Vancouver: A City to Experience

15 Nov 2016

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From sea to sky, there is much to behold in BC’s largest and most lively city. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an art aficionado, or looking for an unforgettable night out, Vancouver has so much to be seen and experienced!

Outdoor Experiences

The Sea Wall at Stanley Park

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The sea wall in Vancouver, with sun setting in background
The Seaside Greenway. Photo: Getty

It’s impossible to visit Vancouver without feeling the pull of the ocean, so why not experience it in the most organic way possible? The Seaside Greenway is the world’s longest uninterrupted path, stretching for 28km through downtown Vancouver. Rent a bike, strap on some rollerblades, or simply grab an artisan coffee and take your time meandering along one of the local’s most loved ways to connect with the sea.

Grouse Mountain Gondola

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Snowy mountain top with view of Vancouver at night
The view from the summit of Grouse Mountain. Photo: Getty

Considered a rite of passage by locals, hiking the “Grouse Grind” is not to be missed by those who love a challenge (and the reward of a spectacular view)! Choose to hike up the 2.9km trail, or hop on “The Skyride”, North America’s longest tramway. Soar over a green blanket of Douglas fir trees, and take in a bird’s eye view of Vancouver, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf Islands, and the magnificent snowy mountaintops.

Sea Vancouver

If you’re craving the ocean air in your lungs, the salty spray on your face and a unique view of Vancouver, this is a must-do.

Sea Vancouver’s zodiac-style tours launch from the Westin Bayshore Hotel, before cruising at up to 55km/hour along Vancouver’s Inner Harbour, eventually crossing the Burrard Inlet. Along the way, a qualified and zealous guide will bring you up to speed with the highlights of the journey, including Coal Harbour, English Bay, and Stanley Park.

West Coast Rainforest Walk

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Rainforest creek on Vancouver Island
Luscious rainforest on Vancouver Island. Photo: Getty

Did you know that Vancouver Island is home to one of the world’s most verdant rainforests? Just outside the bustling metropolis of Vancouver’s mainland exists an other-worldly expanse of feathery ferns, huge old-growth trees, thick mosses and dense undergrowth.

Explore it on your own, or join in on one of the many excursions offered by Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours. Whether you’re interested in the history of the forest, bird watching, wildlife sighting, photography, or even a wine tour, there’s something for everyone in BC’s majestic rainforest.

Nightlife Experiences

Granville Street

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Granville Street in Vancouver at night, with bright lights and blurred traffic
The bustling nightlife of Granville Street. Photo: Getty

Along the Vegas-like strip ignited by flashing lights (like the marquee of the historical Art Deco/Art Moderne Vogue Theatre, built in 1941), you’ll find plenty of nightspots to slip in to and get your groove on. Many of the Granville shops also stay open late, so if you need to splurge on that perfect pair of dancing shoes, you’re covered!

Craving a midnight snack after all that excitement? You can fuel your nighttime endeavors with a traditional French crêpe, cuisine from one of the many roadside food trucks, or get in line with the local university students at a “pizza by the slice” joint, because nothing curbs post-dancing hunger like a gooey, oversized slice of ‘za.

Kitsilano

 

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“Kits” (as referred to by Vancouverites) has that laid-back “life’s a beach” feel you’d expect from a neighborhood that’s only a stone’s throw from the ocean.  Sip a locally made craft beer while watching the game, dig into a Portobello mushroom burger piled high with fresh veg, or slurp up a freshly caught oyster or two from one of the local seafood joints like Chewies. You’ve never tasted ocean fare this fresh; if you’re a seafood fanatic, do not skip it!

Capilano Suspension Bridge (Capilano Canyon Lights)

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The Capilano Canyon Lights
The Capilano Canyon Lights. Photo: Getty

Looking for a family-friendly but equally magical nightlife experience? Check out The Capilano Suspension Bridge’s winter light show, “Canyon Lights”, that runs late November to early January. Re-ignite your childlike wonder as you explore the thousands of tiny bulbs illuminating the entire park, enjoy live music, and behold the world’s tallest living Christmas tree, measuring in at a towering 153 feet! All this excitement is closer than you think: hop on a free shuttle that will take you from Downtown to the Park in 10 minutes.


More Canadian Splendour:

A Taste of Vancouver
Vancouver to Whistler - a Sea to Sky Journey


Cultural Experiences

The Vancouver Art Gallery

Conveniently located in the heart of Downtown, The Vancouver Art Gallery features rotating exhibits all year long, with famous works by artists like Salvador Dali and Van Gogh. Their permanent collection boasts the work of Emily Carr, a world-renowned painter who’s feminine yet poignant works are easily recognizable. She is so influential to the art scene on the Coast that a university was created in her honor! Budding artists from all over the world collaborate at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design on Granville Island, a prestigious school for only the most serious creative minds.

The Museum of Anthropology

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The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Canada
A riveting educational experience. Photo: Museum of Anthropology

For a riveting educational experience, take a trip over to the University of British Columbia (a sight all on its own with towering brick buildings, a library made of glass, and a beautifully manicured rose garden) to visit the Museum of Anthropology.

The museum, designed by architect Arthur Erickson, features one of the world’s largest collections of Northwest Coast First Nations art. Gaze upon the wooden faces of towering totem poles, be delighted by the vivid colors and line work of traditional paintings, and come face-to-face with thousands of sculptures and relics collected from our ancient ancestors.

The museum also features contemporary exhibits that celebrate the rich history of mankind, and beg the question “what’s next?”. Leave the museum with a hauntingly beautiful sense of where we came from and where we’re going, as a human race.

Whatever you’re into, Vancouver delivers world-class experiences to satisfy your appetite for adventure. Who knows, you may discover something new about yourself, thanks to the city’s rich culture, spectacular natural beauty, and lively city life. What are you waiting for? Vancouver is here, ready to help you discover your hidden passion!

Carol Ann Domanko

Carol Domanko was born in Calgary and raised in the Okanagan Valley. Her love of words and the ocean lead her to pursue an English degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, but after a year of the Honors program she decided that Film Making was even more alluring than writing prose, and so she decided to switch her major. Carol still enjoys flirting with her first love, writing, any chance she can get between freelance video making and teaching yoga in Kelowna, BC.