Vancouver – A Travel Guide
This trip was inspired by the Nomad couple at Four Weeks Good, a love of all things Canadian, and general Wanderlust. We only had a few days in Vancouver, so this post only scratches the surface of what the city has to offer. We would love to copy Four Week’s Good and live here for a month if the opportunity presents itself. We went during spring but plan to visit again in winter to ski at Whistler. I’ll update this post with details about the mountains after that trip. The weather in Vancouver is fairly mild year round; think San Francisco but cleaner. There is not really a bad time of year to go but the May through August weather is amazing. I created a short video of what we experienced and am sharing it here. I hope to create more videos like this for every trip in the future.
WHERE TO STAY
Yale Town District and Hornby Road Hotels. These areas are in the central part of Downtown with access to the Metro. There are some easy walks to the various surrounding popular neighborhoods. There are also a number of Fairmont hotels around Downtown that are beautiful and in great locations. In this area, you will find a lot of bike rental stores. So consider taking out rentals and getting around on two wheels. The Ferry system is also very easy. An an all day pass may be worth it because you’ll find yourself hopping around the island on these fairly quickly.
WHERE TO EAT
Revolver Brew Bar – a coffee shop in Gastown with a lively environment. All around great drinks, and they offer a Tasting or Brew Flight. An absolute must for coffee lovers; they are closed on Sundays.
Teahouse Restaurant in Stanley Park – located at the top end of Stanley Park. You’ll find an English style teahouse and restaurant. A great place for ocean side views, drinks, and munching in the sun during your trek around The Seawall.
Mister Artisan Ice Cream – freshly made, nitrogen infused ice cream. They also have options for on the spot s’mores and ice cream sandwiches. Expect a line, this place is very popular. It’s in the heart of Yale Town.
Small Victory Bakery – Yaletown coffee shop and bakery. All of the food is super fresh and includes breakfast, lunch and cake offerings. They have multiple pour overs including a gravity style cold drip brew method.
Tuc Craft Kitchen – gastropub in Gastown. Very friendly and informative staff. creative and strong cocktail menu. rotating seasonal menu with fun twists.
Musette Caffé – a cyclist first coffee shop with an awesome vibe and great food and drinks. They even have a no wi-fi and laptops policy on weekends.
Miku – there are lots of seafood options around Vancouver but Miku is one of the best. Offering multiple omakase plates and locally sourced fresh seafood. Topped off with a view of the bay from almost every seat. One of my favorite sushi houses.
Hook Seabar – great place to grab some craft cocktails, fresh seafood and a great view of the sunset. Ask for a patio table and get in some people watching too.
THINGS TO DO
Granville Island Public Market – an expansive adaptive reuse area with artists studios, museums, shops, food halls, and so much more. You can lose a half day here easy.
Stanley Park – over a 1,000 acres of beautiful park land just north of downtown. Packed with bike, hiking, and run/walk trails. Towered over by the mountains. You can see why Vancouver is a very active outdoor culture.
Vancouver Seawall – you can rent a bike for the day and do a loop of all of downtown in a few hours. With breathtaking views all along the way. You can be a tourist and get some fitness in.
Vancouver Sea Plane Tours – Vancouver has one of the most picturesque city scapes. Settled in between mountains and the ocean. A sea plane tour is a great way to take in the views of Vancouver in a quick 20-30 minute flight.
Canada Place – sea port, waterfront restaurants and parks, and galleries.
Grouse Mountain – night-time gondola rides to the top of the mountain for beautiful views of the city.
Vancouver is hands down one of the most beautiful and well planned cities I have ever been to. It has a pedestrian and bike first design. In fact I would say it is the most accessible city I have been to for anyone needing wheelchair or similar access. I can’t imagine staying indoors in such a thoughtful city. While out, you can visit many of the seaside sights, catch a boat race, sail, fly in a seaplane, or head to the mountains for hiking and snow sports. I am surprised not more people know about and visit Vancouver. It’s geographic position, probably has a lot to do with it.
It’s a very diverse and cosmopolitan city. People as nice as anywhere else in Canada. More hair salons per capita than anywhere else I have been in the world. Canadians must be obsessed with their hair. Angela and I compared Vancouver to a mash-up between San Francisco and Chicago. Cleaner than both cities and with milder weather. The major downside is the public transit. The buses are pretty good but the train is weak. I was seriously unimpressed. But, I guess being so walkable, they figure they don’t need to over invest in public transit. Lastly, below is a slide show of some of the highlights from our trip.