Things to do off the beaten track in Vancouver run the gamut from hiking over towering suspension bridges to unique statuary, climbing unusual staircases, and simply climbing a tree. Everyone knows the standard Vancouver attractions: Granville Island, the Museum of Anthropology, English Bay, and the like, but if you're a curious traveler, you'll find so much more to see and do outside of these crowded spots.

    Here, you can get back to nature while at the same time catching photos that are sure to be long-term highlights of your social media feed. Check out some of the most interesting, unusual spots in Vancouver that you'll swear only locals know.

    1

    Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

    Get back to nature, and don't spend a dime

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    The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is a lesser-known free-to-access suspension bridge that offers outstanding views of the surrounding Lynn Canyon park as well as easy access to outdoor adventure galore. After you capture photos or spend a few romantic moments enjoying the scenic surroundings, you can go swimming in the river, visit the Twin Falls, or spread a blanket out for a picnic on the other side of the bridge.

    This bridge offers hiking and cycling trails rated easy to challenging. It's an ideal way to get back to nature, it doesn't cost a dime, and it's just a 22-minute drive northeast of downtown.

    Location: 3690 Park Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7J 3K2, Canada

    Open: Daily from 7 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +1 604-990-3755

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    2

    Marine Building

    See stunning bas reliefs and visit a comic book landmark

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    The Marine Building is possibly most famous as a film stand-in for some of the most iconic buildings in comics history, offering outstanding architecture and historic status. When Canada was part of the British Empire, it was in 1930 the tallest building in the Empire. That's no longer true, but it's still a spectacle to see with an intricate, terra cotta exterior with bas reliefs of zeppelins, steamships, trains, and biplanes. Inside, the building is dazzling with equally stunning wall carvings.

    This building in the heart of downtown is also famed for movie appearances. It has appeared as the Baxter Building in the Fantastic Four movies and served as the Daily Planet in Smallville.

    Location: 355 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2G8, Canada

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8.30 am to 5 pm (closed Saturday–Sunday)

    Phone: +1 604-893-3257

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    3

    Cambie Climbing Tree

    Ascend an evergreen decked with toys and hammocks

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    The Cambie Climbing Tree is a towering evergreen rising above a quiet residential neighborhood that offers a beautiful and wondrous secret hidden gem of a hangout spot for locals. The tree's location is intentionally kept secret, but it's about a 10-minute drive south of downtown Vancouver. Once just a normal, albeit tall, tree, the locals have added within its branches a tire swing, hammocks, buckets of toys, and even a bench tucked within the roots if you don't want to climb.

    The branches of this tree are so close together that even novice climbers can reach the top. Be careful, though; there are no safety precautions in place, so be sure you know what you're doing when climbing.

    Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada

    photo by W & J (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    4

    Quarry Rock Hike at Deep Cove

    Walk an easy trail near a quaint country village

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    The Quarry Rock Hike at Deep Cove is the place to go for a day hike to catch spectacular views with a variety of different environments near a quaint village. Before you start, or after you finish, grab a doughnut and coffee at a local café in Deep Cove Village, then hit the trails. It's an all-season hike that's easy enough that even children can go. It's also a dog-friendly spot, so bring Fido along and enjoy a relaxing nature walk.

    The trail is about a half hour's drive to the east of downtown Vancouver. It covers about 2 and a half miles one way, so count on a few hours to hit the entire trail.

    Location: 2400 Panorama Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7G 1V5, Canada

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    5

    Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

    Visit Vancouver's most famous suspension bridge

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    The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park offers several miles of outdoor adventures through a thick, green, evergreen forest, with a classic suspension bridge rising 230 feet above the Capilano River. The park does carry an entry fee, which goes towards the park's protection and conservation efforts. It's in North Vancouver, just a few minutes from downtown.

    The bridge is famed for its appearances in several TV series ranging from MacGyver to Sliders, Psych to The Crow: Stairway to Heaven. It's even been featured in K-Pop videos. Other attractions here include Treetops Adventures and Cliffwalk, so you'll find plenty of adventures.

    Location: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1, Canada

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 604-985-7474

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    6

    Girl in Wetsuit

    See the Little Mermaid—only not

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    The Girl in Wetsuit at Stanley Park is a famed statue of a nude woman based on the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, offering unique history and photo ops. The statue in Copenhagen has been copied many times but technically remains under the artist's copyright. This one has been changed just enough to avoid copyright. They "updated" the mermaid by giving her a stylish wetsuit, snorkel gear, and fins.

    This rendered the Girl in a Wetsuit more family-friendly and portrayed her as a unique and popular landmark. Any visit to Vancouver should include a photograph of the statue to highlight your Instagram profile. She can be found just 10 minutes north of downtown.

    Location: 2743 Stanley Park Dr, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 604-873-7000

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    7

    Vancouver Police Museum

    Learn the history of Vancouver law enforcement

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    The Vancouver Police Museum offers visitors a look at the history and archives of the local police force throughout the city's history, including the original morgue. You can see the autopsy suite used in days past and check out their collection of around 30,000 artifacts, photographs, documents, and ephemera. These include everything from historic firearms to counterfeit money. The museum is managed and operated by the Vancouver Police Historical Society.

    The museum also offers youth and children's programs where kids can learn about forensic investigation. An onsite book store offers a collection of history and crime books written by local authors. It's a unique and interesting attraction located right in the heart of downtown Vancouver.

    Location: 240 E Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1L3, Canada

    Open: Saturday from 11 am to 5 pm, Sunday from noon to 5 pm (closed Monday–Friday)

    Phone: +1 604-665-3346

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    photo by Bobanny (CC0 1.0) modified

    8

    Nine O'Clock Gun

    See the gun that sailors set their watches by

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    • History
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    The Nine O'Clock Gun has stood sentinel to defend Canada for more than 100 years, a quirky piece of naval artillery that still fires every day, yes, at 9 pm. The cannon was never set up as an actual defensive installation; rather, it was intended to alert fishermen to the end of the workday. The gun is said to be so accurate that sailors set their timepieces to the blast. It has even built a collective of online followers who watch it go off on social media every day.

    The gun is located on the Stanley Park Seawall. It's only about 10 minutes north of downtown and is sure to be an exciting addition to your social media.

    Location: Stanley Park Dr, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 604-873-7000

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    9

    Gassy Jack Statue

    See an iconic statue dedicated to an iconic man

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    The Gassy Jack Statue is an effigy of the Vancouver Gastown neighborhood namesake, John Deighton, and is an iconic public art installation that's a famous photo destination. Deighton gained his name because he was a barrel-chested, loud storyteller and talker. Deighton was well-traveled, having spent time in Hong Kong, England, and San Francisco. He opened a saloon in 1867 and became the patriarch of the community that built up around it. That community today is Gastown.

    The statue is in the heart of Gastown and is mated to a nearby second statue that's slightly different and shorter. The original is on Water Street, just 7 minutes from downtown Vancouver.

    Location: 1 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2H9, Canada

    Open: 24/7

    Phone: +1 604-401-5123

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    10

    Spiral Staircase to Nowhere

    Climb a staircase that just stops

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    The Spiral Staircase to Nowhere at the Woodward's Building is exactly what it sounds like: a unique spiral staircase in an outdoor former department store plaza that goes nowhere. The stair reaches the building's third floor, continues, but stops before it gets to the top. An outdoor plaza surrounds it with a public basketball court, an art installation, and tons of local shopping. It's said that it represents new life and the neighborhood's rebirth.

    The Spiral Staircase to Nowhere is a local staple, and the surrounding area has a fun community vibe. It's an easy 7-minute drive from the heart of central downtown Vancouver.

    Location: 333 Abbott St, Vancouver, BC V6B 0G6, Canada

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