AAA Travel Tips / What to See (and Instagram) in Vancouver, B.C.

What to See (and Instagram) in Vancouver, B.C.

AAA/Diana Beyer
By AAA Travel Editor Katie McPhee
January 14, 2020
Vancouver is an incredibly photogenic city, and lucky for you, it’s easy to find some of the best Instagram-worthy photo spots if you know where to look. Wondering what to see on your next trip? Here are a few of the top places to snap a pic in beautiful #VanCity. (Don't forget to follow AAA on Instagram (@aaa_national) for even more travel inspiration.)
A bronze depiction of a shirtless, laughing man that is part of the "A-Maze-ing Laughter" outdoor sculpture in Vancouver British Columbia
AAA/Katie McPhee

"A-maze-ing Laughter" Sculpture

1800 Morton Ave.
Pint-size Morton Park near English Bay Beach is the location of Chinese artist Yue Minjun’s “A-maze-ing Laughter,” a grouping of 14 bronze statues whose joyful expressions make for a unique photo op. Pick a towering figure to stand next to and say “cheese”—it won’t be too difficult since each bronze statue depicts a man in a fit of hysterical laughter.
A milk tea with chewy boba tapioca balls and a pink straw from The Bubble Tea Shop in Vancouver British Columbia
AAA/Katie McPhee

Boba Tea

Various locations
All over Vancouver there are shops and cafés selling colorful boba tea drinks (also called bubble tea), the sweet Taiwanese beverage made with a combination of fruit or tea and some blend of milk, sweet syrups and chewy tapioca balls consumed through an oversize straw. A good place to find boba tea in downtown Vancouver is at The Bubble Tea Shop (1680 Robson St.), which also serves specialty drinks in tasty flavors like matcha, coconut, taro and frozen hot chocolate.
Digital Orca sculpture of a pixelated killer whale in Vancouver British Columbia
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"Digital Orca" Sculpture

1055 Canada Pl.
Created by Douglas Coupland in 2009, this eye-catching piece of public art in Vancouver depicts a pixelated version of a killer whale seemingly jumping out of the ground. It’s one of the many cool things to see near the Vancouver waterfront. Take a walk down Thurlow Street toward the Vancouver Convention Centre and you’ll spot the sculpture on the plaza between the convention center and the Olympic Cauldron.
Concrete silos painted to look like colorful characters that are part of the "Giants" outdoor mural on Granville Island in Vancouver British Columbia
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"Giants" Mural on Granville Island

1415 Johnston St.
Make the trip to Granville Island to see an unexpected place for public art—the 21-metre-tall (70-ft.) silos of a concrete factory. Ocean Concrete’s six massive silos were transformed into colorful, larger-than-life characters in 2014 by a pair of Brazilian street artists known as “Os Gêmeos.” Today the “Giants” mural is a popular destination for sightseers and one of the top photo spots on Granville Island. For the best vantage point, stand outside the fence line on Johnston Street or snap a photograph from the water on a False Creek Ferry or Aquabus.
The 2010 Winter Olympic Cauldron made of steel and glass displayed near the waterfront in Vancouver British Columbia
AAA/Katie McPhee

Olympic Cauldron

1055 Canada Pl.
On the Jack Poole Plaza outside the Vancouver Convention Centre sits the 10-metre-tall (33-ft.) Olympic Cauldron, a memento from the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver. The massive glass and steel cauldron is often lit for Canada Day celebrations in summer and makes for a great photo op near the waterfront. Take a photo from the downtown side and you’ll have the forested North Shore mountains in the background and maybe a seaplane or two.
Viewpoint from Quarry Rock overlooking the water in Deep Cove North Vancouver
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Quarry Rock in Deep Cove

North Vancouver
Make the short trek to Vancouver’s North Shore to soak up some serious nature views in Deep Cove, a quiet community in the easternmost part of North Vancouver. While Deep Cove’s downtown and marina are photogenic enough, there is even better scenery if you hike a 3.8-kilometre (2.4-mi.) section of the Baden-Powell Centennial Trail to the Quarry Rock viewpoint. At the lookout you’ll have a bird’s-eye perspective of the marina, the sparkling waters of Indian Arm fjord and the distant Vancouver skyline.
Siwash Rock with people strolling along the seawall in Stanley Park in Vancouver British Columbia
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Siwash Rock in Stanley Park

Stanley Park Drive
One of the most popular landmarks to photograph in Stanley Park is Siwash Rock, a 32 million-year-old sea stack (a type of rock formation) that sits just off the Stanley Park seawall on the park’s west side. Visit at sunset for a pretty perspective of the rock contrasted with the colors of the sky and the sparkling waters of the Burrard Inlet. Keep in mind there is no parking at Siwash Rock, but foot or bike access is available from parking lots at Third Beach or Prospect Point (5601 Stanley Park Dr.).
Crowds watching the sunset at English Bay Beach Park in Vancouver British Columbia
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Sunset at a Downtown Beach Park

Beach Avenue between Thurlow & Denman sts.
When the weather is agreeable, grab a spot on a bench or giant log and enjoy the sunset at one of Vancouver's westward-facing beach parks. English Bay Beach Park (1700 Beach Ave.) and Sunset Beach Park (on Beach Avenue between Thurlow & Bute sts.) are two popular places to catch a sunset in downtown Vancouver; the former allows music while the latter is a designated “quiet” beach. Both are great places for people watching, too.
Pink tulips and purple flowers at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver British Columbia
AAA/Katie McPhee

VanDusen Botanical Garden

5251 Oak St.
(604) 257-8335
Cherry blossoms, tulips, rhododendrons and roses—there are endless blooms to photograph in every season at VanDusen Botanical Garden, a quiet oasis just south of downtown. Wander the 22-hectare (55-acre) grounds and discover all sorts of flowering plants as well as towering sequoias, evergreens, lily pads and ferns. Can’t get enough of nature? Make an extra stop at the nearby Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park.
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