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Top 5 UBC Attractions: Museums & Attractions at University of British Columbia

Best Museums, Gardens & Attractions at UBC in Vancouver, BC


Vancouver's University of British Columbia (UBC) is the most prestigious university in western Canada. It’s one of the top three universities in the country and one of the top 30 universities in the world.

Why visit UBC if you're not a student? To see UBC's Top 5 Attractions, of course!

Located 20 minutes south of downtown Vancouver, UBC is home to several museums, including the UBC Museum of Anthropology, as well as top attractions like the UBC Botanical Garden and the Chan Centre for Performing Arts.

Use this Guide to the Top 5 UBC Attractions to plan your visit this world-class university!

1. UBC Museum of Anthropolgy

UBC Attractions: Museum of Anthropology
Image Courtesy of Tourism Vancouver

One of Vancouver's Top 5 Museums, UBC's Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is world-renowned for its collections of First Nations and Coast Salish peoples' arts, sculptures, and historic works, including magnificent large-scale totems. It's most famous artwork is the the iconic sculpture Raven and The First Men by the B.C. First Nations artist Bill Reid; an image of the Raven and The First Men sculpture appears on the back of every Canadian $20 bill!

Guide to UBC's Museum of Anthropology

2. UBC Botanical Garden / Nitobe Memorial Garden

UBC Attractions: UBC Botanical Garden
Photo © UBC Botanical Garden

The UBC Botanical Garden comprises multiple gardens, including the Asian Garden, BC Rainforest Garden and the Greenheart Canopy Walkway eco-adventure.

The top attraction is the beautiful Nitobe Memorial Garden, which is considered one of the "top five" most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan and is one of Vancouver's Top 5 Gardens.

3. Chan Centre for Performing Arts

UBC Attractions: Chan Centre for Performing Arts
Image Courtesy of the Chan Centre / UBC

Well-known for its stellar acoustics and cylindrical design, the Chan Centre for Performing Arts is both one of UBC’s top attractions and one of Vancouver’s premier performance spaces. The Chan Centre has hosted everyone from Yo-Yo Ma, Renee Fleming, and the Kronos Quartet to Shirin Ebadi and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Current Schedule for the Chan Centre for Performing Arts

4. Beaty Biodiversity Museum

UBC Attractions: Beaty Biodiversity Museum
Image Courtesy of Beaty Biodiversity Museum

The natural history of British Columbia is on display at this hands-on museum. Home to the largest blue whale skeleton in Canada as well as two million biological specimens (including plants, marine life, insects, fungi, and fossils), the Beatty Biodiversity Museum is fun and educational for the whole family.

5. UBC Thunderbird Arena

UBC Attractions: Thunderbird Arena

An official venue for Men's and Women's Ice Hockey during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, UBC's Thunderbird Arena is a sports and entertainment complex. It's home turf for the UBC Thunderbirds football and soccer teams, and it hosts games, concerts and children's entertainers throughout the year. It's also a sports centre, with an ice rink for public skating, drop-in hockey and UBC Hockey School.

6. Bonus: Wreck Beach

Wreck Beach
Photo by James Loewen

Wreck Beach, one of Vancouver’s Top 5 Beaches, isn’t on UBC's campus, but its two main entrances (pathways down to the beach from SW Marine Drive) are. Practically next door to the UBC Museum of Anthropology, Wreck Beach is a must-visit: a pristine Pacific Northwest beach with its own unique vibe: clothing-optional, hippie, isolated, magical, and a wee bit strange.

Guide to Wreck Beach: Vancouver's Only Clothing-Optional Beach

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