Where To Go/What To Do
What We Did
- Visit Stanley Park - you can walk/blade/bike along the water the entire way around it, or through the hiking trails in the middle (there are so many and different sights on each one, mostly of green tall trees and random wildlife and crunching of sticks making you think there is a bear, but it's really just a mountain biker almost running you over for the third time), visit Prospect Point at the far end (would be nice at sunrise, but the sun sets in the opposite direction at night, which was a let-down...damn Earth's rotation), and it's the location of the aquarium as well (see below). Best part is that it's free - and you can walk there if you are downtown.
- Go to the Vancouver Aquarium - a MUST! Lots of animals and things to do and pictures to take! There are outdoor and indoor parts, and it's a lot bigger than it seems. Matt recommends the otters and I like the rays. They do a dophin show and beluga show (which isn't nearly as graceful - be warned - you may get wet when they attempt to jump) outside. It's about $20 each for adults.
- Walk along the Coal Harbour Waterfront - see the millions of condos in the city, yatchs, seafood restaurants. Towards the east end there is also the Olympic flame and the Douglas Coupland Orca (I guess this is more downtown than Coal Harbour).
- Go to Granville Island - open shops and marketplace (like St.Lawrence) and galleries. We went there on a Saturday morning - great place to grab breakfast or shop for lunch/dinner. It is off of the south waterfront. You can take an aquabus across or a bus - either way it will cost adults about $5 return. I still say you could swim it...but the water would be quite contaminated with all the boats, so you could turn into The Hulk after being in it - it's at your own risk - some people can't pull off green.
- Walk around Gastown on a Sunday Morning - beautiful cobblestone, lamplights, restaurants & cafes, bars, shops, and pretty coloured buildings. Following the north waterfront east will get you here. I had a hard time because there is water on both sides, and I always think south when I think water, so I kept getting my directions messed up when I explained to Matt where I went...oh well, I found everything fine! Although be careful in Gastown, if you walk too far east, you may end up in a very sketchy part of town "East Hastings" and on Sundays you can see the hobo swap meet we discovered.
- Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery - they have the Emily Carr exhibit all the time as well as their general collection, plus two floors of featured exhibits. I saw a "Light's Out" exhibit of the 60's, which reminded me a lot of Mad Men - a lot of abstract, colourful art. I also saw "Beat Nation" which is a First Nations take on music and culture. I didn't love this one as much - just wasn't my style.
- Go Shopping Along Robson & Burrard - Robson has shops similar to Queen Street downtown (a mix of unique stores and chain stores), and Burrard is like Bloor Street (boutique, high-end shops). There are also a lot of nice restaurants along Burrard. For more shopping, there is the Pacific Center if you head East along Robson and a bit north. If you walk too far along to mall you will end up in Holt Renfrew with no notice - you may have a strong desire to spend money so be warned!
- Walk around Yaletown - sort of like King West - trendy lofts, restaurants, bars.
- Go to Science World - for all science geeks - it was March Break, though, and I could only stand so many kids...but SCIENCE!
- Go to Grouse Mountain - want to do the Grouse Grind in the summer when we go back - hiking trails, skiing in the winter, and a great view from the top
- See the Spanbridge & Park - bridge, park, walking amongst the trees
- Walk Along Granville Street (over the bridge) - I noticed this to and from the airport - right near the really nice houses there is a little Queen Street East section with lots of shops
Coffee & Breakfast
- Cafe Artigiano - Hornby Street - Matt's favourite in this over-caffeinated city, plus they make pretty designs in your hot chocolate!
- Coffee Bar - Water Street - in Gastown - great place to relax with a drink and a peanut butter cookie
- Cafe Crepe - Robson Street - there is one on Queen in Toronto too - mmm savoury and sweet crepes!
- Bellagio Cafe - Hornby Street - great for a $9.99 breakfast before a big day of sightseeing!
- Blendz, JJ Beans, Starbucks - and about 20 more coffee places on every corner - you will not go without.
- Cupcakes - Thurlow Street - the "cupcake girls" shop - it's a franchise so there are a few around Vancouver, but they are pretty good, although I don't think they use buttercream icing, which disappointed me.
- Meat & Bread - Cambie Street in Gastown - AMAZING porchetta sandwich, plus others as well - great service and always packed. I wish we had gone earlier in the week so we could have gone again. Note it is only open Monday-Saturday.
- Steamworks Brewery - Water Street in Gastown- had great food and beer here - good for a large group of people too because there is the main restaurant and bar, a lounge area, pool table area, and cool basement brewery area near the kitchens to sit and eat/drink. Plus they have a private room for parties.
- L'Abattoire - Carrall Street in Gastown - amazing French food in a trendy loft-style building. All the staff work together - we had many different people at our table serving and pouring. A bit on the expensive side and small (but perfect-sized for the food) portions, but really delectable food!
- Cardero's - Coal Harbour Quay - incredible mussels (never had them before!), great live entertainment (he did our wedding song), and good atmosphere. Our server seemed like she had memorized every menu and handbook (a bit stiff and recited), but she was friendly and helpful. They have a "$10 mussels, fries and beer" Monday-Thursday after work until 6 as well.
- Kintaro Ramen - Denman Street - small, basic, quick, but really good noodles for an afternoon lunch! Never actually been anywhere to get ramen noodles, but they were good - have a choice of fatty or lean pork, and light, medium, or rich sauce. I had miso and Matt had some sort of spicy garlic.
- Bin 941 - Davie Street just East of the Davie Village - went here on my birthday - it's tapas, they had great wine, brought us a free starter, and amazing food, and just SO GOOD - highly recommended! It is very small, so I suggest going on a weekday, because it was pretty busy on a Tuesday, ,and I can't even imagine a Saturday night.
- Boulangerie Cafe - Burrard Street - good for a quick bite - very fresh sandwiches. You can't eat them inside, but there are little cafe tables outside or you can take them to go.