COURTESY OF THE CITY OF VANCOUVER
BY MAIA ROMULO PUYAT
Found between the captivating Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, British Columbia isn’t called “Beautiful B.C.” for nothing.
Canada’s westernmost province is home to both picturesque remote towns and charming, progressive cities that have the wilderness within reach, but it is arguably the coastal city of Vancouver, with its diverse communities, proximity to a number of stunning parks and beaches, and vibrant downtown streets that is a major draw for many travelers. To help you get started on planning a trip, here’s a short list of great spots to visit while in the city.
COURTESY OF ROSEWOOD HOTELS
Opened in 1927, the opulent and historic Hotel Georgia has welcomed a number of royals and entertainment A-listers such as the Prince of Wales, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Katharine Hepburn, and the Rolling Stones to British Columbia. After a complete restoration in 2011, the establishment reopened as the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. Its landmark location in the heart of downtown Vancouver makes it an ideal starting point for a day of exploring, and its award-winning Hawksworth Restaurant, an elegant eatery that showcases contemporary Canadian cuisine, should not be missed.
801 W Georgia Street
COURTESY OF PARQ VANCOUVER
Vancouver’s newest entertainment destination boasts downtown’s only casino, as well as a variety of dining options and an elevated 30,000-square-foot park. Conveniently located within its premises are two luxury hotels: the sophisticated JW Marriott and its more urban but no less polished sister property, the Douglas, both possessing guest rooms and suites with beautiful views of the harbor. The farm-to-table restaurant Honey Salt Vancouver, located on the ground level of the JW Marriott, is fast becoming a downtown destination for brunch and afternoon tea, and more choices await in the hip neighborhoods of Yaletown and Gastown that are within walking distance.
39 Smithe Street
EAT & DRINK
COURTESY OF ASK FOR LUIGI
It’s been a few years since this Italian eatery opened to great fanfare, but it continues to command queues during peak hours. As the restaurant accepts only walk-ins and groups of a maximum of six guests, its atmosphere remains intimate and relaxed, which serves its lovely yet unpretentious little space well. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, the highlights of its menu are, of course, its remarkable pasta dishes, best shared family-style.
305 Alexander Street
On the higher end of the spectrum, Kissa Tanto blends together the best of Japanese and Italian food to serve, not only a blend of warm, delicate, soulful food, but also an experience. To pair with the experience, they have a selection of imported drinks, from red wine to fine sake—even a hearty glass for beer, for the more casual diners. As it’s higher end, you need to be a little more dressed up for the experience.
263 East Pender Street
COURTESY OF RAISU
Raisu has mastered urban Japanese food, and the locals know it too—the place is always packed, but it’s definitely worth the wait. They serve their food tapas-style, and, being an izakaya, they have an extensive selection of drinks to choose from as well. Their menu isn’t like your run-of-the-mill Japanese restaurant. There’s always a creative twist to their dishes, so even eating just a bowl of noodle soup is a different experience. We recommend ordering any of their daily specials—they’re always a treat.
2340 West 4th Avenue
A popular go-to for a good brunch is Fable Diner. An offshoot of the well-known Fable Kitchen, it prides itself on the farm-to-table concept where both restaurants take their name. But, as their shared name also suggests, it has put a focus on making hearty diner food, offering diner staples from burgers to macaroni and cheese. The diner also serves all-day breakfast options with eggs upon eggs upon eggs. The fried chicken sandwich comes highly recommended.
151 E Broadway
FAHIM KASSAM/COURTESY OF MISTER
Mister is famous for pushing the limits when it comes to their nitrogen ice cream. The folks behind the local brand try to make anything into ice cream, even ash—in fact, ash and coconut is one of its most famous flavors. All of the ice cream is made from scratch, and customers are free to watch their ice cream come to life behind the glass counters. Here, flavors are seasonal, inspired by ingredients around Vancouver—and what’s available. Of course, by popular demand, their bestsellers are usually available year-round. A favorite is Mister’s lavender brulee ice cream, with its crispy, torched goodness.
1141 Mainland Street
Stanley Park should definitely be on your itinerary—and it’s more than a one-stop visit, too. The park is expansive, with a lot of different amenities to choose from. There’s the world-famous Vancouver Aquarium, a heated outdoor pool, even a water park. During summer, they also boast a lot of outdoor activities, like movie screenings and plays. Even just biking around the park, or rollerblading by the seawall, is a day well spent at this national park.
Perhaps the best place to get acquainted with British Columbia’s culture and history, the Museum of Anthropology’s houses almost 50,000 works of art from around the world, with significant collections from Asia, Oceania, Latin America, and Europe complementing its collections of art and textiles from Canada, with an emphasis on the First Nations peoples. Its imposing (and award-winning) structure of concrete and glass designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson is a sight to behold, built on the territory of the Musqueam people.
University of British Columbia, 6393 NW Marine Drive
COURTESY OF JULIAN MORADO
Opened in 1912, a visit to Lynn Canyon Park’s suspension bridge that hangs 50 meters above the canyon—often cited by locals as a great alternative to the more tourist-populated Capilano Suspension Bridge—is not for the faint of heart. There are, however, numerous other trails here that are as scenic as they are family-friendly, for those looking for a leisurely hike. Located in North Vancouver, Lynn Canyon is accessible by car or via public transit from the city center.
If you ever find yourself in Vancouver during the summer, make sure to drop by the Richmond Night Market, which sells everything from clothing and food to various types of accessories. The market is also home to several food stalls that only set up shop every summer, such as Rotato and Bao Bar. Also, if you do decide to drop by, remember: it’s cash only.
DOMINIC SCHAEFER/COURTESY OF THE CITY OF VANCOUVER
Apart from its charming scenery, a highlight of visiting the island is the Granville Island Public Market, a go-to for tourists and locals alike for its stalls purveying everything from B.C. trinkets and souvenirs to artisanal fare, fresh produce, and meals prepared upon order.
Wine and Cocktail Bar
Bakery and Cafe