Vancouver is a diverse coastal city packed with top notch restaurants, excellent walkability, endless activities and sweeping views of its beautiful natural landscape.
Where to Stay
To be near all the action, stay in any of Vancouver’s downtown neighborhoods (Hot tip: hotel deals this way). We like Coal Harbour as its along the waterfront, close to Stanley Park & the Seawall, and has easy access to shopping on Robson or events at the convention center.
We’d recommend the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. Modern, spacious rooms (many with views of the harbor) and a location within walking distance to many of Vancouver’s attractions.
What to Do
- FlyOver Canada. See Canada in a whole new way. This new flight simulator will take you on a breathtaking 8-minute ride soaring over the country.
- Stanley Park. Did you know? Stanley Park is actually larger than New York City’s Central Park (coming in at just over 1,000 acres). While exploring the park’s many trails and facilities, don’t miss the:
- Seawall. This 5.5-mile-long wall was built to keep the park’s shore from eroding but doubles as a well-trafficked foot- and bike-path. Be sure to catch sight of the city’s famous “Girl in a Wetsuit” statue in the water just off the seawall.
- Vancouver Aquarium. Canada’s largest aquarium (with over 50,000 sea critters) lies inside of Stanley Park. See sea otters play or completely immerse yourself in the 4D Experience Theater.
- Lions Gate Bridge. While you’re in the park, head to the north side to catch site of this giant suspension bridge (Vancouver’s version of Golden Gate). Come at night and you’ll see it completely lit up.
- Rogers Arena. Hockey is a national past time in Canada. Pay a visit to Rogers Arena to see if the Vancouver Canucks can bring their team back to greatness.
- Capilano Suspension Bridge. Built back in 1889, the original Capilano Suspension Bridge is 460-feet-long and hangs 230 feet above the water (hope you’re not afraid of heights). But if that isn’t enough, the park now contains Treetops Adventures–seven more footbridges suspended between old growth fir trees. Know before you go that admission is a bit pricey (around $40).
- Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Not looking to spend that much? Then head to the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Although slightly narrower and lower than Capilano, it’s free of charge and just as jaw-dropping.
- Harbour Air Seaplanes. See the city in a whole new light…by seaplane. Schedule a tour and hop on board one of these planes (they both take off and land on the water) and your pilot will show you the sights from on high. It helps that Vancouver is surrounded by snowcapped mountains and glassy bodies of water.
- Canada Place. Canada Place is the home to the Vancouver Convention Center as well as FlyOver Canada, a full hotel and more. Fun fact: its Pavilion is among the largest and most elaborate ever presented at a World’s Fair (in Expo 86).
- Vancouver Lookout. If you’re looking for a view, this is the spot. The glass elevator will take you up 450-feet to a panoramic observation deck. See everything from the heart of Vancouver to the mountains.
- English Bay. This vibrant beach comes alive on sunny days. There are walking/biking paths, kayak rentals, and plenty of restaurants. Hot tip: great for sunset viewings.
- Granville Street. Want a night on the town? Then head to Granville. Granville is the heart of Vancouver’s entertainment district so bars, clubs, and restaurants are plentiful.
- Gastown. Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood, Gastown is now home to some of its hottest restaurants and the heart of its cocktail scene. Sip on an espresso (we like Timbertrain), peruse an art gallery, or have drinks at one of the neighborhood’s wine bars.
- Robson Street. You can walk Robson all the way from the stadium to Stanley Park. Along the way you’ll find tons of stores (both international chains and smaller boutiques) as well as restaurants of every vein.
- Granville Island. Just under Granville Bridge lies this tiny island that has become a hub for theater and the arts. Walk around the island, have a bite to eat, and peruse the many artisan shops.
- Granville Island Public Market. While you’re there, you can’t miss the public market. This covered market is open every day and houses stalls from all sorts of vendors (meats, fresh produce, hot food, and more). Spend a couple hours exploring, pastry in hand.
- Kitsilano. Originally home to Vancouver’s hippy scene in the 60’s, Kitsilano is now more home to young professionals but still has some of flavors of its past. Dine at the city’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, The Naam, or play on one of Vancouver’s most popular beaches, Kitsilano Beach.
A LITTLE OUTSIDE
- Grouse Mountain. Only 15 minutes outside the city, Grouse Mountain feels like another world. In the summer, you can take a hike, ride the zipline, or even paraglide while winter offers skiing, snowboarding, and sleigh rides. No matter what time of year it is, take the cable car up the mountain for a beautiful view.
- Deep Cove. This picturesque area is still part of North Vancouver but feels much more calm. Take the 45 min hike up to Quarry Rock to get a view from above, rent a kayak at the marina, or eat at one of the quaint restaurants.
- Horseshoe Bay. At the west end of Vancouver’s North Shore is Horseshoe Bay. Wander the marina, visit the natural marine sanctuary (Whytecliff Park) or take the quick ferry to Bowen Island.
- Whistler. If you ski or snowboard, we recommend taking the 2-hour drive out to Whistler. This resort town has some of the best alpine skiing and snowboarding in these parts.
Where to Eat & Drink
- Miku. Lying on the water by Canada Place, this Japanese restaurant aims to introduce the addictive Aburi cuisine (flame-seared sushi) to the world.
- Grain Tasting Bar. In need of a post-conference happy hour spot? Then try Grain. With drink and food specials every day of the week, you’re sure to find a good deal, plus the location in the Hyatt downtown couldn’t be any more convenient.
- The Flying Pig. Despite the name, there is much more than just pork on the menu. With that said, you’re going to want to get the pulled pork poutine.
- Glowbal. A super chic restaurant with great happy hour deals. Who can say no to $5 wine? Or truffle spaghetti & meatballs, for that matter.
- Nuba. Healthy and hearty Lebanese food served with a modern twist. Nuba is a great option for groups–get the mezze.
- Vij’s Restaurant. Vij’s line (that can span the length of the block) is testament to the fact that this is a Vancouver must. With upscale, modern takes on traditional Indian cuisine, you’ll find plenty of your old favorites with surprising new flavors. The lamb popsicles are a classic.
- Tableau Bar Bistro. Late night specials begin at 9:30 at this classy French-inspired wine bar. Close out your night with a cheese board, some oysters and a glass of pinot.
- Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant. Vancouver is known for it’s Asian cuisine so make dim sum a priority on your to dos. While you’ll find a ton of good options in nearby Richmond, Sun Sui Wah is much closer and one of our faves. Arrive at opening to get a table and then order to your heart’s content. Don’t miss the fluffy mango pancakes.
- Japadog. Be prepared for your vision of hot dogs to be shattered as Japadog takes an asian spin on this American classic. For example, the beef terimayo is topped with seaweed, fried onions, Japanese mayo and teriyaki sauce.
- Chancho Tortilleria. A new taco spot celebrating all things pork. Pick an option (3 types of pork or 3 veggie choices) and a size (1/4, 1/2, or 1 lb) and your order gets served up with pickled red cabbage, whole pinto beans, salsas, freshly made corn tortillas, and limes.
- Fable. A farm-to-table restaurant (FArm to taBLE, get it?) showcasing the best Canada has to offer. The excellent service and small but mouthwateringly delicious menu make this perfect for your next date night.
- Twisted Fork. After a night out on Granville, partiers flock to Twisted Fork for its brunch specialties. From the banana-stuffed brioche french toast to the bacon eggs benny, you will leave Twisted Fork satisfied.
- Medina. Moroccan brunch (think spicy lamb meatballs) and some of the best waffles we’ve ever had.
- Catch 122. A contemporary Canadian-influenced restaurant, we love Catch 122 for the Dirty Breakfast (duck confit, duck fat fried toast, sunny-side up eggs, house-made maple beans, yukon nugget potato hash). Practically life-changing.
- Yolks. The eggs benedict reigns supreme at this popular breakfast spot. Get yours with a side of truffle fries.
- Cafe Crepe. Freshly made sweet and savory crepes. Go all out and add on a nutella latte. Bon appetit!
- Keefer Bar. This atmosphere of this dimly lit cocktail bar oozes cool. Plus, the drink menu is both eclectic and extensive so you’ll definitely find something to your liking.
- The Roof (at Black & Blue). Happy hour at this rooftop extension of steakhouse Black & Blue gets busy. Why? Because 50% off the menu and $5 beverages. Sounds like a win to us.
- Mahony & Sons. While there are a couple of locations for this Irish pub, go to the False Creek location for some serious sunset views on their outdoor patio. Grab a pint and settle in.
- Nightingale. A casually-elegant restaurant perfect for a full dinner or just pre-dinner drinks. On the pricey end but bartenders know their stuff and will serve you an inventive cocktail to suit your palette.