Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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I am currently sitting aboard a train, overlooking beautiful water and mountain landscapes of Washington state as we are about two hours away from arriving in Seattle, WA. We have just spent the last 28 hours trying to explore as much as we could of Vancouver and falling in love with the city all in the same. So, as tomorrow is Wednesday, which means I am up for another round of Wanderlust (Wander-LIST) ten I figured.. why wait, and let’s just go ahead and blog about Vancouver while I am at it! (Just go ahead and do the damn thing) ~ speaking of currently behind in the Bachelorette, so definitely have that to look forward to catching up on when we return home next week, in addition to catching up on all the pure barre and puppy snuggles my heart can take!
Anyways, back to the list. We knew that we would love Vancouver, we just had a feeling, and that feeling could not be any more true. And as we were planning our trip we kept going back and forth between choosing our time for our Amtrak to leave from Vancouver to Seattle and ended up choosing the earliest train (there are two each day one that leaves at the crack of dawn and the other in the evening at 5:45) WELL, as we were driving to the ATL airport yesterday morning (day ONE of our PNW trip) our lovely Delta app notified us that our flight had been delayed. Don’t you wish we as humans had hindsight and could possibly know these things in advance, because this teacher who is still recovering from the chaos of the end of the school year and single mom puppy duty (puppy that woke up every two hours because he was anxious that dad was away…) while the hubby was out of the country could definitely have appreciated a few more hours of sleep instead of the 5:30am wake-up call on Memorial Day.
Anyways, back to my point, with the flight delay putting us two hours back of our arrival time in Vancouver, we decided we would go ahead and reschedule our train tickets to the later time on Tuesday and I am so THANKFUL that we did. Also quick shout-out to Amtrak as the process of getting our tickets exchanged was SUPER EASY and even resulted us in getting a refund back (SCORE!!).
So we arrived in Vancouver around 1:30 pm local time (4:30 to our bodies ~ very hungry bodies) and quickly moved through customs, grabbed our luggage from baggage claim and boarded the Sky Train – a super quick, affordable way to get to the waterfront region – the heart of Vancouver’s downtown area AND where our hotel was. We finally reached our destination after a quick 10 minute walk from the station to the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Resort. This hotel was a great location as it was within walking distance to our major points of interest. So after checking in and dropping our bags of to the room – and a quick drink at the lobby bar as it just hit happy hour & we wanted to commence our trip & celebrate our arrival after a long eight hours of travel with some local IPAs.
While we were only in Vancouver for a little over a day, we truly fell in love with this city full of green-space, plants, biking paths, seasides and harbor towns, delicious food, perfect temperatures, and a stillness to the way of life that truly felt reviving to our souls. So without any more babbling on, here are the 10 must-sees & dos for traveling to Vancouver, British Columbia.
And as always, this is a list of what we were able to do as well as other things we spent lots of time researching and would have done if we had a little more time. For all my PNW adventurers and wanderers out there I would absolutely love for you to comment on your experiences and favorites as well!
The very first thing you must do when traveling to Vancouver is to explore Stanley Park. One of the Canada’s largest outdoor urban parks, this place is epic. So much to do and so much more to see. Additionally, Stanley Park has been rated by Trip Advisor as one of the top 25 best parks in the world list in 2014.
Haven for cyclists, rollerbladers, and park go-getters as well as home to Canada’s largest aquarium, beautiful gardens, totem poles of the First Nations, gorgeous scenery, playgrounds and more. You definitely can make a day out of exploring Stanley Park.
This definitely had to be one of our favorite parts of our entire trip. We rented bikes from one of the app-based ride rental stations that are located all throughout the city. We picked up our bikes from a station along Coal Harbor and it was a quick, beautiful ride to the beginning of the Seawall in Stanley Park. The bike path goes one way, so be sure to be riding the correct way, and be sure that you are on the correct path marked for bikers, not for pedestrians (we may have made that mistake). Take in all the views of downtown Vancouver, the water, Lion’s Gate Bridge, beaches and more. We even spotted a seal!
3. Explore Granville Island. Take the ferry from False Creek ($3.50 per person one way or $4.50 per person round trip) its a quick five minute ferry ride to the other side of the water where you arrive at Granville Island. While there enjoy exploring all the many unique, creative, and tasty vendors at the public market as well as tasty eats at Edible Canada and the Sandbar and drinks at Granville Island Brewing.
4. Explore the treetops via suspension bridge. Either head to the free Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge or to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. We were going back and forth between which one we were going to go see and since we would have had to pay the taxi fare both ways to get to Lynn Canyon the price would have been about the same for us to just go to Capilano and pay the admission fee (around $46.50 per adult – but hey, you get a discount if you are a Triple A member) And I am so glad that we did. Now, I would have loved if we had more time (and rented a car) to be able to go see Lynn Canyon as I have heard amazing things ~ and the reviews are great.
But ~ let’s talk about Capilano. Their is a shuttle that runs downtown from several different hotels that provides free transportation to and from the park. Such a great convenience. We arrived at Capilano Park around 10:15 – the park opens at 9:00 am so you can always plan on arriving right as it opens if you want a chance to take some sweet pics without as many people around! This place was a tree-lovers, rainforest oasis/paradise and we had the best time walking around, crossing the suspension bridge, exploring the nature walk, cliff walk, and tree top adventure. Seriously so much fun, plus we heard some pretty great comments while others were walking across the suspension bridge too!
5. Wander through the Gaston area. This is the historic downtown area full of beautiful buildings and architecture, excellent dining and fun shops. Definitely be sure to spend a few hours strolling around.
6. Catch a happy hour at some stellar bars with killer drafts. We enjoyed excellent brews at both the Alibi Room and the Craft Beer Market. Both are super trendy, but we especially enjoyed the patio vibe at the Craft Beer Market. In addition, the Craft Beer Market’s draft list was quite impressive (and delicious, might I add!).
7. Eat sushi. Seriously, you got to, but be sure to make reservations for the best of the best. And the best of the best is at Miku. Hands down the most incredible sushi we both have ever had. In addition, they have won several awards including The Daily Meal’s recommendation as one of the Top 8 Best Sushi restaurants in the whole world! Their sushi is rectangular, (not the traditional shape & texture) but the taste was absolutely phenomenal.
We didn’t make reservations, and were able to grab a seat at the sushi bar around 9:30pm, but I strongly recommend you plan ahead and make reservations as it is that great! We ordered one of their most popular ~ Salmon Oshi Sushi. We both are still dreaming about the sushi we had last night, and wish we could have/should have gone back for more! (THAT GOOD!)
8. Have lunch OR dinner (or just any meal really) on a patio overlooking the harbor. We had two lovely lunch meals, one located directly on the harbor at Cardero’s at Coal Harbor and the other on Granville Island at Edible Canada. Both were extremely delicious. Definitely sit at the patio at Cardero’s as it is one of the most incredible views overlooking the harbor with the mountain skyline in the background. It also didn’t hurt that it was an absolutely beautiful and sunny, clear skies, full clouds kind of day! We split the Baja chicken bowl at Cardero’s and both ordered a Salmon Po’Boy at Edible Canada. Edible Canada is in a really great area as its in the heart of Granville Island, right outside of the Public Market – another great area to walk around.
9. Brunch it. So many great options. We were only in town for one brunch – however, I would have been perfectly okay fitting in another one because these restaurants are just that good. We ate an absolutely amazing brunch at Cafe Medina. A super cute, Mediterranean breakfast cafe that gets packed quick so try to arrive early or be ready to wait in line (they open at 8:00 am – we arrived right around 8:10 from our run and they were able to seat us right away). Cafe Medina is known for their unique breakfast entrees, lavender lattes, and waffles.
Yes – you must order a waffle with your meal, they are small so easily manageable and totally acceptable to indulge in a perfect Belgian style waffle with your choice of topping (Highly recommend the salted caramel!) I also indulged in their granola, yogurt & fruit bowl, and hubs had their most popular dish – the Fricassee – they actually had ran out the day before because its that good and received more of it while we were drinking our coffee – good thing to because it was amazing (of course I had to snag a few bites from babe’s meal!) Other great breakfast recommendations that we would most definitely have tried if we had the time include: Twisted Fork, Yolks Commissary and Forage.
10. Beach it. English Bay or more commonly referred to as First Beach or Sunset Beach (to catch an epic sunset) or head to Kit’s (as in Kitsilano) Beach and enjoy the sand, the tide, and the largest saltwater pool in Canada. We did not have the time to explore the beaches as we would have liked to, I especially would have loved to be able to swim in the heated, saltwater pool overlooking the water at Kit’s Beach.
Now we are off to Seattle, talk to you later friends!