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ENGLISH BAYDenman St. at Davie St., VancouverBring a blanket and lounge on the grass, or walk the seawall path and see how many dog breeds you can name. Fire dancers, jugglers, and comedians draw crowds on dusky summer evenings. Stop in at the Sylvia Hotel (1154 Gilford St., 604-681-9321); the original heritage hotel in the West End provides the perfect (licensed) water view.
DR. SUN YAT-SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDEN 578 Carrall St., Vancouver 604-662-3207. This authentic re-creation of a Ming-dynasty-era (1368–1644) scholar’s garden was the first to be constructed outside China. It was built in the mid ’80s by 52 master artisans from Suzhou; the result is a sanctuary laden with Taoist symbolism and intricate landscaping.
MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY 6393 N.W. Marine Dr., UBC, Vancouver 604-822-5087. The Great Hall’s post-and-beam architecture opens up to 15-metre glass walls accommodating totem poles from Nisga’a, Haida, and other First Nations.
STANLEY PARK Downtown Vancouver 604-257-8400. Over 400 hectares of mixed evergreen forest and open green spaces are bounded by the 8.8-kilometre seawall, an essential experience beloved by local runners, in-line skaters, and firstdate couples.
GRANVILLE ISLAND Under the Granville Bridge 604-666-5784. The public market is an excellent place to seek out local gourmet items before treating yourself to the best food-court meal around. The Net Loft is host to artist studios on its street side and boutiques and galleries inside its doors. The Wood Co-op displays work by some of the top woodworkers in the province.
GROUSE GRIND & SKYRIDE 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver 604-984-0661. The Grouse Grind is the summer hike of choice for resident masochists, but the view-heavy Skyride is your yearround bet. While you’re up top, be sure to check out the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, home to two orphaned bears and a pack of grey wolves.
KITSILANO BEACH AND POOL 2305 Cornwall Ave., Vancouver 604-731-0011. Kits Beach, as it’s known to locals, is densely populated every summer by distractingly attractive volleyball players, Frisbee flingers, and sunbathers. There’s also a giant heated saltwater pool (137 metres) where you can swim a mile in only 12 laps.
VANCOUVER ART GALLERY 750 Hornby St., Vancouver 604-662-4719. Under the leadership of director Kathleen Bartels, the Vancouver Art Gallery has attracted global attention for its original and innovative programming, which has featured work from hometown hero Brian Jungen — most famous for his aboriginal masks crafted from Nike Air Jordans — and comprehensive surveys of European painting.
VANCOUVER AQUARIUM Stanley Park, Vancouver 604-659-3474. The aquarium features 166 displays with over 70,000 animals, from West Coast mammals (sea lions and harbour seals) to exotic species like Amazonian caimans. Go behind the scenes on a Trainer Tour ($25 to $40 for one adult-child pair) to interact with sea otters, or help train a whale on a Beluga Encounter ($150 per person, $210 per adult and child).