27 Things To Do In Stanley Park Vancouver

Are you looking for things to do in Stanely Park Vancouver?

As a Vancouver local who has visited Stanley Park many times, I can tell you there are many things to do and see.

The beloved urban park in Vancouver, Stanley Park, is a must-visit destination with 405 hectares (1,000 acres) of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and historical locations.

While you can walk around the Seawall in two or three hours, exploring the park will take no more than a day. Here are all the things to do in Stanely Park Vancouver.

Things To Do In Stanley Park Vancouver

Stanley Park is open year-round, so you can explore things to do and see during any season.

1. Seawall

The Seawall is one of the top things to do in Stanley Park Vancouver. A Seawall on the left with trees and the water to the right. The trees look like they're getting ready for fall.

One of the top things to do in Stanley Park Vancouver is to explore the Seawall. This beautiful scenic 10-kilometre (6-mile) paved pathway goes around the park’s perimeter, offering views of the North Shore mountains, city skyline, and the Pacific Ocean.

Ways To Explore The Seawall

The Seawall is an excellent way to get some exercise. It starts at Coal Harbour, down the stairs from Cactus Club. Or you can do the reverse way from English Bay Beach.

Cycling

Cycling the Seawall is one of the most popular activities in Stanley Park. Biking is one way, starting from Coal Harbour. Now, you can stop once you reach the other side of the park or continue through False Creek until Kitsilano.

There are excellent Stanley Park bike tours that will take you in and around the park and other locations in Downtown Vancouver.

People biking on the Seawall on  the left and further in the foreground. The water is to the right and looks like low tide. You can see the green Lions Gate Bridge in the distance.

Walking

Walking is the best way to explore the Seawall at a slower pace. You can start at either Coal Harbour or around the English Bay area. There are many notable locations to see while you’re walking that will be mentioned further down this post.

Two to three hours is the approximate time that will take you to complete the Seawall.

Rollerblading

Another way to enjoy the Seawall is by rollerblading. Rollerblading is more popular in summer because of better weather and fewer puddles.

You can only rollerblade along the Seawall in the bike lane, and starting from Coal Harbour, there’s only one way around.

2. Vancouver Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is one of the best must-see attractions in Stanley Park. Home to over 65,000 species, the largest aquarium in Canada is a fun and educational experience for all ages.

Its 30 exhibits showcase the diverse lives of animals from the Arctic to the Tropics.

Some highlights include the Amazon Gallery, where you can see piranhas and other freshwater fish or the B.C.’s Wild Coast exhibit, which features rescued marine animals like sea lions or seals.

If you’re interested in learning more about marine conservation and research. In that case, the aquarium also has a Marine Mammal Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre and offers a variety of educational programs.

People looking into a large fish tank at an Aquarium. There are school of fish swimming around.

3. Lost Lagoon

Lost Lagoon is an artificial body of water located in Stanley Park, named in 1922 after being landlocked. It covers an area of 16.6 hectares near the park entrance from Georgia Street. You can also walk around the 1.8-kilometre Lost Lagoon Path.

A clear day with lake view with buildings in the distance. There's many trees and shrubbry around.

It also has the Golden Jubilee Fountain (50th birthday) in the middle of Lost Lagoon, which you can see from any viewpoint when walking around.

4. Bright Nights (Stanley Park Train)

Bright Nights is an annual winter and Christmas event. It’s always excellent for families with younger children — it was always fun when I went when I was younger.

This festive event transforms a section of Stanley Park into a magical Christmas display, with Christmas lights decorating the surrounding trees and pathways.

Beyond the captivating lights, Bright Nights’ most significant attraction is the Stanley Park Train Ride. This 15-minute forest ride is decorated with Christmas lights, holiday decorations, and music. 

Moreover, Bright Nights is a meaningful way to contribute to the community. This yearly event is a fundraiser for the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, with proceeds dedicated to supporting burn survivors and their families.

5. Stanley Park Rose Garden

Established in 1920 by the Kiwanis Club, The Rose Garden, located near the Stanley Park Pavilion, features over 3,500 rose bushes and a West Coast-inspired arbour with a mix of climbing roses and clematis.

Descending flower beds stretch towards the causeway and reach up to the Stanley Park Pavilion. This landscape offers vibrant seasonal showcases from June to October, featuring a variety of annuals and perennials, and from March to May, it delights visitors with flowering bulb displays.

6. Totem Poles

Another one of Stanley Park’s most popular attractions is the collection of nine beautifully carved totem poles created by Indigenous artists.

You’re greeted by three exquisitely crafted red cedar portals created by Coast Salish artist Susan Point. The portals are inviting you to explore the traditional lands of the Coast Salish, Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations people.

Two beautifully wooden carved totem poles. The left one has the art of animals and the right one has the story of people.

7. Nine O’Clock Gun

One of my favourite attractions is the Nine O’Clock Gun. In history, this naval cannon was used primarily for setting local fishermen’s chronometers.

The Nine O’Clock Gun has historically fired daily at 9:00 PM for almost a century. Before it used to be manually set off by a lighthouse keeper, the cannon today releases a black powder charge through electronic activation on an automatic timer.

It continues to be a notable attraction within the park. And yes, you can still hear it almost everywhere in Vancouver, with or without open windows.

The 9 O'clock Gun is one of the most well known things in Stanely Park. It fires every evening at 9:00 PM. It's enclosed but a netted building and it is currently firing you can see the smoke and explosion. The city skyline is also in the background.

8. Prospect Point Lookout

Prospect Point Lookout has been a significant viewpoint in Stanley Park for over 100 years. It’s a popular location and one of my favourite spots at the northern tip.

It offers panoramic views of the Lions Gate Bridge, West Vancouver, and the North Shore Mountains. The lookout is easily accessible by car and is a romantic place to propose in Vancouver.

Prospect Point is one of the best things to do in Stanley Park Vancouver. A just after sunset with half cloudy and clear evening sky. There are lights from houses and buildings on the mountain in the distance and the ocean in front.

9. Brockton Point

Brockton Point is a historic location within Stanley Park. Its tip has a lighthouse and stunning views of the North Shore Mountains. The totem pole mentioned above is also here.

The Seawall goes under the lighthouse, but you can veer off the pathway and check the lighthouse out.

A white base lighthouse with a red strip going horizontal in the middle it's raised and you can walk underneath.

10. Girl In A Wetsuit

A life-sized bronze statue on a large boulder portrays a woman in a wetsuit, complete with flippers on her feet and a mask on her forehead.

This unique sculpture originated in September 1968 when Douglas Brown, a Vancouver lawyer, approached sculptor Elek Imredy to commission a piece inspired by the famous Copenhagen mermaid.

11. S.S. Empress Of Japan Figure Head Replica

The S.S. Empress Of Japan Figure Head Replica is beside a Girl in A Wetsuit, so you won’t miss it.

It’s a colourful and unique monument that pays tribute to the original figurehead from the ocean liner “Queen of the Pacific,” which carried passengers across the Pacific Ocean over 400 times.

The replica placed in Stanley Park in 1927 is a significant historical and cultural attraction, while the original is in the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

12. The Fox’s Den (Spray Park)

The Fox Den Spray Park is excellent for children, cyclists, or anyone looking to cool off along the Seawall during the summer. It’s open daily in the summer from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

13. Siwash Rock

Siwash Rock is a well-known landmark for its distinctive rock outcropping and a point of interest for people exploring the park. This iconic natural formation holds cultural significance for the Indigenous Squamish people, who have a legend surrounding the rock.

Siwash Rock is a small rock on the ocean side of the Seawall. It has a small tree that grows on top of the rock.

14. Teahouse In Stanley Park

The Teahouse in Stanley Park is a historic restaurant. Originally built as a garrison and mess hall during World War II, the building was later repurposed as a tea room and eventually transformed into the present-day restaurant.

The Teahouse offers a unique dining experience with its picturesque waterfront location and is highly rated for its delicious meals. During the warmer months, there’s also outdoor patio seating.

15. Beaches

Stanley Park houses two of Vancouver’s eight beaches in the city.

Second Beach is among the most popular summer beach spots in Stanley Park. It’s an excellent spot for families, has a playground, and the Second Beach Swimming Pool is next to the Seawall. The pool offers stunning mountain and ocean views.

I remember swimming at the pool when I was a kid. There’s a large shallow end featuring a seal slide, perfect for younger children, and a deeper end for more experienced swimmers.

Another beach located in Stanley Park is Third Beach. It’s a quieter option popular with locals. However, it can get busy depending on the time of day, and summers are usually packed at the beach.

Third Beach is also one of the best Vancouver sunset spots. Many locals gather to photograph the beautiful sunset behind the mountains on any sunny day of the year.

A beach in Stanely Park. You can see the Northshore mountain and people hanging out on the sand and some people in the water.

16. Prospect Point Picnic Area

Along Stanley Park Drive, there’s also the Prospect Point Picnic Area. It’s a big open grass field with a reservable picnic area, sinks, washrooms, and power outlets. It’s an excellent spot to host an event or special occasion.

17. Lord Stanley Memorial Monument

The Lord Stanley Monument in Stanley Park is a bronze statue commemorating Frederick Arthur Stanley, Baron Stanley of Preston, 16th Earl of Derby. Lord Stanley was also the Governor General of Canada from 1888 to 1893.

He also officially opened Stanley Park on October 29, 1889. The statue depicts Lord Stanley with open arms, welcoming visitors to the park.

Lord Stanley is also known for donating the Stanley Cup; the oldest professional championship trophy given to the National Hockey League (NHL).

18. Harry Jerome Statue

The bronze statue commemorates Harry Jerome’s exceptional running career. At 18, Jerome became the first man to hold records in the 100-yard and 100-meter sprints.

He and his sister and friend Paul Winn were the only black track athletes at the Canadian National Championships.

In 1960, during the Rome Olympics, he collapsed with a severely torn hamstring and later a severed quadriceps muscle during another race. After surgery and recovery, Jerome went on to win the Bronze medal in the 100-meter race at the Tokyo Olympics.

He was named B.C.’s Athlete of the Century and honoured with the Order of Canada in 1972. Jerome retired in 1968 with six world records. In his retirement, he actively promoted track and field to high school students.

Harry Jerome Statue in a running position, there is the water in the background with the Coal Harbour city skyline as well.

19. Stanley Park Pitch & Putt

Check out the pitch-and-putt golf course, whether you’re into golf or not (pitch-and-putt is easy to play). The course is near the English Bay side entrance and offers 18 holes of golfing fun.

It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with friends or family, and the course is suitable for beginners and experienced golfers.

20. Ted And Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden

In the late 1960s, the Parks Board got an extensive assortment of hybrid rhododendron and azalea plants. Around 4,500 of these plants were from Royston Nursery, which belonged to renowned rhododendron hybridizers Ted and Mary Greig.

All 4,500 plants were planted around the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt golf course. The Ted and Mary Greig Rhododendron Garden looks its best in the first two weeks of May. But you can enjoy a nice walk through the garden between March and September because something is always blooming.

21. Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant & Brew Pub

If you’re looking for a quick cold glass of beer after walking along the Seawall, after Pitch and Putt, lawn bowling, or tennis. In that case, the Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant and Brewpub is the place for you. 

Originally built in 1930 as a social sports pavilion, the renovated heritage building features two covered outdoor patios, indoor dining rooms, and a West Coast-inspired menu.

They also offer a rotating selection of award-winning favourites and brew new and innovative beers on-site.

22. Stanley Park Tennis Courts

If you’re a tennis enthusiast, you’ll be happy to know that Stanley Park has 15 first-come, first-serve tennis courts open to the public. Four courts are near the Lost Lagoon, and 11 are available near the Pitch and Putt course.

There’s a 30-minute maximum play time if many people are waiting to use the tennis courts. In addition, there are six private courts where you can watch tennis tournaments during the summer, usually in July.

23. Stanley Park Nature House On Lost Lagoon

The Stanley Park Nature House on Lost Lagoon is an educational facility operated by the Stanley Park Ecology Society. The Nature House offers exhibits and information about the local ecology and park wildlife, providing an immersive learning experience for all ages.

The Nature House is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM and closed on weekdays from September to June. 

From July to August, the Nature House is open from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on Tuesdays to Sundays and is closed on Mondays.

💡 Note: Admission is free or by donation.

The Nature House is wheelchair accessible, though it involves travelling over a short stretch of unpaved path from the Chilco viewing platform. 

Water barriers are installed in the winter, from November to February, to safeguard the Nature House from flooding. During this period, wheelchair users and individuals with mobility challenges may find it harder to access the Nature House.

24. Stanley Park Pavillion

A large circle cement pool with a round cement flower holder in the middle. The outside has red and yellow flowers planted arond. There's a historic building in the background and surrounded by well maintained grounds and trees.

The Stanley Park Pavilion is a beautiful building built in 1911 and is now a designated heritage building. It’s the oldest property that is still standing in the park.

You can also rent the pavilion for weddings, corporate events, and other special occasions. Even if you aren’t hosting an event, the grounds around the building are beautiful to photograph during the spring.

25. Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake is a body of water in the centre of Stanley Park. Often described as “a jewel,” the wetland is surrounded by native and introduced vegetation and many wildlife spottings. You can also walk around the 1.5-kilometre loop trail.

26. Hollow Tree

The Hollow Tree in Stanley Park is a beloved and iconic natural landmark. The Western Red Cedar died and left its hollow stump, estimated to be around 1,000 years old. It has captured people’s fascination for generations. 

There was a windstorm in 2006 that caused it to lean at a dangerous angle. Despite being hollowed out and no longer living, the Vancouver Parks Board considered dropping it and leaving it to rot. However, a public outcry led to the tree being saved and held up by an inner metal frame.

27. Walk Along The Many Trails

Last but not least, Stanley Park offers over 27 kilometres of forested trails to explore its beauty. The park’s well-maintained trails cater to various skill levels, making them accessible for strollers, walkers, and joggers.

Notable trails such as the Cathedral Trail boardwalk, Tatlow Walk, Lovers Walk, and more provide different perspectives of the park’s landscapes, wildlife, and cultural landmarks.

A concrete walking path surrounded by greenery or trees, bushes, and shrubbery.

Where To Stay Near Stanley Park

There are some hotels to stay near Stanley Park. If you’re visiting Vancouver for the first time, there are other locations in Downtown Vancouver.

💎 Best Luxury Hotel – The Westin Bayshore

The Westin Bayshore is a prominent waterfront hotel in Coal Harbour. With direct access to the Seawall, the luxury hotel features modern amenities, including spacious rooms, a full-service spa, fitness facilities, and an outdoor and indoor pool, providing guests a comfortable and relaxing stay.

⚖️ Best Mid-Range Hotel – Time Square Suites Hotel

The Times Square Suites Hotel is only a few blocks from Stanley Park. This hotel offers spacious and fully furnished suites with kitchens. The hotel also has free Wi-Fi, in-suite laundry facilities, and a rooftop patio.

🎯 Best Budget-Friendly Hotel – Best Western Plus Sands

The Best Western Plus Sands in Vancouver is a budget-friendly hotel in an excellent location off English Bay. Its proximity to popular attractions makes it ideal for budget-conscious travellers seeking a convenient and comfortable stay in the city’s heart.

Stanley Park — FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions on things to do in Stanley Park Vancouver.

Is Stanley Park Worth A Visit?

Yes, Stanley Park is worth a visit due to its stunning natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and attractions, including the Vancouver Aquarium and other historic locations.

 Its accessibility from Downtown Vancouver makes it an ideal destination for one of the best outdoor things to do in Vancouver.

What Is The Best Way To Explore Stanley Park?

The best way to explore Stanley Park is by walking. Walking along the Seawall is the most popular thing to do.

How Much Time Do You Need At Stanley Park?

If you want to explore the entire park, it will take you the whole day. However, people typically spend two to three hours at Stanley Park, and that is only walking around the Seawall.

What Is The Most Scenic Part Of Stanley Park?

While there are many scenic points in Stanley Park, Prospect Point is the most scenic part.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many things to do in Stanley Park Vancouver. From exploring the Vancouver Aquarium to grabbing a beer at the Stanley Park Brewery to enjoying the sunset at the beaches, Stanley Park is a must-visit location for everyone.

Have a good day 🙂