Vancouver is a beautiful city. For those of us who have had the chance to go there, would confirm that. It’s clean, organized, modern; it has the beaches, it has the mountains. It is just the perfect mixture of urban and nature.
My husband and I visited Vancouver the end of June of this year and it was our first time in the west part of Canada. We flew from Toronto early in the morning and we landed there before lunch. It was the perfect flight to be able to spend the whole day exploring.
Since Vancouver is an expensive city, a one night stay in a nice hotel downtown may be around $200-$300 or more during the summer which is why we decided to look into Air B&B listings. For those of you who don’t know the concept of Air BNB, it is a website where people list their properties for short term rent (hotel-like) and you may choose to book a whole apartment for yourself of rent just a room. You can sign up for AirBnB here and you will receive $32CAD credit.
There were a lot of modern apartments right in the middle of the island that were convenient, clean, and cheaper than a hotel room. We chose a listing that was providing the whole apartment for the price because we don’t like sharing spaces with people we don’t know. It turned out to be a good choice (Thank God! We didn’t want this to ruin our first time vacation in Vancouver).
We spent a total of 4 days in Vancouver.
- Walked around the Waterfront – We visited the Harbour Centre, Watched a concert for Aboriginal Day, saw the beautiful views North Vancouver and the Grouse Mountain and took some pictures at the docks.
- We went to Denman St. in the so called West Side. There was a street festival during the whole day. Local bands were playing different styles of music all day long. Patios, beers, people, food. It was a great way to experience the city together with the locals.
3. We continued to English Bay – it was a warm day so there were a lot of people hanging out on the beach and enjoying the sun.
We met with an acquaintance who has been living there for about 20 years who was supposed to give us the best tour of the city and the area. So at about 9 am we went for a Starbucks coffee and from there, we hit the streets. Here are the highlights of our Vancouver trip with him.
1. China Town -It was early in the morning so we couldn’t feel the vibe of the area. However, we have China town in Toronto as well so I kind of know what to expect or maybe I am wrong? You tell me if you’ve been there.
2. Gas Town – the old town of Vancouver. Brick building, stylish boutiques, patios and cool family restaurants spread out throughout the few streets in Gas Town. This area definitely has a vibe and it is pretty cool place to buy your souvenirs from, see a steam clock (that was my first time), and dine in.
3. Stanley Park
Stanley Park is the largest park within the city parameter and you can spend a whole day there. It is perfect for a walk, bike ride, and picnic. I was impressed with the vegetation there. Large trees, flora that reminded me of the tropics mixed with pine trees, some of which ginormous. Literally! Take a look! This is the Stanley Park famous Hallow Tree which has been in the past and nowadays a destination on its own. It used to be a tradition to park an entire car inside the tree for a family or wedding photo shoot.
Also we visited the Prospect Point which had a stunning view of the bridges and the water.
We also saw the Totem Poles which are represent the First Nations Aboriginal People’s Culture and have a big piece of the history of this land. There is an amazing view to the Vancouver Island on a one minute walk from here.
3. Mount Seymour Provincial Park
We used the Lion’s Gate Bridge (a beautiful bridge by the way) to go to North Vancouver and from there to the mountains. We stopped at so many hidden gems that it was hard to remember their names. However, some of the ones that I can remember are: Deep Cove, Lynn Canyon and the Lynn Suspension Bridge which although not as tall and as long as the famous Capilano suspension bridge that is 450 feet long and 230 feet high, Lynn Suspension Bridge is also as thrilling and as impressive to cross on.
2. We also stopped by the Salmon House which is apparently an upscale fish restaurant with a panoramic view to the water and the the city. Take a look! It seems to be the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or an afternoon drink in their bar area.
3. Horseshoe Bay seemed to be the last stop on one day long tour in the nature and a peak at the view is definitely worth the ride to there. Did not miss a refreshing beer and a fresh homemade clam chowder soup at the boat house watching the cruise ships leave the bay.
We packed our luggage and flew over to Calgary. Was I impressed from the city? What did I see? Sign up to my blog and you’ll receive an email about my trip to Calgary.
To conclude, the mixture of beautiful nature, sky-rises, modern flare, walkability, entertainment, variety of cuisine, twist, shopping, and overall cleanliness, and friendliness, I would say that Vancouver is definitely worth visiting again and I would recommend it as a destination to anyone who has not been there yet.