Our Guide to False Creek – Vancouver, BC
False Creek is a short inlet in the heart of Vancouver, and it is one of the most popular areas to explore in the city. You can see stunning views of Vancouver in all directions. The False Creek runs from the entrance to English Bay in the west to Science World in the east.
Whether you like to explore it on foot, by bike or via a mini ferry boat, there is a lot to do and see in the area. There are parks, restaurants, coffee shops and tourist attractions at various points along the False Creek Seawall.
Places to Visit Around False Creek
In this guide, we will take you on an 8.5 km loop along the Seawall. We begin on the Southside of False Creek, starting from the Vanier Park in the west to the Science World in the east. Then we cover the North side of False Creek, from the Science World in the east to Sunset Beach in the west.
Both sides of False Creek are amazing, but if you prefer to explore only one side, we recommend the south side because it offers stunning city views.
Explore Vanier Park
Situated at the edge of English Bay in the Kitsilano neighbourhood of Vancouver, Vanier Park offers beautiful views of downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park. It is a site of the ancestral Squamish settlement of Sen̓áḵw, which was destroyed by the Provincial government at the beginning of the 20th century.
The park is home to the Museum of Vancouver, H.R. MacMillan Space Centre and Vancouver Maritime Museum. I will provide further information in the post.
There is a big grass area perfect for having a picnic or flying a kite, tranquil ponds and a launching dock for boats. There are several benches for those who want to enjoy the scenery along the path.
Check Out the H.R. Macmillan Space Centre
The H.R.MacMillan Space Centre is located on the south side of False Creek in Vanier Park, inside the same building as the Museum of Vancouver. The Space Centre has a planetarium, observatory and a theatre.
The Centre’s highlight is the Planetarium, which offers shows once every hour. With your admission ticket, you will have access to one show per day. It is a great place to visit with the whole family, where you can learn about the stars and the universe.
The films feature a variety of topics, including the Milky Way Galaxy, meteor showers and black holes. They run for about 45 minutes, and there are usually at least four different films throughout the day. If you want to know what is showing, you check out the Daily Show Schedule on the H.R.Macmillan Space Centre website.
Learn Some History at the Museum of Vancouver
The Museum of Vancouver is the largest civic museum in Canada and the oldest museum in Vancouver. It is a family-friendly place where you can learn about the city’s history from 1900 to 1970. If you need an activity for a rainy day, this is one of them.
You can spend between 1 to 2 hours inside the museum, depending on your level of interest. Some of the things you will see are mannequins in period clothing, Indigenous artifacts, and vintage home appliances like 1950s TVs and laundry machines.
Visit False Creek Fishermen’s Wharf
At the Fisherman’s Wharf, you can buy some quality fresh seafood directly from the fishermen who caught it! You will need to find out when the boats arrive. It is also a good place to talk to the fisherman who can explain how they fish and preserve the fish by freezing it at minus 50 degrees within minutes of catching it.
Go Shopping on Granville Island
The trendy Granville Island is a great place to eat, relax and visit art galleries and theatres. If you like shopping, especially for unique gifts and handmade artisan products, you will love this place. Granville Island is incredibly vibrant in the summer, with live entertainment outside.
One of the best things to do here is exploring the Granville Island Public Market. You can take a 2-hour Food Walking Tour and learn about Vancouver’s food culture, meet local artisans and vendors and sample homemade culinary delights, such as fine cheeses, ciabatta bread, artisanal chocolates and freshly made doughnuts. >>Book your Granville Island Food Tour here
Relax in Sutcliffe Park
Sutcliffe Park is a small park situated between the Seawall and Granville Island. It offers plenty of lovely places to sit and enjoy the views of False Creek. Many flowers line the pathways during the spring and summer months, and during the cherry blossom time, the park is immersed in a soft pink glow.
The park also features a duck pond and a pier for kayaks, canoes and other small craft. Granville Island Water Park is an excellent place for kids to play; the playground has slides, ladders, a medium climbing wall, a maze panel, a music panel and more.
Enjoy the Scenery in Charleson Park
Charleson Park has a beautiful pond, a small waterfall, a playground, peaceful pathways and wide-open grassy spaces for dogs to run and play.
The playground has a cool wooden pirate ship complete with a steering wheel and telescope on deck, and there are also climbing nets, a rope, a log bridge, a rubber hammock and two trampolines.
From the north side of the park, located by the False Creek seawall, you will get gorgeous views of the downtown shoreline.
Photograph Heather Civic Marina
The Heather Civic Marina is an ideal downtown location for boaters. It provides access to English Bay, Burrard Inlet, Gulf Islands, Howe Sound and the Sunshine Coast. The Marina is lovely to photograph, especially on a gloomy, cloudy day.
Did you know you can take a photography tour in Vancouver? Your guide will take you to the top locations inside the city and give you photography lessons while sightseeing. Some places include Granville Island, Stanley Park, sunset at English Bay and Gastown at night.
There are various photography tours to choose from; some of them will even take you to Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, Bowen Island, and as far as Garibaldi and Joffre Lakes. You will learn to take amazing photos whether you bring a DSLR or a smartphone. >>Book your Photography Tour here
Stroll through Hinge Park
The Hinge Park was created as part of the 2010 Winter Games Athletes Village. It includes a rainwater wetland with native plants, a bridge made from an old sewer pipe, a play park for children, benches, picnic areas and a tiny island. There is also a designated off-leash dog area, making this park a popular spot for dog walkers.
Explore Habitat Island
Located on the north side of Hinge Park, Habitat Island is mostly surrounded by water and is a sanctuary for birds. You can explore this tiny Island and walk by its shoreline, looking for starfish, crabs, fish and other creatures.
Habitat Island offers great views of False Creek and the Science World. We took some lovely photos from the east side of the Island.
Visit Vancouver’s Olympic Village
The Olympic Village was home to the athletes at the 2010 Olympics, held in Vancouver, the North Shore and Whistler. After the athletes left, the buildings were converted into 1,000 plus condo units. Now the Olympic Village is a trendy residential neighbourhood with many restaurants and coffee shops.
The Olympic village is situated between Manitoba Street, Salt Street, Walter Hardwick Avenue and Athletes Way. In the square, you will find a pair of giant sparrow sculptures; they are impossible to miss. The sculptures were created by local artist Myfanwy MacLeod.
Check Out Science World
Science World is located at the east end of False Creek and a few minutes’ walk from the Olympic Village. It is a family-friendly and fun place to visit for all ages. Inside the mirror-like ball that sits on the top is the Omnimax Theatre; you can see fantastic films on the world’s largest domed movie screen.
Throughout the day, you can attend live science shows in the Science Theatre and the outdoor stage at the Ken Spencer Science Park that features some science topics, like gravity, air pressure and energy. The shows are filled with fascinating experiments and interesting facts. Other things to see at the Science World are galleries and art displays that feature works by local artists.
Visit BC Place Stadium
If you like professional sports, this is one of Vancouver’s best places to visit at game time. It was built for the Expo 86 World’s Fair and has a capacity of about 54,500 people. Many of the city’s major events and concerts occur at BC Place Stadium.
The BC Place Stadium was also used during the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Games. It is a home venue for the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team and BC Lions football team.
Dine at Yaletown District
The trendy Yaletown neighbourhood is located just a few blocks southeast of the BC Place Stadium. It is home to some of Vancouver’s best restaurants and has the largest selection of award-winning boutiques. You can also find a few parks and outdoor seating areas in the district.
David Lam Park, located inside the Yaletown District, is one of the largest parks in the downtown Vancouver area. It features tennis and basketball courts, a soccer field and a playground.
The Yaletown District used to be a heavy industrial area dominated by warehouses and rail yards. Since Expo 86 World’s Fair, it has been transformed into one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the city.
Enjoy Sunset From Sunset Beach
Sunset beach is located along the north side of False Creek. The park offers small sandy beaches and grassy areas great for sunbathing during warm summer months. There is sunshine for most of the day. Showers are available near the concession stand.
If you like some quiet time, you can sit on one of the logs on the beach during the day and watch the boats go by or watch the seals, birds and otters. If you enjoy cycling, a biking trail links the park to the nearby Stanley Park.
The beach is beautiful to visit during the sunset; you can take some fantastic sunset photos from here.
Walk Over False Creek Bridges
If you have more time and enjoy the lovely scenery, go for a walk over one of the three bridges that cross the False Creek waterfront – the Cambie Street Bridge, Burrard Street Bridge and Granville Street Bridge.
Activities to Do Around False Creek
It is easy to spend an entire day around False Creek; there is so much to see and do. If you want to enjoy the views of False Creek from the water, you can take the mini ferry, go kayaking or take a boat tour. You can also stop at one of the restaurants for lunch, visit a local coffee shop or buy homemade gelato.
Bike the False Creek Seawall
If you prefer biking, or if you do not have enough time to explore the False Creek on foot, you can cycle along the Seawall. The path is located along the waterfront and is secluded from the noise and traffic of the roadways. The area can get bustling, especially during the summertime.
The entire Seawall measures 28 kilometres and begins at Canada Place on the Burrard Inlet (Coal Harbour) and continues around Stanley Park and False Creek, past Granville Island, and extends beyond Kitsilano Beach Park. >>Book your Bicycle Tour here
Take the Harbour Ferry
Cruise through the scenic urban waters of False Creek with one of the two ferry companies that operate daily scheduled services: Aquabus and False Creek Ferries. They can drop you off at most of the tourist sites.
The stops differ a bit between the two companies, so make sure to check their websites for more details.
On Canada Day and during fireworks nights, you can watch the False Creek Ferry Ballet, which includes figure eights, crossovers, starbursts and more. The False Creek Ferry skippers have been performing a choreographed ‘ferry ballet’ for over thirty years.
False Creek is a very popular area for kayaking and canoeing. There are ten marinas, several paddling clubs and boat rental facilities along the Seawall. You can start from the Olympic Village dock and venture all the way to English Bay and Stanley Park if you wish, but watch out for boat traffic!
You can rent a single or double kayak or take some lessons. False Creek is a popular place for rowing and kayaking year-round, but summer evenings bring the most people to the water.
If you enjoy guided kayaking tours, there is a variety of them offered in Vancouver. One of the most popular tours is kayaking in Howe Sound and snorkelling with seals. During this half-day eco-adventure, you will be provided with snorkel gear and a wetsuit; then, you will dive in for an up-close experience with seals. >>Book your Kayak Tour here
Take A Boat Tour
Travel along the False Creek all the way to a popular Lighthouse Park on a boat. Enjoy spectacular views and observe wildlife, including seal colonies! The tour departs from Granville Island and proceeds out to Vancouver Harbour.
Other points of interest include English Bay Beach, Siwash Rock in Stanley Park, Lions Gate Bridge and Kitsilano Beach. As you glide on the water, your knowledgeable guide will tell you about Vancouver’s history and culture.
The tour operates in all weather conditions and lasts for about 1.5 hours. Make sure to dress appropriately. >>Book your Scenic Boat Tour here
Enjoy False Creek at Night
False Creek offers impressive views of Vancouver’s skyline during the daytime and is a magical place to visit at night when all the buildings and bridges are lit up with hundreds of lights. If you like some peaceful time, you can sit on one of the many benches along False Creek and enjoy the scenery.
Watch the Dragon Boat Festival
Since 1986, False Creek has been the venue for the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival and other paddling events. The Dragon Boat Races happen in June around the Science World at the eastern end of False Creek, but the racing can be seen all along the waterfront.
The event usually starts on Friday evening with an opening ceremony and barbecue followed by an outdoor concert. There are food vendors, a marketplace, kid’s activities, circus performers, and live music.
More Info About False Creek
Would you like to know how did False Creek get its name? Or what kind of wildlife can you see around False Creek? Then keep reading.
Where Is False Creek Located?
False Creek is located along the southern edge of downtown Vancouver. It borders the West End and Yaletown to the north, the Olympic Village, and Granville Island to the south.
Lengthways, False Creek runs from the entrance to English Bay between Vanier Park and Sunset Beach in the west to Science World in the east. View the Map of False Creek.
How Long Does It Take To Walk Along the False Creek?
The distance from Vanier Park to Science Museum, then from Science Museum to Sunset Beach and back to Vanier Park along the Seawall is about 8.5 kilometres.
Walking the loop can take around two hours or more, depending on how many stops along the way you make and how fast you walk. To cycle, this route takes about half an hour.
How Popular is False Creek?
False Creek offers one of the city’s best views, making it a top-rated destination for walkers and bikers. There are two lanes along the False Creek seawall. One is for walkers and runners, and the other is for cyclists.
There is so much to see and do around False Creek; you can keep coming back and discover more each time you visit. The busiest months are during the summer. Both daytime and evening are good times to visit.
What Kind of Wildlife Can I Spot Around the False Creek?
Many seabirds can be seen around False Creek, such as cormorants, ducks, herons, kingfishers, owls, geese, crows, gulls and harbour seals.
In an unusual sighting in May 2010, a grey whale entered False Creek and traversed its length before returning to the open waters of the Strait of Georgia.
How Did False Creek Get Its Name?
False Creek was named by Captain George Richards. In 1859 he was surveying the coast and examining potential coal deposits on the south shore of Burrard Inlet. Richards thought he was traversing up Creek on the south side of the deposit but discovered it was, in fact, an inlet, thus naming it ‘False.’
Other Things to Do Near False Creek
Explore English Bay Beach
English Bay Beach, also called First Beach, is located along Beach Avenue between Gilford Street and Bidwell Street and is a great place to visit, especially during the warm summer months. The popular Stanley Park Seawall runs along the east side of the beach.
You can enjoy many amenities at the beach, including a Cactus Club Cafe, kayak rentals and storage, public washrooms, a swimming raft with a large slide, summer lifeguards, and two volleyball courts.
Visit Kitsilano Beach
Located at the north edge of the Kitsilano neighbourhood and along the English Bay, Kitsilano Beach is another top-rated beach in Vancouver. The beach is home to the salt-water outdoor Kitsilano Pool, the longest swimming pool in Canada. It is usually open from May to September.
The Kitsilano beach is a great place to visit during the summer or winter. There is a Vanier Park on the east side, and both are good places for walking or relaxing. There are lots of benches to enjoy the views of the water and the mountains.
Smell Flowers at Dr.Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden
There is so much beauty in Dr.Sun Yat-Set’s classical 15th-century garden. It is small but peaceful and tranquil. Located right in the heart of Vancouver’s historic Chinatown, it is a perfect urban oasis.
The garden is an authentic representation of Ming Dynasty-era tradition and the first of its kind outside China. It has been named one of the world’s “Top City Gardens” by National Geographic.
There are two entrances to the garden. One side is a public garden that has no entry fee. The other side is more scenic and has a fee to enter. It includes a guided tour that will walk you through the garden and around the jade pools.
Inside, you can also find a house with examples of Chines antique furniture, drink hot jasmine tea and visit a gift shop.
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