While Granville Island is most famous for its waterfront public market, eclectic shops and diverse arts community, the world-renowned peninsula is also home to some hidden outdoor spots that are perfect for spending a quiet day outdoors with kids.
Amongst the remnant rusty buildings of the once industrial manufacturing area, are lush pockets of tree-lined parks, perfect for reading quietly by the water or enjoying family picnics on the grass. With endless take-out dining options in and around the Public Market, Granville Island is the place to be on a warm sunny day.
Here are the 5 best spots to take your food-to-go for a picnic in the park in Granville Island.
1) Kids Market Duck Pond
As you drive under the illuminated, rose-coloured “Granville Island” sign that hangs from the beams of the Granville St. bridge, a quaint little duck pond will catch your eye. Most will walk right past the grassy area, drawn toward the bright yellow Kids Market that sits steps away. But the spot isn’t just a scenic entryway to the shops, it’s a great spot to sip on coffee, snack on treats, and watch as your kids admire the families of Canadian geese that call this spot home. A wooden ship sits on the shore of the pond, offering a great hideout and climbing structure for little ones while parents take a quiet moment to enjoy the view.
2) Sutcliffe Park
A short stroll around adjoining duck ponds will lead you to an expansive water park and playground area – a favourite destination for Vancouver families on warm sunny days. Just behind the playground is a large grassy area, perfect for planting a blanket and laying out snacks for active little passersby who work up an appetite from splashing, climbing and swimming.
3) Railspur Park
A left at the tennis courts and a quick jaunt past Arts Umbrella will take you to a hidden little park, featuring a teeter totter, swings, and a “Little Free Library” – a house-shaped box filled with books to borrow and enjoy under the shade of the trees.
4) Ron Basford Park
A little more hidden and definitely worth the trek is Ron Basford Park. Accessed by a stretch of wooden boardwalk that runs alongside the water, this park is the best spot on the island to roll down grassy hills and watch dragon boater paddle by as you nosh on sandwiches and fresh fruit from the market. Littered with benches and grassy hills, there’s always a free spot to sit.
5) Public Market Courtyard
Wrap up your picnic spot scavenger hunt with an ice cream in the Public Market courtyard, while you enjoy live music and watch the seagulls scamper at your feet and the rainbow-coloured mini ferries pass you by.
Click on the image below for a map of these 5 perfect picnic spots, or download a copy here.