Vancouver City Guide
The scenic city of Vancouver is a coastal seaport and is surrounded by four bodies of water. It has snow capped mountains and hills as its backdrop. This city is poised on the Pacific rim, is the third largest city in Canada and is not only known for its gorgeous vistas but also for its variety of attractions and activities that cater to all kinds of visitors who chose to vacation in Vancouver.
Vancouver, which is nicknamed ‘Hollywood North’ as it is a favored setting for film crews, is an energetic and diverse city. This west coast Canadian gem offers a unique ambience, which is a combination of wild natural beauty coupled with a bustling city landscape. The city, which was settled by the First Nations people, was named after Royal Navy sea captain George Vancouver who sailed into the Burrard Inlet in 1792. The city soon went on to become a port for trading furs but really developed after the first saw mill was established here in 1863. The prosperity of Vancouver then attracted many waves of migration of Europeans, Asians and Americans who all profited from local industry and when the railroad arrived in Vancouver in the 19th century, it set the stage for further growth and development of the city.
Today this gorgeous city of verdant parks, beaches and interesting neighborhoods is home to more than two million people and is a choice destination for both business and leisure visitors.
Where to stay in Vancouver
Downtown Vancouver, which is home to city’s main business, shopping and nightlife districts, is located on a peninsula on Vancouver’s mainland. This downtown area is quite compact and easily navigable on foot. Downtown Vancouver plays host to a wide range of hotels that include luxury hotels, business hotels, spa hotels, boutique hotels, historic hotels and even discount hotels. Most visitors to Vancouver have a preference for these various downtown Vancouver hotels, for they afford easy access to Robson Street, which is the main shopping district in Vancouver that hosts many high-end boutiques and fine restaurants.
Located south east of Robson Street, is Yaletown which is Vancouver’s newest and hippest neighborhood. This neighborhood, which was the city’s erstwhile warehouse district experienced much development after the Expo 86 and is now a coveted accommodation option in Vancouver that offers unique stores, hotels and excellent restaurants.
West Side Hotels
Located across False Creek is Granville Island that hosts the beach community of Kitsilano. The area of the city hosts some of its best beaches like Kits Beach, Jericho and Spanish Banks which are popular with visitors on a vacation to Vancouver.
Places to see in Vancouver
Vancouver's Stanley Park is a great location, which should not be missed on any trip to Vancouver. This park like New York City's Central Park and London's Hyde Park is also located in the heart of the city and makes for a fun outing for an afternoon in Vancouver especially if the weather is nice. You can enter the Park from one of its many entrances, though you can also explore the park by renting a bike from one of the many bike hire shops on Georgia Street. Walking around the Park gives you a chance to experience its many attractions like its beaches (suitable for swimming in the summer months), the Vancouver Aquarium, the Lagoon, the miniature train, the water park, the gardens etc. There a number of cafes and restaurants in the Park as well.
Vandusen Botanical Gardens
The Vandusen Botanical Garden's can be easily accessed by bus from downtown Vancouver. The gardens are beautifully landscaped and are interspersed with lakes, lawns and rock formations. The meticulously maintained collection of the garden includes rare and heirloom plants, herbs, flowering plants and trees from all over the world, which are all labeled and catalogued. There is also a plant shop and a nice restaurant located within the peaceful environs of this oasis of calm. If you love plants and flowers then you must make time on your vacation to Vancouver to visit the Vandusen Botanical Gardens in Vancouver.
Museum of Anthropology
This award winning museum is located on top of cliff and has the arts of the Pacific Northwest as it central theme. It thus showcases the lives of the First Nations, indigenous cultures and aboriginal people from around the world. The museum offers a fantastic collection of masks, textiles, totems, sculptures and gold and silver along with one of the largest collections of Haida carvings in the world.
Queen Elizabeth Park
The Queen Elizabeth Park was created out of an ugly stone quarry in the 1950’s. Today the park is equipped with lush gardens, the Bloedel Floral Conservatory (home to 100 species of birds and many plants and flowers), a restaurant, a Pitch and Putt course and more. Six million people visit the park annually to enjoy the gorgeous vistas of Vancouver from its highest point, 167 m (505 feet) above sea level.
Vancouver’s Chinatown is an important tourist attraction in the city. This busy, bustling area is full of shops that sell exotic produce and wares as well as Chinese medicines. Aside from stores, Vancouver’s Chinatown is home to several landmarks like The Sam Kee Building in Pender Street, which is believed to be the narrowest building in the world, Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and the Chinese Cultural Centre.
Gastown is another quaint area of Vancouver, which is worth exploring on any visit to Vancouver. This historic enclave located in downtown Vancouver near Chinatown is equipped with cobbled streets, antique gaslights and much Victorian architecture set amongst narrow alleys, courtyards and walkways that conceal boutiques and restaurants.
Best time to visit Vancouver
Vancouver experiences a temperate climate, which is described as ‘Oceanic’ and is characterized by warm, dry summers and cold rainy winters. The summer months in Vancouver generally extend from June to August and experience average highs of 72F (22C). During the winter months (December to February) the city often experiences temperatures of below32F (0C) and more rain than snow.
Most visitors state that the best time to visit Vancouver is between May and September. However if you want a ski vacation in Vancouver, then the best time to visit is February for usually this is when the many mountain resorts around Vancouver receive much fresh powder( snowfall).
Getting around in Vancouver
Vancouver is served by its Vancouver International Airport, located eight miles (13km) south of Vancouver. This airport welcomes air carriers from all over the world that makes getting to Vancouver quite easy. In fact Fare Buzz often announces attractive flight deals for Vancouver periodically and if you are mulling about taking a Vancouver vacation, you may want contact Fare Buzz at 1.888.808.4123 in order to access the many cheap air flights to Vancouver.
Vancouver has a well developed, inexpensive and efficient public transport system that is made up of subways, light rail, electric trolley buses, public buses and trains that connect all parts of the city including the surrounding beaches and ski slopes. Most visitors to Vancouver don’t usually rent a car for their Vancouver stay as the city’s public transport system meets their needs more than adequately. However if you plan to visit Vancouver’s beaches or even the ski slopes around the city then it makes sense to rent a car for your stay in Vancouver. Fare Buzz can help at this instance as well for it offers a plethora of affordable car rentals for Vancouver which can be booked at the same time that you make your other travel bookings.
Where to shop in Vancouver
Vancouver offers a wide assortment of shopping choices within its many vibrant neighborhoods. Robson Street in downtown Vancouver is the epicenter of the city’s shopping scene. This trend-setting strip hosts more than 200 shops, cafes and restaurants catering to myriad tastes and budgets. Also located within downtown Vancouver is the gargantuan Pacific Centre mall, extending over three city blocks. This mall hosts more than 140 stores belonging to brands like the Apple Store, Coach, Holt Renfrew, Miss Sixty and many more.
Yet another recommended neighborhood for shopping in Vancouver is the city’s sea-bordering Kitsilano district. Once the home of ‘hippies’, this zone is today regarded as a fashion forward enclave of the city, and is home to several trendy boutiques, fine restaurants, cafes and more. Yaletown is yet another rejuvenated neighborhood of Vancouver, which now hosts upscale condominium residences, along with several stylish furniture and apparel stores, high-end art galleries, trendy restaurants and buzzing brew pubs.
Vancouver’s Granville Island is favored as a shopping site by local residents and visitors alike. Located here are many shopping hotspots like the Public Market, Net Loft, the Maritime Market and various art galleries and arts and crafts studios, which offer a wide array of artisan wares and local and regional delights.
Where to eat in Vancouver
Vancouver hosts a mélange of cultures and culinary interests. The city’s dining scene features a wide variety of restaurants, which ensure that there is something to satisfy every craving. The current listing of the best restaurants in Vancouver includes eateries like Hy’s Encore, Black and Blue and Gotham Steakhouse(steakhouses), La Taqueria and El Camino’s (South American fare), Pink Elephant and Sala Thai (Thai eateries), Phnom Penh and Pho Tan (Vietnamese), Vij’s and Rangoli (Indian), Sura and Hanwoori (Korean fare), Big Chef, Nine Dishes and the Jade (Chinese), Kingyo and Guu(Japanese), Le Crocodile and Le Gavroche (French fare) and Lupo, La Buca and Cin Cin (Italian eats). Other highly-ranked eateries include Hawksworth, currently considered to be ‘the best’ restaurant in Vancouver and Diva at the Met.
Nightlife in Vancouver
Dance clubs, music venues, bars, pubs, adult entertainment spots all feature on Vancouver’s pulsating nightlife scene and offer ample opportunity for nocturnal revelry. Buzzing nightlife haunts in Vancouver include establishments like Bar None, Venue, Celebrities, and Heron’s West Coast Kitchen and Bar, Pourhouse restaurant, Alibi Room, the Tiki Bar, Caprice Nightclub, Fortune Sound Club, and Fivesixty.