There are a million reasons why Vancouver is a magical magnet for visitors. The most populous city in the Canadian province of British Columbia is also one of the most ethnically diverse in the country, giving it a true cosmopolitan feel and a foodie’s dream come true. (Truly, the food scene here is second-to-none!) The pairing of mountains and ocean makes it an outdoor adventure playground worthy of any bucket-list destination, with plenty of activities to keep the whole family happy. Add all that to the many gardens, bridges, museums, downtown energy, and chill West Coast vibe, and you’ve got a lottery-winning travel pick! 🌊
As soon as you get here, you’ll realize your camera is out of your pocket constantly — did we mention just how gorgeous Vancouver is? To help you out, we’ve listed the can’t-miss photo spots for your tour around this epic city so your Instagram feed will have all your friends envious of your cool-hunting abilities. 😎 Need we say more? Book your ticket to Vancouver, Canada and let’s get this party started!
Photo: Lorenza in Vancouver for Flytographer. Stacey and their family capture memories in Stanley Park with a family photoshoot.
1. Stanley Park
This historic public park is bigger than New York’s Central Park, with acres of grassy fields (watch a cricket match in summer!), specialty gardens, forests full of ancient trees, a waterpark, train, aquatic centre, several playgrounds, lighthouse, outdoor dining, beaches all around, and plenty of places to lay out your picnic blanket. Towering totem poles are a popular draw. So is Siwash Rock, a dramatic sedimentary rock outcropping surrounded by water that’s viewable from cliffs along the Siwash hiking trail. Lions Gate Bridge starts in Stanley Park and ends in North Vancouver, where you can walk the visually stunning Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which stretches 140 meters long. 😍 There is so much to see and do in Stanley Park, you will never run out of photo ideas!
2. Vancouver Seawall
Many insiders will testify that the Vancouver Seawall, which lays claim to the title of the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, commands the very best views of the city — and the Vancouver skyline ranks up there with the planet’s most striking. Rent a bike or put on your walking shoes and just go — it’s truly one of the best ways to experience Vancouver and rack up those amazing photo ops. 🚲
Gastown, so named for the 19th century saloon-keeper nicknamed “Gassy Jack” for his gift of the gab, is one of the city’s most historic and charming neighbourhoods. It is full of Victorian architecture, like the 1908 flatiron building Hotel Europe, art galleries and studios, and trendy dining and shopping spots. Canadian clockmaker Raymond Saunders designed dramatic steam clocks to take a position in a number of international places, including the BC cities of Vancouver, Whistler, and Port Coquitlam. And his popular steam-powered Gastown Steam Clock occupies a corner in the heart of the district. Be sure to hang around until it whistles and blows steam, which occurs every quarter hour, or wait for the big show on the hour when all the whistles toot loudly. If you have little ones, they will love it! 🕰
4. Kitsilano Beach
One of the jewels of Vancouver’s epic stretch of coastline, this beach provides a lot more than one of the city’s most Instagrammable places (note the popular 40-foot Kits Wings!). It also presents basketball and tennis courts, concessions, playgrounds and much more. A popular spot among the locals to hang out, enjoy the sun and sand, beachcomb and dip toes in English Bay while soaking up the view of the North Vancouver mountains. 🏔
5. Granville Island
Across False Creek from downtown Vancouver, under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge, sits the one-time industrial manufacturing area transformed into a bustling network of shopping areas, arts galleries, and performing arts theatres, with a marina and popular Granville Island Public Market. This buzzing art scene draws in tourists and locals alike to simply sit back, and enjoy the show. 🎭 Pro tip: In high season, finding parking is tough, so instead of driving, rent a bike or walk to Granville Island. There is free, secure bike storage by the market, so do your shopping for everything your gourmet heart desires and then find a spot along the waterfront or ride back to Stanley Park for the perfect picnic. 🧺
6. Coal Harbour
The northwestern neighbour to Stanley Park stars photogenic parklands, floating houses, private marinas, several rowing and boating clubs, high-end retail and restaurants, and a community centre designed by architect Gregory Henriquez. ⛵️ The area plays home to Canada Place, Vancouver Convention Centre and the 2010 Winter Olympic cauldron—and a number of cool cafes. The views across the water towards North Van are stunning, and it’s a great spot to watch the float planes fly in and out of the harbour.
7. Downtown Vancouver
Downtown Vancouver is a destination packed with destinations, namely the Granville Mall and Entertainment District, Downtown South, Gastown, Chinatown, Yaletown, and Japantown. Its iconic office towers of the financial and central business districts provide the backdrop. Key properties to cross off your checklist include Vancouver Art Gallery and Science World, two world-class venues for visual arts and interactive science, respectively. 🔭 Downtown also hosts the Vancouver Lookout, a stunning panoramic observation deck 55 stories up, with 360-degree views of the city below, including the North Shore and Olympic Peninsula Mountains, as well as the massive Stanley Park. Insiders know to head to Main Street and Commercial Drive for the best indie shops and trendy restaurants and bars, and to East Van for its slew of local breweries and large-scale murals that make for a very fun walking tour. 👟
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8. Queen Elizabeth Park
The 52-hectare Queen Elizabeth Park is another one of Vancouver’s many bucket-list hot spots, particularly for those who love all things floral. 🌸 But there are plenty of other reasons people flock to QEP; at 125 meters above sea level, it’s one of the highest points in Vancouver, which allows for spectacular views of the park, city, and nearby mountains. The gorgeous Bloedel Conservatory, quarry garden, arboretum, Henry Moore sculptures, and recreational elements—such as tennis, lawn bowling, and pitch-and-putt golf—also rank among the possibilities, as do picnicking and stargazing. ✨
9. Barnet Marine Park
Just outside Vancouver proper sits Burnaby and its beaches, a walking path and an off-leash dog area. 🐕 It also plays home to the beautiful Barnet Marine Park, a comely waterfront expanse that sits at the base of Burnaby Mountain, opposite Cates Park and Vancouver’s North Shore on the other side of Burrard Inlet. On top of being both kid-friendly and dog-friendly—with lots of sand and outdoor picnic areas—it is extremely photo-friendly!
10. Lighthouse Park
In a city flush with photo-op spots, this park’s lighthouse and light station grounds at Point Atkinson are definitely one of the most popular. Lighthouse Park serves as a national historic site and plays home to a rare old-growth coastal forest and some of the tallest Douglas Fir trees in Greater Vancouver. 🌲 While the area immediately surrounding the light station grounds are not open to the public, a strategic viewpoint in the park offers photo takers a nice vantage point. Trails help navigate the park and can also take visitors to Starboat Cove, a great place to absorb a view that, on a clear day, extends from the Lions Gate Bridge to the University of British Columbia and even all the way to Vancouver Island.
Best Places to Take Photos in Vancouver
The obvious takeaway? This city is an incredible pick for incredible pics. 📸 And this list doesn’t even mention other Vancouver Instagram spots like the trippy Digital Orca statue in front of the Vancouver Convention Center or lush VanDusen Botanical Garden. Other stunning photo spots include the buzzing Lonsdale Quay Market and scenic Grouse Mountain, as well as the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, Sunset Beach, North Shore Mountains, Cambie Street, Vancouver Public Library, Olympic Village and the simply stunning mural-covered alleyway that is Alley Oop.
There are so many top spots for photos in Vancouver, we’ve barely scratched the surface. As soon as you get here, you’ll know what we mean! One great idea to make sure you capture the very best photos that will help you fall in love with the city long after you’re home: teaming up with a local Flytographer in Vancouver to help celebrate your story. 💕
“Working with Hayley was amazing! She saw my vision and helped me tell my story through her photographic eye. She helped me to feel comfortable through the session as I am normally very shy and needs lots of guidance. my poses. She is kind and patient and easy to communicate with and I absolutely love my photos!”