During my USA road trip I managed to squeeze in 3 of Canada’s key cities too: Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. I was a big Toronto fan! I can totally appreciate how Vancouver has it all, certainly for the adrenalin-outdoorsy ski-bunny type, but that’s not me I’m sad to admit. Be sure to check out my 3 highlights for a short visit, as they provided a great city snapshot.
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3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:
GROUSE MOUNTAIN | amazing to be there on a Tuesday afternoon, and see families nipping up on the same cable car for an after-work after-school ski! A must if you visit Vancouver (although pricey at $40), to see first hand one reason why it’s such an appealing place to live – and the spectacular views.
GRANVILLE ISLAND | the lovely little ferry takes you over from the mainland to the impressive Granville Markets, selling loads of great food and fresh produce, as well as hosting artist workshops. Also check out: the Convention Centre and its impressive sails.
STANLEY PARK | on our second day we hired bikes to Stanley Park, which has an easy, flat path all around the headland. You’ll go past Totem poles, perhaps a bit of seal spotting, and onwards past the Science Museum. It’s a great way to see Vancouver. Also check out: Yelp discounts for 25% off bike hire.
3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:
EMPIRE LANDMARK | After 26 days of travelling, my Mum arrived! We stayed at the Empire Landmark, enjoying a great brekkie on their 42nd floor and near enough to explore Denham Street with some alluring restaurants. Also check out: Sura Korean, and Momo Sushi for a cheap eat.
GAS TOWN | from our hotel we took main artery Robson Street along to Gas Town, which makes for a nice coffee stop, but is – like all of central Vancouver – very small! Highlighted as a tourist spot, but one of those places I imagine needs some time to really unearth its hidden gems.
KITSLANO BEACH | is an easy walk round from Granville Market, to the Maritime museum and a little further to this beach. Vancouver is all about the water: being near it, on it, and crossing over it on bridges.
3 THINGS TO STEER CLEAR:
CHINA TOWN | I’m never usually a fan of touristy China towns, and Vancouver’s was particularly unappealing as on the periphery is a very transparent drug abuse and homeless issue not being dealt with by the city. It wasn’t overly threatening, but spooky my country bumpkin Mum and make her scuttle up the street.
CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE | lammmme! I was so underwhelmed by this excuse-for-another-high-entry-fee ‘attraction’. Vancouver likes to pile on the charges. I am from Bristol, England – now THAT’S a suspension bridge. This is just a bunch of aerial walkways.
HIGH EXPECTATIONS | don’t get me wrong, I really liked Vancouver, but when you’re told year after year by the press that it’s the number 1 (or number 3 at least) place to live you set your beliefs high. It’s nice, granted, but I won’t be moving there!
1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:
VANCOUVER ISLAND | we didn’t have chance to visit, but supposedly it’s beautiful and a great ‘Escape from the City’ for hiking, biking, and camping fans. A friend told me it was the best thing they did when they visited, so try and check it out.
AND KNOW THIS: In 1971 Greenpeace was born in Vancouver, an organisation now known for its international environmental campaigns.