Stanley Park in Vancouver is a sprawling park that connects the North Shore to Vancouver’s Downtown. The massive park is a whopping 405 hectares, and there are countless adventures to be had here. However, deciding just what to do at the park can be a somewhat daunting task. Keep reading for a list of 15 unique things to do at Stanley Park, so you can decide how to best spend your time here.
1. Bike or Walk the Seawall
The Vancouver Seawall wraps all the way around Stanley Park with paths for biking or rollerblading, and walking. You’ll get to see a ton of different sides of Vancouver, including several beautiful beaches. The entire loop takes about 2 to 3 hours to walk and you’ll get to enjoy many of the activities on this list just by doing the loop.
2. Visit the Vancouver Aquarium
The Vancouver Aquarium is located at the Eastern End of Stanley Park and is one of Vancouver’s most adored attractions. You can watch informational exhibitions, and educational films, and view the rescued sea life that lives at the aquarium. The Vancouver Aquarium offers sanctuary to rescued mammals, so you can rest easy knowing the animals there are being very well taken care of. The Vancouver Aquarium is a great spot for families and kids.
3. Visit a Botanical Garden
There are several botanical gardens throughout Stanley Park, all with something unique to offer. The Rose Garden is the most popular, with a display of over 3,000 rose bushes, which makes for a great photo opp. There is also the Ted and Mary Rhododendron Garden, the Shakespeare Garden, and the Stanley Park Rock Garden. All of the gardens are free to enter and are a great way to spend an afternoon surrounded by beautiful flowers.
4. Play a Round of Pitch and Putt
If you feel like working on your golf game, check out the Stanley Park Pitch & Putt. There are a total of 18 holes on this court, ranging in size for you to practice your putt or enjoy a game with friends. The course is located on the southern end of Stanley Park just a short walk away from English Bay Beach.
5. Check Out the Lost Lagoon
The Lost Lagoon is a large man-made lagoon on the southern end of Stanley Park, just off of busy Georgia Street. The lagoon is home to many native, and non-native birds, such as swans, Canada geese, ducks, herons, and turtles. There are several trails that connect to and wrap around Lost Lagoon, and it’s a great starting point to further explore the park or to sit and watch the birds under a shady willow tree.
6. Visit a Beach in Stanley Park
There are several beaches on the perimeter of Stanley Park. English Bay Beach is at the entrance of Stanley Park in the West End, followed by Second Beach and Third Beach further along the seawall in the park. All three beaches have something special to offer, including delicious concession stands, and gorgeous views. These beaches are some of the most popular in all of Vancouver.
7. Make a Splash at a Pool or Splash Park
If you need to cool off with the kids on a hot summer day you should definitely check out Second Beach Pool, or the Fox’s Den Splash Park. Second Beach Pool is located at Second Beach, on the western side of Stanley Park, whereas Fox’s Den Splash Park is on the eastern side closer to Coal Harbour. You’ll save on admission at the splash park, but will get to fully plunge at Second Beach Pool, and there are a variety of slides for little ones.
8. Checkout Stanley Park’s Many Landmarks
There are plenty of landmarks to see around Stanley Park that have historical significance, like the Nine O’Clock Gun, Brockton Point Lighthouse, the Prospect Point Lighthouse, and the historic Lions Gate Bridge. You can even sign up for a tour of the lesser-known landmarks of Stanley Park with Forbidden Vancouver Tours.
9. See the Totem Poles and Public Art
There is lots of public art to see at Stanley Park, like the collection of 9 Totem Poles at the eastern tip of the park, and the S.S Empress of Japan Figurehead Replica near the Brockton Point Lighthouse. Additionally, you can complete the Stanley Park environment art walk throughout the park, a “self-guided walk…[featuring]…the works of artists who have created works of art employing environmental art practices, using only natural materials and with sensitivity towards the plants and animals of the park”.
10. Take a Walk Around Beaver Lake
Beaver Lake is a unique wetland in Stanley Park a short walk from the seawall and Lost Lagoon. There is a trail around 2km long that loops all the way around the lake, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful environment from all sides. Beaver lake has a variety of native and non-native plant species, and wildlife to observe and enjoy.
11. Visit Siwash Rock
Siwash Rock is a unique rock formation on the northern end of the Stanley Park Seawall. Siwash Rock is a “32-million-year-old sea stack” that resulted from volcanic activity that holds great significance to Squamish First Nations. Siwash Rock stands between Third Beach and Prospect Park and is a very iconic landmark in Stanley Park.
12. Grab a Bite at the Teahouse or Brewery
At Stanley Park, you can enjoy an upscale meal at the Teahouse in Stanley Park, or a more casual meal and some locally brewed beer at Stanley Park Brewing. The Teahouse is located near Ferguson Point and offers classic dishes like lobster, steak, rack of lamb, and specialty cocktails and wine, all on the pricier side. They also offer brunch on the weekends. At Stanley Park Brewing you can enjoy craft beer made in Vancouver, and midscale dishes like burgers, tacos, and sandwiches.
13. Hike Through the Trails of Stanley Park
There is a massive network of hiking trails that wind through Stanley Park leading to different unique spots and lookouts. There are trailheads along the seawall, at beaches, at the entrance of the park, and all throughout. Most paths are clearly marked, with some trails allowing bikes.
14. Play Some Tennis
You can find a total of 11 free tennis courts in Stanley Park, near the entrance from English Bay, and next to Stanley Park Brewing. The courts are open to the public and work on a first come first serve basis, with a time limit of 30 minutes. Just bring your racket and tennis balls!
15. Have a Picnic in the Park
There are many perfect picnic spots throughout Stanley Park, including Second and Third Beach. Uncovered picnic tables are first come first serve, and there are also reservable covered tables for large parties. Barbecuing is also permitted at many picnic tables, as long as you follow the Vancouver Parks and Recreation Board’s set of requirements for barbecuing at parks and beaches.
- Vancouver. “Stanley Park environmental art walk“
- Vancouver. “Landmarks in Stanley Park“
- Wikipedia. “Stanley Park“