Top 5 Museums & Galleries in Vancouver, BC

Vancouver's Art, History, People & Culture

Vancouver's rich cultural history is on display at the city's world-class museums and galleries. You can explore Canada and Vancouver's art, history, people, and environment through permanent, year-round exhibitions at Vancouver's best museums.

See also: Top 10 Rainy Day Activities in Vancouver & Vancouver's Best Cultural Attractions

  • 01 of 05
    Totem Poles at the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver
    ••• Totem Poles at the Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver. Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

    If you see only one museum in Vancouver, it should be University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology (MOA). MOA's incredible collections of First Nations and Coast Salish artworks and artifacts are unique to this region, assuring that you will see things you've never seen before that are unlike anything else in the world. The arts, sculptures, and historic works here--including magnificent large-scale sculptures and totems--shouldn't be missed.

    Keep an eye out for the Raven and the First Men sculpture by First Nations artist Bill Reid; it's on display at MOA and is the image on the back of every Canadian $20 bill.

  • 02 of 05

    Vancouver Art Gallery

    Vancouver Art Gallery
    ••• Vancouver Art Gallery. Photo © Chris Cheadle / Getty Images

    One of downtown Vancouver’s most notable landmarks, the Vancouver Art Gallery's exhibits range from cutting-edge, contemporary work to historic masters. The Gallery is home to over 9,000 works of art, including the largest collection painting by the famous BC artist Emily Carr and a world-renowned collection of contemporary photo-based work.

    On a budget? Visitors can get in by donation (without a set admissions fee) every Tuesday, from 5pm - 9pm.

    For smaller contemporary and First Nations art galleries, as well as commercial art galleries, see Guide to Art in Vancouver.

  • 03 of 05

    Science World British Columbia

    Exterior of Science World in Vancouver, BC
    ••• Science World in Vancouver, BC. Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver/ Science World British Columbia

    For families with children--especially kids 10 and under--Science World (along with the Vancouver Aquarium) is a can't-miss destination. Not only is it one of the best attractions for kids in Vancouver, it's also one of the Top 10 Things to Do with Kids on a Rainy Day. Dedicated to teaching kids about science and technology, Science World has loads hands-on and interactive activities for kids. For example, in the Eureka! Gallery, kids can learn about water, light, sound, and motion by launching balls and parachutes and playing music on "invisible" harp strings.

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    Museum of Vancouver & H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

    Museum of Vancouver exterior
    ••• Museum of Vancouver. Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver/ Kitsilano Chamber of Commerce

    Two separate museums in one building, visitors to the Museum of Vancouver (MOV) and the Space Centre can get discount admission when seeing both museums on the same day.

    MOV is Canada's largest civic museum; it's home to permanent displays, exhibitions and educational programs about the natural, cultural and human history of the Vancouver region, from First Nations to industrialization to today. MOV shares its iconic domed building with the kid-oriented H.R. MacMillan Space Centre: part space and science museum, part planetarium, and part observatory.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Vancouver Maritime Museum

    St. Roch at the Vancouver Maritime Museum
    ••• St. Roch at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Image Courtesy of the Vancouver Maritime Museum

    Boats, boats, and more boats: The Vancouver Maritime Museum is Canada's premiere Pacific Coast maritime museum and home to the fully-restored St. Roch, a 1928 schooner that traversed the Northwest Passage and circumnavigated North America.