The list of interesting areas near downtown Vancouver is long. To some extent, the choice of places to see depends on a visitor’s personal interests. Some sites are very popular, however. I’ll describe a selection of these sites.
First, I think that everyone who visits Vancouver should try to get to Stanley Park if they can. The cultivated areas, forest trails, beaches, aquarium, and attractive scenery are all enjoyable to explore. Canada Place is located in the downtown area and definitely deserves a visit as well, as does the trail connecting Canada Place to Stanley Park. Gastown has an interesting atmosphere and is a great place for a walk.
I would also try to visit three places located further afield from the downtown area if I were a visitor. They can all be reached by public transit and are on the itinerary of some tour buses. Two of these places are Queen Elizabeth Park and the Bloedel Conservatory. The conservatory is located in the park.
Queen Elizabeth Park is located on an elevation known as Little Mountain, which is the highest spot within the city of Vancouver. The park contains several sites of interest, including two lovely quarry gardens. These gardens are enjoyable to see at any time of year but are most attractive during the growing season—spring, summer, and early fall.
Bloedel Conservatory is situated in a domed enclosure at the top of Little Mountain. According to the City of Vancouver website, it contains 500 exotic plants and more than 120 free-flying exotic birds. I always enjoy my visits there. Unlike the case for the park itself, visitors must pay an admission fee to enter the conservatory. The cost is not exorbitant, however.
The VanDusen Botanical Garden is another attractive place to visit and is quite near to Queen Elizabeth Park. It occupies 55 acres and contains more than 7,500 types of plants from around the world. It's a wonderful place for plant lovers. Like Queen Elizabeth Park, it contains places for visitors to rest and eat.