Vancouver City Guide
Vancouver, one of North America’s most underrated cities, is a definite treat for travelers who are looking for a mix of attractions. Nature lovers, in particular, would enjoy Vancouver, with its clear views and easy access to the Coastal Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean. Indeed, from mountains and seas to everything in between, Vancouver has it.
What to See and Do in Vancouver
Daytime must-see attractions in Vancouver are plentiful and depend on what areas that pique your interest. A must-do, of course, is a tour of Granville Island. This quaint village feels like another world altogether; it’s best to walk around, like many of the locals do. Check out the boats in the quay especially during early spring, when prawn is in season.
Don’t forget to check out Stanley Park, too, which is almost a city in itself with so many activities happening there. The Vancouver Aquarium, for example, would be excellent for families. Kids would love getting up close and personal with over 70,000 different sea creatures in the area. There’s also a miniature train which will take you inside and through the forest, lots of gardens to fascinate even hard-to-please garden lovers, and several pools and beaches, too, for those who would just rather laze around.
A vibrant nightlife is another quality that attracts many visitors to the Rainy City. There’s a number of high-class, sophisticated clubs where you can enjoy good music, fine wine, and cheese. You can also dance your way into some of the most energized nightclubs in town. They are definitely not hard to find in Vancouver.
Where to Eat and Drink in Vancouver
Fine dining and Vancouver are almost synonymous. The city is known internationally for its dining establishments as well as a wide variety of cuisine choices. There are many highly-rated local restaurants, pubs, taverns, and clubs that offer food of any ethnicity that you may prefer, prepared by some of the most distinguished chefs in North America.
Hawksworth Restaurant, for example, is worth mentioning. Voted “Vancouver Magazine‘s Restaurant of the Year” in 2013, it has a diverse selection of contemporary Canadian cuisine. Flavor and artistic flair come together in their meticulously prepared dishes. The highly-trained staff takes a lot of pride in giving their customers an exceptional dining experience.
If green living and sustainability are causes close to your heart, Chambar Restaurant would be a worthwhile consideration. Winner of “Best Overall Restaurant” of Vancouver in Georgia Straight’s 2013 Golden Plates Awards, Chambar boasts exquisite dishes with the added quality of being Vancouver’s first “carbon neutral” restaurant. Regional and seasonal ingredients from local suppliers make Chambar a great choice for individuals who want to get a true taste of Vancouver.
Awarded “Best New Restaurant” in Vancouver Magazine’s 2013 Restaurant Awards, Wildebeest is another dining destination for those with impeccable taste. They work closely with local suppliers to bring regional food choices to their customers, and is set in a uniquely redone 19th-century building for added personality. Known for their protein-heavy selections and bold flavors, this restaurant would make an outstanding choice for diners with adventurous taste.
Wine lovers would also love the Rainy City. There are a lot of wineries on Vancouver Island and its surrounding areas which produce a range of wine varieties, from the port-like Wild Blackberry dessert wine to more traditional wines such as Pinot Gris and Merlot. For the best place for cocktails in Vancouver, check out the award-winning Bacchus Lounge at the Wedgewood Hotel.
Where to Stay in Vancouver
As a booming tourist destination, there is an abundance of conventional hotels in Vancouver that offer all the creature comforts that a typical tourist would like to have. Most of these hotels have great ratings and reviews, but they are usually hotel chain establishments and therefore don’t always give guests the entire Vancouver experience. If you are in search of accommodations that will feel like part of the experience, there are plenty to be found if you do a bit of research.
For a laidback accommodation full of old-world charm, for example, the Bee & Thistle Guest House would be a worthwhile consideration. A beautifully updated historical home with balconies on each floor, luxurious guest rooms, delectable snacks, and excellent reviews make this a great choice if you would like a quaint retreat with luxurious touches. It is also located very close to downtown, giving easy access to the shops and restaurants in that area.
Planning Your Trip to Vancouver
July and August are the high season in Vancouver where tourism is concerned. The weather is warmest in these months, and there are several shows and celebrations in the city to attract the crowds.
If you are a snow sports enthusiast, however, it is best to visit Vancouver during winter. Since it is not “high season,” hotels tend to be cheaper, especially if you book on weekdays. While it usually doesn’t snow in the city, the snow in the surrounding mountains makes for very good skiing. Traveling there is easy enough, too.
To choose the best time to go, it is a good idea to decide on what you would really love to see in Vancouver, and then decide which season fits those activities best.
From great food and wine, to culture, nature, and other activities, Vancouver is truly a city that has something for everyone. With all of the comforts and attractions Vancouver has to offer, you may never want to return home!