Vancouver is truly breathtaking – even for the most seasoned traveler. The landscape, the buildings and the surrounding water make it a particularly exceptional city. Add in friendly people and delicious food, and you’re set up for a worldly, yet unique experience in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Lodging options are wide and varied. From some of the most exclusive five-star properties in the world to lovely little hide away cottages, there’s something for everyone in and around the city. The transit system is fantastic and very easy to navigate (the train from the airport to downtown is awesome), so there’s really no need to rent a car if you don’t mind public transportation.
To help you make the most of your time, here is my top five list of the best things to see and do while in this beautiful city.
- Take a Bike Tour – This is the absolute best way to see the amazing city of Vancouver. Sign up for a tour for the first day of your trip because you’ll get a fantastic overview of the city. You’ll see all the little sections of town – Gastown, Yaletown, Granville and English Bay where you can take a Polar Bear dip in the waters with other adventurers on New Year’s Day every year. Oh, and don’t worry about the biking part. The city has tons of bike lanes and is mostly flat with only a few gentle rolling hills. Bikers of all levels will enjoy this fantastic way to get up close and personal with all Vancouver has to offer.
- Stanley Park – Voted the best park in the world on TripAdvisor in 2014, this 1000 acre park bordering downtown is almost entirely surrounded by water and is a testament to all the diverse landscapes the area has to offer. Whether you’re walking, biking, hiking, jogging or just people watching on a bench, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to enjoy wildlife, wetlands, beaches and old growth forest. Plus, there is an outdoor theater, a train to ride, a great aquarium and several places to grab a bit to eat. Be sure to check http://stanleyparkvan.com/stanley-park-van-events-calendar.html for a complete park event calendar so you’ll know what’s happening there while you’re in town.
- Sea Plane Ride to Victoria Island/Butchart Garden tour – Your visit to Vancouver would not be complete without a sea plane ride to Victoria Island. The 35 minutes ride will take you into downtown Victoria where you can have high tea at the Empress hotel (absolutely delightful), and then take a bus tour out to Butchart Gardens. If you’re thinking you’re not much of a bus tour kind of traveler, no worries. You can take a sea plane right into Butchart Cove, enjoy a 3-course dinner and then explore the world famous gardens.
- Grouse Mountain/Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – Take a “trip” to North Vancouver for a lovely day enjoying the great outdoors. You’ll get amazing views and old growth forests, plus the Capilano Suspension Bridge built in 1889 which is breathtaking and not to be missed – even if it’s just for the photos you’ll capture. There are two new options to enjoy nature there as well. The Cliffwalk follows a granite precipice along the Capilano River, and the Treetops Adventure takes you through the coastal rain forest on 7 suspension bridges. A fabulous way to absorb the stunning beauty of British Columbia.
- Granville Island Market – The Granville market is a very cool way to spend an afternoon in Vancouver. With dining, food shops, boutiques carrying goods made by local artisans and of course the locally sourced, fresh produce and seafood, it’s a delight for all your senses. A bit quirky, but always fun, be sure to add the Granville Market to your itinerary.
For more information about Vancouver and other active or wellness travel adventures, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-538-6402.