Resembling a space ship that landed atop a downtown office tower, the Vancouver Lookout provides panoramic 360-degree views of the city and surrounding landscape. Perhaps befitting the observation tower's space age design, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was also the first visitor to the Vancouver Lookout, inaugurating the tower in 1977. Though the 30-story structure now seems almost petite compared to Vancouver's newer skyscrapers, it's a great place to get oriented to the city with vistas to Stanley Park, the North Shore mountains and on a clear day, all the way to the Olympic Peninsula.
You can explore the views on your own (there are informational plaques in front of every window) or join one of the free 20-minute tours that run throughout the day. Your admission ticket is valid all day, so you can scope out the daylight views and return later for the sunset.
The Vancouver Lookout is located downtown at Harbour Centre, 555 W Hastings St. The site is one block from Waterfront Station, the hub for the city's Sky Train subway and the departure point for the SeaBus ferry to North Vancouver. Many of the city’s buses also stop within a block of the Lookout, which is open daily, from 8:30am to 10pm in May through mid-October and from 9am to 9pm the rest of the year.