The effect of the streamwise vortex generators on the near-wake flow structure of a circular cylinder was experimentally investigated. Digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV) measurements were performed in a large circulating water tunnel facility at a Reynolds number of 41,300 where the flow around a bare cylinder was expected to be at the sub-critical flow state. In order to capture various flow properties and to provide a detailed wake flow topology, the DPIV images were analysed with three different but complementary flow field decomposition techniques which are Reynolds averaging, phase averaging and proper orthogonal decomposition (POD). The effect of the vortex generators was clearly demonstrated both in qualitative and in quantitative manner. Various topological features such as vorticity and stress distribution of the flow fields as well as many other key flow characteristics including the length scales and the Strouhal number were discussed in the study. To the best of the authors' knowledge, the study presents the first DPIV visualization of the near-wake flow of a circular cylinder fitted with the vortex generators in the open literature.