There are actually two "North Vancouvers": the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver, with separate city councils. Nearly everyone refers to them as a single entity of "North Vancouver", however.
The TransLink bus system connects North Vancouver with the rest of the TransLink system in Vancouver and its surrounding suburbs. Travelling within the North Shore (West Vancouver and Lions Bay) is a $2.75 fare. Crossing the harbour means crossing a fare zone boundary so a ticket to/from Vancouver, Burnaby or Richmond will cost $4 and a ticket to/from Surrey will cost $5.00.
TransLink also provides a ferry option to get to the North Shore, called the Seabus. This is a passenger only ferry that goes from Waterfront Station in Downtown Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. A ticket or transfer used on a bus or the Skytrain is also accepted on the Seabus.
The SeaBus runs every 15 minutes until 6:45pm M-F and 10am - 6:15pm on Saturdays. It runs every half hour at all other times. The SeaBus operates from about 6:00am to 1:20am, with shorter hours on Sunday. A schedule is available on the TransLink's website.
It is convenient to get around the North Shore by driving or taking the bus. There is also a variety of hiking and biking trails. The bus service is mostly aimed at getting people downtown so travelling from one part of the North Shore to another may involve a transfer. However, it is possible to reach many of the attractions by bus. There is excellent service between the SeaBus and many of the attractions on the North Shore, such as the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge or the Grouse Mountain Skyride.
Parking is quite plentiful and usually free on the North Shore. The City of North Vancouver has talked about installing meters around Lonsdale Avenue, but so far nothing has been done.
Hwy 1, or the Upper Levels Highway, runs east-west from the Second Narrows Bridge to West Vancouver and provides quick transit across the city. However, if you're going to see the attractions, you'll need to get off the highway. Lonsdale Avenue runs north-south through middle of the City of North Vancouver, while Capilano Road, Lynn Valley Road and Mount Seymour Parkway provide access to the areas above and east of the highway. Many shops, restaurants and businesses are located along Marine Drive and Lonsdale Avenue.
The North Shore bus system is built around the three hubs of Park Royal in West Van, Lonsdale Quay in North Van and Phibbs Exchange in North Van. Buses run between each of these hubs and out to the various attractions and parts of the region (e.g., Grouse Mountain, Horseshoe Bay, Deep Cove, etc.). Park Royal and Lonsdale Quay have buses that connect with downtown Vancouver while Phibbs Exchange has buses that connect with Vancouver and Burnaby. Travel within the North Shore on the bus system is considered one zone and costs $2.75. Taking the bus outside of the North Shore will be two or three zone travel and will cost more ($4.00 or $5.00, depending on the destination), unless it is a weekday after 6:30pm or a weekend/holiday (when all zones are $2.75). If you are a student (in some cases a valid student ID will be requested) then the fare for one zone is $1.75. If it is after 6 pm or a weekend/holiday then the fare will be $1.75 regardless of zones crossed.
For those who want a good workout (there are a lot of hills), there are several designated bike routes in North Vancouver. Generally, they are well signed and on quieter streets, but do not always have bike lanes marked on the pavement. A map is available from the Translink website.
Grouse Mountain, 6400 Nancy Greene Way (head north on Capilano Rd until it ends, or take bus #236 from Lonsdale Quay), ☎ +1 604 984-0661, . Open every day, 9AM - 10PM. Board the Grouse Mountain Skyride at the parking lot and be carried up the mountain to the "Peak of Vancouver". Up top, there are various activities including (depending on the time of the year) hiking, skiing, ice skating, helicopter tours, a lumberjack show and a refuge for endangered animals. Indoors, there are restaurants, two shops and a theater. And if you tire of all that, there's always the view of Vancouver laid out below you.$14 child, $24 youth, $36 senior, $40 adult. Price includes admission to many activities. edit
Capilano Suspension Bridge, 3735 Capilano Rd (a few minutes north of Hwy 1 off Exit 14, or by bus #236 from Lonsdale Quay), ☎ +1 604 985-7474 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 604-985-7479), . Open daily 8:30AM - 8PM June to Labour Day; 9AM - 5PM winter (except Dec when it's 10AM - 9PM for the Canyon Lights); closed Dec 25. The largest of the two suspension bridges in the North Shore at 137 m across and sitting 70 m above the Capilano River, the Capilano Suspension Bridge offers visitors more than a wobbly walk. The area includes nature trails, Treetops (a series of elevated platforms near the tree canopy), Cliffwalk (a series of narrow platforms suspended over the edge of the canyon), a First Nations cultural center and several restaurants. BC residents can exchange their full-price ticket for a 365-day membership which gives discounts on shopping and on future tickets for visitors. Bridge and far side of park are not wheelchair accessible.$12 child, $22 youth, $27 student, $31 senior, $33 adult. (49.34278,-123.11480)edit
Capilano Fish Hatchery, 4500 Capilano Rd, ☎ +1 604 666-1790. Open daily 8AM - 9PM in spring/summer, 8AM - dusk at other times. This is a working fish hatchery on the Capilano river in the Capilano River Regional Park. There are many displays about salmon and the glass walls allow you to see the salmon jumping up the ladder during spawning season (roughly July to November). Within the park, there are many hiking trails and a picnic area at the Cleveland Dam.Free. (49.35616,-123.11047)edit
Lynn Canyon Park, Peters Rd (head north on Lynn Valley Rd from Hwy 1 (exit 19), turn right onto Peters Rd and follow it until it ends), ☎ +1 604 984-3149. Open daily 7AM - dusk. A great little park set on the forested slopes of Lynn Creek. The main draw is the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, which is shorter, less busy but almost as high as the more noted Capilano Suspension Bridge. The bridge connects to hiking trails on the both sides of the creek, with a common 20-30 minute hike being a loop that crosses the suspension bridge and follows the canyon down to Twin Falls. The creek is a popular swimming spot in the summer with pools above the suspension bridge and below Twin Falls. But be careful if swimming -- the water is icy cold (it is snow melt, after all) and read the warning signs; there are deaths almost every year.Free. edit
Lynn Valley Ecology Centre, +1 604 981-3103, . The ecology center, near the suspension bridge, has a number of displays on ecology and many activities for young kids.Admission is by donation. edit
Maplewood Farm, 405 Seymour River Place, ☎ +1 604 929-5610, . Open daily 10AM-4PM (April to mid-Sept); Tu-Su (mid-Sept to March). Once a working farm, Maplewood Farm is now open to the public so they can see what farming in North Vancouver was like. There are a number of traditional farm animals and a few more exotic animals. For kids, there are goats and rabbits to pet, ducks to feed and daily milking demonstrations. In the summer pony rides are often available for an extra charge on weekends.Adults $4.75, children and seniors $2.75. edit
Park and Tilford Gardens, 440-333 Brooksbank Ave (next to the JJ Bean coffee shop), ☎ +1 604 984-8200, . Eight themed gardens created in 1969 as a community service project for the enjoyment of the people of North Vancouver. The gardens include: The Oriental Garden, The White Garden, The Rock Pool, The Native Garden, The Herb Garden, The Display Garden, The Colonade Garden and the Rose Garden with 300 plants offering over 24 varieties.edit
Visit one of the many parks in the North Shore, including
Lonsdale Quay is a market, gathering place and transportation hub for North Vancouver. It has a prime spot for gazing at the skyline of downtown Vancouver and the nearby public areas and walking paths let you take in the views at your leisure and learn a little about the history of the area.
The Lonsdale Quay Market (123 Carrie Cates Court, Open daily 9AM-7PM, ) is a bustling and popular market, especially around lunch and early afternoon. The first floor has a variety of shops, mostly selling tourist-oriented souvenirs of varying quality and tackiness. The second floor has a more eclectic variety of shops and boutiques. The best value is the food options, with a diverse food court and a number of sweet smelling shops that entice with baked goods, sandwiches and treats. Climbing the steps outside to the revolving Q provides nice views across the harbour to downtown Vancouver.
Short walking options extend from either side of the Quay. Heading west past the McDonalds and the drop-off area (follow the Trans-Canada Trail signs) brings you to Waterfront Park. There is a small Japanese garden, a gazebo on the water and lots of green space and benches to enjoy the view or have a picnic. The curvy bars in the middle of the park are an artist's interpretation of the North Shore mountains. The park also hosts a number of summer festivals including Canada Day activities and Caribbean Days.
To the east, head out to the street (Carrie Cates Court), turn right and walk past the Seaspan tugboat dock to the red-roofed buildings. This is the Shipyards Historic Precinct, the site of what was once the largest shipyard in British Columbia. There are a number of displays that go through the history of shipbuilding on the North Shore and the 700 foot Burrard Dry Dock Pier offers views of Vancouver, the Burrard Inlet and North Vancouver.
At the foot of Lonsdale Ave, between Lonsdale Quay Market and the Shipyards Historic Precinct, is the Pacific Great Eastern Railway Station. In its day, it was the railway station for North Vancouver (1913-1928) and is now a restored heritage building. You can look inside the windows, but currently there is no admittance.
One of the things that drew people over to the North Shore in the early days was skiing and it continues to draw the crowds, particularly on weekends in January and February. The three ski hills offer a mix of downhill and cross-country skiing, tubing and snowshoeing. Opening and closing dates depend on the weather, but they are usually open by late November and close in early/mid April.
Grouse Mountain is accessed through the Grouse Mountain Skyride at the northern end of Capilano Road (Exit 14 from Hwy 1 or bus #236 or #232). It is known for its terrain parks (Jib, Rookie and Advanced) and the great views it provides of Vancouver. You can also snowshoe on the trails at the top of the mountain. The ski area is usually open as long as the Skyride is open (9 am to 10 pm). Full day Downhill tickets are $45 (adult), $35 (youth), $35 (seniors) and $20 (child) with discounts for night skiing (4 pm).
Mount Seymour is located in Mt. Seymour Provincial Park. It provides downhill skiing, tubing, a toboggan area and snowshoeing. The ski area is usually open from 9:30 am to 4 pm throughout the season, with night skiing (closes at 10 pm) starting in early/mid Dec and extending until March. Full day Downhill tickets are $39 (adult), $32 (youth), $27 (seniors) and $19 (child) with discounts for night skiing (4 pm).
The North Shore is world famous amongst mountain bikers as one of the best places to mountain bike. More information is available from the North Shore Mountain Bike Association . Some Favourite Trails are:
There are a number of beautiful hikes to do on the North Shore. It should be noted that most of the provincial parks parking lots charge parking fees in the summer.
Twin Falls is a short hike from the suspension bridge in Lynn Canyon Park.
Baden Powell Trail named after the founder of the Boy Scouts goes across the entire North Shore from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove. This is generally done in sections and can be accessed in a number of different locations.
The Grouse Grind. A stiff 2.9km hike, with 1,000m elevation gain, to the peak of Grouse Mountain. The busiest and best-known hiking trail in the Lower Mainland, this is more of a fitness thing than an outdoor experience. Proper footwear is highly recommended, and in the late afternoon, make sure to allow enough time to complete the climb before dusk. Stick to the trail as it is dangerous to stray off it. Admission is free. A tram ride back down is only ten dollars if you want to save your knees.
Lynn Creek There are a number of nice deep pools for swimming in on Lynn Creek. The water is quite cold, so most just do quick dips. Some locations are popular for cliff jumping. However, read the warning signs and be careful; there are deaths almost every year.
Post secondary education on the North Shore is through Capilano University. Capilano University grants degrees, diplomas, and certificates in a wide area of programs, though mainly in trades and vocational programs. It also offers many continuing education courses.
Capilano Mall, 935 Marine Drive at Hamilton Ave (North Vancouver), 604-980-8561, . Open every day. Anchor tenants are Sears and Walmart.
Lynn Valley Centre, 1199 Lynn Valley Rd (North Vancouver), ☎ +1 604-988-1515, . M-W, Sa 10AM-6PM, Th-F 10AM-9PM, Su noon-5PM. edit
Park & Tilford Shops & Gardens, 333 Brooksbank Ave (North Vancouver), ☎ +1 604-984-8200, . An outdoor shopping mall built around a unique garden. The garden was built originally when the mall site was occupied by a distillery.edit
Parkgate Village Shopping Centre, 3650 Mt. Seymour Parkway (North Vancouver), . edit
Additionally, many of the small villages within the North Shore have shopping districts, including Deep Cove and Edgemont Village (Ridgewood Drive and Edgemont Boulevard), . A drive or walk along Lonsdale Avenue, Marine Drive and Main Street will also yield plenty of shopping opportunities.
A good spot for souvenirs (plus fresh produce, seafood and baked goods) is the Lonsdale Quay Market, 123 Carrie Cates Court (at the SeaBus terminal in North Vancouver). Grouse Mountain has a gift shop in the bottom floor of the chalet with postcards, books, T-shirts, Native Art and other items. The Trading Post at Capilano Suspension Bridge has a large selection of First Nations art. There are also small gift shops in Deep Cove, Ambleside and Horseshoe Bay.
If your equipment needs a tune-up or you just want something new, Lonsdale Avenue has a number of shops that sell and repair bikes, snowboards and skis, as well as related accessories. If you need outdoor gear, a Mountain Equipment Co-op is at 1341 Main Street in North Vancouver. There are also a number of shops along Marine Drive that cater for these sports.
For big-box style bookstores, there is an Indigo at 1025 Marine Drive (at MacKay). The Book Warehouse, 1524 Lonsdale Ave, is part of an independant chain and has a good selection.
If you're looking to buy your own food, there are plenty of grocery stores (Safeway, Save-on-Foods, Superstore, IGA) scattered across the North Shore. There are also a number smaller stores that sell produce (Kin's Market is one chain), as does the market at Lonsdale Quay.
North Vancouver has a large number of restaurants serving a variety of tastes. Generally, if you drive along Marine Drive or Lonsdale Avenue you won't have a problem finding a restaurant. A selection of restaurants is below.
Beans on Lonsdale, 1804 Lonsdale Ave (18th and Lonsdale), ☎ 604-985-2326. 6AM-11PM M-F, 7AM-11PM Sa-Su. Popular coffee shop with sandwiches and soups. Usually has live music on Thursday nights.$3-$7. edit
Brazza, 1846 Lonsdale Avenue, ☎ 604-904-2333, . 6AM-11PM M-F, 8AM-11PM Sa-Su. Coffee and one of the largest selections of gelato in the North Shore.$3-$7. edit
Honey's, 4373 Gallant Ave (main street of Deep Cove), ☎ 604 929-4988. Popular cafe with soups, salads and a variety of baked goods. The donuts are legendary - freshly baked and generously sized with a cakey texture, honey-glazed coating and a bit of oil. Very tasty, but not the best thing for your diet.under $10. edit
Sushi Station, 1643 Lonsdale Ave, ☎ 604-990-8897. Very cheap and reasonably good sushi.edit
Waves Coffee House, 3050 Mountain Highway (Lynn Valley), ☎ 604-990-8799, . This coffee shop also offers a selection of coffee alternatives while providing free wireless internet access.edit
Andrea's, 153 West 16th St (one block west of Lonsdale), ☎ 604-985-0414. A neighborhood restaurant that's been around for a while. It serves mostly Greek and Italian food with large portions for reasonable prices.$10-$20. (49.32310,-123.07465)edit
Burgoo, 3 Lonsdale Ave, ☎ 604-904-0933, . Cozy restaurant that serves a variety of soups, sandwiches, stews and curries.Starters $3-$9; Mains $7-$16. edit
Colosseum Pizza, 107 East 12th St (half a block east of Lonsdale), ☎ 604-980-2212. A restaurant with a pizza selection built around the owners' travels through the Mediterranean. Choose from "Italian classic" pizza (including one with potato slices!), "Canadiana" pizza, pasta or something from the grill, dine-in or take-out.$9-$27. edit
Krua Thai, 1445 Lonsdale Ave, ☎ 604-990-9349, . 11:30AM-2PM M-F (lunch), 5PM-9PM M-Sa (dinner). Not as spicy as some but very good Thai food.$8-$15 for a curry. (49.32160,-123.07252)edit
Mumbai Masala, 138 West 16th St (one block west of Lonsdale), ☎ 604-984-8888, . A mix of Indian dishes.$8-$15. (49.32324,-123.07418)edit
Thai House, 180 West Esplanade, ☎ 604-987-9911, . Open daily 11AM-10:30PM. Thai cuisine from mild to spicy.edit
Tommy's, 1308 Ross Road (Lynn Valley), ☎ 604-988-0053. Daily from 8AM - 2PM. This restaurant is a mountain bikers favourite. They serve very good breakfast with free range eggs and nitrate free bacon if you wish.edit
The Observatory, 6400 Nancy Greene Way (located at Grouse Mountain and accessed through the Skyride), ☎ 604-980-9311, . Open daily, 5PM-10PM. Pricey, but good food. Restaurant is located in the top floor of the chalet atop Grouse Mountain. Admission to Grouse Mountain is complimentary with advance dinner reservations.Mains $39, appetizers $16. edit
Nightlife options in North Vancouver are limited. Clubbing is pretty much non-existent (you have to go to Vancouver to find night clubs), but there are a number of good neighbourhood pubs.
Sailor Hagar's Brew Pub, 233 W 1st St (Short walk from Lonsdale Quay), ☎ +1 604-984-3087, . Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM. Everything a pub should be, includes a great selection of beers, nice woodwork, and a fun atmosphere.edit
Jack Lonsdale's, 127-1433 Lonsdale, ☎ +1 604-986-7333. daily 10AM-11PM. Small pub with an older crowd.(49.32131,-123.07252)edit
The Black Bear Neighbourhood Pub, 1177 Lynn Valley Rd (next to Lynn Valley Center), ☎ +1 604-990-8880, . Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM. Popular spot to get a drink and watch the game.edit
The Raven, 1052 Deep Cove Rd, ☎ +1 604-929-3834, . daily 11AM-midnight. Excellent pub food at cheap prices; well worth the money. Cheap wing Wednesday nights are especially popular.edit
Seymour's Pub, 720 Old Lillooet (Highway 1, exit 22), ☎ +1 604-904-8778, . Usual pub fare at reasonable prices. Friday nights are busy with young locals especially during winter months.edit
Mosquito Creek, 2601 Westview Drive (Highway 1, exit 17), ☎ +1 604-983-3083, . M-Sa 11AM-1.30AM, Su 11AM-11PM. Centrally located on the North Shore. Thursday nights draw in larger crowds for their feature karaoke night.edit
Queens Cross Neighbourhood Pub, 2989 Lonsdale Avenue (Highway 1, exit 18), ☎ +1 604-980-7715, . Su-Th 11AM-midnight, F-Sa 11AM-1AM. Casual atmosphere and a diverse menu featuring great sandwiches.edit
Accommodation in North Vancouver is more scaled down than in Vancouver. You won't find the luxury chains here, but you can get clean comfortable rooms at a more reasonable price that still provide easy access to the city and most other destinations in the region.
Capilano R.V. Park, 295 Tomahawk Avenue (from the Lions Gate Bridge, head east on Marine Drive, turn right onto Capilano Rd and follow the signs), ☎ +1 604-987-4722, . This campground and RV park is set between the Capilano River and the Lions Gate Bridge. It has a swimming pool, laundromat, showers, Internet connection and other amenities.edit
There are a number of chain motels located around the intersection of Capilano Rd and Marine Drive, offering similar style rooms and amenities. The buildings are a bit older and nothing is four or five star luxury, but reviewers consistently indicate the rooms are clean and comfortable. Prices are typically $80-$180, depending on the size of the room and the time of the year. Most offer a complimentary breakfast.
Holiday Inn, 700 Old Lillooet Rd (exit 22 from Hwy 1), ☎ +1 604 985-3111 (toll free: 1-877-985-3111), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Rooms comes with fridge, microwave and flat screen TVs, while some suites have kitchenettes. The hotel includes free high-speed internet, indoor pool, sauna and fitness facility.$135 and up. edit
Lonsdale Quay Hotel, 123 Carrie Cates Court (top floor of Lonsdale Quay Market), ☎ +1 604 986-6111 (toll free: 1-800-836-6111), . A mix of standard rooms and suites with a fitness facility on site. A number of suites have harbour views but expect to pay more.Rooms $150-$450. Parking is $10/night. edit
Ocean Breeze Executive B&B, 462 1st St E, ☎ +1 604 988-0546 (toll free: 1-800-567-5171), . checkin: call ahead; checkout: 11AM. Many rooms have a view of the Vancouver skyline, small pets are allowed and it has wireless Internet access.$125-$195. edit
Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, 138 Victory Ship Way (Lonsdale & Esplanade), ☎ +1 604 986-7437 (toll free: 1-877-986-7437), . Opened in 2010 and has lovely rooms and amenities overlooking the Vancouver skyline. $125-$250. edit
All of the commercial and residential areas of the North Shore have cell phone coverage. However, the terrain is quite mountainous and therefore there are dead spots here and there. Once you get off on the hiking trails you lose cell phone coverage amazingly quickly.
When hiking in the mountains here, do not go beyond your abilities or provisions. Stay on well marked trails and leave plenty of time to get back to the trailhead before night fall which happens quite quickly in the dense forest. Many hikers have to get rescued every weekend from the trails in the summer. Most of these are unnecessary rescues where tourists were completely unprepared and got lost on the trails.
There are a lot of black bears around in the summer. Be Bear aware when hiking around the North Shore areas.
If you're not ready to return to Vancouver yet, the North Vancouver offers several options for day trips and moving on.
West Vancouver, next door, has more parks, hiking and scenic views to take in.
West and north on Hwy 99 takes you through the Sea to Sky region, which offers varied outdoor activities including hiking, swimming, rock climbing and camping. It also takes you to the resort area of Whistler, with its nightlife, fine dining and a wide variety of activities that will keep you busy regardless of the season.
An alternative way to get to Whistler is by train on the Whistler Mountaineer. The trip is designed to maximize viewing opportunities so the train does not move fast (approximately 3 hrs each way). There are a variety of options available (day trip, overnight packages, one-way train with bus or float plane options back). One way on the standard Coast Classic car is $105/$55 (adult/child); round trip is $189/$99. The more upscale Glacier Dome car is $175/$125 one-way and $299/$209 round-trip. The train runs from May to October.
For something more adventurous, rent a kayak in Deep Cove or charter a boat and head up Indian Arm to Indian Arm Provincial Park for the day or camp overnight with the sound of the waves lapping against the shore.