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Here are my top recommendations for the best things to do in North Vancouver.
When I lived in Vancouver, I ventured over to North Vancouver often. It was easy to see why so many people preferred to live over there, with its stunning natural background and easy access to downtown Vancouver. Admittedly, there are still a few places I have to tick off my North Van bucket list, but here are the best things to do in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
Where to stay in North Vancouver
I’ve previously shared a post with my favourite Vancouver accommodation options. But there aren’t a lot of hotels in North Vancouver. The best options are Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier and Crystal’s View Bed & Breakfast. You’ll also find condos on Airbnb.
Things to do in North Vancouver
1. Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge
One of the most popular things to do in North Vancouver is to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. In fact, it’s one of Vancouver’s top tourist attractions. It comprises a multitude of attractions, like the Suspension Bridge that takes you over the Capilano River. Then there are the seven suspension footbridges of Treetops Adventure, the Cliffwalk, the Story Centre and Raptors Ridge, an education facility. During Christmas, Capilano Suspension Bridge transforms into Canyon Lights, which is a sight to see.
2. Walk along the North Shore Spirit Trail
It’s soon going to become obvious that North Vancouver is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. There are so many North Vancouver hikes and walks to conquer and the North Shore Spirit Trail is just one of them. This is a 35-kilometre fully accessible trail extending from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to Deep Cove. It hugs the coastline as much as possible.
3. Explore Lynn Canyon Park
Now, if you want the thrill of the Capilano Suspension Bridge without the price tag, I suggest heading to Lynn Canyon Park. I visited in my first weeks of moving to Vancouver, and it’s one of my favourite places to visit in North Vancouver. Officially opening in 1912, its suspension bridge towers 50 metres above Lynn Canyon. When you cross to the other side, there are several hiking trails to enjoy that will take you down to the water’s edge and back to the entrance. Fortunately, there are public buses running to Lynn Canyon Park daily.
Check out my Lynn Canyon day trip guide
4. Go golfing
Look, I’m not a golf enthusiast. But apparently, it’s one of the top things to do in North Vancouver. Northlands Golf Course is Vancouver’s premier public golf course. The Les Furber-designed 18-hole golf course is located at the foot of Mount Seymour. The photos alone make it look stunning, as there are towering trees and views of both Burrard Inlet and Burnaby Mountain.
5. See the sunset at Lonsdale Quay
Okay, if you tick only one place off this list of things to do in North Vancouver, please let it be seeing the sunset from Lonsdale Quay. This is home to the SeaBus, which is the ferry service that connects North Van to Vancouver. But it’s also where you’ll find some of the best North Vancouver restaurants and specialty shops at Lonsdale Quay market. If you’re fortunate to visit on a clear day, enjoy watching the sunset make the skyline glow. I recommend heading out to the end of Burrard Dry Dock Pier for the ultimate view.
6. Shop at Park Royal
Ok, technically this is in West Vancouver, but seeing as it’s just over the border, I’m going to let it slide into this post. Park Royal is a massive indoor/outdoor shopping destination and the place to go shopping in North Vancouver. It’s home to all the classics, like Hudson Bay, Zara and Anthropologie, as well as many eateries and a cinema.
7. Have fun at Mount Seymour
If you’re looking for adventurous things to do in North Vancouver, head up to Mount Seymour. While skiing and snowboarding are the principal activities, you can also enjoy snowshoeing, tubing and tobogganing on Mount Seymour. I’ve been both tobogganing and tubing and they’re SO fun. Fortunately, they have a custom tube tow, so you can easily get back to the start too. I highly recommend checking out Mount Seymour if you’re looking for places to visit in North Vancouver in winter.
8. Enjoy the Shipyards Night Market
Next door to Lonsdale Quay in Lower Lonsdale, you’ll find the Shipyards, which hosts the Shipyards Night Market every Friday night in summer. It’s a free event that draws 10,000 visitors every week and features plenty of food trucks, live music, a beer garden and local vendors too. My food truck used to park here every fortnight, and it was one of my favourite events.
Check out more of my favourite things to do in Vancouver at night
9. Walk or bike across the Lions Gate Bridge
Western Canada’s longest suspension bridge at over 1.5 kilometres, Lions Gate Bridge crosses the Burrard Inlet and connects North Vancouver to Metro Vancouver. It opened in 1938 and is now a National Historic Site in Canada. There is a pedestrian path on both sides if you want to walk or bike across. Then when you get to Vancouver, you can hop off and immediately explore Stanley Park.
10. Go for a hike in Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve
At the foothills of Mount Seymour, you’ll find the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. It’s home to 65 kilometres of hiking trails, including a part of the Baden Powel Trail (more on that below). It’s also home to the aforementioned Lynn Canyon Park. Have fun exploring the dense forest landscape and cross off its four bridges: Seymour River Suspension Bridge, Twin Falls Bridge, Pipeline Bridge and Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Nearby is Lynn Headwaters Regional Park with even more hikes.
11. Hike the Baden Powell Trail
Looking for adventurous free things to do in North Vancouver? Check out the Baden Powell Trail. Firstly, there’s a 12-kilometre trek that takes you from Deep Cove to the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge. But all up, it’s a 42-kilometre trail. Unfortunately, there’s no camping along the way. So you can break it up into four day hikes and venture past Eagle Bluff, Black Mountain, Cypress Provincial Park and Cleveland Dam.
12. Have a drink!
Let me let you in on a little secret… North Vancouver is overflowing with breweries. The only one I’ve been to so far is Deep Cove Brewers & Distillers. This was another food truck destination and where I discovered that I, in fact, don’t mind certain types of beer! But if beer isn’t your thing, spirits are also their thing.
Ok, I won’t list them all, but here are some other options: Black Kettle Brewing, Wildeye Brewing, Sons of Vancouver Distillery (their website states they’re a “really, really small batch distillery”), North Point Brewing Co, Beere Brewing Company and Bridge Brewing Company. The latter also owns the Lonsdale Bridgedeck, a new North Vancouver restaurant. I just had a look at the menu and it’s good.
13. Eat some ice cream
If you’re on the hunt for things to do in Vancouver in summer, I highly suggest eating ice cream. My recommendation is the locally-owned Earnest Ice Cream, as they usually have 20 delicious flavours to choose from. Another option at The Shipyards is Welcome Parlour Ice Cream.
14. Take the kids to Maplewood Farm
One of the best places to go in North Vancouver with kids is Maplewood Farm. It’s a five-acre farm in the heart of the North Shore that’s home to over 200 friendly domestic animals and birds, including horses, cattle, goats, pigs and sheep. You can do pony rides, feed the chicken and ducks, and feed the bunnies (BYO bunny food).
15. Spend a leisurely afternoon in Deep Cove
I actually have a separate blog post on my visit to Deep Cove many moons ago. But it’s such a cute waterfront neighbourhood that I highly recommend checking it out when visiting North Vancouver. There are public buses to Deep Cove available.
While you’re in Deep Cove, one of the most popular things to do is the Quarry Rock hike. It takes about 1.5 hours and can get very busy in summer, so it’s best to start early so you can spend time enjoying the beautiful water views at the end. The second most popular thing to do in Deep Cove is kayaking. Visit Deep Cove Kayak for kayak rentals, tours and SUP rentals.
16. Conquer the Grouse Grind
Grouse Grind is one of the most popular things to do in North Vancouver, but it’s not for the faint of heart (literally). It’s called Mother Nature’s Stairmaster and is a 2.5-kilometre trail up Grouse Mountain. 2830 steps from the bottom to the top. I never attempted it because I’m a chicken, but many of my friends have. Visit the official website to book a Download Ticket for the Skyride gondola trip down as you’re not allowed to hike back.
17. Visit Grouse Mountain
When it comes to North Vancouver tourist attractions, Grouse Mountain is a destination in itself. You can visit year-round as there’s always something going on. In summer, you can say hello to the resident grizzly bears, see the Birds in Motion, enjoy the Mountain Ropes Adventure, watch the world-famous Lumberjack Show or go ziplining.
In winter, you can ski, snowboard, snowshoe and visit the Peak of Christmas (my personal favourite). The Skyride gondola is your way up and down Grouse Mountain. Book an admission ticket here. FYI: there are three main North Shore mountains – Grouse Mountain, Mount Seymour and Cypress Mountain. I only visited the first two but Cypress is Vancouver’s biggest ski resort.
18. Swim at Cates Park
Cates Park is North Van’s largest seaside park. It has six kilometres of waterfront trails that’ll take you through the forest and past the beach. While the beach is the natural draw card (if those cool BC waters can tempt you), Cates Park is also home to tennis courts, playgrounds, a concession stand and a canoe hiring station. Other beaches in North Vancouver to check out include Corner Beach in Deep Cove, Dundarave Beach and Ambleside Beach (technically those last ones are in West Vancouver but shhh).
19. The Polygon Gallery
The Polygon Gallery was just opening up when I left Vancouver in 2017, but it’s fast become one of the top North Vancouver attractions. Admission is always by donation and it specialises in contemporary art exhibitions, with a focus on photography.
20. Visit Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park is one of the best places to visit in North Vancouver for views of the stunning Vancouver skyline. It’s located right next to where the SeaBus deposits you and it’s also home to walking trails, picnic tables and a playground.
21. Dine at one of these North Vancouver restaurants
I personally didn’t dine out a lot in North Van, as when I was there I was usually eating from the food trucks! But here are my recommendations:
- Tap & Barrel is one of the most popular Vancouver restaurants and in North Van, it’s located right in the Shipyards. Head here for happy hour and to watch the sunset from the patio.
- Jagerhof is a North Van staple, having been here for 40 years. It specialises in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol cuisine and has fun live entertainment most Friday and Saturday nights.
- Chop and Chew has a specialty and that’s locally sourced sausages. The signature Chop & Chew Platter includes two sausages, mashed potatoes and coleslaw. The pulled pork sandwich is also to die for.
22. Stop by Mo’s General Store
Located in The Shipyards, Mo’s General Store is one of the most popular North Vancouver tourist spots and has something for everyone. You can buy cocktail mixes, boardgames, coffee essentials and MOment boxes to celebrate the most special milestones.
Things to do in North Vancouver on a rainy day
Here are three recommendations for indoor things to do in North Vancouver on a rainy day:
- Visit The Polygon Gallery.
- Do some retail therapy at Park Royal.
- Visit one of North Van’s many breweries.
Things to do in North Vancouver at night
Looking for things to do in North Vancouver at night?
- Enjoy dinner at one of the aforementioned North Vancouver restaurants.
- Visit a brewery.
- See the sunset over Vancouver.
FAQs about North Vancouver
How do I spend a day in North Vancouver?
There are so many fun ways to spend one day in North Vancouver. Start with one of the several hikes mentioned. Then if it’s summer, head to the beach. If it’s winter, head to the mountains or Park Royal. In the evening, watch the sunset from Lower Lonsdale and then go for a drink at a brewery or have dinner at Tap & Barrel.
Is North Vancouver worth visiting?
North Vancouver is absolutely worth visiting. It’s home to beautiful beaches, mountains and hiking trails just waiting for you to explore.
What is North Vancouver known for?
North Vancouver is known predominantly for its natural landscape and outdoor adventures.
Is North Vancouver different from Vancouver?
Yes, North Vancouver doesn’t have the bustling metropolis that the City of Vancouver has. It also has more natural attractions compared to Vancouver.
What can you do in North Vancouver for free?
There are several free things to do in North Vancouver:
- Go for a hike.
- Visit a beach in summer.
- Head to Waterfront Park.
- Spend the afternoon in Deep Cove.
- See the sunset from Lonsdale Quay.
Are there cheap things to do in North Vancouver?
Absolutely! Look at all the free activities in North Vancouver mentioned above.
As you can see there are so many fun things to do on the North Shore (another term for North Vancouver). You won’t be bored, especially if you like the outdoors! Remember to visit my Vancouver archive for all of the best things to do in Vancouver.