When the rain (finally!) stops for the spring and summer, Vancouver is home to some of the world's best sunsets. Whether you take a sunset stroll around the seawall or find a romantic spot to enjoy a sunset drink together, Vancouver has plenty of places to make an evening into an event. From mountain tops to beaches that are actually named after the phenomenon (hello, Sunset Beach), here are eight of the best places to catch a sunset in Vancouver.
Make the Most of Majestic Mountaintop Views
Early risers might enjoy a hike to see the sunrise, but sunset seekers tend to be a more leisurely lot. Vancouver's North Shore mountains, Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour, all offer stunning views of the city at sundown. Grouse Mountain is one of the most popular places for non-skiers to catch a watery winter sunset as it breaks like an egg yolk over the distant Vancouver Island and the cityscape below. Enjoy a drink or dinner in the warmth of The Observatory while you watch the sun set over Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver.
Enjoy a Beverage at Kitsilano Beach
Bustling with beachgoers and volleyball players, Kitsilano Beach aka Kits Beach is always a favorite place to pass a few pre-sunset hours waiting for the sun to set over the Gulf Islands on the horizon. Grab a seat at the beachside Local pub nearby or take a table at The Boathouse Restaurant for stellar sunset views. If you're traveling with a four-legged friend, the nearby dog beach (next to the Maritime Museum) is another excellent spot for sunset.
Stroll or bike the seawall in Stanley Park for a quieter experience of the iconic 10-K path around the park. Time your walk (usually around two hours or an hour via bike) to hit the midpoint at Siwash Rock and Third Beach for the best spot to watch the sun say goodnight. Head there on a Tuesday evening during the summer to catch the weekly drum circle that takes place on the beach.
Find a Quiet Spot in Queen Elizabeth Park
Situated at 152m above sea level, Queen Elizabeth Park is the highest point in Vancouver, and it offers expansive views of the North Shore, park, and the city below from its vantage point. Home to Bloedel Conservatory, an arboretum and beautifully landscaped gardens, Queen Elizabeth Park also has a fine dining restaurant called Seasons in the Park where you can enjoy a sunset meal.
Look out for special events in the park, from the annual cherry blossom celebration to circus Spiegeltents and sports events.
Eat in English Bay
English Bay is the place to go for superlative sunsets in the city. Bustling in the summertime and tranquil the rest of the year, English Bay has plenty of logs to sit on at sundown. Head to the beachside Cactus Club Cafe for a patio seat to soak in the sunshine and watch it set over Kitsilano, Jericho Beach, Vancouver Island, and Bowen Island in this distance.
During the summer, when the sun takes longer to set, you could combine Stanley Park's beaches to watch the sun go down from various vantage points in the park. End at English Bay as it's close to the restaurants and pubs of Denman, and it's easily connected to downtown and beyond via the transit system (or a cab).
Sunsets at Wreck Beach are legendary for a couple of reasons. Not only is the beach situated at the most westerly edge of Point Grey in the westside of Vancouver, but it’s also a famous clothing-option party beach so the vibe can feel more like somewhere in South East Asia than Western Canada. Summer is the best time to go (it can be pretty chilly otherwise if you’re opting to go nude) and sunset happens later in the evening, so there’s more time to enjoy the beach, grab a bite to eat from a vendor, or take a look at the sarongs for sale.
Catch Sundown at Sunset Beach
Of course, Sunset Beach must get an honorable mention on any list like this. Located between downtown and English Bay, Sunset Beach is a popular place for festivals and watersports such as stand up paddleboarding (rent a board or kayak from Granville Island or Kitsilano Beach and travel across the inlet).
It's also home to a concession stand that is open in the daytime and a wide green space that is a favorite place for people to play games. People also bring barbecues and slides here for summer events such as Canada Day (July 1).
The unromantically named 217.5 Arc x 13 sculpture is a curved artwork by French artist Bernar Venet (it takes its name from its mathematical dimensions) and it makes the ideal backdrop for a sunset photo, with English Bay and Bowen Island in the background.
Sunset Drinks in Olympic Village
Olympic Village is often overlooked as a sunset destination even though it has waterside views and great food options such as Tap & Barrell, CRAFT Beer Kitchen, and Nook, a popular Italian restaurant that also has outlets in the West End and Kitsilano. If you’re feeling active then there are dragon boat and kayaks for rental at the top end of False Creek, near Olympic Village. Here’s a tip: get the Skytrain to Science World-Main Street instead of Olympic Village as it’s actually closer to the restaurants and it’s a scenic walk to get there along the waterfront.