Vancouver may be an expensive place to live, but it’s also a beautiful one. From turquoise-tinted city skylines that have some dubbing Vancouver the “City of Glass” to kilometres (and kilometres and kilometres) of waterfront views from the famous Stanley Park Seawall, VanCity is ripe with gorgeous backdrops for social media posts.
So, whether your Instagram is full of fit checks or you consider yourself city documentarian, check out Vernice’s picks for the best photo spots in Vancouver (plus a few faves of my own) below.
@slicedotca Road trip anybody? 📸 @vernicet #vancouverphotography #vancouverlife #explorecanada #vancouverfashion #instainspo ♬ slide – ✿
Liberty Bakery & Cafe on Main
Sure, there are still plenty of Starbucks in the city, but why visit a chain when you can relax (and snap some photos) at a local treasure like Liberty Bakery? Located at the corner of Main and 21st, the cafe features crave-worthy baked goods, strong coffee and lots of art — making it perfect for snaps both inside the cafe (peep the charming arrangement of wall art I found) and outside.
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There are plenty of breathtaking beaches in and around Vancouver, but one of the best places to capture magic hour with a long beach view that looks like it could go on forever and ever (as Vernice captured to perfection in her TikTok) is Iona Beach Regional Park. Technically in Richmond, Iona Beach is close to YVR and sits in the midst of the Pacific Flyway — which means it’s also a great place to capture images of migrating birds, too.
City Centre Motor Hotel
If you like a colour-pop boost in your posts, then you’ll probably want to check out one of the more than 300 public art murals created throughout Vancouver as part of the Vancouver Mural Festival (VMF). In 2022, a partnership with the VMF brought a vibrant makeover to Main Street’s iconic City Centre Motel. Designed in collaboration between local artists Fiona Ackerman, KC Hall and Joon Lee, the full-wrap mural is a feast for the eyes — and your camera.
Burrard Street Bridge
Connecting the laid-back vibes of Kitsilano with the heart of downtown Vancouver, the Burrard Street Bridge is more than just functional. The art deco-style bridge features pedestrian walkways in both directions, making it a cool place to take in VanCity views, or to — as Vernice demonstrates in her TikTok — strike a fashion pose for the ‘gram.
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301 W Cordova
Any Vancouverite will tell you that there’s more to see in the Gastown neighbourhood than the “steam” clock. As Vernice shows in her TikTok, you can find cool downtown photo backgrounds on the city streets downtown.
Speaking of unique downtown photo spots, I’m partial to the unexpected beauty that can be found in some of the city’s alleys. While — let’s not romanticize things — most alleyways in the city are alley-like (be safe when exploring the area), you will occasionally stumble upon spots that have been made brighter.
Olympic Village and Science World
False Creek’s Olympic Village neighbourhood was originally developed to house athletes for the 2010 Olympic Games. Now, it’s a unique pocket of high-end condos, restaurants and views of a Vancouver landmark worth visiting for a photo or two — Science World. Built as the signature building for the 1986 World’s Fair, the giant geodesic dome makes for a very Vancouver photo – especially at night.
Built in 1914 and located in the heart of downtown, Waterfront Station is the city’s main terminus station for transit and features old-school vibes, which are sometimes hard to find in Vancouver. My favourite spot in the city, however, is just west of the station. Here, you’ll find a lookout that offers a wide variety of image backdrops: the white sails of Canada Place, blue waters and the rows of train tracks harkening to decades of people coming in and out of the city.