The University of British Columbia (UBC) is the most prestigious university in western Canada. It’s one of the top three universities in the country (alongside University of Toronto and McGill University) and routinely ranks as one of the top 40 universities in the world.
Whether you're visiting UBC as a prospective student, a student's family member or friend, or just as a tourist, this Guide will help you choose accommodations near campus, find nearby attractions, and understand how to get around the city from the university.
How to Get to University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC
University of British Columbia (UBC) is located 30 minutes (by car/bus) southwest of Downtown Vancouver; the address is 2329 West Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4.
The only options for public transit to/from UBC are city buses; Vancouver's rapid transit trains--the Canada Line / SkyTrain--do not run near UBC.
To get to UBC from the Vancouver International Airport you will have to take a taxi, car or bus to campus. (Uber and other car-sharing services are not yet legal in British Columbia). You can also take the Canada Line to Broadway City Hall Station and then transfer to a bus (the 99 B-Line).
To get around the city from UBC, you will have to use either a car or a city bus. Buses are easy to use from UBC: the campus has a large bus depot called the Bus Loop (more on this below), which is easy to find and use, and the buses run every few minutes during the day. (Night buses will be more infrequent, so check the Translink bus schedule.) The UBC Bus Loop is the final destination for most buses going to UBC, so it's easy to know when to disembark.
If you decide to drive to UBC or to use a car during your stay, be prepared to pay for parking, which can be expensive on campus.
Staying on Campus: UBC Hotels & Hostels
Yes, you can stay on campus at UBC! The university offers three options for visitors. Prices are current as of April 2019:
- West Coast Suites - UBC's higher-end accommodations start around $185 per night for a one-bedroom suite.
- Pacific Spirit Hostel - UBC's hostel offers private single or twin rooms starting around $49 per night.
- UBC Suites & Shared Apartments - Available in the summer (mid-May - August), you can rent a suite (starting around $175) or a private room in a shared apartment (around $69).
You can also stay on campus at the Triumf House, a private guest house located at UBC.
Travel Tip: Accommodations at or near the university will be booked far in advance for major UBC events, like graduation and the start of a semester, so make sure to book early!
Off-Campus Accommodations & Hotels Near UBC
If you can't stay on-campus but want a hotel near UBC, these are close and safe for all travelers:
- Point Grey Guest House and House on Dunbar are two B&Bs located in lovely residential neighborhoods near UBC. Because the area is residential, these are better choices for older folks, families, and visitors with a car.
- The HI-Vancouver Jericho Beach hostel on picturesque Jericho Beach is just 10 minutes (by bus) from UBC and a good, safe choice for young people on a budget.
- Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre (Broadway) is perfectly located for taking a bus to UBC (the 99-B Line, along W Broadway) and for using Canada Line rapid transit to get to the airport or Downtown Vancouver.
Travel Tip: If you want to stay in Downtown Vancouver--which I recommend--stay at a hotel or accommodation near Robson Square (800 Robson Street). Buses run more frequently between UBC and Robson Square than any other Downtown location.
Where to Stay Using AirBnB or VRBO near UBC
If you're looking for a house or apartment rental near UBC--via Airbnb, VRBO, or another vacation rental site--you should focus your search on Kitsilano, Point Grey, W Broadway and W 41st Avenue.
Kitsilano ("Kits") is ideal. If you stay near W Broadway--a major street that runs east-west through Vancouver--it's easy to hop on the bus for UBC. Plus you can enjoy Kits dining, shopping and the beach!
Point Grey is the residential neighborhood closest to UBC, but it's also one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Vancouver, so expect to pay more here. Stay near 10th Avenue for easy access to shops and dining.
For less expensive rentals, look for accommodations near Vancouver's two major east-west streets, where it's easy to catch a direct bus to UBC: W Broadway and W 41st Avenue. Stay west of Main Street for shorter travel times.
Neighborhoods along W Broadway include Fairview (near Granville Island and just east of Kitsilano) and Mount Pleasant. Neighborhoods along W 41st Avenue include Kerrisdale and Oakridge (Oakridge also has access to the Canada Line rapid transit).
On-Campus Attractions at UBC
Of the Top 5 Attractions at UBC--attractions located on campus--there are two that attract travelers and visitors all on their own: UBC's famous Museum of Anthropology (MOA) and the UBC Botanical Garden.
UBC's Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is one of Vancouver's Best Museums and one of the Best Cultural Attractions in Vancouver. Home to over 500,000 artifacts that explore both local history and world anthropology, MOA is renowned for its collection of BC First Nations art, including incredible totem poles and ceremonial objects.
The UBC Botanical Garden includes an Asian Garden, BC Rainforest Garden, and the Greenheart Canopy Walkway eco-adventure, as well as the beautiful Nitobe Memorial Garden, one of the Top 5 Gardens in Vancouver. Check the UBC Botanical Garden website for special events during your visit, like October's apple festival and garden tours.
Vancouver Attractions Near UBC
Vancouver attractions close to UBC include:
- Three of Vancouver's Top 5 Beaches: Spanish Banks, Jericho Beach, and Wreck Beach.
- Pacific Spirit Regional Park, one of the Top 5 Parks in Vancouver
- Kitsilano attractions, including Vanier Park, Kitsilano Beach and Kits Pool (20 minutes by bus from UBC)
- Downtown Vancouver attractions, including Robson Square, the Vancouver Art Gallery, shopping, nightlife and dining (30 minutes by bus from UBC).
- Granville Island, home to the famous Granville Island Public Market (30 minutes by bus from UBC).
How to Take Buses To / From UBC
All Vancouver public transit--including city buses--is run by Translink. You can use the Translink site's Trip Planner (pictured) to plan your bus route to and from UBC.
Travel Tip: If you are using buses during your visit to UBC, you will need a Vancouver Compass Card, a reusable transit card that you put money on (to pay for your fares) and can use for any type of public transit in Vancouver, including buses, Canada Line / SkyTrain rapid transit, and the SeaBus. You can buy a Compass Card and add money to it at any Canada Line / SkyTrain station (including at the airport), many London Drugs locations, or at the UBC Bookstore on campus.
Buses to the main campus stop at the UBC Bus Loop. As mentioned, the major on-campus bus station at UBC is called the "Bus Loop" or "UBC Loop." The main Bus Loop is located at (approximately) 1950 Wesbrook Mall. This Bus Loop is the final destination for most buses going and coming from UBC.
Due to construction at UBC, some buses will pick up passengers (to leave campus) outside the Bus Loop. Again, use Translink.ca to plan your bus route; it will tell you where to go for pick up.
There are also bus stations at the UBC Botanical Garden (6804 SW Marine Drive) and at the UBC Hospital (2211 Wesbrook Mall).
Once on campus, you can move around via the UBC Community shuttles, small buses that will take you to different parts of campus, if you don't want to or can't walk.
Campus Tours at UBC; Vancouver's Other Universities & Colleges
If you're visiting UBC because you think you may like to attend--or have a family member who may like to attend--you can take a UBC Campus Tour. Free and offered by UBC, these campus tours are led by a Student Recruiter-Advisor who can answer questions about the campus.
You don't have to be a prospective student to take the tour! Anyone can register for the UBC Campus Tours.
If you are shopping for higher education in Vancouver, UBC is not the only university in the city (though it is the biggest and highest-ranked). Vancouver is also home to Simon Frasier University, another top Canadian university with 24,000+ students, as well as several colleges and technical institutes.