After my amazing train trip across Western Canada I ended up in the beautiful city of Vancouver! I had visited this city a couple times as a kid but it is a truly different experience visiting as an adult! I am not one to love big cities but I have to say I fell in love with Vancouver!
For those that have never visited here the first thing to know is it rains, A LOT. It also has some of the most gorgeous views in Canada! This is one of the only places I know that you can go from shorts and a t-shirt to a snow storm in less than an hour! Of course I can’t make a post without talking about the food, and all the food I had was delicious!
There are so many amazing things to do in Vancouver. Despite the rainy weather the majority of people spend a lot of time outdoors. It is a very active city, and easy to get around by walking.
I stayed at the Marriott Pinnacle hotel which is in the heart of downtown and within walking distance of all the cities major attractions! It also has a great view of the water.
First stop was Granville Island! You can walk across the bridge or take a quick water taxi over to the island. Once your there check out the huge market! So many different local items and delicious snacks and drinks to try! They have gigantic Nanimo Bars which I just had to try since they are my favourite! I was a little too excited and ate it before I took a picture.. oops! There is also a tea place that has chocolate tea with hints of orange. I know it sounds weird but it was surprisingly really good, as long as you don’t mind sweet drinks!
Outside of the market there are lots of restaurants to choose from. The Sandbar, which is two stories and has an outdoor patio that looks out onto the water/city, is a great choice! Of course I cannot be in a coastal city and not have clam chowder. I also love fish and don’t eat much of it at home so I always use travelling as an opportunity to eat as much fish as I can! The Salmon Burger was absolutely delicious, and I have to say the fries were unbelievable. I am not sure what they do to them but be prepared to clean your plate!
This afternoon was gorgeous and perfect for a walk along the Seawall. This path runs along the water for 28 Km, circling beautiful Stanley Park for 9 km. You can run/walk or bike to experience the path. Who doesn’t love a nice walk along the ocean?
These are just a few of the pictures I took along the way. Balancing rocks (little inukshuk) on other rocks has apparently become a popular activity. There must of been over 100 different combinations along the water. So neat!
This is one of my favourite pictures from the trip! Sunsets over the bay.
Unfortunately the nice weather didn’t last but as I mentioned earlier, Vancouver is used to rain and so we made the best of it!
A must do especially if you have kids is the Capilano Suspension Bridge. I had been here once before as a child with my parents and remembered bits and pieces of the bridge. The most surprising thing about visiting it this time is it felt so much smaller! I remember shaking it and jumping last time to scare my mom. When I tried that this time I got asked to stop, oops! Even though it was pouring rain the bridge view is beautiful. You can also maneuver the paths that are built between the trees and walk along the edge of the cliff for better views of the valley below.
If you love to snowboard/ski or just exploring mountains than Grouse Mountain is a great option. Both the Capilano Bridge and Grouse Moutain are located in North Vancouver. It is a fairly inexpensive and quick drive from downtown depending on the time of day. When we arrived at the mountain we were at the base. You must buy tickets to take the cable car up to the top where all the activitiy is happening. It was rainy at the bottom and by the time we got to the top it was a snow storm! The weather was mild so it was super nice to be outside, and just a little wet. The activities at the top include Ice skating, snowshoeing, two walking trails, and sleigh rides. It was truly remarkable to experience the changes in weather and temperatures. By the time we went back down the mountain you could see downtown Vancouver and it was sunny! I also have to say that being from Ontario I am used to large amounts of snow, but the amount of snow on the trails here was crazy!
For those that know me well, know that I love the Olympics! In the lodge at Grouse Mountain there is a wall dedicated to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. I am so proud of how Canada did!
There are two other must see attractions when visiting the city of Vancouver! One is the Vancouver Aquarium located in Stanley Park. From poisonous frogs to adorable sea otters, sting ray touch pool and a cute penguin exhibit, its a great place to explore. The other is the Vancouver look out. Of course this is the same as all the other tall towers in big cities but the views you get up here of the mountains, city and harbour are amazing.
Now for the food. In the past few years I have really started going to more local restaurants in the places I visit. I have such a passion for travel and I feel that food is a big part of travelling. To get the full destination experience you should eat like a local. Whether it is a food truck or an upscale restaurant if the locals love it I am sure I will as well. You can also never have too much seafood! Joe Fortes Seafood and Chophouse, located on Thurlow St downttown had the freshest cod I have ever had! Salmon House on the Hill which is located in North Vancouver is the BEST restaurant in my opinion in all of Vancouver. I remember going here when I was younger with my parents for my birthday dinner and they did this massive sundae to help me celebrate! Going back now they did not disappoint. Who would have thought that prawn spring rolls could be so delicious? And Salmon three ways, well lets just say I was in heaven since Salmon is my favourite fish. A surprise was Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar. I am not an oyster fan but found out that their menu is based on Creole dishes which I love! The Jambalaya may not of been quite as authentic as what I ate in New Orleans last August but it was still delicious.
For anyone looking for a city escape with nature around every corner Vancouver is the place to visit! Whether you get here by train like I did or a much shorter plane ride, you are guaranteed amazing scenery, tons of activities and food that will have you licking your plate!