Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver is situated at the highest point in the city, but the majestic panoramic views of our skyline and North Shore Mountains are just the beginning.
You’ll find there are tons of amazing things to do at Queen Elizabeth Park.
Let’s visit Queen Elizabeth Park together and see what’s on offer.
Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park
Aside from world-class Stanley Park there’s no greater jewel in the Vancouver parks crown.
The 130-acre municipal park on Little Mountain, just minutes from Downtown Vancouver was once an old growth forest with its own salmon stream, then later became a basalt quarry providing material for Vancouver’s roads.
It was only in 1936 at the urging of the BC Tulip Association that the space was handed over to the Vancouver Parks Board and beautified into a lush urban oasis of flowers, trees, and gardens.
Today it’s one of the top things to do in Vancouver and an automatic on any Vancouver itinerary.
Things to Do at Queen Elizabeth Park
The Bloedel Floral Conservatory
In our list of things to know before visiting Vancouver we may have mentioned a drop of rain or two.
In fact, the gloomy Vancouver weather is the inspiration for the Bloedel Floral Conservatory and its triodesic dome that’s a tropical rain forest, subtropical rain forest, and desert all in one.
The vision here? A conservatory of simulated climates and their tropical plants, free flying bird species, and tropical fish ponds.
In all, a frolic through here is like a vacation to South America with its waterfalls, bridges, talking parrots, orchids and more – I like grabbing a bird checklist and trying to check the 20+ species off.
The warmth here feels amazing so it’s one of the top things to do in Vancouver in winter.
Panoramic View of Vancouver
With all due respect to Grouse Mountain, you’ll know where the best panoramic view in the city is – because there have been three life-sized bronze statues posing for photos here since 1984.
This Vancouver icon called Photo Session was created by American sculptor J. Seward Johnson, Jr.
You’ll probably have to wait your turn to pose with the smiling, lifelike characters but it’s well worth the wait.
This is the best view in the park (152 metres above sea level, the highest point in Vancouver proper) and the only place you can truly appreciate just how much our city gets dwarfed by the Coast Mountains.
Seasons in the Park Restaurant
Seasons in the Park is the only Queen Elizabeth Park restaurant, and it has been a fantastic special occasion place for locals dating back to 1989 – Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin even ate here in the 90’s.
From a food standpoint it compares with many of Vancouver’s best restaurants, but as far as West Coast atmosphere goes the garden/skyline/mountain combination is unbeatable.
The Pacific Northwest menu is also a great place to try local Vancouver food. Careful though, you’re paying for fine dining with a view so expect entrees to run upwards of $45.00.
Related: The Best Vancouver Food Tours
The Quarry Gardens
Just west of the Bloedel Conservatory is this meticulously landscaped garden.
Going for a walk through its weaving trails, rhododendron bushes, and beautiful annuals selected for foliage and flower is almost like a mini day trip from Vancouver, if not for the fact you’re right in the middle of the city.
The oriental horticulture influences provide great contrast to local specimens, and the stream and cascading waterfall is a nice touch.
Just below the Bloedel Conservatory you’ll find the highest point in the Quarry Gardens, from the wooden bridge (seen in photo above) you’ll get the best view.
Dancing Waters Fountain
It’s nice to break up the gardens, views, and tropical plants every now and then.
I like doing it with this 70 jet fountain show that runs on 85,000 litres of recirculating water from Vancouver’s main drinking water reservoir.
The programmed fountain creates an enthralling water dance effect, changing heights and dazzling with pumps and drops in unison.
At night a warm white light illuminates the fountain for an even more superior visual. This is a great night cap after a dinner at Seasons in the Park – in fact, the fountains are just a 2 minute walk away.
If you’re looking for a unique gift to take home from your Vancouver visit then this the place.
In fact, though we’ve raved about Gastown and Granville Island being the best souvenir spots in the city this is a place you’re guaranteed an original, local product.
All the artists here are vetted to be Lower Mainland residents, and are chosen for superior landscape, photography, and portrait skills.
In spring in Vancouver that’s when they start beautifying the park with their easels, near the Bloedel Conservatory.
Related: Best Time to Visit Vancouver
Canada’s first civic arboretum started off very local in scope, an ideal spot for local timber species blocks featuring subalpine spruce and Douglas fir.
You can also see some fantastic Coast Redwood trees here, the tallest species of tree in the world that can reach up to 350 feet.
Over 1500 trees grow here now, with some dating back to at least 1949. The highlight here though, especially in spring, is decidedly exotic: the billowy pink and white blooms of the Cherry Blossom.
Our city has over 50,000 of these trees and even hosts the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.
The QE Rose Garden
If you’re visiting Vancouver in summer it’s worth a visit to the city’s biggest rose garden. Over 2,500 roses are found here, planted in the shape of Queen Elizabeth’s crown.
Although I’ve never seen the aerial photography evidence I’ll have to take their word for it. That said, seeing the roses up close is spectacular.
Expect to see some hardy hybrids that were created right here in Canada – in fact, the entire garden was created to honour Canada’s centennial birthday in 1967. The Parkland variety was developed to survive our harsh winters, so you may even see them out of season.
Related: Capilano Suspension Bridge vs. Sea to Sky Gondola: Which is Better?
Pitch and Putt Golf
If you’re looking to get active, challenge a friend, or just plain have a laugh hacking your way through a short golf course then Queen Elizabeth Park Pitch & Putt is a great idea.
This works both for seasoned golf pros and for golf-curious folks who don’t have the time to practice – or even learn the game at all. The average skill level is quite low, so much so that beginners can get by with a couple practice swings (and maybe a beer).
All you’ll need is one iron and a putter, both rentable at the ticket booth.
Looking for an even more picturesque course? Stanley Park has a great pitch and putt course too.
How to Get to Queen Elizabeth Park
You’ll find the main entrance of Queen Elizabeth Park at the intersection of 33rd and Cambie Street in Vancouver.
If you’re taking public transportation it’s a 10 minute walk from the King Edward Skytrain station, which is just 4-5 stops from downtown Vancouver.
Expect a trip with public transit to take about 30 minutes in total.
There are three entrances to the park:
- Ontario Street (ideal for cyclists)
- West 33rd Ave (the main entrance for cars)
- West 37th Ave (between Columbia and Mackie streets)
Parking at Queen Elizabeth Park
As of 2019 there is no more free parking at Queen Elizabeth Park. All of the parking spaces are pay only and the prices are seasonal:
- October 1st – April 30th: $2.75 an hour ($7.50 daily maximum)
- May 1st – September 30th: $3.75 an hour ($13.75 daily maximum)
That said, there is free parking outside the park along a street called Kersland Drive – it’s denoted in the map above with a green line.
How to Visit Queen Elizabeth Park
- Parking can be expensive so try and park for free along Kersland Drive
- If it’s raining book the Bloedel Conservatory and make it the focus
- Leave about 60-75 minutes to explore the park well
- Looking for romance? Bring a lock and leave it at the Love in the Rain monument
- There is a large grassy area below the pitch and putt that’s one of the city’s best off-leash spaces
- Tennis lover? Bring a racket as there are tons of free tennis courts
- In summer try to time a visit with a Vancouver Canadians baseball game (5 min away)
Queen Elizabeth Park Vancouver FAQ
How much does it cost to go to Queen Elizabeth Park?
Entrance to Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver is free. This includes the Quarry Gardens, the Rose Garden, Painters’ Corner, and the Arboretum.
Other QE Park attractions like the Bloedel Conservatory and the Pitch and Putt Golf Course are pay only.
Is parking at Queen Elizabeth Park free?
No. There are two parking lots at Queen Elizabeth Park, one by the pitch and putt golf course and another near the Seasons in the Park restaurant. Rates start at $2.75 an hour.
That said, along Kersland Drive just below the park there is free parking in the residential area. It is about a 10 minute walk from the main attractions in the park.
Can you picnic at Queen Elizabeth Park?
Yes, there are some great picnic spots in Queen Elizabeth Park, especially in the grassy areas to the west of the pitch and putt golf course.
On the north side of the park just west of Duck Pond you’ll also find picnic tables and BBQ pits (May to October) as well as portable toilets.
Is Queen Elizabeth Park open 24 hours?
Yes, entrance to the park is open 24-7 (including the Rose Garden, Quarry Gardens etc.) so you’re allowed to explore any time, though some attractions like the Bloedel Conservatory operate on their own hours.
Visiting Queen Elizabeth Park?
I’d hate for you to go in unsure about anything. That’s why I’m inviting you to write me in the comments below – with any Vancouver question you could have – for a guaranteed response within 24 hours.
Also, I’m curious to hear your Queen Elizabeth Park reviews. Did QE Park live up to your expectations or is there something you’d change?
Looking forward to hearing from you 🙂
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