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Secret places only Vancouverites know about (and visitors should too)

Jul 14, 2023Jul 14, 2023

Vancouver has plenty of world-class attractions known to people from all over. But once you scratch the surface, you discover a treasure trove of gems that are beloved by locals. And it’s time to spread the word!

A trip to the Capilano Suspension Bridge or the Vancouver Lookout is always a good time, but the next time you visit the city, make yourself at home and discover some of these unique places.

Phillips, Hager, and North Garden/

The city’s first public rooftop garden can be found on the ninth level of Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch. Take a picture of BC Place’s Rooftop, the downtown skyline, and whatever else catches your eye from the gorgeous rooftop vantage point.

The best part is that the outdoor spaces are open year-round during library hours, so you can enjoy the good views while finding a good read.

Location: Central Library – 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

Parker Art Salon/

Parker Art Salon in Strathcona is a century-old 152,000 sq ft industrial building that originally housed the Restore Mattress factory and is now home to over 200 artists.

The popular Eastside Culture Crawl venue not only houses some amazing creativity, but it also shows it off with some stunning and unique graffiti art on its outside. Parker Street Studios also was the backdrop to local legend Dan Mangan’s music video for “Robots.”

Location: 1000 Parker Street, Vancouver

Photo courtesy Key Party

There’s something particularly satisfying about drinking (or eating) in a hidden establishment.

Tucked behind other restaurants, ensconced behind faux refrigerator doors, and accessed only via passwords, hidden bars and restaurants in Vancouver have become increasingly popular in the last several years.

Vancouver is home to many that locals love and visitors need to discover, including The Basement Hotel Belmont, Hello Goodbye, and Laowei just to name a few.

Location: Various

Adam Melnyk/Shutterstock

Built in 1954, the Cleveland Dam provides much of Metro Vancouver’s drinking water from the 670-acre man-made Capilano Lake. Hiking trails around the dam lead to amazing views of the nearly 300-foot-high spillway from the walkway above.

Plus you can also stop by the Capilano Salmon Hatchery to learn all about the iconic fish.

Location: Cleveland Dam parking lot is located on Capilano Road just north of Montroyal Boulevard in North Vancouver.

Daily Hive Vancouver

Want to get to know Vancouver’s most famous green space a little better? Stanley Park is beloved for its seawall and stunning beaches, but there’s way more to the park for those who want to explore further.

Check these secret spots out next time you’re in the park, including Siwash Rock lookout, Two Spirits tree carving, the Love Lock bridge, and more.

Location: Spots around Stanley Park

Habitat Island in False Creek. (Kenneth Chan / Daily Hive)

Though it is really more of a peninsula, Habitat Island is one of Vancouver’s quieter areas. You can feel like you’re out of the city, even when you’re surrounded by it.

A short walk across a narrow “bridge” finds you on the slice of nature, which has a small forest for exploring or a little beach to lounge on. An easy space to spot, but a bit more effort to get to.

Location: Just off of Hinge Park in False Creek

Mountain View Cemetery/Facebook

Vancouver’s only cemetery opened in 1886 and is the final resting place of almost 150,000 people. The 106 acres of land is a peaceful place for walks while learning about the history of the city’s inhabitants. You can even learn more on a guided tour or during the annual All Souls events in the fall.

Location: West of Fraser Streeet, between 31st Avenue and 43rd Avenue

Where is your favourite hidden gem in Vancouver? Where do you take visitors when you want to go off the beaten path? Let us know in the comments.

With files from Allison Stephens, Megan Devlin, Hanna McLean, Daryn Wright, and Chandler Walter

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