False Creek, Vancouver: 17 Great Places To Visit

False Creek Vancouver

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If I could pick only one thing to convince you to visit the False Creek area in Vancouver, I’d tell you to go for the very best views of the Vancouver downtown skyline! That alone is a good enough reason, but in this post I collected the best places to see around False Creek, and you’ll quickly realize that several days are needed for thorough exploration.

But even if you have limited time for sightseeing in Vancouver, I highly recommend cycling along the False Creek Seawall, enjoying night views of the city from Charleson Park or Habitat Island or taking a sunset kayak tour on False Creek.

Where is False Creek?

False Creek, Vancouver, BC, Canada

False Creek is located along the southern edge of Downtown Vancouver, and it’s not an actual creek. Early explorers in the 19th century thought they were going up a creek, and when they realized they were wrong, they named this body of water “False Creek”.

So False Creek is one of the four main bodies of water bordering Vancouver (English Bay, Burrard Inlet and the Fraser River are the rest), and it’s an inlet between the downtown and the West End. It stretches from English Bay in the west to Science World in the east.

The best way to explore: False Creek Seawall

False Creek, Vancouver, BC, Canada

If you only have time for one activity in the False Creek area, stick to the False Creek Seawall. It’s a waterfront walkway that’s part of Vancouver’s 28 km long Seaside Greenway. The southern walkway runs from Vanier Park to the Science World, the northern walkway starts at Science World and ends at English Bay Beach. The southern side offers the best views of the downtown skyline – both day and night!

You can walk over the three bridges over False Creek – Cambie Street Bridge, Burrard Street Bridge and Granville Street Bridge -, and they also have great views of the bay and the city.

Considering it’s an urban walking route, it offers spectacular wildlife watching opportunities. You’re guaranteed to see many birds – cormorants, ducks, herons, geese and gulls are the most common – and quite often harbor seals pop their heads up from the water, as well.

Best places to see around False Creek

Vanier Park

Vanier Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Vanier Park is one of the most scenic parks of Vancouver, offering fabulous views of the downtown and Stanley Park. It’s a pleasant walk away from Kitsilano Beach, and it’s the beginning of the False Creek Seawall. It has a small pebbly bay and several benches by the water.

It has large green lawns and a lovely pond where you can usually see dozens of geese. The Heritage Harbour is at the edge of the park, and it’s a free outdoor exhibition at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. It features a collection of vintage wooden vessels – you can read more about them here.

View from Vanier Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

view from Vanier Park

And talking about museums, Vanier Park is home to three of them…

Vancouver Maritime Museum

This family-friendly museum educates you about the maritime history of Vancouver, BC, Canada and the Canadian Arctic. You can visit the outdoors artifacts, like Zephyr, a ship that sank over a century ago or a submarine that was used by NASA.

Vancouver Maritime Museum, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Museum of Vancouver

It’s the largest civic museum in Canada and the oldest museum in Vancouver, founded in 1894. Its permanent exhibitions showcase the city’s history from 1900 to 1970, broken down by decades, and it hosts exciting temporary exhibitions, too.

H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

Located in the same building as the Museum of Vancouver, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is an astronomy museum with a planetarium and observatory. The planetarium has shows every hour, the Cosmic Courtyard Exhibit Space gives visitors a deeper insight into some fascinating facts and discoveries and the theater hosts live science shows.

Burrard Bridge

Burrard Bridge, Vancouver, BC, Canada

It’s a bit of a detour from the False Creek Seawall to walk up to the Burrard Street Bridge, because it’s quite high up and you need to walk behind Vanier Park to be able to access the bridge. But it’s really worth the effort as the views are spectacular!

You can walk on one side, then back on the other side if you have the time, but be careful as you can only cross safely at either end of the bridge on the dedicated crosswalks (it’s a very busy road). Both sides have their own advantages, one offers views of the harbours of False Creek, Granville Island and the downtown skyline, the other has better views of the North Shore Mountains – with the Vancouver skyline in the front.

Creekside Park

Creekside Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Creekside Park is a small green space on a terrace just south of Burrard Bridge. But it’s an elevated viewpoint with a small fountain and some benches, looking over the Fisherman’s Wharf. Our favorite time of the year to visit Creekside Park is mid-April, because most of the trees here are cherry trees, so the park is a pretty pink paradise during cherry blossom season.

False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf

Stop at the Fisherman’s Wharf to buy fresh seafood directly from the fishermen. If you’d prefer a prepared meal, they also offer that from a small kiosk.

Granville Island

Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Granville Island is not an actual island, but a peninsula connected to Vancouver. Once it was an old industrial district, but it was turned into a quirky, lively, colorful place that boasts restaurants, shops, parks and skyline views.

It’s also home to the Granville Island Public Market where you can choose from fresh and baked goods, fruits and sweets. Join a guided Granville Island food tour, like this small-group tour led by a chef.

Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, Canada

views in front of the Granville Island Public Market

Granville Island has lovely green spaces. Like Sutcliffe Park with lots of cherry trees, flowers, a small pond and playground. Granville Island Water Park is a big hit among families in the summer. It’s a free public water park, with a large slide and countless sprinklers.

Charleson Park

Charleson Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

If you continue south on the False Creek Seawall, you’ll soon reach Charleson Park. It has even better downtown skyline views than Vanier Park, and this is the real highlight of Charleson Park. But it also has large grassy areas, a lovely pond where you can often see ducks, Canadian geese or great blue herons, a tiny waterfall and a large playground that’s among the best ones in Vancouver.

Charleson Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

small pond in Charleson Park

Find a bench along the seawall, sit down and simply watch the yachts, sailboats and the tiny False Creek ferries pass by. Then stroll further along the water.

Cambie Bridge

Walk up to Cambie Bridge, there’s a stairway directly from the seawall, and all the False Creek bridges are great elevated walkways. You can safely enjoy the scenery as there are dedicated pedestrian pathways on both sides of Cambie Bridge.

Crossing from one side to the other is not straightforward though, you can only do it at the very end of the bridge on each side. Don’t even think of crossing the road without a dedicated crosswalk.

False Creek, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Habitat Island

Just south of Cambie Bridge, there’s a tiny island off the seawall: Habitat Island. It’s accessible on foot through a rocky pathway, and it actually ceases to be an island at low tide. It’s really small, you can walk around it in a few minutes, but locals like taking their time, sitting on one of the rocks and enjoying the skyline views.

Olympic Village

Olympic Village, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Walking further south from Habitat Island, you find yourself in the Olympic Village. It’s a name of a neighborhood, but it was originally built to be the home of the athletes at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. After the Olympics the buildings were converted to condos, and there you have it: today’s Olympic Village, a residential neighborhood by False Creek, with stunning water and mountain views.

Olympic Village, Vancouver, BC, Canada

You can’t help noticing the green roofs, and those are the most easily visible, but not the only sustainable solutions in Olympic Village. You can walk along False Creek, or rent a kayak. Olympic Village also has a diverse food scene, with lots of restaurants and coffee shops.

Science World

It’s a family-friendly science museum with interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits. It’s exciting not only for kids, but it’s a museum that’s truly suitable from age 1 and focuses on learning through play, offering different exhibits for kids of different ages.

Science World, Vancouver, BC, Canada

There are permanent and temporary exhibitions, live science shows in the Science Theater or on the outdoor stage at the Ken Spencer Science Park, or you can enjoy documentaries in the OMNIMAX theater.

BC Place Stadium

BC Place Stadium is not only home to soccer and football games, but also a venue for live events, like concerts and festivals. It was also used for the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Games.


George Leslie House, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Yaletown is a mix of old and new, with historic brick warehouse buildings turned into trendy restaurants or boutiques and modern high rises on the waterfront. Once it was the terminal station of the Canadian Pacific Railway, these days it’s one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Vancouver, buzzing with life and outdoor terraces (mostly in the summer months).

David Lam Park and George Wainborn Park are the largest green spaces along the seawall, and they offer pretty views in any season.

David Lam Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Mainland Street is where you find restaurants standing shoulder-to-shoulder, most of them with a lovely patio

Engine 374 Pavilion educates you about the rail history of Yaletown and Vancouver. Staffed by volunteers, it’s a free attraction and is home to famous Engine 374, the first trans-continental train to arrive in Vancouver.

Sunset Beach

Sunset Beach is aptly named: it has fabulous sunsets (given that it’s not a fully overcast day).

Like most attractions, it’s along the seawall and has several small sandy bays, grassy areas, a concession stand and benches.

English Bay Beach

English Bay Beach, Vancouver, BC, Canada

English Bay Beach is actually the first beach of Stanley Park, and it’s one of the prettiest beaches of Vancouver, with plenty of restaurants, coffee and ice cream shops nearby. Vancouver’s annual January Polar Bear Swim takes place here on the first day of the new year.

Best activities to do around False Creek

Charleson Park, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Walk or bike the False Creek Seawall

Whether you have a few hours or a full day, it’s the very best thing to do. There are two lanes along the seawall: one for walkers, one for bikers. The distance from Vanier Park to Sunset Beach along the seawall is about 8 kilometers, and it includes the best views of the Vancouver skyline.

Take a scenic boat tour

False Creek Seawall, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Two companies operate mini ferries across False Creek: Aquabus and the False Creek Ferries. It’s an easy and scenic way to hop from one attraction to another. The two companies have slightly different routes, so check the exact stops on their website.

Rent a kayak, canoe or boat

Vancouver, BC, Canada

Seeing the city from the water is quite special. You can choose from several boat rental facilities along the seawall, like the Granville Island Boat Rentals, Creekside Kayaks or Kayak Vancouver.

8 essentials to pack for Vancouver

Waterproof rain jacket: a lightweight, easily packable rain jacket is your best friend when visiting notoriously rainy Vancouver. You don’t want the rain to hold you back from exploring the city and the stunning rainforest trails. Columbia jackets are affordable and effective for the average hiker, here you find them for women and for men. Oh, and don’t bother with an umbrella, more often than not it’s totally useless due to the strong wind.

Waterproof backpack cover: you want to keep all the stuff in your backpack dry even on the rainiest day.

Hats: no matter which season your visit takes place, you’ll probably want some kind of hat. A sun hat (for women and for men) or classic baseball cap (for women and for men) protects you from the sun in the summer, a lightweight beanie keeps you warm between October and April.

Quick-drying, moisture-wicking T-shirts (for women and for men): you’ll likely spend at least part of your time in Vancouver on hiking trails, so a few pieces of technical T-shirts come handy when getting active.

Sweaters: a warm sweater or hoodie is a good idea even in the summer, because evenings get chilly. And it’s not even a question during the colder months. These Columbia fleece jackets (for women and for men) are great as an additional layer both for sightseeing or hiking days.

Waterproof hiking boots: so you’ll go hiking, because the natural attractions are among the highlights of a Vancouver visit. Trails are often muddy due to rain or snow melt, and your waterproof hiking boots will keep your feet dry and provide good traction. Actually, they come handy even in the city parks in wet weather. This Columbia Newton Ridge Plus is a great option for women, and the Newton Ridge Plus II for men.

Binoculars: a pair of binoculars make your whale-watching or bird watching experience so much better!

Waterproof phone case: whether you’re going kayaking, swimming or boating, or simply want to regularly use your phone outdoors for navigation in rainy weather, a waterproof phone case is insanely practical and requires barely any space in your luggage.

Finally, don’t pack bear spray. You’ll need one for hiking safely near Vancouver, but crossing borders with bear spray in your luggage, or boarding a plane while carrying bear spray is not allowed. You have to buy one once you arrive and dispose of it safely before you leave. Canadian Tire is the straightforward store to get bear spray.