#Innsider’s guide to Vancouver
With its trendy neighborhoods, drink and dine hotspots and snow-capped mountains, Vancouver is the ideal mix of urban cool and on-your-doorstep wilderness adventure. Within a 20km radius, you could be in the snow, strolling the beach, hiking through rainforest or kayaking around secluded coves. I mean, Vancouverites can be skiing in the morning, sunbathing in the afternoon and dining at world-class restaurants in the evening. Sound like your kinda place? Keep reading for our top #innsider picks.
Hotspots in the ‘hood
With its uber cool neighborhoods, Vancouver offers up exceptional walkable and easy-access urban exploration. Whether you’re one for sampling the coffee shops lining Commercial Drive, hanging out at the hipster haunts of Main Street, grabbing some downtime in the indie bars and restaurants of Gastown or strolling past the affluent beachfronts of Kitsilano, there’ll be something that’s right up your street.
Downtown Vancouver with its glass-covered skyscrapers is surrounded by beautiful beach views with borders on the world-renowned Stanley Park. The waterfront seawall from Stanley Park to Kitsilano is arguably the best bike route in Vancouver.
Granville Island is quintessentially Vancouver and perfect for a Saturday morning adventure. Grab a coffee and a bagel sandwich to set you up right and explore the foodie paradise that is the Public Market; a buzzing food hall that sells wares ranging from fresh seafood to salted caramel ice cream.
Catch some rays
Vancouver is known for its beautiful beaches, yet each has something slightly different to offer. Kitsilano Beach (or Kits Beach) is a large sandy beach with volleyball, tennis and basketball courts on a first come, first serve basis. It’s easily accessible by the Blue Bus system that runs from Downtown along Marine Drive. Prefer your watersports? Then Jericho beach is for you. If you’d rather be soaking up the sun with a piña colada in hand, set your towel down near the downtown bars over at English Bay.
Master the Grouse Grind
Adrenaline junkies looking for a kick-ass workout should try out the challenging but worthwhile Grouse Grind trail on Grouse Mountain. Known locally as ‘Mother Nature’s Stairmaster’, the path is built with big wooden steps that takes hikers up to an elevation of 2,800ft. The hike is a challenge and averages about 60 minutes to an hour and a half to complete. Don’t worry though, there is an easier way up; the Skyride is a giant gondola that departs every 15 minutes.
Similarly, Cypress Mountain offers a great hiking trail with less stairs, and the opportunity to ski! But if it’s the views you like more than the workout itself, then Stanley Park and the Capilano Suspension bridge will never disappoint.
Growler fills this way…
Right now, Vancouver’s craft beer scene is exploding as the city has gone completely mad with the stuff; at least ten breweries have opened here in the past year. Today the city is home to 25 breweries and brewpubs and the tally is fast-rising. Parallel 49 Brewing (or P49 to the locals) in the East Vancouver neighborhood is a new highlight attracting the thirsty crowds. For the best atmosphere, on a Friday afternoon its taproom is filled with people filling growlers and sipping on pints. Also in the area is Bomber Brewing, Powell Street Brewing and Storm Brewing. Storm has been brewing since 1995, but has only recently opened up to the public for a few hours each week (samples and growler fills only), so check opening times.
Across town in the False Creek neighborhood, and worth checking out, is CRAFT Beer Market; a beer-focused restaurant opened in a remodeled salt factory in the heart of the Olympic Village community. It has 140 beers on tap, 400 seats and a glass-walled keg room that houses 450 kegs.
If you love to learn about the city you’re visiting, Vancouver has so much to experience. Head over to the MOA Museum, the Museum of Arts and Cultures has exhibits from around the world and hosts new events constantly. it’s a great opportunity to learn about other cultures as well as Vancouver’s.
A place to stay
Our Park Inn & Suites by Radisson, Vancouver, BC is set against the breath-taking Coast Mountain range and False Creek. It is also positioned close to local transportation and is within walking distance of Granville Island, as well as many shops and restaurants.