Neighbourhood To Do List: West Point Grey and UBC
What to do in college territory (it's not just for students!).
February 15, 2018
Not just for fresh-faced first years or weary grad students, the West Point Grey and UBC areas are a metropolis of their own, with plenty of ways to keep you busy. Spanning more than 993 acres, it can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to look for a good time, so we’ve done the research for you. Here’s what to do in the land of frat parties and last-minute cram sessions.
A bit of arts and culture never hurt anyone—and the UBC campus is home to some amazing galleries and museums.
1. Sitting on the unceded ancestral territory of the Coast Salish and Musqueam people, the Museum of Anthropology is primarily dedicated to North West Coast Indigenous art and cultural artifacts: totem poles stand tall in the great hall and across the museum’s rolling property, and the famous “Raven and the First Men” cedar sculpture can be found in the Bill Reid Gallery. The museum also hosts temporary exhibits and performances from various cultural groups.
2. If you don’t suffer from cetaphopia (fear of whales)— it’s a real thing, okay?—check out the hanging blue whale skeleton at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. Or, on any given day, wander through the 500 natural-history exhibits that can be found here, including a unique-to-B.C. fossil collection.
3. Showcasing Canada’s avant-garde, the Belkin Art Gallery is a social art gallery that doesn’t limit itself to one particular medium. Exhibits change regularly and often revolve around a central theme that offers commentary on current issues; “Beginning with the Seventies: GLUT,” on display now, celebrates female resistance.
4. With three theatres on campus, there’s always something to see, from classics like The Crucible (playing March 15 to 31) to new and exciting multi-media theatrical experiments. UBC also hosts operas and musicians from all over the world at the Chan Centre so there is something for everyone.
We know it’s still winter, but Point Grey is lucky enough to have a stretching coastline and more than 874 hectares of greenery for nature-lovers to explore—just remember to bundle up.
5. Get in touch with your wild side at Vancouver’s only clothing-optional beach. Whether you’re brave enough to bare all or not, the 7.8-kilometre-long Wreck Beach draws a crowd every summer; this time of year, it’s quieter and better for a Tofino-esque beach walk. Other nearby beaches include Spanish Banks (free parking, off-leash dog park) and Jericho (closer to the main drag, but parking will cost you).
6. Located on the University Endowment Lands, Pacific Spirit Park is a nature reserve with 73 kilometres of trails to explore, including off-leash (50 kilometres), cycling and even horseback riding areas.
7. Not many universities come equipped with a farm. Especially not one as grand (24 hectares!) as the UBC Farm. Feel free to wander the fields (while being respectful of the plants) at your own pace or book a guided tour; they also host public events, like the upcoming Community Kitchen dinner (February 22), on the regular.
8. A walk through the UBC Botanical Gardens (especially the traditional Japanese Nitobe Garden) is the campus’s secret stress-reliever. Join a tour or guided tree walk—or explore the grounds on a Segway.
All that exploring is sure to make you peckish! Skip the cafeteria and check out these cool dining options both on and off campus.
9. Located in the Nest, Gallery 2.0 is a patio and lounge restaurant with a delicious and reasonably priced menu (the perks of eating in uni territory). With Indonesian street food and curried Daal on offer alongside burgers and mac ’n’ cheese, the menu is reflective of UBC’s diverse student body.
10. Koerner’s Pub, a grad student haunt on the UBC campus, isn’t your average college watering hole. Relaunching with a new menu and design in 2013, its innovative take on traditional pub fare will satisfy your grown-up palate (think Vietnamese pho nachos and chicken karaage)—plus you can still play shuffle board.
11. For those with a sweet tooth, True Confections on West Broadway is the perfect place to indulge. Slabs of cake the size of your head and a cup of coffee is a great reprieve from traipsing across the expanse of Point Grey—and gives you the sugar rush you need to keep going.
With lots of weird and wonderful boutiques, West 10th is great for an afternoon of shopping.
12. Stock up on all your knitting (or crocheting) needs at Urban Yarns, or get down to the knitty gritty and take a class.
13. Stop by Rufus Guitar Shop to peruse their massive collection of new and vintage strings. The staff is friendly and excited to show off their instruments which range from beginner acoustics and banjos to 1963 Fender Strats (for the low, low price of $25,0000). They also offer drop-in lessons and repairs in-house.
14. Gild and Co. is a beautiful antique furniture store that stocks unique pieces for the home. Wander through the eclectic showroom and lust after the vintage curiosities that are scattered alongside couches and chairs.