From where to get in a workout to where to grab a fabulous cup of coffee, it can be difficult to navigate a new city. How do you get beyond the tourist trap and experience a destination like a local?
To find out, I went to the source — Vancouver locals. The following recommendations come from seven of Vancouver’s top social media influencers, highlighting everything from where to shop and hike to where to eat and explore.
Hike Like a Local in Vancouver
My favorite Vancouver-area hike is Eagle Bluffs. From the granite bluffs you get gorgeous views of the city, Howe Sound, and Vancouver Island. The hike starts at the ski lodge at Cypress Mountain. The first part of the hike is really steep as it climbs up next to a ski run. Eventually you reach a plateau near the summit of Black Mountain and a T-junction. Turn right to go past Cabin Lake, then follow the trail as it heads downhill through the forest. Eventually you’ll pop out of the trees onto the bare rock of Eagle Bluffs. Enjoy the view, then retrace your steps back to the trailhead.
The hike to Eagle Bluffs will take about four hours. It’s 8KM round trip with 350m of elevation gain and is moderately difficult.
Eat Like a Local in Vancouver
Savio Volpe can get missed by visitors to Vancouver as it’s tucked in the laidback neighborhood of Mount Pleasant. However, locals know this place to serve up delicious Italian food. Every bite of the handmade pasta is packed with flavor and it is made perfectly, every time.
We never thought we’d go to an Italian restaurant to order their chicken but their half chicken cooked in the wood fire grill is served with crispy skin and impossibly juicy meat. Looking for something more traditional? Try their meatballs drenched in neck bone gravy. The gravy is so good you’ll be looking for some bread to soak it all up. No worries because Savio Volpe serves the most decadent and buttery garlic bread. We’re always tempted to order two servings so we don’t have to share!
Savio Volpe is only open in the evenings and reservations are a must. On a recent visit, we asked why the restaurant wasn’t open during lunchtime. They told us it was because the kitchen staff spends that time preparing all the sauces, pastas, and meats so that they are fresh and ready for the evening service. There’s a reason this restaurant is on Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list. Come and try it yourself for a wonderful experience!
Workout Like a Local in Vancouver
My favorite workout in Vancouver right now (besides working out with my trainer Ilana Ames IG: @ilana.ames) is Yoga Sculpt at Turf with Kate. Turf is a wellness hub in Vancouver with amazing food and workouts. Yoga Sculpt is an intense version of yoga - including jumping jacks and dancing. It’s really the best of all worlds and Kate has an incredible energy.
Shop Like a Local in Vancouver
Located in the heart of Gastown, Old Faithful Shop is one of the neighborhood’s quintessential (and most photogenic) lifestyle shops. With an Instagram-worthy corner dressed in lush fiddle-leaf fig trees on one side and Pinterest-perfect wall on the other, the shop has constantly attracted those who appreciate the finer things in life. What’s so dazzling about this store is of course, the well-curated assortments of products they offer. From house plants and all the bells-and-whistles you need to be the best plant dads/moms, fabulous selections of lifestyle books and magazine (think of trendy cookbooks, cocktail recipes, and more), to home decor and accessories that make you never want to leave, they've got em. To top it all off, the friendly, knowledgeable people running the shop are always such a pleasure to deal with.
Caffeine Load Like a Local in Vancouver
Jacky Chui | IG: @jackymchui
Revolver: One of my favorite coffee shops in Vancouver is Revolver, which is located in the heart of the Gastown district. I often visit them on weekday mornings when I’m catching up with friends and slowly starting my day with their beautifully curated playlists. What’s special about Revolver is that they carry coffees from all over the world, so their line-up is constantly rotating allowing their guests to taste the world. On top of that, they house an amazing pastry selection curated by all local suppliers and bakeries. Revolver is a cool and relaxed coffee shop you must try out.
Bel Café: Bel Café is another favorite coffee shop of mine because of the delicious food options they offer. Whenever I’m downtown and looking for a quick bite to eat, I can always depend on Bel Café for their delicious pastries and sandwiches. Whether I’m grabbing a croissant and an Americano on my way to work, or roasted cauliflower sandwich and a beetroot lemonade for lunch, Bel Café never disappoints. With every change of the season so does their menu their Christmas offerings (sugar cookies!) are a personal favorite!
Explore Like a Local in Vancouver
My absolute favorite thing to do in Vancouver in the summer, or really just even on a nice day, is simply to walk or bike the seawall around False Creek. I’ve lived here my whole life and am still blown away by the gorgeous views! While you’re in the area, if you want to hang with the local crowd and cool off with a beverage, there are tons of great breweries near Olympic Village now. Or, the path will lead you to Granville Island if you’re in the mood to grab a bite and wander the public market and shops.
Additional Fun Things to do in Vancouver BC
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