If the rugged mountainside and modern technology had a love child – Vancouver would be the result.
Fondly nicknamed ‘The City of Glass,’ this British Columbia metropolis sports a plethora of outdoor parks; a love for local, sustainable cuisine; and a passion for protecting Mother Nature. Literally – the Vancouver Sun recently published a veritable ode to a 600-year-old tree.
The following are just a few of our favorite Vancouver attractions.
1.Capilano Suspension Bridge
Spanning 450 feet, the Capilano Suspension Bridge was originally built in 1889 out of hemp rope and cedar planks. Constructed as an alternative to forging the Capilano River running through the base of the canyon 230 feet below, the bridge connects visitors to a forest carpeted by lush firs and ferns. A series of elevated suspension bridges built within the trees (known as the Treetop Adventure) allows you to explore from over 100 feet in the air. And, the park’s newest addition – Cliffwalk – provides exceptional views of the bridge itself. This series vertigo-inducing walkways are literally pinned directly to the cliff!
Home to more than 50,000 fascinating creatures, the Vancouver Aquarium is tucked in the heart of Stanley Park. From the Arctic to the Amazon, it offers a unique opportunity to come face-to-tentacle with some of the world’s most elusive water-loving animals.
3. Vancouver Lookout
Perched at 430-feet, the Vancouver Lookout offers a 360-degree view of downtown and beyond. On a clear day, you can see Gastown, Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, the Pacific Ocean, North Shore Mountains, the Olympic Peninsula, boats, trains, and seaplanes!
4. Craft Brewery Tours
From rich dessert-like malts to fruit-infused IPAs, Vancouver’s craft brewers are taking hop-filled libations to new levels. With a beer geek as your tour guide, explore the local beer scene, sampling and learning about the newest breweries and ones that have been loved for years.
5. Award-Winning Sushi
With its large Asian population and close proximity to the sea, Vancouver is home to some of the best and most affordable sushi restaurants in North America. With more than 600 sushi eateries in the metro area alone, you can sample raw fish on practically any corner. Favorite stops include Tojo’s – one of Vancouver’s oldest sushi restaurants that features both traditional and untraditional rolls. Kishimoto is beloved for their house-made tamari dipping sauce. And, not to be overlooked is the ultra-elegant Sushi Bar Maumi, where reservations are a must.
6. Play Like an Olympian at The ROX
Canada’s only Olympic Museum, The ROX invites you to relive iconic moments and view rare Olympic artifacts. But it’s the sports simulators that are the real reason to visit. From bobsledding and ski jumping to racecar driving and kayaking, you can test your skills and challenge the performance of actual Olympians.
7. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
Vancouver is home to the first authentic classical Chinese garden ever built outside of China. The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, an immaculately manicured sanctuary is located downtown. Its harmonious elements were constructed to make rock, water, plants, and architecture flow together.
8. Stanley Park
Nearly 1,000-acres, Stanley Park is located on a peninsula at the center of Vancouver. Its shores border both Vancouver Harbour and English Bay. The varied terrain includes 400-hectare of natural West Coast rainforest, extensive walking and running paths, a beautiful display of First Nation totem poles, several restaurants, the Vancouver Aquarium, and more. While you can certainly explore the park on foot or by bike, horse-drawn carriage rides offer a leisurely and unique way to soak in the natural beauty.
9. Granville Island
Formerly an industrial site, Granville Island has become one of Vancouver’s most beloved neighborhoods. Best known for its open-air market, the island’s former factories are also home to trendy restaurants, galleries, and Canada’s first microbrewery – Granville Island Brewing. While you can reach the island by car, our favorite way to get there is aboard the passenger fair.
Like sushi, Vancouver knows more than a thing or two about dim sum. This Cantonese cuisine, with its emphasis on clean flavors and fresh ingredients, features age-old recipes and techniques handed down through the generations. The family-friendly dining rooms encourage sharing, so make sure to bring your appetite and your friends. Among our top picks is The Jade Seafood Restaurant where the dumplings feature refined wrappers without the oil and pork buns are tender and sweet. Also delightful is the Dynasty Seafood Restaurant and Pink Pearl.