This tree-backed public beach is a popular locals' hangout; they're the ones jogging past in Lululemon outfits. It's also a good spot to unpack a picnic and perch on a log to enjoy some sigh-triggering shoreline vistas. It was named after English Bay's 1792 meeting between British mariner Captain George Vancouver and his Spanish counterpart Dionisio Galiano.

While the two captains parted amicably, it was Vancouver's name that would eventually grace the city that he almost certainly did not imagine would rise out of the area's dense wilderness. As for Galiano, posterity remembered the Spaniard by naming a tiny Gulf Island after him.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vancouver attractions

1. Jericho Beach

1.25 MILES

An activity-lover's idyll, Jericho is great if you just want to putter along the beach, clamber over driftwood and catch stunning views of downtown. It's…

2. Pacific Spirit Regional Park

1.41 MILES

This stunning 763-hectare park stretches from Burrard Inlet to the North Arm of the Fraser River, a green buffer zone between the UBC campus and the city…

3. Chung Collection

1.52 MILES

Leave your photo ID at the front desk of the lower level of UBC's main library building, and then wander around a roomful of exhibits chronicling the…

4. Beaty Biodiversity Museum

1.62 MILES

A family-friendly museum showcasing a two-million-item natural-history collection including birds, fossils and herbarium displays. The highlight is the…

5. Morris & Helen Belkin Art Gallery

1.66 MILES

This ever-intriguing gallery specializes in contemporary and often quite challenging pieces, with chin-stroking new exhibitions opening in its high…

6. Old Hastings Mill Store Museum

1.71 MILES

Built near Gastown in 1865, this gabled wooden structure is Vancouver’s oldest surviving building. Originally a store for sawmill workers, it made it…

7. Pacific Museum of Earth

1.72 MILES

Across from the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, this sparkling little attraction has really upped its game in recent years. The cabinets of shimmering minerals…

8. Museum of Anthropology

1.72 MILES

Vancouver's best museum is studded with spectacular indigenous totem poles and breathtaking carvings – but it's also teeming with artifacts from cultures…