For a city of its size, Vancouver boasts an impressive diversity of art galleries, from spaces showcasing aboriginal sculpture in wood and traditional materials to contemporary galleries highlighting groundbreaking experimental works.
First stop for art lovers is the landmark Vancouver Art Gallery. Housed in a beautiful neoclassical courthouse located in the thick of Robson Street's hustle bustle, the VAG is the largest public art museum in Western Canada. Spend an afternoon exploring photographs by masters such as Ansel Adams, as well as important works by Emily Carr and other revered British Columbian artists.
Distinctive thunderbirds, massive totem poles and intricate masks: First Nations art is everywhere in Vancouver. Downtown's Bill Reid Gallery showcases works by the master carver from the Haida nation (You can see his best known pieces on the back of the Canadian $20 bill). Additional galleries throughout the city offer museum-quality pieces for sale.
Granville Island, best known for its vibrant fruit and vegetable market, is a hub of creativity. The world-renowned Emily Carr University of Art + Design boasts three galleries, while nearby Railspur Alley is home to studios of artists working in media as diverse as blown glass and precious metals.