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Explore the Vancouver Lookout

The Vancouver Lookout is a downtown attraction we’ve driven past many times since arriving here. I’ve used it as a landmark once or twice for navigating the city, as it stands out among the square skyscrapers of the city. This weekend, we finally made the time to actually go up the tower and check out the view from the top.

My husband and I have both been up other towers before, including the Seattle Space Needle as a family a few years ago. The girls don’t remember that, however, so it was fun to see their reaction when the elevator started up. As it emerged from the building with a view of the city as we sailed upward, both girls gasped. Several blocks away, we could see Holy Rosary Cathedral, which looked tiny from this angle.

Riding up the glass elevator on the Vancouver Lookout

At the top, we stepped off the elevator and were greeted by a hostess. A huge map of Vancouver sprawled across the wall to our right. The girls dashed straight across to the window and the hostess got two stools out for them to have a better view. I was happy for the stools too, because it’s hard to hold three girls up to look out the windows!

Looking at Canada Place from the Vancouver Lookout

It was evening while we toured the Lookout, so we had beautiful views of the sun casting a rosy pink glow over the city and harbour. A few clouds floated in front of the mountains across the water from us. We saw a few sea planes come and go, but there were no cruise ships parked at Canada Place below us—they’d already left. Looking down there brought back memories of our honeymoon eight years ago.

Looking down at Stanley Park from the Vancouver Lookout

We tried to point out various significant landmarks to the girls, like Stanley Park and the places we’d just hiked with Grandma and friends, or the Cathedral which we’ve attended once or twice, or the Victory Square Memorial below. There were several other big wall maps around the Lookout as well, where we pointed out other places we’ve been lately. The girls are just starting to study geography in school this year so it was a great way to have a practical application of their little workbooks.

Jade carrying her stool around the Vancouver Lookout

They actually had fun carrying their stools around the lookout. We stopped about five times to look out the window and see what we could see. It felt a bit like playing a real-life “Where’s Waldo” as we peered down at our city and what we could recognize from this birds-eye view. I think my husband and I would have spent more time looking than the girls, but we know the city better than they do as well.

When we got back to the elevator, we rode up to the restaurant just to check it out. We knew at a glance we wouldn’t stay there with the girls, though the menu looked mouth-wateringly delicious, so we pointed out the moving floor to them and then took the elevator back down again.

Baby-friendly: The Harbour Centre and Lookout are completely stroller and wheel-chair accessible. You ride the elevator up and the lookout floor itself has low ramps up and down as needed.

Kid-friendly: Stools were provided for kids to help enjoy the view. There was also a colouring station at one part of the lookout, at a kid-sized table with two chairs. (You can also download the colouring pages for free from the website to prepare for your visit.) The maps were big and colourful, making it easy for adults and kids alike to see at a glance where things were.

Fees: A family pass is $41, though kids under five get in free. That pass is available all day, so you could go up in the morning and then return again in the evening to see how the scenery has changed through the day. You will have to pay for parking as well; the lot under the Harbour Centre (though small) was only $2 for an hour. There is also street parking and another parkade located close to the Lookout.

For more information about the Vancouver Lookout, check out the website.

I received a complimentary family pass to the Lookout courtesy of Vancouver Tourism; all opinions expressed are my own.

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