Well, I’m back!
I got to spend nearly two glorious weeks in British Columbia (#westcoastbestcoast) and it. Was. AWESOME. It was the perfect kind of vacation: disconnected, lots of time to relax, but also full of amazing experiences. B.C. is a beautiful province with a crazy amount of things to see and do. I made it to quite a few locations during my visit, but I think I’m going to start at the end.
We didn’t have a lot of time in Vancouver. In fact, my boyfriend and I had just over 24 hours to cram in as much as we could before we left. But cram we did! In the short time we were there I think we had a pretty ideal time in the city. It’s the type of place where there’s a lot right at your finger tips. If you only have a short stay, but you’re willing to hustle, you can get a lot out of it.
And so, I present to you our whirlwind itinierary. Base yourself in the city centre somewhere close to Gas Town (which is where we stayed, in the Delta Vancouver Suites) or Coal Harbour and get going!
24(ish) Hours in Vancouver
1. Have a late lunch at Bridge House Restaurant before hitting up Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Don’t let the crows push you around.
Aside from its rustic charm, Bridge House is also impressive because it is so much more than your average tourist attraction dining. This ain’t no chip truck, baby. Check out the menu here.
2. Brave the infamous Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Everything about the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is amazing. Get ready to be straight up humbled by nature. But to get there, you gotta cross this bad boy.
3. Embrace you inner Ewok at Treetops Adventures.
Also at Capilano, also amazing.
4. Look down but try not to get dizzy out on the Cliffwalk.
Again, this third attraction is also located at Capilano. Get your heart racing as you follow the Cliffwalk trail along the edge of a cliff and out above the lush rain forest below. It’s scary, but worth it!
Want to know more about the full Capilano experience? Mariellen Ward at Breathe, Dream, Go wrote an excellent post about the park.
5. Get all romantical on a sunset stroll along the sea wall.
Whether you love someone or just really love yourself (or both!) you can’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy as you watch the sun sink over the water.
6. Behave like a child as you explore the exhibits outside of Canada Place.
Located along the water, Canada Place was originally the welcome mat to the world during Expo ’86. Now it’s… well, it’s the same thing, just minus the Expo. You’re encouraged to play and get hands-on with a variety of educational and fun Canadian displays as your stroll the boardwalk around the landmark sails.
7. Soar across the country on the Fly Over Canada adventure ride.
Canada’s answer to Disney Park’s “Soarin’”, “Fly Over Canada” is an adventure ride that makes you feel like you’re literally flying over the country’s best scenery. It costs about $20 and is absolutely worth it.
8. Be thoroughly impressed by the glowing globe in the Vancouver Convention Centre lobby (and the Vancouver Convention Centre in general).
I know, a convention centre hardly sounds interesting. But the Vancouver Convention Centre is a beautiful piece of architecture that marries style and function perfectly. It even features a “living roof” that, from one side, basically looks like a giant grassy hill. Once the media hub of the 2010 Winter Olympic games, t’s a very cool place that your eyeballs are going to want to see.
9. Feel patriotic as you stand next to the mighty Olympic cauldron. Wipe away that tear of pride before anyone can mock you for it.
10. Grab a cocktail and some noms at the Cactus Club Cafe’s waterfront location. Sit on the patio and continue to be impressed by the Olympic cauldron.
Sure it’s a chain restaurant but we don’t have Cactus Club Cafe out east and besides, the Coal Harbour location is a great spot to enjoy a great beverage right in the heart of it all.
11. Strut down Robson Street like you own the place. Do some shopping and feel fancy.
Robson Street: It’s where the shopping is!
12. Get your hipster on and see Vancouver the best way possible: by bike.
We chose to rent from Spokes at the corner of Denman and Georgia St. West and I miss my little Cruiser already.
13. Tour around Stanley Park perimeter and be humbled by how damn pretty everything is.
14. Dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean because why the hell not?
Frolic on the beach. If it’s warm enough, go for a swim. There are a few beaches around the perimeter of Stanley Park and they’re all lovely and waiting for you.
15. Jump on the Aquabus in False Creek. Pretend to be a pirate while you’re at it.
16. Feel like you’ve discovered a hidden gem as you wander and shop your way around historic Granville Island.
In reality everyone knows how awesome it is but it’s okay to just pretend that you’re the only one for a while. Shh, I won’t tell.
17. Find yourself wishing you had learned to sail as you enjoy lunch at Bridges and gaze longingly out at the warf and the seafaring life you could have had.
If the weather is nice, definitely sit on the patio. It’s a pricier kind of lunch but it’s a perfect waterfront dining experience.
18. Take a guided tour of Granville Island Brewery. Try all the beers (or at least the three that are included with the tour price).
They make my favourite beer out there!
19. Realize you’re running late to meet friends and ride the Sky Train while nodding approvingly at how efficient it is.
I’m sorry TTC but the SkyTrain has won me over!
20. Arrive at Yaletown Brewing Company right on time. Enjoy another beer. You earned it.
Bottoms up, babies! Enjoy a bit of craft beer in this hip little neighbourhood!
21. Wonder if you’re the only one that gets a steampunk vibe from Gas Town as you meander down Water Street.
22. Get in on the farm-to-table movement with some classy comfort food at Tuc Craft Kitchen.
Love the traditional grub and meal share program. Food prices are ridiculously good but that’s because this place is clearly trying to make its money back on the booze. My cocktail cost more than my entree!
23. Get lost on your walk home and somehow wind up outside the Rogers Arena and BC Place. Take in the lights and make the most of your indiscretion.
24. Finally find your way back to familiar territory. Marvel the Terry Fox Memorial along the way.
Yup, it’s all in a day’s (er, and a bit) work!
What are some of your favourite spots in Vancouver? Tell us about them in the comments!