We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

Which North Vancouver hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
San Diego
posts: 29
reviews: 4
North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

My husband and I plan to visit Vancouver for a couple of nights in late August of this year. North Vancouver looks like a nice place to stay, due to its serenity and proximity to national parks and hiking.

I am curious if North Vancouver is very isolated (we are not big night life people, but do like to go out to dinner and walk around town). Do we need to drive into or even stay in, Vancouver city centre to really experience Vancouver?

If so, will renting a car be a hindrance? (Parking issues, etc.) Are there parts of North Vancouver that are central/walkable?

Thanks in advance for any advice on this subject.

14 replies to this topic
Destination Expert
for British Columbia
posts: 6,333
1. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

North Van is a great place-all found except for National Parks-ain't none nearby.

This wikipedia article has all kinds of relevant info http://wikitravel.org/en/North_Vancouver

Not much for a real downtown but as mentioned a number of smaller 'hoods well worth checking out.

Parking is a breeze.

My favourite place of all http://www.ayoubs.ca/

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 17,281
reviews: 53
2. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

There is an abundance of parks on the north shore, but none of them are federal parks. That just means you don't have to pay to go in. They are all good. One thing about staying on the north shore is that you can't look at the mountains because you are sitting at the foot of them. Something to consider.

North Van is very convenient to the city and certainly a popular residential location. If you are close to Lonsdale Quay and the seabus, then getting into downtown is a breeze. If you are closer to the Capilano corridor, or over Ambleside way, then bus transport into the city is pretty straightforward.

San Diego
posts: 29
reviews: 4
3. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

Thanks for your knowledge. I noticed there are an abundance of parks on the north shore--that is what we were looking for (I guess assuming they were all national parks was a mistake on my part, but who cares, as long as they are beautiful).

Bummer that you can't look at the mountains staying here. Isn't that a big part of the draw of Vancouver? If you were going to choose an area in which to stay in the Vancouver area, as a tourist, where would you choose??

I really appreciate and value

your insight.

San Diego
posts: 29
reviews: 4
4. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

So, Sam Salmon are you more partial to North Vancouver, or other areas of Vancouver? What's your favorite enclave?

Thank you for your expertise!

Destination Expert
for British Columbia
posts: 6,333
5. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

A person doesn't have quite the view of North Shore mountains in North Van but they are always there in the background and in places there are some unique views.

I live close to downtown a neighbourhood called Kitsilano I like it here but could easily live in/around Lower Lonsdale in North Van.

There are some wonderful bakeries producing delicious breads and amazing pastries along Lonsdale-many of them run by Iranian families well worth checking out.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 128
6. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

North Vancouver is extremely accessible to Vancouver. And Vancouver is extremely accessible to the North Shore and its parks. You have the choice of using the Seabus (a fast quick ferry – apx. 20 min. or less) between Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver and downtown Vancouver, or fast efficient busses from most anywhere on the North Shore to downtown.

It boils down to whether you’d prefer sleeping in a suburban or city setting.

Accommodations on the North Shore will be cheaper than equivalent accommodations in Vancouver , but you can fine a good price range in both. In Vancouver most downtown will charge extra for parking, in North Vancouver (or West Vancouver, which is on the North Shore too) most won’t charge for parking, though a few will. But you won’t need a car in either location if you prefer not.

You can easily get to most of the North Shore parks via bus. However, you’ll have to restrict yourselves to their very generous schedules and routes … not really a problem, though not quite as convenient as driving.

If you are into outdoor activities, I have a few suggestions:

Both Mt Seymour Park and Cypress Park are at the summit of the North Shore mountains. Both have lots of trails and hiking – a relatively tame wilderness experience within 30 minutes of downtown Vancouver. … and both have excellent views over the city (Cypress being better for views, Seymour better for hiking … but both are good for either). Treat both as if you were hiking in the wilderness miles from the city … people do get lost, but neither is intimidating if you hike a lot. Or one could take the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain ski area for a more commercialized experience.

And in Vancouver, you could rent bikes and explore the seawall … a walking and biked route that follows the entire perimeter of the main part of Vancouver for many miles at the edge of the water. It starts downtown on the edge of Burrard Inlet (adjacent to the convention center), goes through (around) Stanley Park (wonderful park), along the downtown side of False Creek (beaches) to Yaletown area (one of the newer high-rise sections of Vancouver), thence around the east end of False Creel to its south side. There you could continue to Granville Island (one of Vancouver’s tourist areas), and from there either continue west as far as you’d want, or take the water taxi across False Creek back towards the city center.

On Granville Island (or other locations too) you could rent Kayaks if that's of interest.

Nanaimo, Canada
Destination Expert
for Nanaimo, Vancouver Island
posts: 4,568
reviews: 318
7. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?


In post #3 you wrote, 'If you were going to choose an area in which to stay in the Vancouver area, as a tourist, where would you choose??'.

Downtown, period. Staying downtown you are central to all those things that make Vancouver a great destination. As noted you can easily and inexpensively access the North Shore.

Kitsilano would be my second choice.

Port Moody, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver, British Columbia
posts: 7,902
reviews: 93
8. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

Dave is right definitely stay downtown.. lots of restaurants, access to Stanley Park and seawall, mini ferries( (aquabus) to Granville Island..which is much more than a tourist destination excellent art college, lots of artists and craftsmen, good market etc.

take the seabus and transit to the north shore for Cypress and Seymour.. also be sure to visit Lynn Canyon for very good hiking..you can kayak out of Deep Cove...if you check the top right side of the forum you'll find complete transit info for getting to Lynn Canyon, Grouse etc.

Downtown look at hotels like Blue Horizon, St Regis, Loden, Sutton, wide range of good accommodation even the Y hotel is a real hotel (gets booked up quickly because of good rates).

Vancouver downtown is very compact..one can walk from the Westin Grand to the Westin Bayshore in about 30 minutes so if you find those two on google maps it'll give you an idea of relative distances.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for Vancouver
posts: 39,593
reviews: 54
9. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

Definitely downtown. North Vancouver is a great place but is a suburb of Vancouver, not a destination.

Here is a suggestion for your consideration. From Lynn Canyon Park, you could walk another half hour to Rice Lake. It's a beautiful spot to walk around the paved pathways.


I think you might like Rice Lake. This video emphasizes fishing from the pier but have a look at the setting behind the fishing. There are many groomed trails at Rice Lake.


Some green areas on the North Shore that may interest you:

Deep Cove and kayak rentals

Cates Park

Lynn Canyon Park and Rice Lake

Maplewood Flats. This is a conservation area with trails right down to the water. I have seen a deer in here. On the map link below, you can see Dollarton Highway and Daly Rd. The bus icons, when clicked give you the bus numbers from Phibbs Exchange.



There is no sense mentioning the excellent green belts that follow Capilano River and Mosquito Creek as they stretch about 4 km down the side of the mountain, so walking them without 2 cars is often impractical. Except for Cap River, where a bus would be convenient for you to get there and then get back to Van once you are at the bottom.

If you put together a bit of a day plan, we could tell you the best way to get around or tell you if it's doable or not in your time frame. I would put Cypress Bowl near the end of my list.

Rockies BC
posts: 690
reviews: 5
10. Re: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?

Born & raised in North Van, I am extremely biased (I would move to North Van in an instant if I could afford it!). But I agree with B-Dave, Traveller47, & Mufti - stay downtown. You can be in North Van very quickly via transit or by rental car (you might enjoy renting a car for a day or 2 - my prejudice here again - I like the freedom a car gives you) to explore the North Shore (collective name for North Van & West Van - BTW there is an "East Van" & a "South Van" as well - East Van is the eastern part of the city of Vanc; South Van is what you might hear old-timers call the southern part of the city of Vanc - in the old days it was its own municipality until it & the munic of Point Grey were amalgamated with the city of Vanc into just "Vanc" in the 1920's I believe it was).

Reply to: North Vancouver--a true Vancouver experience?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted