Vancouver, Canada

NOT SURE IF IT'S MORE CANADIAN OR NORTHERN CALIFORNIAN

EITHER WAY THIS CITY IS THE GREAT OUTDOORS

WHY I LOVE

VANCOUVER
  1. Mountains: The view from the top of Grouse Mountain
  2. Versatility: The ocean at your front door and mountains out the back
  3. Summer: June - September, the only dry months!

24 HRS IN VANCOUVER

SEE, EAT & DO

Up to Grouse Mountain, take the gondola to the top and look down, look across, you can even see all the way to Washington. It’s the BEST view of Vancouver.

Drive, bus or rent a bike to go around Stanley Park. Stop at English bay. Take the little passenger ferries over to Granville Island. Check out the market, the shops, the brewery, the bars/restaurants.

Dinner on the beach or ocean, or on Davie or Commercial for something more fun. If it’s winter, go to the Christmas Market downtown and drink mulled wine. Gastown is also an extremely iconic part of town with MANY great restaurants and bars. It’s a little more hipster but is also quite high end.

TOP 5 BEST

SPOTS TO EAT

On Commercial Drive – Havana’s it’s sort of Vancouver’s rendition of La Bodeguita del Medio. While the food isn’t exactly an accurate representation of Cuban food, nor the service always that fast, the menu is outstanding and full of flavour, the staff friendly and knowledgable, and the cocktails and sangria to die for! Great view, right on the Drive and wall to wall windows. It even reserves the back room for exhibiting local art… something to do while you’re waiting for your table.

 

Mid range. 

The District has Belgian, Dutch and generally European inspired food. A good variety of local BC wines and a better variety of imported beers. The harvest table in the second room is a great place to eat if you like to share your table with soon-to-be friends and grab a look at what everyone else is eating. The space is dark, candle lit, romantic, and the food totally delicious. The owner is a local North Van success and has The Little District further up Lonsdale. Make reservations or wait 3 hours for a table. It’s just on the North Vancouver side of the Seabus.

 

Mid to high end. 

On Granville Island, The Sandbar has been around forever I think. The location and vibe are what scores this place points. Yes, the food is great, high end, and very “Vancouver” – seafood, local dishes, and sushi bar, but it’s also an exciting place to be. The interior is surrounded almost fully by windows that look directly onto the ocean and the city. It’s vibrant, buzzing, and can be romantic too. I think this is more a place to go for a good representation of Vancouver due to the food, the view, the crowd, and the establishment. Plus there are a variety of other places in walking distance to go for a drink before or after. You can even dance there on a Friday night…

 

High end. 

South of the Border Cantina on Davie. If you’re reading this and like a street that likes to party, you’ve got to go to Davie Street. Lolita’s has Latin American food exploding with flavour. It’s small, gets a line up, and has a great drink menu. But really, while I do like Lolita’s, I had to put in Davie Street because it’s central to Vancouver, it’s up from one of the busiest beaches (English Bay), it’s near Stanley Park, and it’s the heart of Vancouver’s large and proud gay community.

 

Mid range. 

If it were me, I’d just go to Commercial Drive and walk. Go early, on an empty stomach, and walk. You’ll find what you’re after to eat. Yes, there is a lot of Italian (due to the historical part of town), but there is also El Mezcaleria (Mexican), The Charlatan (fun bar with great diverse menu), Bier Craft (European), St. Augustine’s (60 beer taps and sports bar).

 

This part of town isn’t for everyone. It’s a bit… edgy, sometimes a bit run down looking, there are no views of ocean or mountains, and it’s not all that close to the downtown area. But it’s fun and FULL of food and drink. You can also get the sky train directly there.

ESSENTIALS

Vancouver has great bike lanes. You don’t need to cab, you can get anywhere you need by public transport. Between the Sky Train, Seabus and Canada Line, you never need to take a city bus (which can have long wait times). But if you want to be a local, rent a bike for the day and get around that way.

Hike a mountain or at least go up Grouse or Cypress, walk around, and look out over the city OR go to Stanley Park. Dependent on whether you’re a mountain or ocean person…

Try staying in North Van if you’re finding downtown hotels expensive. Also, the Canada Line has many stops between the airport and downtown, and it runs early to late. You can stay just out of the city on the line and get in to town in a matter of minutes..

Two feet and a heart beat, the city is not that big.

Don’t lean over the suspension bridge. Don’t walk in a bike lane. Don’t jaywalk, you’ll get a ticket. Be thoughtful about your surroundings and the people around you (or lack thereof). Vancouver does have crime, and most of it isn’t in the legendary downtown eastside…

Capilano Suspension Bridge. WAY over priced for what you get. Don’t do it. It’s a tour bus stop. If you’re desperate to walk across a suspension bridge go to Lynn Valley. You can hike and walk across the bridge there for free.

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