The 4 Best Views of Vancouver, B.C.: Vancouver from Above

Vancouver, Canada, is beautiful. Vancouver from above, with its jaw-dropping views of nearby mountains and epic skyscrapers, is ten times better.

Last updated: May 24, 2024

Places not to miss in Vancouver, Canada - Roads and Destinations
The best views of Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver from Above: The Best Views of the City

Vancouver looks absolutely stunning from above. The views of white and silver skyscrapers with majestic mountains in the background are irresistible. No one can visit Vancouver without admiring the city from above. Needless to say, it’s one of those activities that you absolutely can’t miss in Vancouver, especially if it’s your first trip.

With just a few days in British Columbia, our chances of enjoying these splendid views were close to zero. But it seemed like the city itself wanted to impress us. Somehow we stumbled upon our first spot with the jaw-dropping views of Vancouver just a few hours after our arrival. Once we saw the charming city from above, we longed to enjoy more of it from this altitude.

Without further ado, grant me the pleasure to present to you our top picks on the best views of Vancouver.


Often during our travels, we try to stay within our budget. Thus, I’ll start the overview of the best places to see Vancouver from above with the most inexpensive and gradually move to the pricier options.

1. Queen Elizabeth Park

Among ample parks in and near Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth Park stands out as one of the most favorite spots to observe the spectacular city from above. There is no secret behind it. As the highest point in Vancouver (170 feet above sea level), the horticultural public garden offers incredible views of the park, the city, and the North Shore Mountains.

Two viewpoints guarantee different vistas of one of the world’s beautiful cities and its surrounding areas. The first, along the back side of the parking lot, looks straight down at Burnaby, the third-largest city in the province. The second observation point is difficult to miss. Located north of the Bloedel Conservatory, this spot ensures some awe-inspiring vistas of Vancouver with a few skyscrapers in the background.

TIP: The second popular park in the city is free to visit. You pay only parking fees. Typically, it ranges from $2.60 CAD per hour or $7.10 CAD per day from October 1 to April 30. From May 1 to September 30, the parking fee is $3.60 CAD per hour or $13.10 CAD per day.

Vancouver from Above - Roads and Destinations
Views of Vancouver from Queen Elizabeth Park

2. Vancouver Lookout

Have you ever seen a “flying saucer“, an integral part of the majority of images of downtown Vancouver, and wondered what it is? Allow me to introduce to you the Vancouver Lookout – your go-to place for a 360º aerial view of the city.

Your journey to the remarkable vistas at 553-feet above sea level starts with a 40-second elevator ride. Slowly then faster and faster, the glass box moves skyward, unveiling large downtown buildings before taking you to a famous observation deck.

And this is a place where the panoramic vistas of bustling Vancouver, the Pacific Ocean in the distance, world famous Stanley Park, the epic North Shore Mountains, and the Olympic Peninsula Mountains become a reality.

The use of the elevator is free. Access to the iconic “flying saucer”, however, is limited to those who, upon request, can show stamps with the words “Vancouver Lookout” on their wrists. For less than $20 CAD you can get your own mark on the first floor of the building.

TIP: Make sure not to wipe out your hands clean after leaving the tallest tower in the city. Since the tickets are valid all day long, you can come back and enjoy the panoramic views of Vancouver as many times as you want.

Views from the Vancouver Lookout - Roads and Destinations
Views from the Vancouver Lookout 

3. Views of Vancouver from Grouse Mountain and Grouse Mountain Skyride

Grouse Mountain is better known as a world-famous ski resort. But when it comes to finding the best views of the city from above, this North Vancouver‘s jewel is certainly one of the first places to consider. The stunning views of downtown, Coal Harbor, Stanley Park, and the surrounding mountains unfold the moment you step on the observation deck at the Peak Chalet on Grouse Mountain, located about 3,700 feet above sea level.

The best way to reach the Peak of Vancouver is via Skyride, North America’s largest aerial tramway system.  For over 25 years, this incredible attraction has been allowing millions of visitors to admire the breathtaking vistas of the city, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf Islands, and snowy peaks of the mountains.

Admission: The Skyride operated 365 days a year. A round trip to Grouse Mountain costs about $60 CAD. Discounts for seniors, kids, and families are available.

As an alternative, you can hike along the Grouse Grind, a 1.8-mile trail up the face of Grouse Mountain. On your way back, take the Skyride. Although you may miss the stunning city views while tramping up the mountain, the vistas from the Skyride taking its passengers downhill fully compensate for the lost panoramas.

British Columbia - Roads and Destinations
Views of downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park from Grouse Mountain

4. Helicopter Tour

The ideal way for the first-time visitors to see Vancouver from above is to join one of dozens of helicopter tours. The unforgettable views of the city are guaranteed!

On the other hand, the flying tours are rather expensive adventures. The 15-minute helicopter ride costs almost $400 CAD per person. Consider that a minimum two passenger booking is required, and you look at about $800 CAD for the admission. This is almost as much as we paid for two adult and one infant-on-lap round airplane tickets from Los Angeles to British Columbia.

Final Thoughts

Seeing Vancouver from above is one of the most epic ways to explore the city. Just reviving those images in my mind makes me want to go back and enjoy the scenic vistas over and over again. You can skip the most expensive options, like we did. Yet be sure to add a few cheaper or free places that offer some of the stunning views of the city to your itinerary.

Views from above, British Columbia - Roads and Destinations
The best views of Vancouver, B.C.

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