Places to see and things to do….
Whether you fly or drive, there are plenty of great experiences in Vancouver and the surrounding area.
Feel like a walk? The walk from Granville Island to the Kitsilano area and then back down West 4th is fun. So many cute shops and restaurants to explore along the way.
Of course, there is the iconic Stanley Park which never gets old. Rent a bike or walk and enjoy the trails. You’ll never be far from the water or the beautiful forest of cedars and firs.
The famous Capilano Suspension Bridge and sky walk is well worth the trip. It’s always beautiful but even more so at Christmas when it’s all lit up (maybe not this year). It can be super busy. A less busy, bit smaller and also less expensive alternative is Lynn Valley Canyon in North Vancouver.
Heading to Whistler?
Stop along the way at the Britannia Mine Museum. The National Historic Site in Britannia Beach (between Vancouver and Whistler) Mill 3/Concentrator is still standing since the mine’s closure in 1974. The tour includes entering the mine and seeing actual tools used and a 4D experience in the Mill building.
Take a hike at Stawamus Chief. The first part of the hike follows a beautiful waterfall. The last part includes a few ladders and grappling chains to help you reach the first peak. Once up top you have a fantastic view of Howe Sound.
If you’re driving and want to try something different, check out The Range in Langley. You’ll be able to shoot handguns, shotguns and rifles with a very knowledgeable instructor/guide. There’s also Fort Langley if history is a little more your style.
When heading to Vancouver Island, a stop at Tsawwassen is well worth it. Off the beaten path, it is small, very safe, gets several more days of sunshine than the rest of the lower mainland and sits on a peninsula so has two different beaches (Boundary Bay and the Pacific Side) to explore. There is a huge outlet mall to satisfy your shopping bug and has a waterpark, several local-feel restaurants and coffee shops.
A stop in Whiterock is another pretty spot to enjoy the ocean air with a fantastic pier and beautiful beach.
Rocky Point Park in Port Moody is beautiful and is a spot you’ll also see seals and although very unusual, a pod of whales was recently seen as well. On Burrard Inlet, the park is beautiful, has a nice pier and directly across the street is brewery row. You’ll find several breweries and food trucks to sample.
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For the foodies out there:
Breweries – there are so many great breweries to choose from! One of our favourites so far is Barnside Brewery in Ladner. They have great seating both indoor and outdoor to sit and chill and have a beer or sample one of their flights.
Coffee shops – Again, so many cool places! Revolver in Gastown serves flights of espresso and Gastown actually has several of the top coffee shops in Vancouver. Yaletown also has a coffee shop for those on a Keto diet – you can try Bulletproof coffee (coffee with butter and MCT oil).
Who can say no to a good coffee and pastry? You’ll never forget the Chocolate Almond Croissant at Beaucoup Bakery near Granville Island. If you like the history of a place, the owner even wrote a book about her life story and how she came to open the bakery (The Measure of my Powers by Jackie Kai Ellis)
For a completely unique dining experience try Dark Table. The restaurant is dark and the dining staff are visually impaired so you’ll really have to rely on your taste buds!
Go Fish for great fish tacos, 49th Parallel coffee shop, original Lululemon store, etc. There is also a Burgoo (onion soup) here, Los Margaritas, Pacific Poke and a Noodle Box for a quick take out box of noodles!
A few other favourites are Commercial The Jam Jar for Lebanese food. Spacca Napoli (in Port Moody) serves authentic Italian pizza except for maybe the “American” which is covered in hot dogs and French fries – favourite with Char’s son! In Whiterock try Uli’s for authentic German Schnitzel!