If you've yet to travel to the Pacific Northwest, place Vancouver high on your 'must venture to' list. Vancouver is the ultimate playground for all types of travelers; there are forests to hike in, sleek sailboats to cruise on, local designer boutiques to check out, and a vast variety of cuisines to nosh on. Like the emerald city of Dorothy's Oz, the sparkling glass skyline of Vancouver will prove that it is, indeed, the great and powerful of all.
Where to rest your head at night:
There is a large selection of hotels, home sharing, and even houseboats to choose from in Vancouver. We opted for Marriott Bonvoy's all-suite Westin Grand in downtown Vancouver. By redeeming Marriott points for four nights, we were able to get the fifth night free. Traveling for Labour Day, we got a great deal as the rate would have been over $300 USD a night.
When You're Not Eating:
Just got off the plane and need to stretch your legs? Head straight to Stanley Park where 17 miles of Western rainforest trails await. Bike along the seawall, visit the storied totem poles, or plop down on a bench to soak in the sights.
Catch a Aqua Bus or False Creek Ferry ride from a number of spots in downtown Vancouver and cruise over to Granville Island to explore the food stalls in Public Market.
Explore the historic and buzzing neighborhood of Gastown by making your way through the plethora of local and international shops.
Head to trendy Yaletown for chic shops, exclusive real estate, and a lively row of bars and restaurants.
Jump into a game of volleyball on the luscious sands of Kitsilano Beach.
Drive north up the Sea-to-Sky Highway to famed ski resort, Whistler. Make a stop at Porteau Cove for a unbelievable photo op spot. If your stomach rumbles as you continue your roadtrip, grab a bite to eat at Sunflower Bakery Cafe in small town Squamish.
When You're Hungry:
Our favorite brunch spot in the 'Couv is Nelson the Seagull. Tucked away in Gastown, Nelson offers sublime breakfast and lunch options, strong coffee, and homemade bread.
Feeling Peckish? Check out Nemesis Coffee in Gastown for cappuccino and cookies, Di Beppe Caffé for pizza al taglio, and artisanal chocolates at East Van Roasters.
Continue the snack excursion at food trucks Chickpea for falafel and oodles of noodles at Fat Duck Mobile Eatery.
If you're craving sit-down service, the best Happy Hour specials are at West Oak in Yaletown. May we suggest the Vancouver Island Mussels served with triple-cooked house-made fries for $9 CAD?
Vancouver is home to a large Asian population, which means that Thai, Chinese, South Asian, and Korean eateries are aplenty. Dine at Bao Bei in Chinatown for shared plates and a brasserie atmosphere. Feel like splurging? Cab over to Maenam in Kitsilano for untraditional and innovative Thai dishes.
Head a few doors over to ice cream shop Rain or Shine for innovative flavors and sinfully warm waffle cones.