Museums in Vancouver offer an astounding complement to the city's natural beauty by showcasing a vibrant history and cultural scene of art, science, biodiversity, anthropology, and local stories. Here you can learn about the history of not just Vancouver or Canada, but of the entire world. You'll learn about the development and rise of civilisations, see the bones of dinosaurs, and explore the legacy of sports in British Columbia. You can see historically significant homes and explore the history of the police in the city.

    From global science and technology to quirky local stories, you'll find a wealth of interesting, exciting, and educational fun here. Learn about some of the best museums to discover Vancouver history, art, and culture.

    1

    Museum of Anthropology

    See one of the city's most beloved museums

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia offers the chance to see artefacts, documents, photographs, and ephemera from cultures thousands of years past. Exhibits inside include towering totem poles, bentwood boxes, cedar canoes, sculptures, masks, weavings, and textiles, among other artefacts. The building itself is considered a masterpiece of modernist architecture. At the Bill Reid Rotunda, you'll see breathtaking, legendary carvings like The Raven and the First Men. Free guided tours of the museum ensure that you don't miss anything important.

    When you're done seeing the exhibits, don't forget to stop by the gift shop with its collection of artwork by local indigenous craftspeople. It's located 15 minutes west of city centre right on the shoreline.

    Location: 6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2, Canada

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 604-822-5087

    Map

    photo by Xicotencatl (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    2

    Museum of Vancouver

    Learn about regional history

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The Museum of Vancouver is part of a trio of waterfront museums at Vanier Park offering an award-winning collection of civic history exhibits exploring the rich legacy of this city. As you explore the exhibits here, you'll learn about the native indigenous people who originally populated this region, and the development of culture here through colonisation, science, and industry up through the neon lights of the 1950s and on to today. The galleries are educational, eclectic, and fun, and are sure to excite and thrill visitors of all ages.

    Even better, you can get a pass that allows you to visit all the waterfront museums and explore all day. It's just 8 minutes southwest of city centre.

    Location: 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9, Canada

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 604-736-4431

    Map

    photo by Jeff Hitchcock (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Science World

    Get hands-on with cutting-edge technology

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    Science World is a gigantic metal orb offering an opportunity for kids interested in the STEM fields to get up close and personal with cutting-edge technology and education. Many of the exhibits here are hands-on, so kids and adults can explore their love of science and technology in all its forms and facets. You'll explore optical and auditory illusions, try mind-bending puzzles and challenges, and catch a science film at one of the largest OMNIMAX theatres in the world.

    You can try virtual reality experiences and attend a few adult-oriented after-dark science events in the evenings. It's located at the end of Vancouver's False Creek, just 5 minutes southeast of city centre.

    Location: 1455 Quebec St, Vancouver, BC V6A 3Z7, Canada

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +1 604-443-7440

    Map
    4

    H.R. MacMillan Space Centre

    Take a journey into the cosmos

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is housed in an iconic building evoking everything from the First Nations to the city's maritime history and transporting you into the universe. The space centre includes a majestic, gigantic planetarium where you can lie on your back and look out at a simulation of the entire cosmos as it revolves above you. The centre houses hands-on exhibits, explores the history of space research, and boasts an observatory where you can look through a gigantic telescope to see the stars and planets in all their glory.

    The planetarium also houses a regular lecture series where guest speakers talk about the latest discoveries. It's all just an 8-minute drive southwest of city centre.

    Location: 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9, Canada

    Open: Thursday, Saturday–Sunday from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm, Wednesday and Friday from 6.30 pm to 11.30 pm (closed Monday—Tuesday)

    Phone: +1 604-738-7827

    Map

    photo by (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    5

    Beaty Biodiversity Museum

    See an 82-foot-long blue whale skeleton

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The Beaty Biodiversity Museum showcases over 2.1 million specimens of life in all of its forms, from a blue whale skeleton to the tiniest insects and plant life. The museum opened on the University of British Columbia campus in 2010 and is a destination for those interested in natural history. The whale skeleton measures 82 feet long and is one of only 21 like it on display in the entire world. You can also view a documentary film about the skeleton's recovery and journey here.

    The whale, however, is just one of the 500-plus exhibits on display here, both permanent and rotating, so there's always something new to see. It's only a 20-minute drive west of city centre.

    Location: Vancouver Campus, 2212 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 604-827-4955

    Map

    photo by Xicotencatl (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    6

    Vancouver Art Gallery

    See thousands of masterworks in every media

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The Vancouver Art Gallery in the heart of city centre Vancouver offers an expansive collection of artwork from ancient masterpieces to important modern works. The 12,000-plus exhibits here include some of the most important pieces you can see in North America and cover just about every form of media from paintings and graphic arts to photography, carving, sculpture, and others. Artists represented range from Diane Arbus to Stan Douglas, Emily Carr, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol.

    The museum features permanent and rotating exhibits, so you'll always have something new to see. You can grab a bite at the on-site café and find a souvenir at the gift shop.

    Location: 750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7, Canada

    Open: Saturday–Monday, Wedneday–Thursday from 10 am to 5 pm, Friday and Tuesday from noon to 8 pm

    Phone: +1 604-662-4700

    Map

    photo by Jeff Hitchcock (CC BY 2.0) modified

    7

    Vancouver Maritime Museum

    Climb aboard a restored 80-ton schooner

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The Vancouver Maritime Museum explores the importance of the fishing and maritime industry in this city, its pre-colonial origins, and where it's going in the future. This museum, located in Vanier Park, is housed in a building considered to be a prime example of mid-century modern architecture with an A-frame structure built around a restored 80-ton schooner. The boat was the first vessel to explore the Northwest Passage and is named the St. Roch. You can explore the entire ship, cabins and all, then explore other naval history artefacts packed throughout the intimate but enchanting museum.

    The museum houses both permanent and temporary exhibits and offers hands-on experiences for kids. It's just a 10-minute drive southwest of city centre.

    Location: 1905 Ogden Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1A3, Canada

    Open: Tuesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays)

    Phone: +1 604-257-8300

    Map

    photo by flightlog (CC BY 2.0) modified

    8

    BC Sports Hall of Fame

    See sports memorabilia and drive a racing car simulator

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The BC Sports Hall of Fame examines the legacy of professional sports in British Columbia and honours some of the most famed and legendary players in history. What sets this museum apart from other sports museums is that the majority of the exhibits are hands-on and include many activities like a rock climbing wall, a racing simulator, and a virtual football experience. You'll also get to explore memorabilia from events like the 2010 Winter Olympics, and see exhibits enshrining important athletes like Terry Fox and Rick Hansen.

    The museum is located inside the gigantic BC Place stadium, just inside Gate A. It's easy to access because it's right in the heart of city centre.

    Location: Gate A of BC Place, Vancouver, BC V6B 4Y8, Canada

    Open: Friday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed Monday–Thursday)

    Phone: +1 604-687-5520

    Map

    photo by Daniel Lobo (CC0 1.0) modified

    9

    Roedde House Museum

    Walk into BC's Victorian past

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The Roedde House Museum was the home of Gustav Roedde, the very first bookbinder in Vancouver, and offers a look at life in Canada during the Victorian era. The home is still furnished in the same style it would have been during the late 19th century and is full of objects representative of the era including old family portraits, box cameras, kitchen appliances, desks, chairs, beds, and other decor and furnishings. After you explore the museum on a guided tour, you can enjoy tea and biscuits while you take in a classical concert or live jazz performance hosted by the museum.

    This is a wondrous place to take a walk into BC's past. It's located in the heart of city centre.

    Location: 1415 Barclay St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1J6, Canada

    Open: Wednesday–Friday, Sunday from 1 pm to 4 pm (closed Monday–Tuesday, Thursday)

    Phone: +1 604-684-7040

    Map

    photo by Jeff Hitchcock (CC BY 2.0) modified

    10

    Vancouver Police Museum

    Learn the history of crime and punishment in BC

    • Couples
    • Families
    • History
    • Photo

    The Vancouver Police Museum offers an intense and unique look at the history of crime, punishment, and law enforcement in Canada throughout the ages. The museum's collection of artefacts, photos, documents, and ephemera is 20,000 items strong and organised to tell the entire storey of the Vancouver Police Department. You'll see such things as counterfeit money, historic firearms, confiscated weapons, and even a disturbing coroner's forensic exhibit in what was once the city's morgue. Some even claim the museum is haunted.

    This museum is unique and one of the only museums of its kind in Canada. Be warned, though: Some of the exhibits are very graphic in nature. The museum is in the heart of city centre Vancouver.

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

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

    Phone: +1 604-665-3346

    Map

    photo by Bobanny (CC0 1.0) modified

    Start planning your trip

    Back to top

    Maps