Nestled in-between the mountains and the sea Vancouver is a bustling metropolitan city but at the same time so close to all kinds of nature attractions and outdoor sports.
Kitsilano: For stunning views of the city skyline and the mountains walk along the shore from Point Grey towards Kitsilano Pool and beach. The residential streets in the neighborhood
are filled with colorful trees in fall and bright classic houses. West 4th Avenue is the main shopping and dining strip in Kits. Here you find cool shops like gravitypope, all the outdoor stores from Patagonia to Arc’teryx and the birthplace of Lululemon.
There are also great restaurants around here, Fable Kitchen is a delicious farm to table restaurant, Maenam serves exceptional Thai cuisine, Peaceful is a simple Chinese restaurant, at bustling Las Margaritas Restaurant y Cantina you get good cocktails and classic Mexican food and you’ll find dessert at Rain or Shine Ice Cream.
Following 4th Avenue east you’ll quickly get to Granville Island. It’s lovely to stroll around the famous public market, local breweries and small shops. Just outside the market-hall you also have a great view on Yaletown and Downtown just across the water. Sit in the sun, listen to the street musicians and simply enjoy this place.
In the west of the city The Museum of Anthropology is a great place to learn more about the traditional life and art of the First Nations in Canada, especially during a free tour. The totem poles are impressive and so is the rest of the fantastic collection of artifacts like baskets, clothing, or masks. Even the museum building by Arthur Erickson is impressive by itself.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a famous must-do attraction for most, but another nice half day trip is up Grouse Mountain. From here you have an amazing view over the city and the sea. Go up with the Peak Chairlift, visit the Grizzly Bear Habitat, take a small hike or simply enjoy the view.
Downtown: Holt Renfrew is the luxurious department store right in the middle of bustling Downtown. Near by you find all big brands but also the nice Vancouver Art Gallery. For lovely mountain and sea views and sunset watching walk along the West Ends shoreline around English Bay or Sunset beach.
Stanley Park is Vancouvers biggest park with scenic views of the city, harbor and the mountains. Walk or bike along the Seawall path, see the lighthouse at Brockton Point and visit the Totem Poles.
Gastown: Stroll around Gastown, the oldest part of the city. Apart from the historic steam clock on Water street there are many nice shops and restaurants around. Secret Location is a fantastic concept store with a great mixture of fashion brands and design objects and so are One of a Few and Lichtfield. Nice relaxed places for a coffee break or a quick bite are The Birds and the Beets, Tacofino or Nelson the Seagull. You find more nice shops like Old Faithful or Beat Street Records around West Cordova and Hastings street.
A few streets further in Chinatown you find the Rennie Museum that shows contemporary art exhibitions. You simply have to sign up for a free tour in order to visit it. The history of the building and the area is also very interesting. Close by there are the restaurants Juniper with a good cocktail happy hour, Alibi Room for beer and food and also Belgard Kitchen.
On Main Street, especially between 20th and 30th street you find many shops and cafes. There is The Regional Assembly of Text, a nice stationary shop, Front & Company which has a great designer second-hand section and just around the corner on George street you can sit in the sun at the beautiful French cafe Le Marché St. George. Further north on main there is also Still Life, a nice fashion store and the stylish brewery 33 Acres Brewing.
Commercial Drive is another local, laidback colorful street with many small shops and cafes. Here you find Mintage a nice vintage shop, Prado Cafe, the record store Audiopile and Italian delis for example.
Getting around: Public transport is available but the Skytrain, metro and buses are rather expensive and as the neighborhoods are quite spread out, it’s easier to get around by car or bike.