17 Things Vancouver is Known for and Famous For (2023)

After living abroad for 15 years, one of the most common questions I get is what is Vancouver known for?

Of course, growing up in this city and running a Vancouver travel blog puts me in a unique position answer.

Let’s take a look at what Vancouver BC is famous for!

a pod of killer whales just outside the boat on a vancouver whale watching tour

What is Vancouver Known For?

Every time I’m asked about it, I feel more like I’m doing voiceover for a Vancouver tourism ad than anything else.

But really, I can’t stress enough just how much Vancouver is known for its:

  • Stunning mountain backdrop
  • Massive harbour surrounded by beaches
  • Mild climate (by Canadian standards)
  • Compelling blend of Europe and Asia
  • Dense and livable downtown peninsula
  • Friendly locals
  • Sushi (seriously, we’re obsessed)
  • Complete lack of major freeways
  • Long list of elite restaurants with Pacific seafood

Most of Vancouver’s eight million annual tourists come for the natural beauty and diverse culture, but as you’ll see there’s a lot more on the menu here.

grouse mountain patio restaurant with bird's eye view of vancouver harbour

What Vancouver is Best Known For: Natural Beauty & Outdoor Activities

There are so many outdoor activities in Vancouver that it’s a paradise for nature nuts.

The city is surrounded by mountains, forests, and an ocean – OK, technically, it’s an inlet that leads to the Pacific.

Any Vancouver itinerary gives you plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors:

  • Grouse Mountain: Vancouver’s outdoor playground, a wildlife refuge, hiking spot, and insane panoramic view of the city.
  • Stanley Park: One of the world’s largest urban parks is right downtown and actually an old growth forest.
  • Vancouver whale watching: How many cities have orcas and humpback whales right on their doorstep? Exactly.
  • Vancouver skiing: Three local ski hills that can be reached from the skyscrapers of downtown in as little as 30 minutes.
  • Queen Elizabeth Park: a 30 acre urban park with amazing city views, rose garden, and pitch and putt golf course
  • Vancouver Seawall: The world’s longest uninterrupted seaside path is paradise for walkers, joggers, bikers, and rollerbladers – and it serves up scenery like nothing else.
  • Vancouver’s best beaches: 12 beaches for swimming, volleyball, picnicking and more.
  • VanDusen Botanical Garden: home to more than 7,500 species of plants from around the world + several themed gardens, such as a rose garden and a medicinal garden.
old totem poles on display at the museum of anthropology vancouver bc canada

What Vancouver is Famous For: Culture & Neighbourhoods

Vancouver’s multiculturalism is reflected in the fact that more than half of its residents were born outside of Canada.

This diversity enriches our city in many ways, making it a vibrant and exciting place to visit and live.

From the indigenous First Peoples to big Vancouver festivals honouring immigrants from China, Italy, and India there’s culture to soak up for days:

  • Bill Reid Galley: Art gallery dedicated to British Columbia’s most famous First Nations artist.
  • Museum of Anthropology: A massive museum which features some of the greatest collections of indigenous art and artifacts in the world.
  • Granville Island: Vancouver’s largest food market and a place for local artisans to shop their goods.
  • Chinatown: North America’s second largest Chinatown is a place of fascinating history and culinary delight.
  • Commercial Drive: Vancouver’s Little Italy is the best place to grab Italian food, drink craft beer, and shop thrift stores.
  • Gastown: The oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver charms with galleries and cobblestone streets, but is home to the best eats and drinks in the city.

What Vancouver is Known For: Fanastic Food

I’ve got a post on what to eat in Vancouver that outlines this in more detail, but Vancouver is a foodie town.

The best restaurants in Vancouver really take advantage of our Pacific Coast backyard, and you’ll find the seafood here to be second to none.

Heck, we’ve even been voted the best place in the world to eat Chinese food (about 1 in 5 residents has Chinese background). That said, there’s just so much more food that Vancouver is famous for:

  • Dungeness crab: This meaty crustacean only needs a touch of butter and lemon to be the star of any dinner.
  • Candied salmon: Every summer a huge run of sockeye salmon (known for their crimson flesh) passes through the city, and Canadians love to smoke them after curing them in a maple syrup solution. Delish.
  • Nanaimo bars: This local bar dessert is made from coconut crumb, custard icing, and chocolate ganache.
  • Sushi: There are more sushi restaurants per capita in Vancouver than any other city. The price-quality ratio is insane. The california roll was even invented here at Tojo’s.

Even Vancouver’s best bars offer bar snacks to die for.

Still Wondering What Vancouver is Famous For?

OK, so I didn’t cover ‘hockey riots’ this time around, but maybe we’ll save that for another day.

If you’re thinking of coming to Vancouver then slot me into your bookmarks – I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of each other!

Whether you want to know what Vancouver is known for or anything else, I’m just a message away in the comments below.

Enjoy Vancouver 😊

Ash

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