City Guide - Things to See and Do in Beautiful Vancouver, Canada
Must Things to See and Do in Vancouver
(well...what I would do)
I've finally gotten around to writing about my trip to Vancouver, but I thought how dull is that? To tell you about visiting friends and family...people you don't know. So, rather than doing that and boring you to tears. I'm going to write about the things to see and do in Vancouver. I would love to have had the time to snap photos of my hometown for you, but it wasn't that type of holiday. I do hope I can return next year with my husband in tow to show him some amazing sights.
On a side note: I've been madly trying to keep up with all you wonderful bloggers. There is so much interesting stuff being put out there right now. It's so hard to keep up. I'm getting to all of you soon.
Grouse Grind/Grouse Mountain:
For those of you into outdoors and some good intermediate hiking, this is the hike to do in West Vancouver. Everyone always raves about this hike. I shamefully admit I've never done it. All my friends have done it. Even my students have done it. What's my excuse? The reason is plain old procrastination. I thought that I would have had plenty of time to do it - I'll do it eventually was the motto of the day back then. Come on....tell me you haven't used this excuse before. Unfortunately, I no longer live there - live and learn.
The great thing about this hike is you have fabulous views from the top of Grouse Mountain. You can hike back down, but it's not recommended. Pay the $10.00 to ride the Gondola to the bottom. It's well worth it.
Now, if you're there during winter, it's a great place to ski and the best thing is it's only 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver and Cypress Mountain is very close by too for some great skiing. I used to go night skiing after school and enjoy the bright lights of the city below. I didn't know how lucky I was back then.
Gastown is a must see and another fave hangout of mine, as I used to work minutes from here. It was the original downtown of Vancouver many years ago. It's sidewalks are cobble-lined and is filled with many artisan shops, restaurants, pubs, cool nightclubs and the famous "steam" clock, apparently the only clock in the world to run on steams from underwater pipes. It's easy to find because there is a never-ending hoard of tourists snapping photos of it.
Commercial Drive is a hodgepodge of all of Vancouver's culture. It's a community that is heaving with art, food and culture - eclectic, eccentric, bohemian, weird, cool, fun, laid back, gritty; people from all walks of life hang out, work and live here. I like to come here and eat some of the delicious food on an outdoor patio and enjoy the neighbourhood atmosphere.
Main Street and Broadway:
If you love shopping and I mean the unique kind...not your chain stores, but one of a kind pieces and shops - don't miss Main Street near Broadway! Lots of eclectic boutiques and shops where you can pick-up something original for yourself or a find unique gift. Definitely a place to check out for new and upcoming artists and designers, consignment and antique shops, and cool little restaurants and cafes. I always visit Main Street when I'm in Vancouver.
Capilano Suspension Bridge:
The Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver used to be quite terrifying and a little dangerous....maybe because my first memory of it was when I was 5 years old on top of someone's shoulder. Even though I've been there a gzillion times and it's super safe, that's the first image that comes to mind.
Now, it's a place heaving with tourists; you have to pay an entrance fee; well landscaped nature paths are everywhere; it's a bit cheesy with the staff walking around dressed up in colonial costumes; there's great Indian Art and Totem poles; a large gift shop, cafeteria and places to eat. I can't say I like the development over the past 35 years. I kinda liked it the way it was....undeveloped. However, despite all I've said, it's a great place to see. Could it be....that I have issues with - development?
Lynn Canyon Park:
The suspension bridge at Lynn Canyon Park is similar to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, but less touristy and more natural. I would definitely see this over the Capilano Suspension Bridge; however, the other one is kid friendly. So, if you have a family, opt for the suspension bridge at Capilano. However, if you're a nature lover and without kids, check this one out. It's well worth it.
Granville Island is located in the West End of Vancouver and is the hub of the arts scene in Vancouver. You can buy beautifully crafted local art. The Emily Carr Art Institute is located here too. I took a couple classes a few years ago for fun - a wonderful experience. Granville Island is also famous for its Market - an absolute must see for foodies! You can find amazing local eateries and restaurants. I remember running a treasure hunt activity here for my students a few summers ago. They had quite a good time scavenging the island. I like taking the scenic route and going by water. There's a little ferry that leaves from downtown Vancouver and you arrive there within 20 minutes. Otherwise, you can take the bus. But this is so much better, and it costs relatively the same.
In my opinion, Stanley Park is one of the most beautiful parks in the world. It has nature trails and a walking path/wall around the park, so you always have a fabulous view of the ocean, city and mountains. There are playgrounds, Indian art, a public pool, an aquarium and views of downtown and North and West Vancouver. It's one of a kind.
Stanley Park holds wonderful memories for me. When I was little and the weather was nice, my mother used to take us every weekend to the entrance of the park with our bikes in the back of the station wagon and she'd drop us off, so we could ride around the park and she'd wait for us at Third Beach (one of the many beaches around Stanley Park) to pick us up. It's something I took for granted as a kid. Now, as an adult, I'm definitely grateful to her now for those sweet childhood memories.
English Bay Beach and Denman Street:
Vancouver is surrounded by sandy beaches. One of the most famous and generally the busiest is the one by English Bay. During the summer this is where you can watch the Vancouver Fireworks Festival - too awesome for words! Located nearby is Denman Street where you can take a break at a one of its many cafes, restaurants, gelaterias and more or do something more active by renting bikes or rollerblades.
Adding to this list are:
(another fave hangout of mine is Vancouver's most famous shopping street located in downtown Vancouver. I have good memories from here. I had this ritual where I would always stop by Starbucks, grab one of their delicious gourmet coffees and sit in their cafe and watch the people go by. It's a great place just to hang out and enjoy the scene of Vancouver. Also, all the upscale clothing stores are located here.)
(because it's a kid's world)
(Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival during the summer)
(the walk and views of the ocean and Stanley Park are fantastic)
(an convenient way to see all of the city's highlights)
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
(beautifully designed gardens)
University of B.C. or Simon Fraser University
(these two Universities are located on some amazing property surrounded by ocean, mountains and trees - a definite bonus trip should be made to these two Universities. I can happily say I attended both at one point in my life.)
This is just a list of the top things to do.
There's heaps more to see and do, but there just isn't enough time.
Skytrain and Seabus:
The skytrain is a light rapid rail system or what I call, the subway in the sky and offers fantastic scenic views of Vancouver; most importantly it's a great way to get around Vancouver and its residential areas. The seabus is part of the same transit network and operates from Vancouver to North Vancouver and is really a treat to ride.
For more detailed information on things to do and see in Vancouver, click here. And if you don't get a chance to see Vancouver anytime soon go to this link - www.seevancouverbc.com & www.cometovancouverbc.com
for amazing views and photos of this beautiful city.
I hope you enjoyed this little virtual visit to my hometown.
Wishing you a fabulous week ahead!
Wishing you a fabulous week ahead!