Like winning the Olympic Gold… in travel.
If your Triple Lutz wasn’t good enough to get you to the 2010 Winter Olympics, don’t fret. Vancouver is more fun in the summer anyway, because this gorgeous city was meant to be seen by land, sea and air.
Start off downtown, where you’ll be within walking distance to the major hot spots including shopping on Robson St., strolling along the Seawall in Stanley Park to check out the infamous Inukshuk sculpture or hopping the ferry across to Granville Island. Venture by BC Place and pay homage to the Olympic torch and the plethora of cruise ships, hop a West Air flight to Victoria Island for a quick bite at Red Fish, Blue Fish (worth every toonie and loonie) and arrive back at port, ready to unwind from a pretty perfect day. Cue your national anthem.
Kirin Downtown – One of the most amazing Chinese food experiences. Everything is lick the plate good, and I should know – we literally ordered one of everything. The dim sum was perfection, with classics and unique creations to choose from. This place was also voted best Chinese for the restaurant “Best Of” awards by Vancouver magazine 2 years in a row.
C Restaurant – Fresh, incredible seafood, all local/sustainable. This choice is more of your “dress up” night out. We literally ordered one of everything (again), and every bite tasted like a guilty pleasure. Also voted a “Best Of” seafood spot by Vancouver magazine.
Cafe Crepe – Delicious crepes with all the fillings and combinations you can think of, located on/near Robson St.
Trattoria Italian – Fabulous Italian food, a happening scene/bar, with smart libations. The area this is in is called Kitsilano, which is very cool. Reminded me of Brooklyn, with unique shops that are great for exploring.
Vij’s – Seriously, the BEST Indian food, ever. Even Jamie Oliver thinks so. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations and it’s always packed, but there is a quicker/loungey place next door (same restaurant) so you can eat there too. Maybe try to go for lunch instead? That’s what we did!
Salt Tasting Room – Really cool charcuterie and cheese/wine spot, very hip and delicious. Located in the Gastown neighborhood.
For Shopping, definitely hit up Robson Street and surrounding side streets. Also, Kitsilano Neighborhood (near 4th Ave, take a cab there, via the Granville St. bridge) and the Gastown neighborhood.
On Granville Island, check out the market place, they have the freshest – EVERYTHING. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, wine grapes, etc – it’s wicked good. Fresh fish, pastries, bagels, you name it – you could literally spend the day there looking at tchotchke, eating good food and just relaxing by the water. There are lots of little shops too, where you’ll find cool and unique things within the market place. It’s pretty big, so make sure to set aside some extra time.
If you decide to venture out, take a whale watching tour to Victoria, eat at Red Fish, Blue Fish (a mini shack on the waterfront, with a wait line down the harbor – absolutely AMAZING) and then shell out some extra cash to take a quick flight back to Vancouver via the West Air water planes which takes 20-30 min max versus the 2 hour boat ride back.
To be fair, I’m being a little biased here, because I work for IHG. BUT, happily they are fabulous choices for a great place to stay in Vancouver. With all the amenities you need, in great locations, at a great price – what more could you ask for? I’ve stayed at the Holiday Inn Vancouver Downtown before and it was the perfect spot – nice accommodations, super convenient to everything, and we were able to do a lot of walking. Hotel Indigo Vancouver is fairly new to the city, but the brand is boutique chic and they definitely know their local scene in Vancouver. I can’t wait to try it out next time I’m there.
Quick tip: Check out Vancouver Magazine. It’s just like New York Magazine but for Vancouver, with great recommendations on “Best Of”, shopping, where to play, etc.