. Both beaches boast amazing views and are easily accessible.
2. Vancouver Aquarium
This prestigious aquarium is located within the park and though it attracts a lot of tourists, it is also an incredible place to check out as a local. The exhibits and marine life are marvellous. They also occasionally host special events which can be a lot of fun.
There are dozens of hiking and biking trails that weave throughout the interior of the park. When you feel like getting some fresh air, but don't have time to escape into the mountains on the North Shore, this is the spot to go to unwind while strolling through the natural forest.
Photo cred - @clauarrietad
4. Summer Cinema
Every Tuesday night at sunset during July and August head down to Second Beach and watch a movie on the green under the summer stars. They play some classics as well as new movies. Check out the schedule here.
Stanley Park's forest may be famous for its natural, uncultivated charm, but surrounding it there are several breathtaking gardens. The Shakespeare Garden is an absolute delight as you stroll through rows of flowers, losing yourself in the heavenly aroma.
Get together a group of friends and hit the full court for a little b-ball. Playing outside is obviously the way to do it in the summer, especially when the ocean is so close for a refreshing dip to cool off.
Near the entrance to the park, there are several well-kept tennis courts. It is first come first serve, but it is free. There is a 30 minute limit if people are waiting, so you never have to wait too long to get in a few rallies.
Photo cred - @misterjoyce
There a ginormous heated pool at Second Beach. If the ocean water is a little too chilly, this pool will warm you right up. It is a great place to hangout on a summer day.
9. Horse-Drawn Tour
If you want to go sightseeing or perhaps take that special someone on an extra special date, there are horse-drawn tours that take you all over the park. There are several private carriages offered so pick the one that suits your needs best.
10. Teahouse Restaurant
The Teahouse is one the better restaurants in the city, not only because it has some delectable foods, but because it has an unreal view of the sunset. In fact, it topped my list of best restaurants in Vancouver with ocean views.
The list would obviously not be complete without mentioning the seawall. What places Stanley Park above all others is its unique location. Surrounded almost entirely by water, the seawall acts as an important perimeter while also being one of the prettiest paths imaginable. With over 9 kilometers of path, you are guaranteed to realize why this park really is number one!
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