There’s a reason UBC has a reputation as one of the most stunning campuses in Canada. Whether you need a cool spot to take your friends or just somewhere to clear your head during exam season, this list covers campus’ most iconic sights.
UBC BOTANICAL GARDEN
The UBC Botanical Garden is Canada’s oldest university botanic garden and free to all UBC students. You can easily lose a few hours wandering paths which, depending on the season, might be sheltered by blossoms or carpeted by fallen leaves. The sheer size of this garden is breathtaking, and chances are, you’ll see something new each time you go. (For example, a Ubyssey writer saw mating slugs in September.)
NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN
The Nitobe Memorial Garden located on Lower Mall is full of lush greenery and is also considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. It’s beautiful all year round, but especially in the spring and fall when cherry blossoms and maple leaves line the mossy paths. Entry is free for UBC students.
Wreck Beach is the epitome of what makes UBC so unique. Where else can you go dip your toes in the ocean (or the rest of your body — the beach is clothing optional!) after a tiring 6 p.m. class? While you will quickly learn the struggle of trekking up 490 stairs, the opportunity to stroll on the beach whenever you need can be a godsend.
The postcard-ready vista at the end of Main Mall is a favorite sight for many UBC students, especially when the flowers are in full bloom in late spring and summer. Try walking by near sunset — the colours come together with the view of the garden, the flagpole and the ocean to create something truly awe-inspiring. Just be sure to avoid photo-bombing a wedding.
MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY
Unfortunately closed for renovations until late 2023, the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) is a spot to check out when it does reopen. The museum hosts nearly 50,000 works from almost every part of the world, in addition to another 535,000 archaeological objects. The MOA is also known for its emphasis on collecting and curating traditional and contemporary Indigenous art, with conversations ongoing about how to decolonize anthropology.
MARINE DRIVE PATHWAYS
Across the street from the Peter A. Allard School of Law, there is a walking path that runs alongside NW Marine Drive with some spectacular views. Sometimes UBC’s tall buildings make it difficult to remember just how close to the water we are. Yet the natural beauty that comes with being on a peninsula becomes clear when walking this path. Just remember to turn around at some point, or you’ll end up down at Spanish Banks beach with a long uphill walk to get back to campus.