48 HOURS IN VANCOUVER
Mountains, oceans, lakes, rivers and beaches. Vancouver has breathtaking abundance and beauty.
With direct flights into Canada’s favourite harbour city, Vancouver, it’s easy to get to Whistler and beyond to ski and snowboard. But save at least 48 hours to explore all that Van (as the locals call it) has to offer. After all, the city has been voted #1 Startup City in the world and the third most livable city so you know you’re in a coveted place.
There is a lot to do so get planning and try these tips on for size.
Rug up and jump on one of the city’s shared Mobi bikes and catch the sunrise at Third Beach at the 1000 acre Stanley Park. You’ll thank us later. Be sure to return at some stage, or stay longer post sun rays, to cycle and walk this stunning waterside parkland.
Now you’re awake head to breakfast. You can’t beat Medina Café downtown but get there early as there is traditionally a lineup of flat white and waffle lovers wanting to get first dibs on the unique toppings from milk chocolate lavender to fig orange marmalade. Once you’ve tried, you’ll see why. French Parisian aficionado’s may prefer Au Comptoir at the city’s bohemian beachside have of Kitsilano. Think French pastries, croquet madame and other such ooh la la on a plate.
City trail precincts
Walk off those breakfast carbs with a stroll around Gastown, the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver. The gentrified inner-city suburb is home to the city’s most stylish locals, art galleries, gourmand cafes and indie fashion boutiques so take your credit card. Once you’ve knocked Gastown off the list consider Yaletown an industrial area turned hip and happening.
Experience Canada from the east coast to the west coast, FlyOver Canada combines special sensory effects with a 20 metre spherical screen broadcasting the best of the country’s breathtaking landscapes. Strap in as you’re suspended before the screen and taken into deep valleys, across prairies, to the top of snowcapped mountains on a 6000 kilometre virtual journey.
Serious shoppers can make a beeline for the downtown shopping precinct and hit up one of the swankiest Nordstrom’s in North America. The store is known for seriously good service and equally good fashion and design. Grab a bargain from Hudson’s Bay department store, though be prepared to rummage through the racks. Those with cash to burn can head directly to the high-end Holt Renfrew store and salivate over the exquisite collection of shoes, accessories and fashion.
Health nuts will love TURF in Kitsilano, a workout studio come café with seriously nutritious meals filled with flavour. Power brokers and foodies head to Hawksworth and put it on someone else’s credit card. This fine dining destination is a bucket list for visitors to Vancouver. Minimalists with a European bent will love Bauhaus in Gastown for the design and detail. Chocoholics do not pass go, simply run to Mink Chocolates to burn the calories you are about to ingest in exquisite handmade chocolates. Expect quirky flavours from champagne and eau de vie truffle to fig and balsamic vinegar and eggnog and dark rum.
Gondola with a view
Take a drive, 45 minutes from downtown, to Squamish, the adventure town that is home to the Sea to Sky Gondola. Jump in, ride to the top for a spectacular view of Howe Sound, the Coast Range and a plethora of mountain peaks. Tackle the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge at the top or hike the trails and take in the views with an alcoholic libation or a hot coffee at the Summit Lodge.
If you love adventure then you are going to lose yourself at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver. With not one but three adventure experiences including the Capilano Suspension Bridge (137 metres long, 70 metres high) to test your nerves, the Treetops seven swing bridge adventure and the Cliffwalk suspended walkway over the Capilano River.
Think of Granville Island as a hub for art lovers, food lovers, shoppers and historians. Vancouver was originally called Granville until 1886 and was a former industrial manufacturing district now brought to contemporary life. Head to the Public Market for seriously good produce plucked fresh from the sea, the farm and the oven. Explore the Island’s art galleries and studios, local theatres and performance spaces, bespoke jewelers and artisan dining dens.
Time to eat, again. Vegetarians line up for The Acorn, the city’s hottest dining den luring foodies and gourmands to explore the delicate presentation, robust flavours and stunning interior design of Vancouver’s must do restaurant. Try Farmer’s Apprentice organic dining with an herbivore, omnivore and four course chef’s menu options. Those with a penchant for the clean crisp cuisine flavours of Japan look no further than award winning Kiss Tanto. Hipsters and craft brew lovers head to the Steel Toad Brewing Company in the Main Street District.
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