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Overview to Vancouver: Travel Guide and Tourist Information

View out across the Bay

On a clear day, Vancouver’s skyscrapers, sandwiched between the mountains and shining waters, make quite a sight. Indeed, Vancouver is possibly one of the world’s most picturesque cities.

The center of the city spreads out over a number of different areas; Chinatown (to the east), Downtown and Gastown (in the center), Yaletown (to the south), and, out to the west before the city blends into Stanley Park, the West End.

Downtown’s main streets – where most of the best shops, cafés and restaurants are located – cluster around Burrard St, Granville St and Robson St. Gastown, meanwhile, may have its critics, but there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy a coffee surrounded by Vancouver's oldest buildings.

The city also boasts a vibrant cultural scene: at its center, and housed in a former courthouse, the Vancouver Art Gallery holds an impressive collection of contemporary art whilst, way across town to the west, the Museum of Anthropology is even more impressive.

To the south lies the port. Unlike many other cities, Vancouver’s port is a vivid, bustling spectacle, perfect for whiling away a couple of hours watching the ships load, unload and head off out to sea again.

Outside the city limits, National Parks and stunning scenery stretch off into the distance (and far beyond) in every direction. But the city itself is also a remarkably green place that seems to merge into the surrounding landscape in a way that few urban areas can claim to do.

To the west of the city sprawls Stanley Park, North America’s biggest city park, and Vancouver’s pride and joy. It’s home to the Lost Lagoon, a fascinating area of marshland and wildlife, along with Second Beach, one of several excellent beaches within easy reach of the city.

On the other side of the University of British Columbia campus is Wreck Beach, an unspoilt, almost prehistoric, stretch of coast strewn with logs and bordered by pine forest. The city's only nudist beach, it has a liberal reputation and a cool vibe to match.

Three rivers - the Capilano River, Lynn Creek and Seymour River - also converge close to the city and are ideal for whitewater rafting. Looking a little further afield, meanwhile, the city is also the gateway to Whistler, one of the world’s very best ski resorts.

It may not be particularly rich in attractions, but that’s not really the point. Vancouver can genuinely claim to accommodate adrenaline junkies, barflies and shopaholics – often all at the same time, on the same day – like nowhere else in the world.

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