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The waterfront area in North Vancouver known as Lonsdale Quay is a spot you shouldn’t miss while exploring the city. This vibrant part of Vancouver is home to a pier, parks, restaurants, shopping, a waterpark, and more!
Lonsdale Quay is a popular social spot with locals and visitors, so if you’re looking for things to do in Vancouver, you won’t regret dropping by! Plus, it’s really easy to get to by taking public transit like the Seabus.
The quay offers some fun ways to explore the waterfront like taking a stroll along the pier or even leaving a lock on the famous Love Lock Fence – something that should definitely be on your list if you’re visiting as a couple or honeymooning in Vancouver!
There are also a ton of great Vancouver restaurants and shops to explore on Lonsdale Quay. I always try to stop into the local markets here, grab some honey cake at the Shipyards, or chill with a craft beer at a brewery nearby. Every time I visit, I plan to arrive early in the day and then stick around for sunset. It’s easy to spend an afternoon or an entire day exploring here!
Whether you’re never been to Lonsdale Quay or are looking for something new to discover here, we can help you out! This guide covers the most common questions you might have as well as the top things to do and even where to stay nearby.
Hopefully, you’ll enjoy Lonsdale Quay as much as we did!
- About Lonsdale Quay
- Lonsdale Quay FAQs
- How do you get to Lonsdale Quay?
- Things to do in Lonsdale Quay
- 1. Wander the Lonsdale Quay Market
- 2. Relax at the Waterfront Park
- 3. Walk the Burrard Dry Dock Pier
- 4. Visit the Shipyards Waterpark
- 5. Eat honey cake at Main Street Honey Shoppe at the Shipyards
- 6. Saturday Summer Farmers' Market
- 7. Wander the Polygon Gallery
- 8. Museum of North Vancouver
- 9. Take a walk down Lonsdale Ave
- 10. Take a lock to the Love Lock Fence
- 11. Drink craft beer
- 12. Take a photo with the Burrard Dry Dock Crane
- Best Places to Eat in Lonsdale Quay
- Where to Stay in Lonsdale Quay
- Other Things to do While You're in Vancouver
- Thanks for reading!
About Lonsdale Quay
You can find the Lonsdale Quay directly to the north of downtown Vancouver, on the North Shore. Bordering the Shipyards District, Lonsdale Quay encompasses multiple blocks that lead right up to the waterfront.
It’s home to the Seabus and Skytrain terminals, an observation deck, a museum, an artisan farmers’ market, a park, and plenty of other shops, coffee places, and restaurants. With so much to do here, it makes a great addition to your Vancouver itinerary!
The quay begins to the west at Waterfront Park and spans east to the Shipyards District, going as far north as 3rd Street. This means that Lonsdale Quay is not just the waterfront like it used to be many years ago, but also encompasses some of the surrounding area.
Lonsdale Quay often holds community events, too, like dance and fitness classes, a nearby night market that runs every weekend in the summer, art shows, and weddings. Because of the variety of spaces located here, the quay is often referred to as the primary social meeting spot in the area.
It just so happens that many locals are moving from central Vancouver to this part of the city for better pricing and amenities nearby. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from traveling, it’s to listen to the locals and try to visit areas that tend to be popular among them!
Lonsdale Quay FAQs
Related Read: If the weather forecast isn’t looking great, no worries! There are lots of indoor areas at Lonsdale Quay or you can check out these fun things to do in Vancouver when it rains.
How do you get to Lonsdale Quay?
Luckily, getting to Lonsdale Quay is easy! You can drive and park in the area (even utilizing free parking if it’s available) or you can use the Seabus.
Wait, what exactly is the Seabus now that we’ve mentioned it a few times?
Seabus is part of Vancouver’s Translink system and is a passenger-only ferry service to connect the southern part of Vancouver with the North Vancouver area, which includes Lonsdale Quay. You can check out the Seabus schedule and map here to help plan your trip.
You can board at Vancouver’s Waterfront northbound station and after just about 12 minutes and 3 km (1.9 miles), you’ll arrive at Lonsdale Quay.
The Seabus runs every 10-30 minutes depending on the time of day, so build in a bit of a buffer when it comes to planning your schedule. The earliest departure is 6:16 am Monday – Saturday and 8:16 Sundays and holidays. The last departure is at 1:22 am Monday – Saturday and 11:16 pm Sundays and holidays.
Oh, did we mention that it only costs $3 CAD for a one-way trip? Not bad, if you ask us!
Of course, if you don’t have a car and want to bypass the ferry, you could also take an Uber. It’ll be more expensive and take longer, though. Driving takes you along the BC-99, which takes nearly twice the time the ferry would and can get busier during traffic.
Ultimately, the Seabus is your best way to get to Lonsdale Quay.
Things to do in Lonsdale Quay
1. Wander the Lonsdale Quay Market
The Lonsdale Quay Market has around 60 vendors that sell a TON of different products, food, and drinks. If there’s one thing you have to do during your visit to Lonsdale Quay, it is almost certainly going to be this. I warn you though, that if you come hungry, you definitely won’t be able to resist all the treats!
The market itself has been around since 1986 when it was created as a carnival-style marketplace for Vancouver’s World’s Fair. Its origins quite literally lie in the idea of bringing people together, pretty cool, huh?
The first-floor fresh market level opens at 9 am and the upper-level retail shops open at 10 am, while the whole market closes at 7 pm daily, giving customers plenty of time to explore every shop and eat lots of great food. Certain restaurants’ hours may vary, but overall, you can rely on having plenty to do here all day long.
If you’ve heard anyone ever talk about the “Q Tower,” this is the spot they’re referring to! The tower itself is just some winding metal stairs leading up to the Q, for quay. We didn’t mind the climb up because it leads to a beautifully unobstructed view of Vancouver’s downtown. You can get to the tower from the market’s patio to begin your trek up the 77 steps to the top.
I really love that this market is made up of small, independent businesses that not only give you a taste of Vancouver’s local flare but allow you to support the members of the community by shopping there.
Check out the market’s boutique candy store, butcher, fish shop, brewery, artisan vendors, and toy store. Each is unique and will make for a fun day at the market.
2. Relax at the Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park is the kind of place you can eat takeout while watching the sunset on the water. We grabbed some takeout from the Lonsdale Quay Market and found a place to picnic. It was such a relaxing way to end a busy day of exploring while getting to enjoy a view of the harbor.
There were lots of pups running around, kids playing, and groups of people having picnics. Somehow I found that the park still felt serene, even with all of the activity that goes on within its borders.
The park is conveniently located just a few minutes away from the Skytrain terminal (you can easily walk), which makes it perfect for a quick detour on your way to or from central Vancouver.
3. Walk the Burrard Dry Dock Pier
Lonsdale Quay might not be the biggest area, but it has lots of beautiful walks. The Burrard Dry Dock is a long pier with a fantastic view of Vancouver that adds to the list of appealing routes near the water.
The dry dock began as a shipbuilding company that built and refitted hundreds of ships, mostly during the World Wars. Now, its pier is a popular vantage point to admire the city of Vancouver and I have to say that it does not fall short. The views are unmatched here!
Not only is the path a nice one, but there are some adorable cafes and restaurants nearby if you’re looking to enjoy a treat with your stroll.
Watch the sunset, the Seabus go by, or just relax and check out the water before heading to the Shipyards Commons nearby.
4. Visit the Shipyards Waterpark
Cooling off on a hot day is so easy when you know where to find the Shipyards Splash Waterpark, which is part of the Shipyard Commons – the central part of the quay. The area is meant for families with young children and is a very welcoming, fun space.
Here, you’ll see kids running around and playing in the sun right next to teens and adults spending time in the shade while others play games, sit on benches, or enjoy a coffee at the nearby cafe.
It’s always at least partially shaded, with tables and chairs on the outskirts for any adults or kids that don’t necessarily want to be soaked. If you’re a fan of ping pong, bring your paddles and balls because there is a nearby table for public use here, too.
Unlike many children’s splash pads, this little waterpark is super popular because of its accessibility. In the summer, it is wonderful for families because it is connected to the rest of the Commons.
In the winter, the waterpark turns into an outdoor ice-skating plaza, so we know that there is always something to look forward to, no matter the season.
The waterpark is free and is open most often from 10 am-8 pm, but the City of North Vancouver’s Facebook page is a good resource to check for any last-minute updates.
Related Read: If you’re looking for more fun ways to beat the heat, these are the top things to do in Vancouver in the summer!
5. Eat honey cake at Main Street Honey Shoppe at the Shipyards
When you’re at the Shipyards, you can’t miss out on some retail therapy at the local shops and one of my favorite sweet treats too! The Main Street Honey Shoppe works with a local honey farm to bring their products to the city and they even have some of their own bees, and thank goodness they do because their honey is so tasty!
The Main Street Honey Shoppe is just around the corner from the Burrard Dry Dock pier and is open daily. One thing I love about the shop is that they let returning customers refill their same honey jar from a tap, to avoid using more packaging than necessary.
We kept coming back for the honey cake, but there are so many different honey products to choose from. So, make sure to find your new favorite, and don’t just take my word for it. The coffee and tea looked amazing, too. Maybe even pair one of them with a slice of honey cake, to make sure you make the most of your stop.
Oh, and you can buy pollen, natural soaps, candles, healing ointments, and other specialty honey. This is one of those shops that you can accidentally spend an hour in, easily. It’s great for grabbing some souvenirs to bring back, too!
6. Saturday Summer Farmers’ Market
If you thought that the Londsdale Quay Public Market sounded cool, you’ll love this option! There is a Farmers’ Market that runs on Saturdays from 10 am until 3 pm all summer long, from early May until late October.
Located just outside of the Public Market, this farmers’ market is smaller than many of the others around Vancouver’s downtown.
We were surprised to see how intimate of a setting this farmers market really is. There are only a dozen or so vendors, so it’s small, manageable, and a great way to grab fresh produce when you’re wanting something seasonal.
You can still expect to get products like honey, vegetables, plants, preserves (jams, pickled items, etc.), artisan goods, produce, and alcohol. Not a bad assortment and we also enjoyed chatting with the local vendors as we walked around the stalls.
If you want to compare options, prices, or anything else, the permanent public market is still right there, and you can easily bounce between the fixed stores and weekly pop-ups if you need to.
7. Wander the Polygon Gallery
Nestled between the Lonsdale Quay Market and the Shipyards, you’ll find the Polygon Gallery. This vibrant art gallery is one of the best free things to do in Vancouver. This gallery is donation-based, however, so you can contribute if you’d like to.
The institution focuses on a lot of cultural, insightful works that are meant to provoke important conversations about art, Vancouver’s history, and shifting worldviews. Not only does the gallery display amazing pieces, but also sponsors events, supports the community, and lifts up underrepresented artists.
It’s located right beside the Shipyards. You can visit Wednesday-Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm or enjoy their extended Thursday hours and stay as late as 8 pm.
We noticed that the gallery is also a fully accessible building and has elevators and dedicated accessible parking spots.
8. Museum of North Vancouver
If art isn’t your jam, but you want to visit a museum, the Museum of North Vancouver is the perfect answer! This museum tells the story of Vancouver’s history, focusing on North Vancouver and the Shipyards.
Located just behind the Polygon Gallery, MONOVA is easy to get to. We decided to curate a little “arts circuit day” for under $20 CAD because we wanted to visit both the gallery and this museum back-to-back. It was entertaining, convenient, and very inexpensive!
The museum is open on Thursdays from 8 am to 10 pm and Friday – Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is free for any Indigenous people, and $14 CAD for adults. Seniors (65+) are $12 CAD and students (with a valid ID) and kids between 6-17 are $10 CAD.
9. Take a walk down Lonsdale Ave
This is a simple option, but one of the best. Take some time to walk around Lonsdale Avenue without a specific destination in mind.
Let your nose and eyes take the lead and stop at various points that you find along the way. There are plenty of restaurants, lots of shopping, and so many places to see.
The walk is beautiful and will give you some much-needed time to slow down and really take in the sights and sounds of one of the most popular areas in Vancouver.
10. Take a lock to the Love Lock Fence
That’s right, locks on fences are not just reserved for lovers visiting France. If you’re in Lonsdale Quay with a partner or need to send out some good vibes to help your search for the one, head over to the Love Lock Fence.
It’s located just out front of the Lonsdale Market, and the fence may be small, but it holds many locks that lovers have put on it to symbolize their commitment.
If it feels too early to add a lock of your own, it’s still a fun place to watch others express their love.
City crews do remove the locks intermittently so that the fence doesn’t collapse under their collective weight. So, if you’re superstitious and cannot find your lock in the future, it isn’t a sign to end things, but that room was made for other, newer, couples to share this sweet experience.
11. Drink craft beer
You thought we’d let an article go by without mentioning the craft beer scene? No way!
We really loved Green Leaf Brewing Company, but they’re closed now, sadly. They had the best location right on the water! They left behind a wave of new breweries, though, and helped to kickstart the enthusiasm for the craft beer scene in North Vancouver. Nowadays, there is no shortage of Vancouver breweries to choose from.
Some new favorite options are North Point Brewing Co and La Cervecería Astilleros which are about 3 blocks from each other. La Cervecería also serves Mexican food! Another great option is Streetcar Brewing, which is just a short walk down the road on 1st St. East.
Enjoy fun, cozy atmospheres at each brewery, but try to visit more than one because each is so unique! La Cervecería Astilleros runs a beer club you can join, North Point has a wonderful strawberry blonde ale, and Streetcar Brewing offers some great flights to try out.
12. Take a photo with the Burrard Dry Dock Crane
If you’re already in the Burrard Dry Dock area to visit the pier, make a photo stop and snap a pic with the Burrard Dry Dock’s popular crane.
This historic crane is a restored fixture, which used to be one-half of a set of cranes on display. It sits alone now and makes for a fun photo op. Its painted letters, BDD, make for a unique way to show your friends that you were there (they stand for Burrard Dry Dock) without standing in front of a more typical, touristy sign.
Related Read: If you want to see the Lonsdale Quay sights from above, try booking a Vancouver seaplane flight!
Best Places to Eat in Lonsdale Quay
Anatoli Souvlaki is a family-owned restaurant with food that tastes home-cooked and made with love. They serve authentic Greek cuisine, but I recommend this restaurant even more because of the music and live dancing that ties the atmosphere together.
The moussaka is a must, and they even have a vegan version so more people can enjoy it! In fact, this restaurant had many gluten-free and vegan options, so it’s a great choice if you have dietary restrictions.
Located centrally just between the Public Market, MONOVA, and The Shipyards, this restaurant is open daily from 11:30 to 10 pm and later on Fridays and Saturdays. If you’re in the area between 2 pm – 5 pm, check out their happy hour menu for food and drink deals!
PIER 7 Restaurant + Bar
Pier 7 Restaurant + Bar is just a block or so toward the water, right by the BDD pier. We were happy to discover that this is THE happy hour spot, with food and drinks starting at $5 CAD. The restaurant is open daily from 11:30 am – late, and the happy hour is from 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm.
There are so many food and drinks to choose from, and the main menu is filled with all the seafood options you could want, like the signature calamari which I would go back for any day! If you can’t make it to happy hour, try their weekend brunch special. It gives you a choice of 2 benedicts with 2 cocktails or mocktails and is great after hitting the farmers’ market or walking along the pier.
Burgoo Bistro Lonsdale
Even if you aren’t an “appetizer person” you should try the brie fondue, which comes with apples, grapes, cherry tomatoes, and nice, crusty bread. It’s decadent, super satisfying, and was the perfect treat after a day of sightseeing in the area.
With a few locations around Vancouver, it’s easy to see why Burgoo Bistro is successful. The food is wonderful and they capture the “countryside dining” feel perfectly. You can stop here for lunch, dinner, or snacks any day. They’re open 11 am to 9 pm and later on Friday/Saturday nights.
Cream Pony is known for its unique combination of chicken and dessert. Think Southern food, like Nashville fried chicken, meets a donut shop…and it’s all located just a few blocks back from The Shipyard Commons. Plus, the staff is also very sweet, and you’ll want to spend a while hanging out in the adorable shop.
If you don’t want too much food, go a little crazy and order your chicken sandwich on a donut instead of a bun. It sounds like a lot, but is a surprisingly great combination of sweet and savory!
They’re open Tuesday 9 am – 4 pm, Sunday/Wednesday/Thursday 9 am – 7 pm, and Friday/Saturday 9 am – 8 pm. Just don’t try to visit on a Monday since that’s the only day this place is closed!
Nemesis Coffee Polygon
If you’re eating a full meal, the pork belly benny and the mushroom toast are a hard tie to break. I’ll let you decide for yourself but you can’t go wrong with either!
It’s open Monday to Friday 8 am – 4 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9 am – 5 pm. We choose to grab our morning coffee here then peruse the gallery slowly, which was a lovely start to our day in the Lonsdale Quay!
Earnest Ice Cream
Earnest Ice Cream offers some of the best plant-based flavors I’ve seen and put a focus on reducing its carbon footprint. It’s true, you can enjoy your ice cream while helping the environment!
The menu changes and is updated to show daily flavors, but if the vegan cranberry apple cider swirl is there, it’s a must-try. Chocolate orange stracciatella is another one that I fondly remember and can’t wait to order again!
This place is located here, just a few blocks behind MONOVA. Opening hours are Monday to Thursday 12 pm – 9 pm, and Friday to Sunday 12 pm – 10 pm.
Related read: We love that so many of the restaurants in Lonsdale Quay are open late, night owls should also plan to pop into the Richmond Night Market!
Where to Stay in Lonsdale Quay
When exploring this area, it’s best to stay in the Lonsdale Quay itself. That way you’re nearby to explore all this area has to offer and check some of these activities off your list. There are a few hotels we’d recommend that are within walking distance of all the sights we mentioned!
One affordable hotel option is the Lonsdale Quay Hotel. This boutique hotel is located on the 3rd floor of the marketplace which is perfect if you want to pop down for some food or snacks. It has a stunning view of the harbor and city, large rooms, comfy beds, and friendly staff. Prices start at $118 CAD with several pet-friendly room options.
The Ocean Breeze Executive Bed & Breakfast has more of a homey vibe and is just a 15-minute walk to the Lonsdale Quay sights. Each room is decorated differently and has a private bathroom, microwave, tea and coffee maker, and fridge. The hosts provide a tasty breakfast with coffee and newspapers and are happy to accommodate dietary preferences and answer any questions you might have about the area. Prices start at $259 CAD per night, and there are several options, from a deluxe suite with an ocean view to a family cottage.
The Seaside Hotel in North Vancouver has everything you’d expect from an upscale hotel: room service, luggage storage, an on-site spa, dining, and a bar. It’s top-rated for its excellent location right in the heart of the Lonsdale Quay. The rooms are impeccably clean and the hotel overlooks the waterfront so you can wake up and fall asleep with a gorgeous view. Prices start at $207 CAD but can be over $600 CAD per night depending on the season and type of room you choose.
If you’re looking to spend more time in Vancouver, we have an in-depth guide on where to stay in Vancouver that should help you out!
Other Things to do While You’re in Vancouver
Vancouver is a city filled with tons of things to do and see. So while you’re here, be sure not to miss some of the top attractions and activities:
- Whale Watching – Without a doubt, one of the most popular tours in Vancouver is whale watching. Set off from the city on a half-day on the ocean looking for whales. If you’re lucky, you might even see Orcas (also known as Killer Whales.) This whale-watching tour is a ton of fun, and at only about $200 CAD it is good value too!
- Hiking – There are a ton of amazing hikes in and around Vancouver. Challenge yourself with the famous Grouse Grind, wander the trails near the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, or even drive towards Squamish and do The Chief.
- Ride in a Seaplane – One of our favorite memories in Vancouver was riding in a seaplane. Taking off and landing on the ocean is super exciting, and then the views from the air are breathtaking. This seaplane ride lasts for 20 minutes and costs $160 CAD. It departs and returns to Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver. The best part is that seaplane tours in Vancouver operate all year round, so even if you’re visiting Vancouver in the winter you can take to the sky!
- Eat ALL the food! – Vancouver is a foodie destination. Showcasing cuisine from all around the world in top-rated restaurants, you really need to make an effort to eat out a few times while in Vancouver. For breakfast, Jam Cafe or Medina are our go-to’s. For Asian cuisine, you can’t pass up Minami for sushi or Danbo for Ramen. You can also join this highly-rated food tour that takes you to some of the city’s best restaurants in the area of Gastown.
- Explore Kitsilano – One of our favorite areas in all of Vancouver is Kitsilano. This suburb is super trendy and has many cute stores, cafes, and restaurants that are well worth checking out. On top of that, Kitsilano Beach is one of the best beaches in Vancouver and the perfect place to relax. It’s also our favorite place to watch the sunset.
Thanks for reading!
Despite being a small area, there’s a surprising amount to do in the Lonsdale Quay! Of course, we loved all the craft beer options, as well as the museums, eateries, and beautiful harbor views. We hope this guide has helped you plan and enjoy your time here as much as we did!
If you’re traveling to more places nearby, check out my other blogs about British Columbia. We love sharing our travel tips about this area, including places to visit and where to stay. Hopefully, our experiences can inspire your travels and save you some planning!