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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 412 Hotels near English Bay Inukshuk
Best Western Plus Sands $81
Best Western Plus Sands

Best Western Plus Sands

1755 Davie St, Vancouver
     
    4.0
    of 5, from 1,328 reviews
    3.0 out of 5.0

    Located in West End, 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).

    Century Plaza Hotel & Spa $116
    Century Plaza Hotel & Spa

    Century Plaza Hotel & Spa

    1015 Burrard St, Vancouver
       
      4.1
      of 5, from 5,994 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.

      GEC Granville Suites Downtown $76
      GEC Granville Suites Downtown

      GEC Granville Suites Downtown

      718 Drake St, Vancouver
         
        3.9
        of 5, from 1,172 reviews
        3.0 out of 5.0

        Located in Downtown Vancouver, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Orpheum Theater, BC Place Stadium, and Canada Place. Granville Island Public Market and Stanley Park are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        Hotel Blu Vancouver $187
        Hotel Blu Vancouver

        Hotel Blu Vancouver

        177 Robson Street, Vancouver
           
          4.6
          of 5, from 1,337 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Located in Downtown Vancouver, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of BC Place Stadium and Vancouver Central Public Library. Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Rogers Arena are also within 15 minutes.

          Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver $197
          Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver

          Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver

          1161 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
             
            4.7
            of 5, from 389 reviews
            5.0 out of 5.0

            Located in Coal Harbour, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Christ Church Cathedral and Canada Place. Stanley Park and BC Place Stadium are also within 1 mi (2 km).

            Comfort Inn Downtown Vancouver $92
            Comfort Inn Downtown Vancouver

            Comfort Inn Downtown Vancouver

            654 Nelson St, Vancouver
               
              3.9
              of 5, from 2,781 reviews
              3.0 out of 5.0

              Comfort Inn Downtown Vancouver places guests a 6-minute walk from Vancouver Art Gallery and just a little farther from the city's bustling Chinatown, the largest in Canada. Stanley Park is 2 km (1.2 miles) away, and Granville Island a 20-minute walk from the hotel.

              English Bay Hotel $75
              English Bay Hotel

              English Bay Hotel

              1150 Denman Street, Vancouver
                 
                3.4
                of 5, from 415 reviews
                2.0 out of 5.0

                Located in West End, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Stanley Park and Vancouver Aquarium. Vancouver Convention Centre and BC Place Stadium are also within 2 mi (3 km).

                Sylvia Hotel $112
                Sylvia Hotel

                Sylvia Hotel

                1154 Gilford St, Vancouver
                   
                  4.2
                  of 5, from 1,451 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.