What to See (and Instagram) in Vancouver, B.C.
By AAA Travel Editor Katie Broome | June 01, 2023
From eye-catching public art to tranquil nature parks, find the best Instagram-worthy photo spots in Vancouver with this list. The city is filled with fun things to do and camera-ready views as long as you know where to look.
"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.
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
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.
"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.
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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.
Quarry Rock in Deep Cove
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 in Stanley Park
Stanley Park DriveOne 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.).
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.
VanDusen Botanical Garden
5251 Oak St.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.Read More