Vancouver is well known for being one of the most beautiful cities in Canada, if not the world. I mean how could it not be, with its stunning mountain backdrop and pine forests. Located right on the water and getting the most incredible sunsets, it’s no surprise that Vancouver isn’t lacking in amazing viewpoints!
We have lived in Vancouver for over a year now and made it our mission to explore as much as we possibly can. This is a list of the absolute best views in Vancouver some of which are also the best sunset spots in Vancouver! All the locations listed are either within Vancouver or a short drive from Downtown Vancouver.
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Vancouver’s Best Viewpoints and How to Find Them
Welcome to the ultimate list of the best viewpoints in Vancouver and how to find them! The list includes some of Vancouver’s hidden gems like the Horseshoe Bay Lookout Platform which is a great sunset spot!
1. Stanley Park Seawall
The Stanley Park loop is 9km long and is a very popular cycling or running spot in Vancouver. The seawall makes up a large part of the loop. There are points of interest along the entire seawall, such as the impressive Siwash Rock. You can also see out to West Vancouver, North Vancouver and the local mountains.
If you are looking to explore Vancouver’s best sites and get a real feel for the city and surrounding areas, this Vancouver City Tour which also includes Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is great!
❓❗ Fun Fact! Stanley Park is about one-fifth larger than Central Park in New York!
2. Prospect Point
Prospect Point is a great spot for photography lovers and one that we only just recently decided to check out after being in Vancouver for an entire year. Why didn’t we visit this spot sooner?!
It is a viewpoint located in Stanley Park that looks out towards Lions Gate Bridge. One of the great things about Prospect Point is that you can get a completely different view of Lions Gate Bridge just by walking 5 minutes up the road! One view overlooks the bay and shows you the bridge from a side angle and at the other viewpoint, you will be standing directly above Lions Gate Bridge. This one is my personal favourite!
There is a parking lot at Prospect Point which is paid parking. If you are catching public transport, you will still need to walk for about 30 minutes.
3. Dog Mountain
Dog Mountain is a short 5km return hike with 150m elevation gain located on Mount Seymour. The trail takes you through the forest and pops out at an awesome view overlooking Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Stanley Park. Dog Mountain is one of our favourite short hikes in Vancouver. It is especially popular in Winter because it is one of the easier trails to walk on in the snow with not too much elevation. This is a great trail for the whole family including your dog!
The return hike will take you about 2 to 2.5 hours. I recommend wearing micro spikes for this one to help stop you from slipping on the trails.
4. Cypress Mountain Lookout
You can find the Cypress Lookout about a quarter of the way up to Cypress Ski Resort along the Cypress Bowl Road. This is one of the best sunset spots in Vancouver and you will often find crowds here photographing the sunrise and sunset. The views look out to Mount Baker and Vancouver Island.
The parking lot is not very big but we have never had a problem finding a spot. It is free so easy to stop at quickly on the way back from a hike or skiing on Cypress Mountain. There are toilets and picnic tables at the lookout so you can spend ages up there enjoying the view.
5. The Shed Pop Up Bar on Cypress Mountain
You are probably starting to realise that Cypress has all of the easy views! This is one of our favourite spots for pizza and a beer while watching the sunset. The Shed is a bar with undercover seating and propane fires to keep warm at next to a grassy field which seems like a popular off-leash dog spot. Their menu is pretty small, with their main hot meal being pizza and they only have a couple of different beers on tap but the location makes it perfect!
The parking lot is large but can often be full in the late afternoon. It shouldn’t take too long for a parking spot to open up if you hang around as there are some people that stop here just to check out the view.
6. Horseshoe Bay Secret Lookout Platform
No doubt you will have seen this place pop up on your Insta from time to time. The Horseshoe Bay lookout is a beautiful spot, especially to catch the sunset with friends! You can sit on the platform or the surrounding rocks if the platform is full, and watch the ferries go by on the water below you.
The secret platform isn’t the easiest to find so we have a blog post written especially for you with instructions on how to find it. When we first went looking for this place, we got a bit lost at first.
7. Queen Elizabeth Park
When we first heard of Queen Elizabeth Park, we thought it was just a botanical garden. What we didn’t realise was that there are a couple of incredible viewpoints located within the park.
This park is one of the highest points in Vancouver and is also known as “the top of the city.” It gives you awesome views of the city and North Shore mountains. It is also a great spot to visit at night as well as the day because you can see the twinkling city lights.
The best viewpoints in Queen Elizabeth Park can be found at Bloedel Conservatory and Seasons in the Park Restaurant. While you are up there, don’t forget to enjoy the beautiful gardens!
To get to the park, you can either drive (parking is paid but not too expensive) or catch the Expo Line Skytrain to Main Street Science World before transferring to the 003 bus towards Main Marine Dr Station. You will need to get off at SB Main St at E 33 Ave and from there walk 5 minutes into the park.
8. View from a Scenic Flight
When we first got to Vancouver, one of the first things we did was book a scenic flight and we are so happy that we did! It was awesome getting to see Vancouver from above, we could see how the city was set out with Stanley Park next to it on the water.
The seaplane then took us over the water up North and we saw some of the different islands from the sky. There are so many!
The flight that we took was a short flight with Harbour Air which you can book through GetYourGuide here.
9. Lonsdale Quay
Lonsdale Quay is over the water in North Vancouver and is a great place for an after work drink at one of the bars on the water such as Tap and Barrel.
You can catch the Seabus across the water from Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay. From the quay you get a fantastic view looking back over the water towards Downtown Vancouver. The sunsets and night time views of the city’s twinkling lights from this spot are also worth a photo!
10. Vancouver Lookout / Harbour Centre Lookout
The Vancouver Lookout at Harbour Centre is open day and night and gives you unobstructed views of Vancouver, Gastown, Coal Harbour, and the gorgeous Stanley Park. You will journey up for 40 seconds in a glass elevator to 168.6m above ground to the panoramic deck above Vancouver.
Vancouver Lookout has been an iconic landmark since 1977! While you are enjoying the incredible views from the lookout, you can learn about Vancouver’s history & infrastructure from the information panels on the deck.
Book your ticket to Vancouver Lookout here so you don’t miss out! (Tickets are around $20 per person).
11. Capitol Hill, Burnaby
Capitol Hill Reservoir Park in Burnaby is 203m high and is located in (you guessed it) Burnaby! The best part about it – you get an awesome view of Burnaby’s Metrotown skyline, the Vancouver skyline and the North Shore Mountains without having to hike!
You are able to drive all the way up to the top or, if you don’t have a car, you can catch the Expo line to Patterson. From Patterson, you can get bus #129 to EB Hastings St at Springer Ave. The rest of the walk from the bus stop to the viewpoint will only take you around 6 minutes.
12. Burnaby Mountain
Burnaby Mountain is another great viewpoint in Burnaby with a grassy section which I think would be great to have a picnic on. There is also a kids playground here. From the grass, you can see views of Downtown Vancouver and Lions Gate Bridge. This is a popular spot for sunset and there are also some walking trail you can do. Make sure you check out the Totem Poles while you are there!
Burnaby Mountain is not the easiest to get to by public transport as it takes a long time with lots of walking. I recommend driving if you can as there is lots of free parking available.
13. Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain is one of the 3 local North Shore Mountains of Vancouver. The views from the top are awesome and overlook Vancouver. You can reach the top either by hiking the infamous Grouse Grind which is 2.9km one way with an elevation gain of 853 (lots of stairs), or you can get the gondola.
To get back down the mountain, you will need to purchase a ticket for the gondola, as downhill hiking is not allowed due to the popularity of the trail.
You cannot bring your dog on this one, as dogs are not allowed on Grouse.
There is the more relaxing option to join this tour which will take you to Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
14. Spanish Banks
Spanish Banks is a sandy beach located along the shores of English Bay in Vancouver. From the beach you can see the city skyline and it is a really popular spot during Summer for sunset gatherings with friends. During sunset, the light bounces off the city buildings which is really pretty.
There are also volleyball courts on the beach which are really popular in the Summer. Parking is paid per hour and is located all along the beach, however as it is such a popular spot it can sometimes be hard to get a spot.
15. Canada Place
Canada Place is a building in Vancouver located on the Burrard Inlet. This is also where the Convention Centre, the Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, the Vancouver World Trade Centre, and the virtual flight ride FlyOver Canada can be found.
Canada Place is about a 5 minute walk from Waterfront Station and has views of the ocean, North Vancouver and the North Shore mountains.
16. Lighthouse Park
When I say Vancouver has everything, I mean it! Mountain, forests and some really stunning oceanside spots! Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a park on the water with a lighthouse that is really popular during sunset for photography and picnics by the water.
The park is made up of a few different trails or alternatively, if you just want to get down to the water quickly to see the lighthouse, it will only take you around 10 minutes.
Apart from the viewpoint by the lighthouse, there is another stunning spot 15 minutes from the lighthouse called Starboat Cove.
17. Saint Marks Summit
It is 10.5km return with an elevation gain of 587m. The hike will take you approximately 4-5 hours. Most of the hike is a steady uphill through the forest but when you pop out at the viewpoint it is totally worth it! The viewpoint is small and it can get crowded here on the weekends so I recommend going during the week if you can. We did this hike in Summer on a Monday night for sunset and there was only one other group at the viewpoint.
18. Hollyburn Peak
Hollyburn Peak is a hike located on Cypress Mountain which you start from the Nordic Ski Area. The hike is 8.7km with an elevation gain of 446m and will take you around 3-4 hours to complete. The views from the top down the mountain and of the water and the city are gorgeous! This hike is especially beautiful in the Winter with the snowy trees. The hike is a bit of a grind but the views make it worth it!
19. Quarry Rock Lookout
Quarry Rock is a short and easy Deep Cove hike in North Vancouver that leads you to a stunning views overlooking Deep Cove, Belcarra, and Indian Arm. The main trail is 3.8km with an elevation of 100m and will take you around 1.5 hours.
At the viewpoint, you can sit down comfortably on the rocks and enjoy the view of swimmers and paddleboarders in the water below. It is a great spot for a sunset picnic but watch out for the mozzies in Summer! They can be fierce!
You can park in the Panorama Park carpark for the Quarry Rock trail but this parking lot does fill up quickly so you may need to park on the street which will add 10-15 minutes to your hike. There are toilets available in Panorama Park.
20. Cactus Club Coal Harbour
If you are looking for a restaurant with a view in Vancouver, the Cactus Club Coal Harbour has you covered! The restaurant has incredible views looking out over the Harbour, Stanley Park and the North Shore Mountains. The food is also really good! I recommend making a reservation to ensure you get a seat in the restaurant because it is popular!
21. Ambleside Park and Ambleside Beach
The Ambleside Park and beach in West Vancouver, both have amazing views of Downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park, English Bay and Kitsilano across the water. They are both popular places for locals to hang out, go walking or running. There is also a playground and a dog park here so it is a great place to spend a few hours having a picnic with friends and family.
You might also enjoy these Vancouver guides:
- The Most Insane Places to Watch the Sunset in Squamish
- Pump Peak Hike in Winter – Mount Seymour
- How to Hike St Marks Summit at Sunset
- How to Find the Horseshoe Bay Secret Lookout
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