Vancouver has plenty to offer in terms of its rich history, culture and lifestyle attractions. It has an exquisite culinary scene as well as markets, boutiques and galleries.

Below is a selection of the best things to see and do in Vancouver for expats.

Recommended attractions in Vancouver

Vancouver Art Gallery

Located in downtown Vancouver, this well-established gallery showcases the works of both local and international artists, including Emily Carr, Andy Warhol, Picasso and Rodin. There are features to attract the whole family, with teens and kids bound to enjoy themselves. For the scholarly, there is an extensive library which houses more than 50,000 books, sound recordings and catalogues.

Vancouver Lookout

Take a trip in the glass-fronted Skylift, up the Harbour Centre Tower, to the famous Vancouver Lookout. Here, great bird’s-eye views of the city and surrounds are accompanied by amenities including shops, a food court and the fantastic Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant with its delicious continental cuisine.

Commercial Drive

Commercial Drive is one of Vancouver's most eclectic neighbourhoods, popular with both expats and trendy locals. The area boasts a number of chic boutiques and second-hand shops, as well as live music venues, an ice-skating rink, a bowling alley and dozens of authentic, street-side Italian cafés.

Museum of Anthropology

Totem poles on the Point Grey cliffs mark the way to the Museum of Anthropology, an institution displaying fine examples of Northwest Coast art and architecture. Expats can see the work of internationally acclaimed Haida artist, Bill Reid, and explore the traditional houses built on the premises. This is a great way to get a feel for the culture of the area.

Granville Island

In central Vancouver, on the south shore of False Creek, is Granville Island – a wonderful entertainment and shopping destination. The island has an array of markets to explore which includes stalls with fresh produce and clothing, toys, and boating equipment and supplies.

Queen Elizabeth Park

Queen Elizabeth Park is home to abundant flower gardens, the Bloedel Floral Conservatory, a Pitch and Putt course, and a lovely restaurant. The conservatory boasts over 100 species of free-flying tropical birds for visitors to see. This is the perfect day out for apartment-dwelling expats.

Pacific National Exhibition (PNE)

Established in 1910, PNE hosts a variety of shows, concerts, sports events and exhibitions. The assortment of amusement park rides and the annual PNE Fair are family favourites.

Lonsdale Quay

Since 1986, Lonsdale Quay has had something for everyone, from a vibrant public market and trendy boutiques to a good selection of restaurants and a play area for kids. Climbing the quay’s red tower offers great views of the harbour and the North Shore Mountains. The market itself consists of fresh foods, artisanal products and the Green Leaf Brewing Co.


Wander the cobbled streets of Gastown to discover beautiful Victorian architecture and hidden courtyards. The district is home to a selection of trendy boutiques, stylish eateries and exclusive galleries. The oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver, Gastown traces its roots back to a single tavern founded in 1897. The Vancouver Lookout rises 548 feet (167m) over the city, giving a unique panorama of this gorgeous metropolis.