The Ultimate Guide to Stanley Park in Vancouver (2023)
- 26th Oct 2021
Picture source: https://pixabay.com/photos/stanley-park-vancouver-4539852/
A sprawling urban oasis just a hop, skip and a jump away from the buzz of the city centre, Stanley Park is one of the most popular attractions in Vancouver. Covering over 400 hectares and boasting everything from trails, hikes and spectacular panoramic views to family-friendly activities and places to grab a bite to eat, there’s plenty to see and do.
In this guide, we’ll explore things to do, places to visit, activities to get involved in and provide all the information you need to enjoy a fabulous day out.
Where is Stanley Park? How to get here
Stanley Park enjoys an enviable location nestled between the bustling city streets and the waters of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. This stunning spot is easily accessible from West End, and you can walk, cycle or use public transport and hop on the TransLink bus.
You can also drive to the park. If you are driving, it’s a great idea to take advantage of the daily parking pass, which allows you to move around and utilise different car parks during the day.
The main parking facilities are located at the main entrance on Georgia Street and Beach Avenue. For those looking to cycle or walk around the Seawall, one of the best options is to access the park through the west entrance and take the Seaside Route. You can access a digital map at https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-digital-map.aspx.
Vancouver parks are open to the public between 6 am and 10 pm. Entrance is free of charge.
How big is Stanley Park?
Stanley Park is one of the largest parks in the world, spanning approximately 408 hectares (1008 acres). It's central location makes it a great place for any Vancouverite and attracts over 8 million visitors every year.
Picture source: https://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/stanley-park-digital-map.aspx
How long does it take to walk around Stanley Park?
There are endless options available to visitors looking to stretch their legs and explore Stanley Park on foot. You can choose from a range of trails and paths based on how far you want to go and how much time you have.
The SeawallThe Seawall is one of the park’s most loved attractions, and it’s an ideal choice
for anyone who is visiting Stanley Park and is eager to make the most of the spectacular scenery and views. The Seawall destination walk is a circular, paved walk, which is accessible to everyone. This 10-kilometre pedestrian and cycle path loops around the park, providing amazing vistas, as well as the opportunity to learn about the history of the park.
Starting on the east side of Stanley Park Drive by Coal Harbour, the loop takes around 2-3 hours to complete. The winding coastal path will take you past a host of landmarks, monuments and viewpoints. The Seawall walk provides some of the best views of English Bay, downtown Vancouver, Canada Place and the North Shore Mountains.
Picture source: https://pixabay.com/photos/nature-stanley-park-stanley-2660141/
How long does it take to bike around Stanley Park?
The sheer size and scale of Stanley Park make covering vast areas on foot a challenge if you only have one day. For those keen to explore further or get off the beaten tracks, hiring a bike is an excellent idea. Cyclists flock to the park in their droves to take advantage of trails and routes that offer mesmerizing views.
The Seawall is a popular spot for intrepid adventurers on two wheels. The route, which is around 10 km long, takes approximately 1-1.5 hours, but it’s always wise to leave a little extra time for stopping to take in the views and take photographs. Bike hire is available in Coal Harbour.
If you have a little more time, and you’ve completed the Stanley Park Seawall section, you can extend the route to include Prospect Point. There are also several trails you can take within the park, including the Bridle Path, which runs from Second Beach to Prospect Point, and the Lake Trail, which takes you to Beaver Lake.
What to do in Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a huge outdoor wonderland for adults and children alike. Far from just being a beautiful green space, the park is an attraction in its own right, boasting a host of activities and sights. You can easily spend a full day in the park.
If you’re planning your visit, here are some ideas for what to do in Stanley Park:
Go walking or cyclingStanley Park is a bona fide treasure trove of trails and paths for walking and cycling enthusiasts. From those looking for a gentle stroll to seasoned hikers, there is something for everyone. The Seawall is a must for anyone eager to take full advantage of the stunning views of the city, mountains and bays. Click here for the latest information on The Vancouver Seawall.
Hone your golf skillsPitch & putt is a firm favorite for visitors of all ages. A beautifully manicured course scattered with obstacles and hazards lies in wait for those keen to test their golfing mettle. Get all the Pitch and Putt information here.
Jump on board the Stanley Park trainA great way to see the park, riding the Stanley Park train offers an opportunity to take a trip through the forest. The 2-kilometre route takes around 15 minutes. It's a favourite of ours!
Go for a swim and catch some raysVisitors keen to enjoy the sunshine or go for a refreshing dip can take advantage of a host of spots to splash around and have some serious fun. There is a heated outdoor pool at Second Beach, a water park at Lumberman’s Arch and glistening golden sands at Third Beach.
Take a tourStanley Park is the perfect spot for meandering at leisure, but if you’re keen to cover more ground or learn about the history of Stanley Park, taking a tour is a fantastic idea. You can choose from walking tours, horse and carriage rides or tour buses and shuttle trolleys. Learn more about touring Stanley Park here.
Where to go in Stanley Park
If you’re visiting Stanley Park, here are some places to include in your itinerary:
Vancouver AquariumOne of the park’s most popular attractions, Vancouver Aquarium is home to hundreds of underwater species.
SeawallThe Seawall hugs the boundaries of the park, providing incredible views of the city, mountains and waves.
TotemsNo visit to Stanley Park is complete without seeing the distinctive collection of Totems, which are located in the First Nations Art Area near Brockton Point.
Second BeachTop of the list of Vancouver’s most popular beaches, Second Beach has something for everyone. Golden sands, glistening waters and an oceanfront heated outdoor lagoon pool lie in wait.
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/photos/totems-stanley-park-vancouver-52314/
The best restaurants in Stanley Park
You can bring a picnic to Stanley Park but if you get peckish while out walking or cycling, or you fancy treating the family to lunch, there’s a fabulous selection of cafes, restaurants in Stanley Park as well as our very own: Stanley Park brewpub.
- Prospect Point Cafe
- Stanley Park Pavilion
- The Teahouse Restaurant
- Waterfall Cafe
- Stanley Park Brewpub
There is also a range of food carts located at Second Beach, English Bay and Lumberman’s Arch.
Stanley Park Parking
Stanley Park is one of Vancouver's most popular attractions, attracting millions of visitors each year. If you are planning on visiting Stanley Park, here is all the information you need to know about Parking in Stanley Park.Stanley Park Parking Guide
- Stanley Park attracts around 8 million visitors per year.
- The park is one of the largest in the world. It is over 100 acres bigger than New York’s famous Central Park.
- Stanley Park takes its name from Governor-General Lord Frederick Stanley.
- The park boasts an 800-year-old cedar tree known as the ‘hollow tree’ which is something of a local landmark. People, cars and even elephants have been photographed inside the tree stump. The inspiration for our Hollow Tree Lager.
There are few parks in the world that offer as much as Vancouver’s iconic Stanley Park. Stretching over 400 hectares and boasting a rich history, this is a beautiful spot to enjoy a fun-packed, memorable day out.
If you're visiting Vancouver, use this handy guide to plan your day. Thanks for reading!