Best Vancouver Cultural Attractions

Cultural Attractions that Encapsulate the Spirit of Vancouver

Vancouver is a city with a rich and diverse culture, a mix of Pacific Northwest outdoorsy-ness, First Nations history and art, and Chinese-Canadian and Asian-Canadian heritage. Vancouver's top cultural attractions each embody an aspect of Vancouver culture and are the perfect way for visitors to get a feel for what makes the city so exceptional.

01 of 06

UBC's Museum of Anthropology (MOA)

Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver/ Canadian Tourism Commission
6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada
Phone +1 604-822-5087

I always tell people that if you want to see something in Vancouver that you can't see anywhere else in the world, go to UBC's Museum of Anthropology (MOA). 

MOA's incredible collection of First Nations art and objects from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia includes massive totem poles, canoes, jewelry, ceramics, carved boxes, and ceremonial masks.

You can also see the iconic sculpture Raven and The First Men by the internationally-famous B.C. First Nations artist Bill Reid; a picture of the Raven and The First Men sculpture appears on the back of every Canadian $20 bill!

02 of 06

Stanley Park

Biking the Stanley Park Seawall
Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver
Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4, Canada
Phone +1 604-681-6728

The most famous landmark in Vancouver, Stanley Park epitomizes Vancouver's love of the outdoors. Biking the Stanley Park Seawall is arguably one of the most "Vancouver" things you can do in the city! (And yes, you can rent bikes.)

Stanley Park attractions include the gorgeous Second Beach, Stanley Park Totem Poles, the free Stanley Park gardens, hiking trails, and the Vancouver Aquarium (one of the Top 10 Rainy Day Activities).

03 of 06

Vancouver Chinatown

Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade 2013
Image Courtesy of Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver
578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2, Canada
Phone +1 604-662-3207

Vancouver's historic Chinatown is itself a cultural attraction, packed with amazing landmarks--including the world's narrowest building--shops, and restaurants.

One of Chinatown's top attraction is the beautiful, tranquil Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, one of Vancouver's Top 5 Gardens. In July and August, the Garden hosts outdoor, nighttime concerts as part of its Enchanted Evening Concert Series. 

Chinatown is also the place to be for Vancouver's Chinese New Year's Celebrations, including the annual Vancouver Chinese New Year Parade (usually in February).

04 of 06

Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG)

Inside the Vancouver Art Gallery

TripSavvy /  Leopoldine Bauer

750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7, Canada
Phone +1 604-662-4700

The Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) is one of the city's most beloved cultural attractions. Home to the most significant collection of paintings by the famous BC artist Emily Carr, VAG also hosts two-to-three international exhibitions a year. 

If you're over 19, one of the best ways to see VAG is at night at FUSE (on select Friday nights). You can also see the gallery by donation on Tuesdays from 5pm - 9pm.

Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06

Asian-Style Summer Night Markets

Summer Night Market Richmond
Image Courtesy of Summer Night Market

A summer tradition in Metro Vancouver, the giant, Asian-style night markets in Richmond, BC (just south of Vancouver) are fun for all ages. There are hundreds of vendors to browse, a mix of Asian and western foods, and family entertainment. The two biggest summer night markets open in mid-May and run through early October.

06 of 06

Vancouver Food Festivals

Steveston Salmon Festival
Image Courtesy of Steveston Salmon Festival

Food is such an important part of any culture.  In Vancouver, food festivals--including January's Dine Out Vancouver and May's BC Spot Prawn Festival--are a wonderful way to get a taste (literally) of Vancouver's best local foods.

If you're in Vancouver for Canada Day (July 1), you can visit Steveston Village's famous Salmon Festival, where over 1200 pounds of wild salmon filets are grilled over open fire pits.

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The Vancouver Experience: Top Vancouver Cultural Attractions