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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.


Guide to Exploring around English Bay Inukshuk


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Best Lodging Options Near English Bay Inukshuk

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Pan Pacific Vancouver CA $233
Pan Pacific Vancouver

Pan Pacific Vancouver

999 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Coal Harbour, this luxury hotel is steps away from Canada Place and Granville Street. Vancouver Convention Centre and Harbour Centre are also within 10 minutes. Waterfront Metro Station and Vancouver Waterfront Station are within a 5-minute walk.

    Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront CA $159
    Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront

    Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront

    1133 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Coal Harbour, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of United States Consulate, Robson Street, and Canada Place. Vancouver Convention Centre and Harbour Centre are also within 10 minutes. Burrard Station is 6 minutes by foot and Waterfront Metro Station is 10 minutes.

      The Burrard CA $115
      The Burrard

      The Burrard

      1100 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Downtown Vancouver, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of St. Paul's Hospital and Granville Street. Robson Street and Sunset Beach are also within 10 minutes. Burrard Station is 11 minutes by foot and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station is 11 minutes.

        Sylvia Hotel CA $119
        Sylvia Hotel

        Sylvia Hotel

        1154 Gilford St, Vancouver, BC
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in West End, this beachfront hotel is in the city centre and within a 5-minute walk of English Bay Beach and Stanley Park. Robson Street and Sunset Beach are also within 10 minutes. Burrard Station is 28 minutes by foot and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station is 29 minutes.

          Moda Hotel CA $103
          Moda Hotel

          Moda Hotel

          900 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Downtown Vancouver, this romantic hotel is steps away from Commodore Ballroom, Granville Street and Orpheum Theater. Robson Street and Vancouver Art Gallery are also within 10 minutes. Vancouver City Center Station is 6 minutes by foot and Granville Station is 8 minutes.

            Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver CA $268
            Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver

            Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver

            1128 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC
               
              5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in West End, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Robson Street, Pacific Centre Shopping Mall, and Vancouver Art Gallery. Granville Street and Orpheum Theater are also within 10 minutes. Burrard Station is only a 4-minute walk and Vancouver City Center Station is 7 minutes.

              Best Western Plus Sands CA $90
              Best Western Plus Sands

              Best Western Plus Sands

              1755 Davie St, Vancouver, BC
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in West End, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Stanley Park and Robson Street. Vancouver Convention Centre and Canada Place are also within 2 mi (3 km). Burrard Station is 26 minutes by foot and Yaletown-Roundhouse Station is 27 minutes.

                Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre CA $113
                Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre

                Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre

                180 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown Vancouver, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 5-minute walk of BC Place Stadium and Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Rogers Arena and Granville Street are also within 10 minutes. Stadium-Chinatown Station is only a 3-minute walk and Vancouver City Center Station is 8 minutes.