Thu, February 16th, 2012 - By

Spotlight: Vancouver, British Columbia


Canada has so many fantastic places to visit, from ski resorts to historic towns, epic train routes and everything in between. It’s hard to  choose, but Vancouver probably is at the top of my favourites list – it’s often cited as one of the best places to live in the world, which makes an easy case for why it’s a great place to visit.

My Vancouver Favourites

I’ve been to Vancouver a couple of times now, and have done a lot of activities. Instead of trying to bundle them into nice packages, I’d just like to highlight some of the best experiences you can enjoy in Vancouver.

  • Granville Island Market:  This market is so much fun – come hungry and do a food tour, tasting your way around. The bakeries are superb, love the doughnuts, but there is also great Indian food and ice cream/desserts. Did I mention you should come hungry?
  • Stanley Park:  When I’m here I like to go for a run in this park. What’s surreal is that this is a forest right here in the middle of downtown. I mean it, a forest. It is huge and even on a grey day, it is a joy to go exploring here.
  • Vancouver Art Gallery:  The city has several museums, but I like this museum’s collections as it highlights many artists from British Columbia.
  • Eating:  If you weren’t full from the trip to Granville Island, there are a lot of great restaurants downtown, but also consider a trip over to Chinatown for some Asian snacks. There is a significant Asian population in Vancouver, and the food here accounts for that. I had the best dim sum I’ve had outside of Hong Kong right here in Vancouver.
  • Coffee:  Coffee fiends will find themselves happily caffeinated in the confines of the city. While there is a Starbucks on nearly every corner, I much prefer Caffe Artigiano (the best) or Blenz (nice food). Waves Coffee is also popular.

Vancouver is one of those towns where it’s easy to stroll along and see what you stumble into.

Get Out

Vancouver is also great for getting out of town; I think many would agree with me that British Columbia has some of the best outdoor adventuring of anywhere in Canada – or at least the most accessible for those visiting. A few suggestions:

  • Whistler:  Famous for it’s massive ski areas, getting to Whistler is almost as much fun as being there. Try the Rocky Mountaineer train for incredible views.
  • Vancouver Island: More than a daytrip, Vancouver Island is awesome – and easy to get to. I’ve mentioned Victoria before, can’t recommend it enough.
  • Head North/South:  You don’t have to leave Vancouver to get “out of town” – to the south past the airport is Richmond, known for it’s great Asian food. To the north is the “north shore,” where there’s a wonderful suspension bridge over a gorge, as well as Grouse Mountain, a must-see for the great views.

Photos by: Michael, JustinMN

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Thursday, February 16th, 2012 at 11:00
Category : Spotlight
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