City Name
Home » Recent posts » Vancouver on the Big Screen: The 10 Best Filming Locations

Vancouver on the Big Screen: The 10 Best Filming Locations

Best Filming Locations in Vancouver
We extensively test and research all services we review. Here's why you can trust us.

Hey, film buffs and locals alike! Vancouver isn’t just a backdrop; it’s a star on the big screen. As a matter of fact, Vancouver is called the “Hollywood of the North” because of its thriving film industry. 

From blockbuster hits to TV show secrets, join us as we uncover the magic behind your favorite scenes as we take you on a tour of the best filming locations in the city. 

Why is Vancouver a popular filming location?

Why is Vancouver a popular filming location
Image by the District of North Vancouver via

Vancouver’s film scene is a thriving industry, attracting major productions due to its picturesque landscapes and versatile urban settings. The film sector contributes to the local economy, creating job opportunities and fostering a creative community. 

If you’re a tourist, you get a sneak peek behind the scenes, and us locals love repping our city’s big role in the global film game.

So, why is Vancouver a popular filming location? Well, it’s because the city’s got four seasons of chill weather, each one serving up its own natural beauty. 

On top of all that charm, the city boasts a solid film scene. We’re talking seasoned crews, top-notch sound stages, and production facilities that have got it all together.

All of these factors contribute to why many shows and movies are filmed in Vancouver.

Do you need a permit to film in Vancouver?

Do you need a permit to film in Vancouver
Image by the City of Vancouver via

If you’re planning to film at any public park or beach area in the City of Vancouver, you would need to get a permit from the Park Board. Make sure to apply for a permit two weeks before you intend to start filming. 

Getting the green light for your film ain’t a walk in the park. You gotta tick all the boxes, grab all the licenses, and do the paperwork hustle for that Master Film Permit. Check out the City of Vancouver’s website for more details.

The Best Filming Locations in Vancouver



Address: Gastown, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Features: Cobblestone streets, Victorian buildings, Gastown Steam Clock

Movies Filmed Here: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009), I, Robot (2004), Big Eyes (2014) and Fifty Shades of Grey (2015).

We all know Gastown as THE place for charming streets and stunning Victorian buildings, so it should be no surprise that it’s a popular filming location.

With its adorable cobblestone streets, cute architecture, and cool vibes, it’s a no-brainer. And guess what? Gastown even flaunts a waterfront that looks out onto the Burrard Inlet!

Walking around this neighborhood feels like stepping back in time, with its historic charm and vibrant atmosphere. The mix of trendy shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes also adds to the overall allure of Gastown.

How to Get to Gastown

Gastown is in Northeast Downtown Vancouver, close to Canada Place. The closest transit station is Waterfront. You can either ride the Skytrain, Translink Buses, and the SeaBus passenger ferry.

Pro tip:
The Gastown Steam Clock does its thing every 15 minutes, whistling and letting off steam in its own take on the Westminster Chime for everyone around.

Grouse Mountain


Address: 6400 Nancy Greene Way; North Vancouver, BC V7R 4K9

Features: Nature, Mountains, and Wildlife

Movies Filmed Here: Arrow (2012), Lucifer (2016), The X-Files (1993), Okja (2017), and MacGyver (1985)

Grouse Mountain is like a visual feast from every angle – the majestic North Shore Mountains, the lush forests, the sprawling City of Vancouver below, and the unbeatable vistas of British Columbia’s South Coast.

But wait, there’s more! You also get crystal-clear views of the Burrard Inlet, the vast Pacific Ocean, and the charming Gulf Islands. It’s genuinely a fantastic spot for year-round filming.

How to Get to Grouse Mountain

Follow Georgia Street through Stanley Park and over the Lions Gate Bridge. Once you’re across, take the North Vancouver exit to Marine Drive, then turn left onto Capilano Road and go for 5 kilometers (3 miles). You’ll find Grouse Mountain at the end of that road.

Pro tip:
Make your way up to the summit of Grouse Mountain to capture stunning backgrounds, encounter playful wildlife, and take atmospheric nature shots—just like they did in the original MacGyver!

Orpheum Theatre


Address: 601 Smithe St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3L4, Canada

Features: Antique décor, Domed auditorium, Ceiling mural, and Giant crystal chandelier

Movies Filmed Here: The Flash (2014), iZombie (2015), The Magicians (2015), and Supergirl (2015)

The Orpheum Theater stands out as Canada’s prime example of the exotic cinema architecture trend that was all the rage in the late 1920s in North America.

This grand and elegant theater is a mashup of Romanesque, Moorish, Gothic, and Spanish Renaissance styles. Not just a pretty face, this theater has become a go-to spot for filming in Vancouver, thanks to its elegant and unique design. 

Inside, you’ll find antique flair, grand staircases, and an auditorium with a domed ceiling, adorned with a stunning mural and a massive crystal chandelier. 

How to Get to Orpheum Theatre

You can get here by taking the Skytrain to the Vancouver City Centre Station, which is a minute walk away from the Orpheum Theatre.

Pro tip:
History enthusiasts can participate in one of the theater’s complimentary tours, available regularly throughout September.

VanDusen Botanical Garden


Address: 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1, Canada

Features: 55 acres of plants, Wildlife, and Elizabethan Maze

Movies Filmed Here: Once Upon a Time (2011), Altered Carbon (2018), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (2016), and Bates Motel (2017).

A picturesque 55-acre oasis that resembles the timeless elegance of well-kept gardens is the VanDusen Botanical Garden. This enchanting oasis hosts a whopping 7500 plant species and varieties gathered from all corners of the globe.

It’s not just about the greenery here. Picture picturesque lakes, a serene waterfall, architecture that inspires, captivating sculptures, and a whopping 70 botanical collections – all adding to the charm of this classy garden haven.

How to Get to VanDusen Botanical Garden

Exit the Canada Line at Oakridge – 41st Station and turn left. Cross over to the far (North) side of 41st Avenue and catch the #41 or #43 UBC bus heading west on 41st Avenue. 

After a brief bus ride, alight at Oak Street, walk back to the corner, turn left, and stroll 4 blocks up Oak Street to West 37th Avenue (approximately 6 minutes). 

Pro tip:
Make sure to check out the VanDusen Garden’s Elizabethan Hedge Maze as it’s one of only six in North America!

Bloedel Conservatory


Address: 4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Y 2M4, Canada

Features: Tropical rainforest environment, Glass-domed garden, Wildlife, and Plants

Movies Filmed Here: Timeless (2016), Continuum (2012), and Fringe (2008)

Whether it’s a lover’s trip to nature or simply a day out with your aunt, who adores plants, the Bloedel Conservatory is another filming hotspot, set atop the City of Vancouver’s highest point. 

This domed paradise puts you in a lush and vibrant environment, surrounded by exotic plants and colorful birds. It’s the perfect backdrop for falling in love on camera or capturing the beauty of nature in a film.

How to Get to Bloedel Conservatory

The entrance to the Bloedel Conservatory is situated off 33rd Avenue, between Cambie St and Main St. You can access it conveniently via the SkyTrain. Alight at the King Edward station and take a short 3-minute walk to reach the conservatory.

Pro tip:
We suggest visiting earlier in the day to steer clear of the crowds, as it can get a bit busy and noisy later on.

University of British Columbia (UBC)


Address: Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada

Features: Modern school buildings, Courtyards, and Plazas

Movies Filmed Here: Altered Carbon (2018), Josie and the Pussycats (2001), Tomorrowland (2015), and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

The University of British Columbia is the grand entrance to a protagonist’s first day at a hip and high-tech university. With its sleek modern buildings, it’s literally surrounded by lush forest on three sides and the vast ocean on the fourth.

Adding to its character, UBC boasts its own standout landmarks – like the Nitobe Memorial Garden and the Museum of Anthropology nestled right within its premises.

How to Get to UBC

Getting to UBC is convenient via public transit; the R4, 44, 84, and 99 express buses provide direct service to the Vancouver campus. 

For those traveling by car from downtown Vancouver, cross either the Burrard or Granville Street bridges and proceed west on 4th Avenue, 10th Avenue, or 16th Avenue. 

If you’re coming from YVR, cross the Arthur Laing bridge and head west on SW Marine Drive to reach UBC.

Pro tip:
Amidst the numerous new buildings, keep an eye out for some historic gems dating back to the early 1900s, many of which are still in use.



Address: Steveston, Richmond, BC, Canada

Features: Fishing village, Historic port, and Railway tracks

Movies Filmed Here: Once Upon a Time (2011), The X-Files (1993), and Stargate SG-1 (1997)

Steveston is a charming fishing village sitting pretty on the southwest tip of Lulu Island. Its early 1900s-style architecture isn’t just easy on the eyes – it’s a magnet for the film industry.

As you walk down its streets, you’ll instantly soak in that cozy, old-timey atmosphere. Plus, being a fishing village, you can snag fresh seafood right off the dock. 

If that doesn’t scream “country boy’s life before falling in love with a city girl” rom-com, we’re not sure what does!

How to Get to Steveston

Steveston is situated in the southwest corner of Richmond, just off No. 1 Road. If you’re driving, head south on No. 1 Road until you reach the end. 

For public transit, take the Canada Line SkyTrain from downtown south to Richmond-Brighouse station. From there, transfer to the #402 bus heading south to reach Steveston.

Pro tip:
Steveston Village comes alive, particularly in the summer, reaching its peak popularity during the Canada Day long weekend on July 1st. If you’re planning to visit, that weekend would be an ideal time to drop by.

Vancouver Art Gallery


Address: 750 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7, Canada

Features: Neoclassical building and First Nations artworks

Movies Filmed Here: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013) and X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).

Hold up – the Vancouver Art Gallery isn’t just the largest public museum in Western Canada; it’s also the ultimate filming spot for those swoon-worthy first dates. 

Inside, you’ll find a treasure trove of paintings, sketches, ceramics, photographs, and letters showcasing the groundbreaking work of British Columbia’s most talented artists.

How to Get to Vancouver Art Gallery

The Vancouver Art Gallery is located on Hornby Street in Downtown Vancouver. Take the SkyTrain (Canada Line) to Vancouver City Centre station, and the gallery is just a short walk of less than 5 minutes from the station.

Pro tip:
Some corners may lack signs, so it might give the impression that the exhibition continues, but it does not.

Sea to Sky Gondola


Address: W Cordova St &, Howe St, Vancouver, BC V6C 3N2, Canada

Features: Towering mountain and ocean views

Movies Filmed Here: A Dog’s Way Home (2019), Altered Carbon (2018), and The Magicians (2015)

With elevations soaring up to 2,900 feet, the Sea to Sky Gondola treats you to jaw-dropping bird’s-eye views of the whole shebang in British Columbia – mountains, forests, oceans, rivers, you name it.

It’s like setting the scene for a romantic date straight out of a love story. Imagine one person afraid of heights, and the other one throwing down a dare – ride this gondola or seal it with a kiss.

How to Get to Sea to Sky Gondola

From Vancouver, head to the Sea to Sky Highway to get to the Sea to Sky Gondola. You can also ride the Squamish Connector shuttle from downtown Vancouver to the Sea to Sky Gondola.

Pro tip:
Before heading there, grab an affogato or ice cream from the truck in the parking lot. It’s deliciously sweet!

Vancouver Chinatown


Address: Chinatown, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Features: Hybrid architectural style buildings

Movies Filmed Here: Deadpool (2016), Fringe (2008), Travelers (2016), DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (2016), and Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

Vancouver’s Chinatown, spanning roughly six blocks, boasts a unique charm with buildings sporting a hybrid architectural style – a fusion of Chinese regional aesthetics and Western influences.

Beyond the tempting Asian restaurants serving up ridiculously good and generously portioned food, filming in this area is a visual treat as the area is home to beautiful gardens, traditional cuisine and markets.

How to Get to Vancouver Chinatown

Take the Canada Line/Skytrain and disembark at the Stadium-Chinatown station. From there, walk north on Abbott Street, then east on Keefer Street, and you’ll find yourself in the heart of Chinatown.

Pro tip:
Almost all restaurants here at Chinatown serve food in ridiculously generous portions so make sure not to order too much!

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

The Best Vancouver expert reviews directly to your inbox (and absolutely no spam!)