What Is Vancouver Famous For? A Top 10 List

Everything Vancouver Is Famous For, From Stanley Park to Salmon to Pot

False Creek in Vancouver
••• False Creek in Vancouver. Jose Fuste Raga / Getty Images

What is Vancouver, British Columbia famous for? Here is the top ten list.

  • 01 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous for Its Beauty

    Seabus Crossing Burrard Inlet, Vancouver
    ••• Seabus Crossing Burrard Inlet, Vancouver. Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver/ Al Harvey

    One of the most famous things about Vancouver is its physical beauty. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and deep blue sea, Vancouver is gorgeous; when the sun is shining, it's truly a sight to behold. Its beauty is so famous, Vancouver has made multiple lists of "Most Beautiful Cities in the World," including Forbes' list and Buzzfeed's

    If you're visiting Vancouver, you can enjoy the scenery on a boat tour or sightseeing cruise, from one of Vancouver's Best Viewpoints, or while you dine at one of Vancouver's Best Restaurants with a View.

  • 02 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous for Its Liveability

    Vancouver Biking
    ••• Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

    Vancouver is so famous for being one of the world's "most livable cities" that it's regularly cited as one of the top examples whenever "liveable" cities are discussed. Most recently, Vancouver came in at number five on Mercer's Top 10 Cities list in 2016 and number three on the Economist's Global Liveability Ranking in 2015, but it's been on everyone's top 10 lists for over a decade.

  • 03 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous for Stanley Park

    Aerial of Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC
    ••• Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver / Albert Normandin

    The most famous landmark in Vancouver is Stanley Park. Located on the Downtown Vancouver peninsula and covering 400 hectares (1000 acres), Stanley Park attracts both tourists and locals with its multiple attractions, including the famous Seawall (a paved pathway for biking, running or walking that runs around the park's rugged coastline) and the Stanley Park Totem Poles (the most-visited attraction in British Columbia). The park is also home to beaches, hiking trails, and the Vancouver Aquarium.

  • 04 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous for Salmon & Local Seafood

    Steveston Salmon Festival
    ••• Steveston Salmon Festival. Courtesy of Steveston Salmon Festival

    Vancouver is famous for its fresh, local seafood, especially its salmon. Pacific Northwest salmon--including BC salmon--is shipped to every part of the world, but it's best when you can enjoy it here, fresh off the boat. Local halibut, Canadian sablefish, and BC Spot Prawns are also deliciously popular in Vancouver.

    You can taste the best local seafood and salmon at Vancouver's Best Seafood Restaurants and Top 5 Sushi Restaurants.

    If you really love salmon, plan a day trip to Steveston Village in Richmond, the city just south of Vancouver. Steveston was once the "salmon capital of the world" and offers tours of its historic cannery and heritage boats. On Canada Day (July 1), Steveston hosts its famous salmon festival, where over 1200 pounds of wild salmon filets are grilled over an open fire. You can also learn about salmon spawning at the free Capilano Salmon Hatchery, one of the Top 10 Rainy Day Activities in Vancouver.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous for Outdoor Recreation

    Couple kayaking on lake at sunset
    ••• Hero Images / Getty Images

    If you love outdoor recreation and adventures, then Vancouver should definitely be on your "must visit" list. Because of its proximity to both mountains and ocean, Vancouver is famous for offering every kind of outdoor sport and adventure, from skiing and snow sports in the winter to kayaking and water sports in the summer, and hiking, camping, and biking year-round. Also fishing, scenic golf courses, and mountain ziplining!

  • 06 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous as "Hollywood North"

    Jennifer Garner filming Electra in Vancouver, BC, 2004
    ••• Jennifer Garner filming Electra in Vancouver. Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images Entertainment

    Vancouver is famously known as "Hollywood North" for its billion-dollar film and TV industry; many, many of your favorite movies and TV shows are or were filmed in and around Metro Vancouver. If you search Wikipedia for "films shot in Vancouver," you'll find over 400 entries, and that's just a small segment of the whole. 

    Famous movies filmed in Vancouver include four films in the Twilight Saga (New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn Parts I & II), three X-Men films (X2, X-Men: Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), Night at the Museum, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

    Famous TV shows shot in Vancouver include multiple superhero shows (Arrow, The Flash, Smallville), the X-Files, and MacGyver

    Generally, Vancouver is very chill about its movie and TV stars; yes, there is a possibility you'll spot one while you're out on the town, particularly in Yaletown and Gastown's trendy nightspots, but the locals don't make a big deal about it.

  • 07 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous for the Canucks & Professional Sports

    Vancouver Canucks v San Jose Sharks
    ••• Vancouver Canucks play the San Jose Sharks. JRocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images

    If you follow hockey and the NHL, then you've heard of the famous Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have been in the Stanley Cup Finals three times, and are enormously popular both in Vancouver and throughout Canada. If you're traveling to Vancouver and want an "authentic" local experience, you can't get much more authentic than watching the Canucks play at their home at Rogers Arena in Downtown Vancouver.

    Though not exactly (world) famous yet, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC are one of Canada's best Major League Soccer (MLS) teams; they play at BC Place Stadium.

    Vancouver is also famous for hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, the 2014 Women's World Cup, and the Canadian Open golf tournament (last held in Vancouver in 2011).

  • 08 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous for Trendsetting: Athleisure & Activism

    Lululemon yoga clothing shop, Robson Street.
    ••• A Lululemon store on Robson Street. Lonely Planet / Getty Images

    Vancouver is a stealth trendsetter. While you've heard of all these trends and movements--they're world famous--you may not know that they all started right here in Vancouver, BC!

    • The athleisure trend started with the granddaddy of all athleisure, Lululemon, a Vancouver-based company that launched in Kitsilano in 1998.
    • The locavore movement--i.e., the movement to eat local foods--got a big boost from Vancouver with the 2005 publication of the bestselling 100 Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by local journalists J.B. Mackinnon and Alisa Smith.
    • Occupy Wall Street, the protest movement that made headlines in 2011, started in Vancouver, via the local magazine Adbusters.
    • Greenpeace, the famous environmental activists, began in Vancouver in 1971.
    • If cyberpunk started with author William Gibson (Neuromancer), then it started in Vancouver: Gibson moved to Vancouver in 1972, published his most famous works here, and studied English at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous for Its Marijuana

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

    Vancouver is famous for its marijuana ("BC bud"), despite the fact that it's technically still illegal to buy or sell marijuana for recreational purposes. That illegality isn't stopping many travelers from sampling the local wares, usually by shopping at medical marijuana dispensaries that are, shall we say, lax about following the legal rules. 

    If you're interested in Vancouver's pot scene, start at the Pot Block in Downtown Vancouver (basically, the area right around the famous New Amsterdam Cafe). For information on the history of marijuana, as well as other medicinal-but-illegal drugs, check out the tiny-but-packed Herb Museum, one of the Top 5 Unique & Unusual Attractions in Vancouver. (Do not ask any museum or cafe staff about buying illegal drugs, including pot, please!)

  • 10 of 10

    Vancouver Is Famous for Rain

    Rear View Of Person Standing With Umbrella On Wet Street Against Cityscape
    ••• Sean Onion / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Yes, Vancouver is famous for its rain. It rains about 160 days a year here, which is about 40% of the year, and it can rain for days in a row. So, yes, it rains a lot. 

    Travelers can avoid much of that rain by visiting Vancouver in the summer months, particularly August.