I recently came across some pictures from my trip to Vancouver and straight away I thought my next blog post should be about this city. Vancouver… what a pleasant surprise! The reasons to visit, for Isa and me, were mainly two: first it’s the city where they film Supernatural, one of our favourite TV shows, secondly I have family living there that I wanted to visit. I had been playing with the idea of visiting for a while, and finally, nearly four years ago, I booked the trip.
I think I can say that Vancouver and me, we got along well from the very first moment. You know those places where you feel at ease straight away? That was Vancouver to me, like an old friend, a familiar place, even though I had never seen it before. The first thing you notice when in Vancouver, it’s the tall modern glass buildings, it’s like a city from the future straight out of a picture book. Just beautiful! And the second thing I noticed straight away was the fact that it was full of Swiss tourists. I know we Swiss people show up a bit everywhere, but in Vancouver there were more than anywhere else!
Vancouver is a huge city but it doesn’t feel like it at all, we walked around a lot and in the centre you can reach pretty much everything on foot. We spent five days in Vancouver, which is more than enough to get a good feeling of the city. Although we visited in July, we didn’t have very good weather, which was a pity but didn’t stop us from falling for the city ;) Here’s a list of my Vancouver to-do list:
- go for a walk in Stanley Park
Stanley Park occupies a big part of the Vancouver downtown peninsula, and it’s one of the biggest city parks in the world. It’s a great place to escape the busy city for a few hours, to relax on one of the beaches (not for us because of the rain), go for a walk or visit one of its attractions. What I really liked about Stanley Park were the sightseeing spots. We toured the park by a horse-drawn carriage to rest our feet after hours of walking, and there was a guide telling us everything about the park, which was pretty interesting.
- stroll from Canada Place to Coal Harbour
I thought this waterfront walk was very nice, we started at Canada Place where you can see the famous building and the big cruise ships terminal. We had something to eat in the area, there are many restaurants, and then proceeded towards the seaplane terminal where we spent quite some time watching the seaplanes taking off and landing. Then we walked through Green Park before getting to Coal Harbour with its wonderful skyscrapers.
- fly over the city in a seaplane
While in Vancouver, as we saw the many seaplanes landing just next to the city, we came up with the idea of getting on one of those cute little planes. So I booked us a tour above the city and hey, it was simply amazing! I seriously loved any minute of it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat! The view over the city and surrounding area was breathtaking and the taking off and landing were less frightening than in a normal plane. But just look for yourself…
- get to the top of the city
Are you afraid of planes or don’t you want to splash the cash for a seaplane tour? There are cheaper ways to enjoy the view over the city, just get to the top of one of the higher buildings of the city. We were lucky as we were staying in a pretty tall skyscraper, our room was on the 22nd floor, and the hotel had a restaurant on the top floor too. Nice, isn’t it?
- go sunbathing on one of the many beaches
well, we had to save that experience for our next visit to the city as it was far too cold to sunbathe when we were in town, but we got to see English Bay Beach and the Inukshuk stone sculpture anyway. I was on all the pictures from the beach, so you have to do without ;)
- watch the sunset
we saw a few pretty ones from the hotel room, but the nicest one occurred while we were driving on the motorway. I bet the beach is a nice place to see some amazing sunsets too ;)
- spend half a day on Granville Island
visit the public market and the artisan shops, watch the buskers and enjoy the view on downtown Vancouver.
- board the Aquabus to cross False Creek
this mini ferry is just too cute, and perfect for reaching Granville Island.
- eat food from all around the world
yep, in Vancouver you can try typical dishes from all over the globe. There’s a big Asian community in town, so Asian restaurants are all over the place, but there is so much else to try. Enjoy!
- meet a beluga whale at the aquarium
Vancouver aquarium is certainly worth a visit, especially if you are traveling with children. There’s a lot to see and it’s perfect even if the weather isn’t too good.
- enjoy the spectacular Queen Elizabeth Park
it is the highest point of Vancouver and offers a wonderful view over the city and the surrounding mountains. Of course there are wonderful flowers too…
- go to Gastown for some shopping
Gastown is the historic centre of Vancouver and it’s excellent for shopping as there are many interesting little shops. And don’t miss the old steam clock!
- try the weirdest food at Richmont Night Market
this is the biggest night market in north America and it is kind of crazy, we had a lot of fun ! You can try all sorts of food and buy cute little souvenirs.
- cross Capilano suspension bridge and walk on trees
well, so I live in Switzerland, I grew up in a valley where there are many suspension bridges that are a lot scarier than the Capilano one, but I still enjoyed the visit to this popular tourist attraction. I’m sure you will too! There is much more to see than the bridge…
- take a whale watching tour
I think this was my Vancouver highlight, for a whole day we went on a whale watching tour and we were lucky to see quite a few whales. It was an amazing experience, I seriously never thought I would enjoy it so much! We spent many hours on a small boat and it wasn’t too comfortable, but I guess that added to the experience…
there you have it, my 15 tips for Vancouver! I hope you’ll like the city as much as I did!