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English Bay, a popular beach not far from the city center, features salt air and soft sand. It’s an ideal destination to sunbathe, nap, stroll or picnic. You’ll find cafés, bars and shops across the road in Denman Street, while in nearby Stanley Park there are biking and hiking trails.
English Bay was formally established as a swimming beach in 1893 with the building of a few shacks along the shore for shade and changing. One hundred years previously, Captain George Vancouver, with the British Navy, and Captain Dionisio Galiano, with the Spanish Navy, collaborated in charting the region for their native countries. English Bay, as well as the nearby series of beaches known as Spanish Banks, were both named in honor of this international collaboration.
The views from English Bay are stunning. Swathes of greenery cloak Stanley Park and soaring mountains hug the shore. At the end of the day, join the crowds watching the sun set as the sky turns shades of red, pink, and orange.
The bay hosts two popular annual events. The Celebration of Light International Fireworks Competition held in late July/early August is a three-day carnival of pyrotechnics that light up the night sky with explosions of color. Three competing international teams vie against each other each year to be the brightest spark.
During winter, the beach is the starting point for the annual Polar Bear Swim, a chilly and invigorating plunge into the Pacific on New Year’s Day, a tradition that began in 1920. It attracts people with and without swimming costumes, and some in fancy dress. To take part in the 100-yard (91-meter) swim, you must register (for free) with the Vancouver Polar Bear Swim Club before the race.
English Bay is a great destination to stroll to from downtown. It’s also accessible by bus. Street parking is available, but can be tricky to find during the busy summer tourist season.
Make the most of your time spent at English Bay Inukshuk. Below is a list of some of the best activities:
Want to know what activities you can do at this popular attraction? Our suggestion would be purchasing a Vancouver Explorer Private Tour.
Check out our Vancouver things to do page to discover many more activities while you're here.
This downtown hotel on Burrard Inlet shares Canada Place with the Alaska cruise ship terminal and Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre. Waterfront dining, shopping, and entertainment are 2 blocks away.
Located in Downtown Vancouver, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St. Paul's Hospital, Robson Street, and Sunset Beach. Granville Island Public Market and Orpheum Theater are also within 15 minutes. Yaletown-Roundhouse Station is 11 minutes by foot and Burrard Station is 11 minutes.
This all-suite downtown hotel rises 30 stories into the Vancouver skyline, 3 blocks from both the Vancouver Art Gallery and trendy Robson Street, 4 blocks from the Pacific Centre Shopping Mall, and less than 2 km (1 mi) from Stanley Park.
Located in West End, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Robson Street and Stanley Park. Vancouver Convention Centre and Canada Place are also within 2 mi (3 km). Yaletown-Roundhouse Station is 26 minutes by foot and Burrard Station is 27 minutes.
There is no need or a car when you're this close to downtown's top attractions including the Stanley Park Seawall, Gastown, Robson Street shopping, and the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Located in Downtown Vancouver, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Waterfront Centre, Canada Place, and Harbour Centre. Vancouver Convention Centre and Robson Street are also within 10 minutes. Granville Station is only a 5-minute walk and Waterfront Metro Station is 5 minutes.
In Vancouver's West End, Sylvia Hotel sits on the water, across from English Bay beach. Stanley Park, 2 blocks away, has over 16 miles (27 km) of nature trails, tennis courts, and a water park. The Granville Island Ferry is a 20-minute walk, and it's a 6-minute drive to Burrard Station.
Towering above the downtown core, this 34-story Vancouver hotel is adjacent to a SkyTrain station and Royal Centre, 2 blocks from Robson Street, and 5 blocks from the harbourfront.