Lately, a lot of people has been asking me for tips for their weekend vacation to Vancouver, BC. I moved to Beautiful British Columbia when I was four and basically lived in one of the top ten most livable cities for all 23 years of my life. Like every native to their homeland, all the beautiful and breathtaking sights became the norm for me.
Some days, I’ll catch myself looking at the picturesque mountains and taking in the fresh smell of pine and fir trees. On other days, I’ll be up in the mountains after a day of snowboarding, then realize that I could literally crash the beach on the same day, half an hour later.
We Vancouverites, are pretty darn lucky and we forget … just like how take our parents, close friends, or significant others for granted after the shininess of a new things fade away.
There are a ton of reasons why people come to Vancouver of course. To see the wonderful snowcapped mountains, hike the trails, experience the multicultural aspects of the city, and of course there’s things like trying the typical Canadian ‘delicacies’ like maple syrup and poutine. Although Michelin did not make it’s way up to Canada, we have the most delicious asian cuisine, like ramen, sushi, pho and dim sum.
If you want an all around experience that excites all of your senses, you’ve come to the right spot.
MUST SEE DESTINATIONS
If you only have two days to spare, you don’t have time to hit all of the spots, but here are the spots that you MUST VISIT. I will explain it in a order that I believe works the best for your planning.
- Start off early in Gastown, walk around and explore the small shops in town. You’ll find little boutiques and tourist specialty stores, but best of all, you’ll find the most delicious coffee bars. I recommend just picking up a Spanish Coffee from Buro Coffee and Peanut Butter Cookie to go.
- Coffee in hand, walk over to look at the Steam Clock and snap a photo.
- Stroll to Canada Place, where you can take a picture with the famous Five Sails near the Convention Centers. There is also a gigantic Earth shaped model.
- Make your way over to the Jack Poole Plaza where you can take a picture with the Olympic Cauldron.
- After this, you must try the best gelato in town at the Fairmont: Bella Gelateria.
- If you have a car, drive up to North Vancouver, where you can spend two hours at the Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can spend three more hours at the Grouse Mountain Gondola and doing activities at the mountain top. You’ll be able to see a beautiful view of Vancouver and experience nature firsthand. However, if you have a smaller budget, you can also consider going to Lynn Canyon Park instead which will allow you to experience nature and experience another suspension bridge that is less touristy.
- This should take you to around 6:00pm if you started early enough. At this time, relax and head to Yaletown to get dinner. There is a wide selection of restaurants, so you can choose to eat whatever your heart desires. Yaletown is also a great place to grab some evening cocktails, such as at the Hello Goodbye Bar.
- At around 9:00pm, you can head to Olympic Village. Olympic Village is the best spot for you to take pictures with Science World, our signature soccer ball architectural building that defines our landscape. You can also see Roger’s Arena and Stadium here, so you’ll kill two birds with one stone.
- Get up early like usual. This time, make your way to Granville Island. You can grab brunch at Edible Canada if you want to sit down and order their famous fries or you can head over to the public market where you can sample a famous puff pastry soup from A La Mode or get a custom bagel from Siegel’s bagel shop. There are also a lot of live performances at around lunch time and lots of crafty shops if you want some unique souvenirs to bring home. If you come during the evening, you can also catch an improv show or two.
- Next, make your way to Stanley Park where you can rent a bike on Denman St. and ride around the seawall, making stops at the beaches and viewpoints a long the way. You can even see the Lions Gate bridge from here. Spend 2-3 hours here.
- When you’re done, hang out along Denman and Robson St. to find Santouka Ramen or Kintaro Ramen. If you’re not a fan of ramen, there are also a ton of other types of cuisine clustered in that area.
- At this point, there are a few things you can do:
- You can make your way down to Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf to look at sea lions and walk around the area. The Steveston Seafood House also offers a popular dessert that is a chocolate balm with a cream filling. In Richmond City Centre, there is also a wide selection of Chinese Restaurants that serve dim sum and until late. There is also an outlet near the airport called McArthurGlen Outlets if you are looking for some good deals.
- If you feel like relaxing, you can make your way to Kitsilano Beach for beach bumming and then enjoy live jazz music at a bar called Blue Martini.
- If you are feeling like shopping, you can drive to Metrotown, which is the second largest mall in all of Canada, though realistically, aside from the shopping there is nothing to see.
- If you are feeling artsy, you can spend some time at the Vancouver Art Gallery and Robson Square to look at the latest exhibitions.
- Finally, wrap up the evening by spending some time shopping on Main Street, looking at boutiques and eating at our extremely hipster restaurants and maybe grab a beer or two at our local breweries.
- End the evening by going to Queen Elizabeth Park for dessert and a class of wine and at the same time at Seasons in the Park, enjoy a night view of all of Vancouver from the top of the hill. If you choose to do this in the day time, you can also visit the Bloedel Conservatory too.
Got a few more extra days?
Consider visiting….Whistler and Squamish. Take the Sea to Sky Highway to for scenic stops and hikes that takes you to breathtaking glacier lakes and waterfalls.
Visit Deep Cove for kayaking and a short hike to see Stanley Park and Vancouver.
Take a detour to Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver
Take the ferry to North Vancouver Lonsdale Quay
Go to Canada Place and experience Flyover Canada
PLACES TO EAT
These things should keep you busy for two days, but if you’re an extreme foodie, you can also consider going to the following places:
- Toshi Sushi
- Savio Volpe (Reservations Required)
- Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen
- Narrow Lounge
- Bao Bei Brasserie
- Medina Cafe (Lavender Latte is amazing here)
- Lin’s (For Xiao Long Bao Buns)
- Cartem’s Doughnut
- Small Victory Bakery (Cruffin = Croissant + Muffin)
More to be added…