The most populous and well-known metropolis in British Columbia, Vancouver is one Canadian city you should never pass up visiting. Known as a busy port city and ethnically diverse place it’s also one the best arts and music cities in Western Canada. It’s also a well-known filming location. Sound good? Great, because Vancouver is all that and were just getting started!
The Best Luxury Hotels on the West Coast
When you first visit Vancouver, it may be a good idea to find a well-known and respected hotel. Fortunately, there are a whole lot of those here. The Loden Hotel is just an example, albeit quite an excellent one. Close to the sea, it offers a beautiful view, as well as an intimate setting, unique design and perfect layouts for the rooms.
A truly remarkable historic hotel, the St. Regis is another great option. It features clean, comfortable and discreet rooms, fitted with all the modern necessities and even luxuries that you might want. The hotel is also close to a main shopping center and the harbor, so you will have no issues getting around.
A great third pick is the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The service is as professional as you might find in the most well-known and respected hotels in the world. You will enjoy unique benefits such as courtesy bikes, state-of-the-art controls for lighting and electronics, and one of the best spas in the city. Who doesn’t want to get refreshed and enjoy a soothing massage after a long trip?
Excellent Food Places to Choose from
Nothing makes you more hungry than exploring the streets of an interesting city. In Vancouver, they have virtually every types of restaurants and food venues you might be interested in.
For some delicious oriental treats, the most happening place to visit is The Orchid Restaurant. This place serves the best Thai food, and the service is equally impressive. You’ll basically enjoy every step of the experience, from cocktails to entrees, and you never have to wait too long to be served.
If you want some cheaper, yet equally delicious food, go to The Pie Shoppe. Here, you can enjoy the most delightful freshly baked pies, and coffee aficionados will be glad to know they serve only the most refined organic, single-origin coffee.
Finally, a French cafe and lunch spot you simply have to check out is Thierry. From delicious salted caramel macaroons, to sumptuous cakes, gourmet baguettes and quality coffee, there aren’t many truly great dishes you can’t enjoy here. The prices are not to bad either.
What to Do in Vancouver
Vancouver is definitely a big place, so there’s plenty to see and lots to do. The first thing to look forward to is a glimpse at island life. Go to Granville Island, and explore the various boutiques, picnic spots or small restaurants and galleries. You could also take a stroll through the lively local market for some unique finds.
Another outstanding natural place to visit is Stanley Park. You can rent bikes and ride around the park to see it in its complete, majestic beauty, or just take a relaxing stroll. The wonderful greenery and long trails will make exploring the park totally worthwhile. You can also get a ride on horse driven carriage if you prefer to see Stanley Park in style.
The Vancouver Aquarium is always a great place to visit. This is truly a huge place, and you might find it confusing at first, but you certainly get a great show to enjoy. Wildlife enthusiasts will feel right at home here. The Aquarium is one of the first places in the world where naturalist experts will be present to interpret animal behavior for the visitors. There are plenty of penguins, fish, jellies, sea mammals and snakes to see – a total of more than 30,000 species.
Explorer’s Tips for Visiting Vancouver
Did you know about Vancouver’s “shady” past? For adults only, the Vancouver Police Museum organizes the Sins of the City Walking Tour each year to show you a glimpse into Vancouver as it was during the vice-filled times of opium dens, brothels and bootlegging.
From the well-known Blood Alley to a look at Vancouver’s first jail and the sight of Glassy Jack’s first saloon, there’s a whole lot of ground to cover. Anyone even remotely interested in Canada’s rich and often intriguing history should definitely check this out.
A Unique Day Spent in Vancouver
When organizing a unique day of activities and exploring in Vancouver, there almost an endless number of things you can consider.
First of all, in the morning you can get a quick and fulfilling workout, while enjoying a stunning view climbing the Grouse Grind at Grouse Mountain. After you’re done, the best place to relax is Pan Pacific Vancouver’s Spa Utopia. There you can get a genuine stone massage at LaStone Therapy.
For the adventurers out there, the Indian Arm Luncheon Cruise is the perfect way to see Vancouver from a totally unique perspective – out at sea. You can experience the stunning view of the coastal mountain fjords without even needing much time for it.
There are also plenty of walking tours to enjoy here. Vancouver’s oldest and most historically interesting city, Gastown, can be explored as part of one of these tours. You can check out the renowned steam clock here, and have a quiet cafe at one of the cozy coffee shops nearby.
On Saturday nights, you can get a real thrill at the Pan Pacific. Enjoy the Italian Opera Buffet, or visit the Richmond Night Market for finding some of the most interesting “treasures” and souvenirs. If you like to get even more of a thrill from Vancouver nights, you can also go skiing at Grouse Mountain. It’s open as late as 10 PM, all year round.
Although Vancouver is a clean, pleasant and overall “well-behaved” city, you’ll find the nightlife to be just as fulfilling as the relaxing beautiful parks and strange museums you visit during the day. The city’s natural locations and activities can open up immense opportunities for those looking for less mainstream things to do. You’ll definitely enjoy your stay here in full.