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Exploring Vancouver’s Hidden Gems: A Guide to Lesser-Known Parks and Green Spaces

Welcome to the vibrant city of Vancouver, where stunning natural landscapes blend seamlessly with urban charm. While iconic attractions like Stanley Park and Granville Island are undoubtedly must-visit destinations, this city has a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered by intrepid explorers like you. 

From secret rooftop gardens to secluded beach swings, Vancouver is brimming with unique and lesser-known places that will leave you in awe. So, slip on your adventure shoes and join us as we unveil Vancouver’s best-kept secrets.

1. Phillips, Hager, and North Garden at Vancouver Public Library

Nestled on the ninth level of the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch, the Phillips, Hager, and North Garden await. This hidden oasis is the city’s first public rooftop garden, offering breathtaking views of BC Place’s Rooftop and the downtown skyline. 

Whether you’re a bookworm searching for a tranquil location for your next page-turner or a photography enthusiast looking for that ideal composition, this garden is an essential destination. The most appealing aspect? It remains accessible throughout the year in alignment with library hours, allowing you to relish the breathtaking scenery as you delve into an enthralling read. 

To read more about this picturesque haven and its features, continue exploring our guide.

Location: Central Library – 350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

2. Parker Art Salon in Strathcona

Hidden within a century-old industrial building in Strathcona, the Parker Art Salon is a haven for creativity and artistic expression. Once a mattress factory, this sprawling space houses over 200 artists who showcase their talents through stunning graffiti on the exterior walls. 

As you explore this hidden gem, admire the vibrant murals and immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the local art scene. Fun fact: Parker Street Studios even served as the backdrop for Dan Mangan’s music video, “Robots.”

Location: 1000 Parker Street, Vancouver

3. Vancouver’s Hidden Bars and Restaurants

Something is thrilling about stumbling upon a hidden bar or restaurant tucked away from the bustling streets. Vancouver is home to many secret establishments that have recently gained popularity among locals. 

From The Basement Hotel Belmont to Hello Goodbye and Laowei, these hidden gems offer an immersive experience that combines delectable food and drinks with an air of mystery. So, step through faux refrigerator doors, whisper secret passwords, and embark on a culinary adventure.

Location: Various

4. Habitat Island: A Tranquil Retreat in False Creek

Within False Creek, Habitat Island is a hidden sanctuary that transports you to a world of tranquility amidst the bustling city. This picturesque peninsula is a haven for nature lovers seeking solace. 

Take a leisurely stroll across the narrow bridge leading to a small forest, perfect for exploring or finding a serene spot on the beach to unwind. Despite its proximity to the city, Habitat Island offers a sense of serenity that makes you feel far away from the urban chaos.

Location: Just off of Hinge Park in False Creek

5. Mountain View Cemetery: A Peaceful Haven of Reflection

Steeped in history, Mountain View Cemetery is Vancouver’s final resting place for nearly 150,000 individuals. This 106-acre land serves as a peaceful retreat, inviting visitors to take a leisurely walk while reflecting on the city’s past and the lives of its inhabitants. 

Join a guided tour or attend the annual All Souls events in the fall to delve deeper into the rich tapestry of Vancouver’s history. By exploring this hidden gem, you’ll better appreciate the city’s heritage.

Location: West of Fraser Street, between 31st Avenue and 43rd Avenue

6. Granville Island: More Than Just a Market

While Granville Island may be a popular destination, its hidden gems lie beyond the bustling Public Market. Venture into the lesser-explored corners of Granville Island to discover a culinary paradise. Engage in conversations with local producers, who have shared their goods for generations, and sample fresh produce, baked goods, and other delicious treats. 

As you wander through the market, let the live music serenade you, adding an enchanting touch to your visit. Granville Island is a feast for the senses, offering more than meets the eye.

Location: Granville Island, Vancouver

7. Explore the Hidden Beaches of Vancouver

Escape the crowds and discover the hidden beaches of Vancouver tucked away off the beaten path. These secret beach hangouts offer a tranquil retreat where you can relax, soak up the sun, and enjoy the soothing sound of the waves. 

From secluded coves to sandy shores, these lesser-known spots provide the perfect backdrop for a leisurely picnic or a quiet afternoon stroll. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Vancouver’s coastline and uncover the hidden treasures that await.

Locations: Various tucked-away spots along the coastline

8. Arbutus Greenway: A Scenic Urban Escape

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by venturing along the Arbutus Greenway. This former railway-turned-scenic trail stretches from False Creek to the Fraser River, offering walkers and cyclists a peaceful retreat amidst the urban landscape. 

As you meander along the pathway, take a moment to admire the quaint farms at West 6th Avenue, showcasing a slice of rural charm within the city limits. The Arbutus Greenway is a hidden gem that will rejuvenate your spirit and provide a fresh perspective on Vancouver.

Location: Stretching from False Creek to the Fraser River

9. Vancouver Art Gallery: Unveiling Artistic Secrets

Beyond its prominent exhibitions, the Vancouver Art Gallery holds a secret that art enthusiasts will adore. Every Tuesday evening between 5 pm and 9 pm, the entrance to the gallery is donation-only, allowing everyone to experience the wonders of art without breaking the bank. 

Explore the galleries, immerse yourself in contemporary art, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere during special events like ‘FUSE Nights.’ The Vancouver Art Gallery is a hidden gem that opens doors to creativity and inspiration for all.

Location: Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver

10. Jericho Beach Bunnies: Fluffy Friends in Unexpected Places

While wildlife encounters are not uncommon in Vancouver, stumbling upon rabbits at Jericho Beach is a delightful surprise. These fluffy friends hop around the area, adding a touch of whimsy to your beachside adventures. 

Keep your eyes peeled as you stroll along the shoreline, and you might just spot these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The Jericho Beach bunnies are a charming reminder that magic can be found in the most unexpected places.

Location: Jericho Beach, Vancouver


Vancouver’s hidden gems await your discovery, promising unforgettable experiences and a deeper connection with the city’s essence. From rooftop gardens to secret bars, each hidden gem offers a unique story and a chance to create lasting memories. 

So, venture off the beaten path, embrace the spirit of adventure, and let Vancouver’s best-kept secrets unveil themselves before your eyes.