2017’s Top 5 Must-See Vancouver Sights
Ah, beautiful Vancouver. The home of some of the best beaches, snowiest mountains, and TripAdvisor’s best park in the World!
This summer, over 10 million tourists are expected to enjoy the sights and scenery of Vancouver, BC. According to statistics released by Tourism Vancouver, the city attracted 10,045,068 visitors last year compared to 9,368,521 in 2015.
If you’re coming, then welcome! But what should you do when you get here? Thanks for asking, here are five things that you can’t miss:
- Stanley Park. Home to the Vancouver Aquarium, horse-drawn trolleys, a rose garden, the sea-wall (for cycling or walking), a train, beaches, and restaurants. There’s 400 hectares of west coastal rainforest to enjoy, including lots of trails, trees, and wildlife. See why it’s the best in the world? You will. [more info]
2. Grouse Mountain, and Capilano Suspension Bridge. As the suspension bridge is on the drive up to Grouse Mountain, I thought I’d be generous and give you a two-fer. The Capilano Suspension Bridge site also has a walk-along ‘Story Centre’ with a history of the bridge and the local area. There’s a treetops adventure platform and viewing areas, and the bridge itself which lets you walk across a fast-flowing river far below. Grouse Mountain is a hugely popular ski and winter sports resort in the snowy months, but in the summer has plenty to go for. You ascend in a gondola and will be greeting with some pretty stunning views. There are also wildlife trails, a couple of bears, and the famous Lumberjack show. The restaurants at the top are pretty special too. You can eat in your choice of the buffet, the Altitudes Bistro or the fancier Observatory.
3. Granville Island. The public market gets pretty busy during peak-season, so go early in the day to avoid the rush. There’s always a packed schedule of events [here] that include buskers, Children’s Festivals, local art, music, and more. One of my personal favourites is Lee’s Donuts. Ask them if they have anything fresh. They’re all freshly made there, but sometimes you can get a honey-glazed donut straight from the back and it’s amazing. The texture is totally different and it’s all warm and sticky. I know what I’m doing this weekend now. My other absolute favourite thing to do on Granville Island, is to head to the Granville Island Brewery. You can do a brewery tour, eat at their restaurant and buy all their delicious season and year-round offerings.
This summer, I’m particularly partial to their Lions Summer Ale, named after the local Lions peaks along the North Shore Mountains. Other famous ‘lions’ named after the peaks include the Lions Gate bridge, the BC Lions CFL football team, and Lions Gate Entertainment, founded in Vancouver. [wiki]. So, back to the Summer Ale. It’s got a tropical fruity taste while still keeping it’s refreshing light ale finish. Also – good news! You don’t have to be in Vancouver to get the Lions Summer Ale, it’s available in liquor stores all over BC and beyond.
4. Museums and Gardens at UBC. If you want to learn about some of the history while you’re here, you could visit the Museum of Anthropology on the University of BC campus. Within another 10 minute walk, there’s the Beaty Museum of Biodiversity which has some incredible samples of wildlife, carefully preserved. If you’re more of an outdoors-y person, there’s the botanical gardens and rose garden in the area too.
5. Eat everything. Vancouver is a foodie town. We have some of the best sushi (not to offend anyone, but it’s probably the best in N. America). There’s craft beer (see point 3), food truck festivals, and every kind of brunch you could imagine. If you’re here for just one week, go for brunch 7 or 8 times. It’s totally ok to double-up, you’re on vacation! Here’s a list of some of the top places for that special meal between breakfast and lunch (aside from second-breakfast). My personal recommendations are Jethro’s Fine Grub for the massive, but very delicious cobbler pancakes, Helen’s Grill for the genuine ‘diner’ experience I grew up watching on TV in England. It’s not fancy, but it’s really cool if you’re looking for a slice of Canadian Americana. Oh, and the Yew Restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel has some amazing eggs benedict. I almost forgot, the tiniest but best-kept secret on Main street is the Sweet Revenge Patisserie . Come early as there is limited and eclectic seating. It’s got the cozy feel of a neighbourhood tea shop, full of home-baked cakes and sweet treats. They open from 7pm to midnight or 1am, and are certainly not to be missed.
Did I miss anything? What are you must-see Vancouver sights? Add them in the comments below.
Disclaimer: Granville Island Brewing helped sponsor this post, as well as gave me some of their delicious Lions Summer Ale to try. Unfortunately I drank it all. Can I have some more so I can write some more? Cheers!