5 Strange & Unusual Vancouver Attractions

When You Want to See A Different Side of Vancouver, BC

You've seen the Top 10 Vancouver Attractions (Stanley Park, Granville Island), and now you want to see something different. 

  • 01 of 05

    The Herb Museum

    The Herb Museum in Vancouver, BC
    ••• The Herb Museum in Vancouver, BC. Photo by Dana Lynch

    Vancouver, BC has been called Vansterdam (not by any locals, ever), for its notorious love of marijuana. If you're curious about that relationship, or about illegal drugs in general, the Herb Museum is the place to visit. 

    Located in Vancouver's "Pot Block," next door to the New Amsterdam Cafe, this unusual Vancouver attractions is the only museum in the world dedicated to the history of North American drug wars and to the world-wide history of herbal medicine. It's packed with historic artifacts tracing the ancient beginnings of herbal medicine (marijuana, cocaine and opium), and staffed by extremely knowledgeable guides who can answer most questions on the subject. Call ahead to request a guided tour.

    This museum is for people 19+ only; no kids!

  • 02 of 05
    Secrets of the Penthouse tour, Vancouver, BC
    ••• Secrets of the Penthouse. Image Courtesy of The Penthouse

    Forbidden Vancouver is a Vancouver walking tour company that specializes in "off the beaten path" tours of the city. Secrets of the Penthouse is their tour of one of Vancouver's most infamous strip clubs, The Penthouse, where celebrities (including Frank Sinatra), mobsters and showgirls have rubbed shoulders since the 1940s. Danny Filippone, son of original owner Ross Filippone, leads the tour.

    The tour isn't offered that often, so make sure you check for available dates.

    This tour is for people 19+ only; no kids!

  • 03 of 05
    Salmon at the Capilano Salmon Hatchery
    ••• Salmon at the Capilano Salmon Hatchery. Photo © Lonely Planet via Getty Images

    This Vancouver attraction is less unusual--it attracts about 400,000 visitors a year, including many locals (it made my list of the Top 10 Rainy Day Activities)--but it is strange.

    Basically a government-run fish farm that works to maintain the salmon population, the Hatchery lets you see salmon reproduction in action, including the incredible “Fishway," where you can see salmon jumping from one pool to the next as they progress "upstream" to spawn. 

    Located in North Vancouver, near the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Hatchery is free and family-friendly!

  • 04 of 05
    Crowd at Wreck Beach World Record Skinny Dip
    ••• Wreck Beach World Record Skinny Dip 2010. Photo © James Loewen, via Wreck Beach Preservation Society

    Wreck Beach is one of  Vancouver's Top 5 Beaches and a local favorite for its pristine Pacific Northwest beauty. It's also Vancouver's only clothing-optional beach, and hosts the famous Bare Buns Run every summer. 

    What makes Wreck Beach unusual isn't its nudity--though there is that--but its spirit: Wreck Beach is still just as laid back, free-spirited and hippie as it was fifty years ago. It's a different, freer world.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05
    Geekenders's Stormtroopers, Vancouver
    ••• Geekenders's Burlesque Stormtroopers. Image Courtesy of Geekenders

    Combining the tongue-in-cheek fun of burlesque with geeky pop culture parodies, Geekenders has become a sensation in Vancouver. The locally-based troupe strongly encourages the audience to come in costume and performs shows like Star Wars: A Nude Hope and Not the Bees! A Burlesque Tribute to Nicholas Cage (the greatest title for anything ever).

    The shows are for adult audiences; not for kids.

    For more geeky fun in Vancouver, see my Geek Guide to Vancouver, BC.