If you’re the type that prefers more cultural immersion and less “give me more cocktails by the pool at my tropical resort, stat!” in your vacation, then a trip to Vancouver may just have exactly what you are looking for. Located in beautiful British Columbia, Vancouver is blessed with a deluge of museums and art galleries just waiting to expand your cultural and intellectual horizons. With something to suit everyone from your littlest holiday companion to your most discerning, here are a few of the best:

Vancouver Art Gallery

With a special focus on domestic and local artists, visitors will be impressed at the breadth and depth of Canadian talent on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The gallery houses over 10,000 exhibits, as well as regular touring and temporary exhibits from all over the world. In its permanent collection, you will find over 200 works from renowned Canadian artist Emily Carr and works from 17th century Dutch masters as part of the European History exhibit.

Alas, the artworks cannot make it home with you (no doubt this is a good thing your bank balance!), but the gallery gift shop can try to fill the void on your wall with replica posters of the best. Once you’ve absorbed all the culture you can handle for the day, head out to the famous gallery lawn and have a rest and a drink in the sun. The home of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic count-down clock, the lawn is a common place for large gatherings, so you may find anything from a flash mob to a demonstration to free Tibet.

Museum of Vancouver and H.R MacMillan Space Centre

In Vanier Park you will find the museum equivalent of a two for one offer, with the Museum of Vancouver sharing building space with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. In fact, the ExplorePass will allow you to visit the museum and space centre (and the nearby Vancouver Maritime Museum) for a discounted price – that’s a lot of culture in one day! Luckily these two museums are on the smaller side, so you can easily fit them into one day with a walk around Vanier Park.

The Museum of Vancouver hosts a testament to Vancouver history and for today’s smart-phone kids, the museum offers technology they have probably never even heard of, let alone laid eyes on – think old school telephone switchboards and vintage 60s fashion they can try on for themselves. Groovy baby! Meanwhile in outer space, the H.R MacMillan Space Centre hosts a planetarium and observatory to delight space cadets young and old.

UBC Museum of Anthropology

Located within the grounds of the University of British Columbia, the UBC Museum of Anthropology offers an impressive exhibit of First Nation artefacts from the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. Canadians will find something very familiar here, with the exhibit housing the sculpture “The First Men” by First Nation artist Bill Reid – the symbol that appears on the Canadian $20 bill. Exhibits from early South America and Africa are also on display as part of the 500,000+ exhibits that make up this impressive museum. So channel your inner Indiana Jones and swing by for a visit (maybe leave the whip and hat at home though).


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