If you ever have a chance to visit Vancouver, GO! This place exceeded our expectations with its beauty, culture and people. Also, if you're into being active the bike culture here is phenomenal. The city carved out miles (or I should say meters) of bike lanes throughout to explore. Our 10 days were jam packed with exploring the city by foot, bike and bus. We also made it a point to get up to Whistler-the mountain town just an hour outside of the city, and where they held the 2010 Winter Olympics. I wish we spent more time in Whistler because it was absolutely breathtaking! But honestly, the city in general was breathtaking-there are equal parts nature and equal parts metropolitan. Also, you can't beat that the sun sets around 9:30PM in the summer, which gives plenty of opportunity for lots of fun and activities. If you ever visit, here is my mini guide to Vancouver:
- Walk! Vancouver is such a walkable city with paths carved out for those on foot. From where we were staying the farthest point to the tip of Vancouver was about 2.5 miles.
- Rent a bike. This is a must. Seriously, a non-negotioable. Vancouver is huge on biking culture and everyone-both tourist and locals-are biking all over the place. The path we most frequented is called the Sea Wall and it takes you around exactly what you're envisioning: the sea around Vancouver. Also, the paths are pretty flat so it's easy to get in a lot of miles and really soak in your surroundings.
- Visit Stanley Park. Another non-negotiable. This park is HUGE and GREEN and BEAUTIFUL and so lively! Pack a picnic and find a spot, either close to the ocean or deep inside the trees. There are parks, benches and even restaurants scattered all along the park that it's super easy to spend an entire day there.
- Hop on a bus and make it to the Capilano Sususpension Bridge. It's a park with an entrance fee but it's so worth it. Green literally everywhere. The air smells so good and feels so fresh while filling your lungs. It's another place you can spend hours getting lost in the midst of.
- Granville Public Market. This market reminds me of the Original Famers Market in Los Angeles but bigger. Fresh produce, meat, baked goods, cheese, charcuterie, candy, gelato...the list goes on. Grab and sit out on the pier while people watching and watch the boats go by, or, grab and go and go have a picnic somewhere by the water or in the park.
- Take a ride on the sea bus. It's like a little water taxi that gets you around the different points of the city. Experience the luxury of boating and hop on and hop off throughout the city.
- Make time for a day trip to Whistler. Find bus tickets online (about $35 one way to get up there) and then hop off and explore. You can easily spend a few days in Whistler really taking advantage of nature, but if you have one day you can still really get a lot out of the scenery. We hopped off in Whistler Village and just across the way stepped off and ended up hiking 7 miles just exploring. It's seriously so beautiful you won't mind getting lost and will be so surpised when you find out how many miles you explored.
Eat & Drink
This trip wasn't so much about the food as it was about the exploration, but we were able to get a couple of good eats in. So here are a few on my list:
- Granville Public Market. Again, this place has it all. There are different eateries you can choose from, or, you can create your own meal. A good place when everyone wants something different.
- 49th Parallel Coffee Good coffee and donuts!
- Revolver Coffee More good coffee and nice atmosphere.
- Fable 'Canadian New'. Almost like American (New), but Candian and oh, so good. Fable means 'Farm to Table' and was created by the Top Chef Canada winner.
- Chocolate Arts This was a happy stumble upon. My mom and I had just finished up a long bike ride and wanted a little pick me up. Went into this coffee shop where they also make chocolate and cookies in house. Ordered two salted chocolate chip cookies to pair with my iced latte and probably the most memorable thing I ate the whole trip. I think because the pairing of coffee and chocolate is so damn good but also because we were so hungry after biking for a good portion of our day.
Alright, now that I gave my TO DO list here are all the photos of our exploration in and around Vancouver throughout 10 days.
Biking Around Vancouver
Capilano Suspension Bridge
This trip was one for the books. WOW is all I can say. Canada, you are breathtaking!