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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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Lodging Near English Bay Inukshuk

See all 303 Hotels near English Bay Inukshuk
$294
Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver

Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver

1161 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
4.8
of 5, from 91 reviews
5.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Vancouver, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Offsite and Canada Place. Stanley Park and BC Place Stadium are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$180
Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront

Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront

1133 Hastings St W, Vancouver
4.2
of 5, from 1,122 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

This downtown hotel overlooking Vancouver's Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, and the mountains is a 3-block stroll from the convention center, cruise ship terminal, and shopping on Robson Street.

The Residences on Georgia by Vancouver Extended Stay

The Residences on Georgia by Vancouver Extended Stay

1288 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
4.2
of 5, from 36 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Vancouver, this apartment is within a 15-minute walk of Offsite and Canada Place. Stanley Park and BC Place Stadium are also within 1 mi (2 km).

$130
Century Plaza Hotel & Spa

Century Plaza Hotel & Spa

1015 Burrard St, Vancouver
4.0
of 5, from 2,442 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.

$135
Best Western Plus Sands

Best Western Plus Sands

1755 Davie St, Vancouver
4.0
of 5, from 538 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Vancouver, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sunset Beach, Granville Island Public Market, and Stanley Park. Canada Place and BC Place Stadium are also within 2 mi (3 km).

$115
The Sylvia Hotel

The Sylvia Hotel

1154 Gilford St, Vancouver
4.2
of 5, from 639 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

In Vancouver's West End, The 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.

$189
Executive Hotel Vintage Park

Executive Hotel Vintage Park

1379 Howe St, Vancouver
3.8
of 5, from 1,373 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Just 2 blocks from the cafés and shops on Davie Street, Executive Hotel Vintage Park is a 12-minute walk from the Granville Island shopping district. It's a 6-minute drive to Gastown, Vancouver's oldest neighborhood, now a buzzing retail and nightlife hub.

$152
Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites

Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites

1763 Comox St, Vancouver
3.9
of 5, from 1,023 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Overlooking picturesque English Bay and adjoining the Denman Place mall, this 35-story downtown Vancouver hotel is 3 blocks from Stanley Park's many attractions and scenic seawall trail.