Vancouver is a city like no other. It’s downtown is a bustling metropolis filled with modern high rises, while the North is a mountainous paradise. Meanwhile you’ll find coastal rainforests in amongst all this. Pretty amazing right? Vancouver is easily one of the most picture perfect cities. It has everything, city life and outdoor adventures. There are many Vancouver Instagram spots, I’ve split them into areas to make finding them easier!
Vancouver is beautiful all year-round whether it be in the Summer, Fall or Winter. There are so many photography spots in Vancouver, it’s hard to choose where to go first. The guide below is split into sections so you can make the most of your time in Vancouver.
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How To Get To Vancouver
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is served by many international and domestic airlines including Air Canada, British Airways, Delta Airlines and Air New Zealand. Once you arrive at Vancouver Airport there are many options to get into the city centre.
Train: The Skytrain is one of the cheapest options for getting into Downtown Vancouver from YVR Airport. Take the Canada Line from YVR Airport to Waterfront Station – this will bring you out to Canada Place which is in the heart of the city. Journey time is around 30 minutes and a one-way ticket is $3
Shuttle: If you’re like me and like to pre-book travel from the airport to the city for peace of mind, consider taking a shuttle
Car: If you’re renting a car in Vancouver, the journey time takes around 35 minutes to get from YVR to Downtown Vancouver
Uber/LYFT: Uber and Lyft are now, finally, a thing in Vancouver! Yay we’ve moved into the 21st Century finally! The journey time in an Uber/Lyft is around 35 minutes. Just follow the signs in the airportfor the pickup locations.
Coal Harbour Instagram Spots
I’ve spent a fair bit of time in the Coal Harbour neighbourhood. A lot of events happen here including the Vancouver Christmas Market. This area is really popular with tourists and makes up one of the core areas of Downtown Vancouver.
Hotels Near Coal Harbour
1. Digital Orca
This lego-like structure is located in the Coal Harbour neighbourhood with a backdrop of the North Shore. It took me a few visits to really find out where this Orca was. It’s actually super easy to find but I was using google maps – go figure!
How to get there: The Digital Orca is located at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Coal Harbour
2. Olympic Torch
The Vancouver Olympic Torch was erected for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It’s now a staple landmark in Vancouver and attracts visitors every year. The best time to get photos of the Olympic Torch is later in the evening when it is illuminated. This is also the area that hosts the Vancouver Christmas Market which is one of the best things to do in Vancouver in winter.
How To Get There: The Olympic Torch is about 5 minutes from Canada Place and sits directly next to the Digital Orca
3. Canada Place
Canada Place is instantly recognisable in Vancouver. It’s flags can be seen swaying in the wind from almost anywhere in Coal Harbour. You won’t find a more unique building in Vancouver.
Canada Place is home to several shops, restaurants and “Fly Over Canada” one of the top attractions in Vancouver. This is also where Cruise ships port when visiting Vancouver, making Canada Place an easy meeting point.
How To Get There: Canada Place is easy to get to in Vancouver. Make your way to the waterfront and it is easily signposted
Stanley Park Instagram Spots
Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s biggest attractions, in fact it’s almost as big as Downtown Vancouver itself. So it’s no wonder that there are multiple Instagram spots in this coastal rainforest city park.
The best way to get around Stanley Park is to rent a bike or take the horse drawn cart. If you want to take things slower, you can always opt to walk. There are a total of 1000 acres that make up Stanley Park so you will need a few hours to really explore it. Here are the best Instagram Spots in Stanley Park!
Getting there: Getting to Stanley Park is easily accessible via public transport. Just hop on the 240, 246 or 250 bus and it will bring you to the entrance of the park and then you’re free to wander.
You can also drive through Stanley Park, although you will need to pay for parking. If you’re planning to drive, make sure you have a plan put together as many of the roads are one way.
Hotels Near Stanley Park
4. Totem Poles
Probably the most iconic attractions in all of Vancouver is it’s Totem Poles. The Stanley Park Totem Poles are especially popular here. I just love coming to visit this area when I’m in Stanley Park and learning about the local first nations. Take time to read the plaques corresponding to each Totem Pole, you’ll learn the meaning behind them as well as the animals they depict.
How To Get There: Once you arrive at the entrance to Stanley Park the Totem Poles are about a ten minute walk away
5. Vancouver Sea Wall
One of the best views of Vancouver can be found right here in Stanley Park. The Vancouver Sea Wall boasts incredible views of the North Shore and Vancouver Harbour and Burrard Inlet.
This is one of the best pedestrian and bike trails to take through the park as many of the main sights and attractions are located along the way.
How To Get There: The Stanley Park Sea Wall stretches for miles and miles and I doubt most people would want to walk the entire length of it. However, the most picturesque and famous section of the wall is inside Stanley Park not far from the Totem Poles. If you carry on walking past the Totems and onto the Girl in the swimsuit you’ll see Lions Gate Bridge in the distance.
6. Girl In A Wet Suit
This sculpture is one of the many attractions along the Stanley Park Sea Wall. This particular statue reminds of the the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, and from far away she does look like a mermaid!
The Girl in a wet suit statue is located just off shore of the wall and sits just in front of Vancouver Harbour and the North Shore mountains. It’s a nice area to watch the ships go by.
How To Get There: After you reach the Totem Poles, follow the route to the Sea Wall and around ten minutes in you’ll reach the Girl in a wetsuit
7. Lions Gate Bridge
There are multiple ways to get amazing views of Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver. The Lions Gate Bridge frames the mountain peaks of The Lions in the distance and you’ll find stone lions “protecting” the entrance to the bridge. The Lions Gate Bridge can be viewed from the Sea Wall or from Prospect Point
If you want epic views of Downtown Vancouver’s skyline, head to the footpath on Lions Gate Bridge. Walk a ways in and you’ll get 360 views of both the North Shore and Downtown.
I’ve passed the Lions Gate Bridge multiple times on my way into and through Vancouver. I can say first hand that it’s stunning really late at night or super early in the morning. Even during rush hour when the traffic is bad, I take time to enjoy the view.
How To Get There: The viewpoint in the photo below is best accessed by car. You’ll find this bridge just before you reach the parking lot to Prospect Point
8. Prospect Point
Prospect Point features one of the best views of Vancouver. From here you get endless views of the mountain ranges on the north shore as well as Lions Gate Bridge. The easiest way to access Prospect Point is by car. If you’ve ever driven from West Vancouver to Downtown you’ll see this lookout point as you pass over the Lions Gate Bridge. It’s easy to spot as there’s a big Canadian flag that flies at the lookout and you’ll often see crowds of people here.
I think the viewpoint of Prospect Point and the Sea Wall from the Lions Gate Bridge is just as beautiful, as depicted in the photo below.
How To Get There: Prospect Point is best accessed with a car. If you’re driving from West Vancouver you can enter Stanley Park just after the Lions Gate Bridge. If coming from Downtown Vancouver enter Stanley Park through the main harbour side entrance and follow sign to Prospect Point.
9. Siwash Rock
Siwash Rock is a huge lone rock that sits in the water just off the shore of the Sea Wall. Sitting atop this rock structure is a fir tree, all by it’s lonesome! It’s one of the most instagrammable places in Vancouver and can be found along the section of the Sea Wall just north of Lions Gate Bridge.
How To Get There: The best way to experience the Stanley Park seawall is by bicycle. Siwash Rock can be found just past the underpass of Lions Gate Bridge.
Granville Island Instagram Spots
Granville Island is one of my favourite places in Vancouver, it reminds me of Fishermans Wharf in San Fransisco. There are multiple things to see and do on Granville Island. The main attraction here is the public market, which is very instagrammable in itself, but there are many more places to take those memorable trip photos!
Hotels Near Granville Island
10. Granville Island Sign
The entry sign to Granville Island lies underneath the Granville Bridge and is one of the most photographed places in Vancouver. This bright read neon sign is the perfect place to get your Insta shots. Early in the morning before the crowds arrive is the best time to take photos.
How To Get There: If you’re coming by car you will pass this sign to enter the parking lots on Granville Island
11. False Creek & Burrard Bridge
The north end of Granville Island features some great views of False Creek and the quintessential Vancouver condo buildings. In the distance you’ll also see the famous Burrard Bridge.
How To Get There: The below viewpoints can be found on the north side of Granville Island, just at the exit of the public market.
12. Granville Island Brewing Company
Vancouver is full of craft breweries. Stop by Granville Island Brewing and try one of their very Instagrammable flights of beer!
How To Get There: Granville Island brewing is located just past the neon Granville Island
Downtown Vancouver Instagram Spots
Hotels Near Downtown Vancouver
13. Alley Oop/Pink Alley
Alley Oop or the “Pink Alley” brings some vibrancy to Vancouver’s streets. Public street art is something I love to seek out in new cities, and Pink Alley is an instagrammers dream. If you’re looking to get photos with less people and no cars coming here in the morning would be ideal. This is still a public road and cars do often drive through here.
How To Get There: Oop Alley Vancouver is situated between Granville Street and Seymour Street
Hotels Near Gastown Vancouver
14. Gastown Steam Clock
Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood. While Downtown is made up of modern sleek architecture, Gastown takes you back in time to Vancouver’s beginnings.
The Steam Clock in Gastown is one of the best photo spots in Vancouver. Although the Steam Clock is a modern creation, it blends in with the old world style of Gastown. This whole area is very instagrammable, I love it in the evening when the twinkly lights come on.
How To Get There: Gastown is a stones throw away from Canada place and just a ten minute walk. Gastown Steam Clock is located on Water Street which is the main street in Gastown
15. Vancouver Flat Iron Building
Officially called the Hotel Europe, this building is known locally as just “Vancouver Flat Iron Building”. Although not as big or as impressive as the aforementioned buildings, this little guy is still very much one of Vancouver’s best Instagram spots.
How To Get There: Follow Water Street to the very end, it will then turn into Powell Street which is where you’ll find Hotel Europe
16. Bars & Restaurants in Yaletown
If it’s instagrammable cafes in Vancouver you’re looking for, Yaletown is the place to come. Yaletown is a cool laid back neighbourhood in Vancouver full of unique shops and eateries. It’s located just south of Gastown and China Town.
How To Get There: Yaletown is located South of both Gastown and China Town about a 15-minute walk
17. A-Maze-Ing Laughter Statues
The A-Maze-Ing Laughter Statue was designed by Yue Minjun in 2009 and aims to inspire laughter, playfulness and joy.
You may love or hate these statues, either way they are very recognisable as a Vancouver Landmark. Tourists and Visitors often visit these funny guys to try and imitate the different poses and expressions!
How To Get There: These laughing statues can be found at Sunset Beach park
18. Engagement Sculpture
Engagement is another iconic sculpture in Vancouver. Engagement depicts two diamond rings was designed by by Dennis Oppenheim. This sculpture can be located between English Bay and Sunset Beach.
How To Get There: Engagement can be found just after English Bay Beach and right before Sunset Beach
Kitsilano Instagram Spots
Kitsilano is considered the hip neighbourhood of Vancouver. It sits across the water just south of English Bay and Downtown Vancouver. Kitsilano Beach is one of the best Instagram worthy places in Vancouver as it showcases the cities famous skyline.
19. Kitsilano Wings
The Kitsilano Wings are an iconic piece of public artwork in Vancouver. If you’ve ever been to “Kits” then you’ve no doubt snapped a pic with these angel wings
How To Get There: Interection of West 4th Avenue and Burrard
20. Kitsilano Beach Swing
Who loves beaches? Who loves swings? And epic views of the city across the water?
Then you’ll love finding the Kitsilano Beach swing! Nothing says “this needs a Instagram shot” more than a swing. On a beach. Am I right?
How To Get There: The Kits Swing is located at Point Grey park site at Trafalgar Street
South Vancouver Photo Spots
21. Science World
Olympic Village is a really cool part of Vancouver that’s a bit more local than the Downtown area. One of the most instagrammable spots in Vancouver is Science World. The building that houses this science museum is just as wacky as what you’ll find indoors. It’s almost like a mini-version of Disney’s Spaceship Earth ball! And just like most things in Vancouver, it twinkles at night!
How To Get There: Science World can be accessed via the Vancouver metro, the nearest train stations are Pacific Central and Main Street (Science World)
22. Queen Elizabeth Park
Queen Elizabeth Park is one of the best places to take pictures of Vancouver’s Skyline. This area is located a fair bit outside of the city centre but the views are more than worth it! It’s a great place to take a break and just a short walk away is the Bloedel Conservatory which is just as beautiful.
How To Get There: Take the Vancouver Metro to King Edward station, Queen Elizabeth Park is a ten minute walk from here
North Vancouver Instagram Spots
23. Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a Vancouver staple. There are endless photo opportunities in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, including the tree top adventure, cliff walk and forest walk. If you want that extra magic, visit during the Canyon Lights period where the area gets covered from head to toe in twinkly lights!
How To Get There: The Capilano Suspension Bridge is best accessed by car however you can also opt to take the free shuttle from Canada Place
24. Grouse Mountain
Would any trip to Vancouver be complete without getting photos on top of one of it’s many mountains? I don’t think so!
Grab a lift ticket and take the Gondola all the way to the top of Grouse Mountain. You’ll experience world-class views of Vancouver and get to see real-life grizzlies! Don’t worry… they are the Grouse Mountain resident Grizzlies…
How To Get There: Getting to Grouse Mountain is best done by car. You’ll need to cross over the Lions Gate Bridge to North Vancouver and pick up the Capilano Road then follow signs to Grouse Mountain
25. Lonsdale Quay
While Granville Island might be known as Vancouver’s go-to public market, there’s actually another that’s just as good located in North Vancouver. Lonsdale Quay is a bit off the beaten path in Vancouver, but that also means less tourists! Not only does Lonsdale Quay feature tons of unique shops and eateries, it boasts one of the best views in Vancouver and it’s skyline.
How To Get There: Lonsdale Quay is easily accessible from Canada place by taking the SeaBus. The SeaBus comes every 30 minutes and takes around 15 minutes one way.
26. Fun Alley
Downtown Vancouver doesn’t get to have all the fun, North Vancouver is just as artsy and colourful!
Fun Alley is North Vancouver’s answer to Alley Oop. Although I love the bright colours of Alley Oop, Fun alley is much more colourful and since it’s a hidden gem in Vancouver there’s far less people!
How To Get There: Fun Alley is perfectly paired with a visit to Lonsdale Quay. Located just after the intersection of Lonsdale Avenue and W 1st St, Fun Alley is a 5-minute walk from Lonsdale Quay
27. Whytecliff Park
Whytecliff Park is one Vancouver’s off the beaten path attractions and a favourite among locals. The main attraction here is Whytecliff Islet, a small rocky island that can be walked to when the tide is low. This area is beautiful at sunrise and the perfect place to come for a summer picnic.
This is also a popular filming area for movies and tv shows. We stumbled upon a Netflix series being filmed here one afternoon.
How To Get There: Getting to Whytecliff Park is only accessible via car. It’s around a 25-minute drive from Downtown Vancouver
28. Lighthouse Park
Lighthouse Park is yet another hidden gem in Vancouver. This is a scenic spot with views of a lighthouse, the perfect way to watch the sunset – and have a picnic! (I really like picnics)
This area of Vancouver is generally far quieter than that of Downtown, so it’s a nice place to take a break from the hustle and bustle. And get those insta shots with few people in them!
How To Get There: Lighthouse Park is just before Whytecliff Park and takes the same route. From Downtown Vancouver the drive time is around 20-30 minutes
China Town Vancouver
29. Dr Sun Yat Sen Garden
The Dr. Sun Yat Sen garden is a calm tranquil oasis situated in the heart of China Town. This area is like no other in Vancouver, you’ll almost feel like you left Canada and entered China. It’s a beautiful garden that makes for instagrammable backdrops.
How To Get There: The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden is around a 10-minute walk from the China Town Arch. You’ll come across an open courtyard on the right hard side of the street which leads to the Entrance to the gardens.
30. China Town Arch
The China Town Arch in Vancouver stands tall greeting visitors to this unique part of town. I love visiting this area for its fantastic food – especially the Dim Sum! Mmmm!
How To Get There: The China Town Arch can be found at the intersection of West Pender and Taylor Street
East Vancouver Instagram Spots
31. East Van Sign
The East Van sign is a popular Vancouver Instagram shot. The words “East” and “Van” overlap each other in the shape of a cross.
How To Get There: You guessed it! This sign is located in… East Vancouver (how could you tell?) however most visitors to Vancouver don’t usually venture this far east so if you want a shot of this sign you’ll need to travel outside of the Downtown area. This sign can be found at at the corner of East 6th Avenue and Clark St
32. Trans Am Totem
Vancouver is famous for it’s unique public art. I think the best word to describe the Tans Am Totem sculpture is “unique” if not a little disturbing considering it’s location.
I actually stumbled upon this sculpture wandering through East Van one afternoon. The good news is this sculpture isn’t too hard to find, but it’s not in the tourist circle either. It’s actually located right next to an overpass for all passing cars to see. The best time to visit would be after wandering China Town as that’s the nearest tourist spot/attractions.
How To Get There: The Trans Am Totem is located at 1283 Quebec Street, a short 10-minute walk from Science World and 15 minutes from China Town
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