The coastal city of Vancouver is the heart of beautiful British Columbia, Canada. It offers an abundance of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and modern urban living. Vancouver is known for its stunning mountain views, friendly people, and thriving arts and culture scene.
From a native Canadian, here are some key things that make Vancouver famous and beloved by tourists and residents alike.
What Is Vancouver Known For?
The 2010 Winter Olympics highlighted the city of Vancouver to the world and it has since become a sought-after destination ever since. With ocean views, mountain views, and a temperate rainforest, this city lives up to its reputation of being one of the most beautiful in the world.
Vancouver is famous for being an outdoor playground that offers a unique blend of activities for people to enjoy. The nature in Vancouver is truly spectacular and you can enjoy it by heading out whale watching, hiking, or horseback riding.
History, Culture, And Traditions Vancouver Is Known For
Greenest/Most Livable City In The World
Vancouver is famous for its high ranking (Number 5!) on the most livable city in the world list in recent years.
The city has also earned the title of the world’s greenest city, having made significant strides in combating climate change. It comes as no surprise that Greenpeace was founded in Vancouver back in 1971 and its residents are still fighting the good fight!
The scenery and nature in Vancouver can make you feel like you are in a fairytale or hallmark movie. The surrounding forests have an abundance of woodland critters, and from March to October your chances of seeing the migrating orcas are high.
Among the mountain ranges surrounding the city, an active glacier-covered stratovolcano Mount Baker overlooks the city in a Mount Fuji-esque way.
In the 1990s Hollywood producers found that Canadian cities could double for many American ones and the cost of filming was much cheaper. Many blockbuster movies, including Deadpool, Twilight, and the X-Men franchise have been filmed in Vancouver.
With a large number of movies, TV shows, and commercials being shot in the city, Vancouver is famous for being the “Hollywood of the North”.
As of 2021, more than half of Vancouver’s 2.6 million residents identified as being a visible minority. This contributes to a thriving culinary, arts, and culture scene within the city.
In a recent survey, Vancouver has topped the list of the world’s friendliest cities. Vancouverites are a friendly, welcoming, laid-back bunch who are always willing to help.
Vancouver is known for having the third-largest Chinatown in North America, earning it the nickname Hongcouver. It comes in behind New York and San Francisco which is pretty impressive when you think about it.
Chinese immigrants came to Canada in the late 1800s to work on the Trans-Canada Railroad and have been a big part of Vancouver’s culture ever since.
Districts And Areas Vancouver Is Famous For
Granville Island is a trendy, bustling neighborhood located right in the center of the city. While it actually used to be an island, the city wanted more room for building so it filled in the creek in the 1950s. Lucky for you, that makes it more accessible from the mainland. You can get there by car, Skytrain, bike or if you want to have a more adventurous journey, hop on the Aquabus.
The public market on the island features local produce, fresh seafood, handcrafted goods, and more culinary offerings than you could imagine. There is also an impressive art scene that includes galleries, shops, studios, and theaters.
Granville island is one of the top neighborhoods that Vancouver is famous for as it provides a truly memorable experience for all who visit.
> Check Tours To Granville Island & Stanley Park
Stanley Park is not only recognized as one of the best urban parks in the world but it is also a designated historic site in Canada.
Located downtown, Stanley Park is one of the pride and joys of the city as well as one of the best tourist attractions that Vancouver is known for. Its beaches, seawall, aquarium, restaurant, and a plethora of family-friendly activities bring in around 8 million visitors every year.
The Vancouver Aquarium is Canada’s largest aquarium and home to more than 65,000 animals. There is a Marine Mammal Rescue Center inside that focuses on the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife found along the BC coast.
If you are looking for nature in Vancouver, a visit to the park will check all of the boxes without you having to even leave the city! Green space, the ocean, mountain backdrop, wildlife – check, check, check!
Richmond Night Market
Located across the river from South Vancouver, the Richmond night market is a lively, carnival-like market that runs from May – October. The market is full of food trucks, places to shop, street performers and artists as well as a variety of carnival games and rides.
If you are looking for food in Vancouver, this is the one-stop shop to satisfy all of your needs. There are over 500 different types of international cuisines to sample treats from all over the world.
Wandering through this local and fun-filled market is one of the best things to do in Vancouver.
Davie Village is a neighborhood in the west end and is famous for being the LGBTQ+ community hub of Vancouver. This district has a fun, energetic vibe and offers a ton of budget-friendly restaurants, bars, spas, and shops. Davie stays true to its roots and provides a vibe of acceptance and rolls out the welcome mat for all of its visitors.
The historic neighborhood, Gastown, is known for its charming old-world feel with brick buildings and tons of character. One of the fun facts about Vancouver is that this city was originally called Gastown because this is its very first neighborhood.
Today, Gastown is a stylish neighborhood that has fine dining, boutique shopping, and many Instagram-worthy places to snap some cool shots. The Vancouver Lookout tower is located here if you’re wanting to catch a breathtaking 360-degree view of this picturesque city.
> Don’t Miss The Gastown Historic Walking Food Tour
Architecture And Landmarks Vancouver Is Known For
Vancouver is famous in the eyes of outdoorsy people for having Grouse Mountain right in their backyard. It comes as no surprise that this is one of the iconic natural landmarks in Canada.
Grouse mountain has a variety of outdoor activities including ziplining, hiking, skiing, and even paragliding. It is easily accessible by car, bus, or organized tour and once you’re at the mountain you can trek The Grouse Grind trail 2.5 km to the top. (Or just take the Skyride if that’s not your thing!)
> Check Tours To Grouse Mountain and Capilano Bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the greatest attractions in Canada and it is one of the top tourist landmarks that Vancouver is known for. Visitors get to walk 460 feet (137 m) across this swinging bridge, and 230 feet (70 m) through the treetops to cross over the Capilano River.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park also has a ton of family-friendly activities year-round. The Living Forest, Treetops Adventure, Raptors Ridge Birds of Prey, and the Canyon Lights holiday event are just a few of the many activities that can keep you occupied in the park.
> Get Capilano Suspension Bridge Ticket
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden
This beautiful garden oasis was designed to be a place of zen and tranquility amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. Located in Chinatown, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden features interconnected pavilions, courtyards, and pathways that wind around a lake.
The garden is home to bamboo, magnolias, lotus flowers, and also several species of fish, turtles, and birds.
The Steam Clock was built in 1977 and was the first of its kind in the entire world. As its origin city, that obviously made Vancouver famous back then.
Small steam engines function by generating pressure to operate the clock’s gears and chimes, playing a tune every 15 minutes.
The Steam Clock is a unique attraction that captures the coolness of the Gastown neighborhood and is a must-visit photo stop.
We all know that while science centers sound nerdy, they are actually full of some pretty neat stuff. Vancouver’s Science World is no different, offering interactive experiences, exhibits, and displays to amaze guests of all ages.
Located in a space-looking, silver globe building in downtown Vancouver, it is easy to get to and you can’t miss it!
Sports Vancouver Is Famous For
Hockey is Canada’s game and the Vancouver Canucks have been tearing up the west coast since 1945. While they have never won a championship, there are some huge NHL superstars on the team who play some damn good hockey!
If you are a sports fan and have never been to a hockey game in Canada, a Vancouver Canucks game will provide a thrilling, memorable good time.
The BC Lions are a part of the Canadian Football League and are based out of Vancouver. They play their games in BC Place which has a retractable roof which is convenient since Vancouver can be a rainy place.
The BC Lions have a dedicated, passionate fanbase who cheer and chant throughout the game. While it is no NFL, hitting up a game is a great way to experience Vancouver’s passion for sports while enjoying some exciting Canadian football.
Baseball is not a big sport in Canada but the Vancouver Canadians provide some entertainment for baseball lovers. The Vancouver Canadians are a minor league baseball team that has had many star players who have gone on to play in the major leagues.
If you’re looking to catch a ballgame, you can watch the Canadians at the Nat Bailey Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Park.
Although the 2010 Winter Olympics were over a decade ago now, the city is still reaping the benefits of the amazing winter games.
The games offered a boost to Vancouver’s international reputation as a world-class destination for winter sports and recreation. Many of the buildings used for the games have become a staple for other sporting events and public activities.
The legacy of success and pride invoked by Canadians after the winter games are not the only thing that Canadians are proud of.
Vancouver is famous for the 2010 Men’s gold medal hockey game which will forever be known as one of the greatest games in Olympic history. The battle between USA and Canada was beyond tense, tied 2-2 in overtime when Canada’s Sydney Crosby scored the golden goal to claim Canada’s victory.
Food Vancouver Is Famous For
Asian Inspired Dishes
The food in Vancouver, particularly in Chinatown, is exceptional due to its thriving Chinese community. Vancouver also has extensive Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai communities that all contribute to the food scene, creating a variety of tasty offerings.
Some of the most popular Asian-inspired dishes in Vancouver include dim sum, sushi, pho, and Korean BBQ.
It is impossible to have a coastal city on the list and not brag about its seafood! Vancouver is known for having some of the best seafood cuisines in all of Canada. From oyster bars and crab huts to markets and restaurants, there are endless opportunities to indulge in some of the freshest, most delicious seafood around.
Since Canada is a melting pot of different cultures, Canadian cuisine is no different. It reflects the country’s diverse history and geography. In Vancouver, you can find an assortment of different flavors in the form of classic dishes with a new twist.
Whether you’re looking for a poutine shop, butter tarts, or some authentic Indigenous delights, you are sure to find it in Vancouver’s food scene.
If you want to discover the local food haunts, joining a food tour is always my go-to strategy at any new city.
Famous People From Vancouver
Ryan Reynolds is one of the biggest names that Vancouver is famous for and he is proud of his hometown. He was born and raised in Vancouver and started acting at the age of 13. After he completed his schooling, he took the leap to Los Angeles and his career took off to unimaginable heights.
Reynolds still has strong ties to his home city and lovingly but hilariously trolls Vancouver on his Twitter account. He is also frequently seen around Vancouver when he is there filming movies and during trips to visit his family.
Comedian, Seth Rogan, is another face Vancouver is known for. He always knew he wanted to be a comedian and co-wrote a rough draft of the hit movie Superbad with his friend when he was only 13.
Seth’s mother was a big supporter of his comedy career. She drove him to shows at Yuk-Yuks and the Vancouver Amateur Comedy Contest where he won 2nd place at just 16 years old.
When Seth’s mom quit her job, and his father became unemployed, the family was forced to move into a small apartment.
Seth had just attended a casting call for Judd Apatow’s series “Freaks and Geeks”. He got the job and dropped out of high school. Subsequently, he moved his entire family to Los Angeles where he became the family’s breadwinner at just 16 years old.
Vancouverite Cobie Smulders is known all over the world thanks to her being a huge part of the Marvel Universe. Not many know her real name is Jacoba, as she uses her nickname for all of her roles.
Cobie was a model before acting and hated it, making her question if she should even pursue acting. She did decide to study Marine Biology at University before deciding to quit and return to acting.
Bombshell Pamela Anderson is not from the city of Vancouver but she grew up on Vancouver Island, so close enough. She was living and working in Vancouver when she was discovered at a BC Lions football game. Pam appeared on the jumbotron while wearing a Labatt’s beer t-shirt and the company hired her as a spokesmodel after.
Pam landed the cover of Playboy and then decided to move to Los Angeles to further her modeling career. She quickly became a success in Hollywood, appearing on Home Improvement before she landed the role of C.J. Parker in Baywatch. Her platform gave her the ability to become an activist for many different causes which she supports to this day.
Discovering More Things Vancouver is Known For
Vancouver is a city that offers an incredible range of experiences for visitors. As a metropolitan hub, it is one of the cities that Canada is famous for.
From the nature in Vancouver to world-class attractions, there is plenty for everyone in this vibrant Canadian city. With breathtaking views, food, sports, arts, and culture, Vancouver truly has it all.
If you are planning a trip to Vancouver, get ready for a truly unforgettable place that you won’t want to leave. With so much to see and do, you’ll never run out of options for your perfect itinerary.