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English Bay

Stretch out on the sands, swim in the sea, and amble along the shoreline of this gently curving urban beach. 

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.

Popular Activities at English Bay Inukshuk

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.


Top Hotel Deals

See all 599 properties near English Bay Inukshuk
Pan Pacific Vancouver C$260
Pan Pacific Vancouver

Pan Pacific Vancouver

999 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC
    of 5, from 2,602 reviews
    4.5 out of 5.0

    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.

    The Burrard C$110
    The Burrard

    The Burrard

    1100 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC
      of 5, from 2,234 reviews
      3.0 out of 5.0

      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.

      Century Plaza Hotel & Spa C$159
      Century Plaza Hotel & Spa

      Century Plaza Hotel & Spa

      1015 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC
        of 5, from 6,621 reviews
        3.5 out of 5.0

        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.

        Best Western Plus Sands C$101
        Best Western Plus Sands

        Best Western Plus Sands

        1755 Davie St, Vancouver, BC
          of 5, from 1,631 reviews
          3.0 out of 5.0

          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.

          Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront C$175
          Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront

          Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront

          1133 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC
            of 5, from 3,547 reviews
            4.0 out of 5.0

            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.

            EXchange Hotel Vancouver C$188
            EXchange Hotel Vancouver

            EXchange Hotel Vancouver

            475 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC
              of 5, from 469 reviews
              4.0 out of 5.0

              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.

              Sylvia Hotel C$120
              Sylvia Hotel

              Sylvia Hotel

              1154 Gilford St, Vancouver, BC
                of 5, from 1,710 reviews
                3.0 out of 5.0

                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.

                Hyatt Regency Vancouver C$224
                Hyatt Regency Vancouver

                Hyatt Regency Vancouver

                655 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC
                  of 5, from 2,312 reviews
                  4.5 out of 5.0

                  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.