This article is part of a guide to Vancouver from FT Globetrotter

Kitsilano swimming pool

Bathers in Kitsilano swimming pool, which looks over the bay, Vancouver and North Shore mountains
© Xinhua/Alamy

If you like to start or end (or spend) your day swimming, the best place to do so is Kitsilano Pool. It’s situated next to the beach, and filled with (heated) saltwater, and its length (more than 130 metres) and width make it a great place to enjoy long, uninterrupted laps, even during busy periods. (You can book in advance.) Leave a bag, towel and maybe a Thermos or a book on the spacious deck (or in a locker), and after your swim enjoy the view of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore mountains across the water. Afterwards, get a coffee or a drink or something to eat at one of the restaurants or cafés further along the beach or, in the other direction, on Fourth Avenue, in the heart of the neighbourhood of Kitsilano. Directions
— Geoff Watt, lawyer, London, UK

The Grouse Grind

A man running up a tree-flanked steep rocky incline on the Grouse Grind, with the bay and Vancouver’s skyline in the distance behind him
© Cannon Photography/vvAlamy

The Grouse Grind is my favourite thing to do in Vancouver. [From downtown] grab a bus or a taxi across the Lions Gate Bridge, and take on the famous hiking challenge — it’s tough but not insurmountable and plenty of people do it regularly, as a season pass is cheaper than a gym membership. Whether you are nudging the record of 23 minutes 48 seconds or take it more leisurely, when you get to the top you will have earned the best view there is of the Vancouver skyline — and maybe a drink at Lupins Café to enjoy it with.
— Will Brady, actuary, London, UK

Do the Grouse Grind or cycle up to Cypress Bowl Road. The proximity of the amazing mountains to Vancouver provides great exercise opportunities with unbeatable views of nature and the city. Directions
— Clifford Ng, lawyer, Hong Kong

Bowen Island

An aerial view of the tree-covered Bowen Island, surrounded by water
© Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bowen Island is easily doable within one day, and yet feels a world away from a large city. Great for around a three-hour walk, and it’s a nice place to eat at the end. Highly recommended, particularly if only in the city for a couple of days. Directions
— Daniel Beswick, climate finance manager

Golf at a local club

Play golf in Vancouver at Capilano and Shaughnessy golf clubs.
— Mary Farpol, accountant, New York, US

The University of British Columbia campus

A pond surrounded by lawn and trees whose leaves are yellow and red on the University of British Columbia’s campus
© Michael Wheatley/Alamy

[Take in the green space] anywhere around the University of British Columbia’s campus, but in particular the Nitobe Memorial Garden by the Asian studies centre, near the also not-to-be-missed Museum of Anthropology [which is closed until the end of the year].
— Richard Ratcliffe, banking, London, UK

Lighthouse Park

Lighthouse Park on the North Shore has some phenomenal west coast forest, incredible views of the city and English Bay, and is usually not very crowded. In fact the drive to get there (over the Lions Gate Bridge and through Ambleside and Dundarave) is half the appeal to me. Directions
— Colin McCann, corporate development, Calgary, Canada

Stanley Park and the Seawall

Stanley Park Seawall, with the bay and Lions Gate suspension bridge in the background
© Rory Fuller

My go-to in Vancouver is to walk around the Sea Wall, into Stanley Park, past the beaches and palm trees of English Bay, and into downtown. The walk covers around 10-15km depending on how far you go. It is one of the top urban walks or jogs on the planet.
— Anthony Cohen, executive, Toronto

Hire a bike from Spokes Bicycle Rentals and cycle the 10k route around Stanley Park, [and take in] awesome views of the coastline, yachts, ships waiting to enter the port and beaches loaded with driftwood. It’s great in both freezing and hot weather, and if you don’t want to ride a bike you can walk it. I try and get there every time I’m in Vancouver. Directions
— Caroline Norman, design management, UK

VanDusen Botanical Garden

A lily pond with a rocky bank covered with exotic plants and overlooked by monkey puzzle trees in VanDusen Botanical Garden
© Michael Wheatley/Alamy

For those who like gardens or are looking for something to do in a less urban setting without renting a car or leaving the city, the VanDusen Botanical Garden is a great option. It has a wide range of interesting plants from around the world set in attractive and interesting landscape settings. Taking a guided tour is worthwhile. Directions
— Troy Thompson, hydrogeologist, Milwaukee, US

Deep Cove

[Head to] Deep Cove for the Quarry Rock hike, followed by a dip in the sea, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. The views are quintessential British Columbia. Directions
— Natasha Ratanshi-Stein, tech start-up founder & CEO, London, UK

Spanish Banks Beach

People walking on Spanish Banks Beach at low tide, with the downtown Vancouver skyline on the other side of the water © Alamy Stock Photo

Visit Spanish Banks Beach at low tide. You can walk out on the wet sand for hundreds of metres. In the summer you can swim off the far edge of the beach. The entire western portion is dog-friendly and it has the best view of downtown Vancouver and the North Shore mountains. Directions
— Daniel Clarke, film producer, Vancouver, Canada

What are your favourite outdoor pursuits and green spaces in Vancouver? Tell us in the comments. And follow FT Globetrotter on Instagram at @FTGlobetrotter

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