Vancouver, officially the City of Vancouver, is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. The 2011 census recorded 603,502 people in the city, making it the eighth largest Canadian municipality.It’s no mystery why Vancouver was chosen to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games: This city is all about sports. Vancouverites spend their days skiing on Grouse Mountain, surfing at Wreck Beach and strolling through Stanley Park. Plus, Vancouver offers plenty of cultural attractions, including museums and outdoor markets.
Even by North American standards, Vancouver is a young city. But what it lacks in history it compensates for in scenery. Surrounded by mountains and beaches, Vancouver is both an urban and a natural playground: Its chic atmosphere, high-fashion boutiques and fondness for health-conscious eating have earned it the nickname “Hollywood North.” Sitting nearly 1,300 miles north of its nickname namesake, Vancouver and its breathtaking backdrop has been the setting for several popular television shows and major motion pictures, such as “Supernatural” and “The Twilight Saga” so don’t be surprised if you recognize landmarks from your favorite scenes.
But this mitten-shaped city on Canada’s western edge draws in more than pop culture junkies. Hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, whitewater rafting and skiing will beckon to your adventurous side. Looking for a little R&R? Try lounging along the 11 miles of beaches or in one of the numerous parks. During the cold weather, you can duck inside one of the top-notch museums or swing your young kids by one of the family-friendly attractions, like Granville Island or the Capilano Suspension Bridge. When you add excellent shopping, dining and nightlife scenes to the mix, you’ll see why many praise Vancouver as a go-to getaway for the multi-faceted traveler.
Stanley Park In Vancouver
This nearly 1,000-acre park on the tip of Vancouver’s “thumb” (just north of the West End) is home to some of the city’s favorite, most-visited attractions. In fact, you could easily spend more than a day here and still not see everything this urban oasis has to offer. If you want to experience the park the way the locals do, walk, cycle or jog around the nearly 14-mile-long Seawall that hugs Vancouver’s waterfront. The path starts at the Vancouver Convention Centre and ends at popular Kitsilano Beach Park. If you’re not up for the walk, you’ll find several bike rental companies near the park. With your bike, you’ll be able to explore the more than 17 miles of forest trails that are much less crowded than the rest of the park. Travelers recommend biking the South Creek Trail, which leads to the lily pad-covered Beaver Lake. If you’re not up for all that exercise, you can ride a hop-on, hop-off trolley or a horse-drawn carriage. Both guided tours include informational narration.
Families with kids in tow will find plenty of family-friendly to-dos here as well, including an outdoor water park and a separate heated, outdoor pool. The park also boasts four playgrounds and a miniature train that snakes through more than a mile of forest. The Vancouver Aquarium is also nestled within the park, but costs extra. Art and history buffs will likely want to stop at Brockton Point to see the First Nation totem pole display (along the Seawall).
Granville Island In Vancouver
This former industrial site is now one of Vancouver’s most beloved neighborhoods. Practically its own mini-city, Granville Island’s former factories now house trendy restaurants, galleries and theaters. But the main draw here is the Granville Island Public Market, often described as one of the best open-air markets in North America. Among the seemingly endless aisles of fresh produce and local crafts, you’ll find a variety of food stalls selling everything from baked goods to ethnic snacks. If the weather is nice, try and grab a seat outside by the water. You can watch ferry boats putter back and forth in English Bay while enjoying the performances of the buskers who regularly play for market crowds. After filling up on market eats, head to the perpetually busy Kids Only Market. This playtopia sells toys and crafts and features an indoor play area. If you don’t have kids in tow, visit Canada’s first microbrewery —Granville Island Brewing. You can enjoy daily tours and tastings in the taproom.
Though Granville Island can be enjoyed year-round, it offers the most activities when the weather is warm. Consider renting a kayak to explore the marinas or passing some time at the free waterpark. Located just 2 miles northwest of central Vancouver, Granville Island is accessible from central Vancouver by bus, car and ferry daily.
Queen Elizabeth Park In Vancouver
Attracting more than 6 million visitors a year, Queen Elizabeth Park is one of Vancouver’s most popular outdoor spaces (second only to Stanley Park). Spread out across nearly 130 acres, the park features a rose garden, a meticulously manicured quarry garden, and an arboretum with about 1,500 native and exotic trees. When you’re not admiring the park’s flora, head inside the Bloedel Conservatory to visit the fauna. The conservatory features more than 200 free-flying exotic birds, not to mention 500 tropical plants and three different climate zones. Step outside the conservatory and you’ll spot the Dancing Waters fountain display, along with several sculptures scattered throughout the plaza. Since the park sits at the highest point in Vancouver, it offers spectacular views of the city skyline, mountains and shoreline from the fountain plaza market is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; some retail shops operate on different hours. Entry to the island is free, but specific attractions may charge admission.
Yaletown Near To Vancouver
Vancouver’s definitive late-night hot spot, Yaletown has steadily increased in popularity since it transformed from a warehouse district to the trendy area it is today. Often compared to NYC‘s SoHo neighborhood, Yaletown features chic boutiques, restaurants and hotels (including one of the city’s top properties, OPUS Vancouver. Even if you don’t plan to hang your hat at OPUS, you should still plan to check out the hotel’s cocktail lounge of the same name. Other top nightlife spots include Yaletown Brewing Co., Raw Canvas and Bar None. You’ll find Yaletown in downtown Vancouver, about 2 miles southeast of Stanley Park. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, you can get to Yaletown via the Canada Line SkyTrain; take the train to the Yaletown-Roundhouse Station. Several buses also service the area.
Keep In Mind when Planning TO Vancouver!!!
Bring comfy shoes Central Vancouver is ideal for walking. Forget the car and get to know this outdoorsy city on foot. Use an ATM The U.S. and Canadian dollars are roughly equivalent to one another, but money changers do charge a fee for exchanges. You can avoid that fee by simply withdrawing from an ATM instead. Keep an eye on your stuff Although Vancouver is relatively safe, crimes of opportunity do take place. Make sure to keep a close watch on your valuables.
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