My husband and I are taking our daughter to visit our son who has recently emigrated to Vancouver. We have heard great things about the city but have never been to Canada before. What are the best things to see and do during our stay?
While emigration can be hard, you can be safe in the knowledge that your son has chosen to go to one of the most livable cities in the world. Vancouver is a beautiful city that in keeping with its well-known relaxed vibe, effortlessly mixes big-city attractions with an inclusive small-town feel.
Downtown Vancouver sits neatly in the corner of a peninsula in English Bay, just across from the spectacular North Shore Mountains, ensuring glimpses of impressive mountain peaks from the corner of nearly every block. The Vancouver Lookout is the perfect place to visit to get your bearings and enjoy the wonderful landscape that surrounds you. Take the glass elevator up 28 stories and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city, the bay and its many bridges and ports, as well as the unmissable snow-capped mountains.
Gastown was Vancouver’s first downtown core and is preserved as a bustling historical reminder of the city’s original centre of trade. The area today is a hotspot for trendy bars, clubs, boutique shops and a wide range of restaurants. Granville Island, just outside of downtown, is another great throwback spot and the Public Market is one of the city’s real gems and an absolute must-visit for anyone staying in Vancouver.
Stanley Park is another great place to spend a day with so much to see and do from a walk through the trails of the ever-green forest to miniature trains and pitch and putt. Bike rentals are available all around the park and it really is the best way to take in the great views along the 22km Seawall. If you have a willing partner tandem biking is double the fun! Stanley Park is also home to Vancouver’s Zoo and Aquarium that are quaintly nestled away in the middle of the greenery.
A short sea-bus and bus ride to the opposite side of the bay is Lynn Canyon Park. Crossing the famous suspension bridge into an engulfing forest of trails, rivers, waterfalls and natural swimming pools will make you feel like you are entering a scene from Jurassic Park. In what can be quite an expensive city to visit the best thing about Lynn Canyon Park is that it is completely free.
Shopping is another activity that is well catered for in Vancouver. Downtown shopping is located around the large Pacific Centre Mall, between Seymour Street and Howe Street, as well as along nearby Robson Street where you can find everything from the Nike Store to H&M. A straight 40 minute bus or 20 minute Skytrain-ride from downtown is the ‘Metropolis’ Metrotown mall, the largest shopping mall in British Columbia and home to over 400 stores catering for every need, want and desire.
Vancouver is also a nice city to grab a bite to eat. Embracing a largely immigrant population, the city houses some of the best of the world’s cuisine catering to everything from fine-dining to street eats. Steamworks is a great restaurant just at the edge of Gastown but perhaps surprisingly the best food you can find in the city is also some of the cheapest. The Factory on Granville Street offers all meals for an amazing $5.99 per person!
Where to Stay
L’Hermitage Hotel (****)
Prices start from €137 per room per night on Hotels.com
The outstanding L’Hermitage hotel is ideally located just off the vibrant Robson Street just minutes from great city sites such as BC Place Stadium, Vancouver Library and Granville Island.
The hotel itself can only be described as luxurious, with pool and spa facilities as well as notably friendly and helpful staff to ensure that your stay is most memorable.
Century Plaza Hotel & Spa (****)
Prices start from €80 per room per night on Hotels.com
Century Plaza Hotel & Spa is an elegant, modern and stylish hotel with an indoor spa pool and full-service spa. The hotel also has dining facilities and a restaurant offering different menu’s throughout the day. It is also close to the scenic Kits Beach area, Pacific Centre Shopping and Stanley Park.
Best Western Plus Downtown Vancouver (***)
Prices start from €69 per room per night on Hotels.com
Best Western Plus is in prime location in the downtown area, just off the main Granville Street and the shopping and entertainment district. One of the best things about this hotel is the free bike rental at reception meaning the English Bay area, Granville Island Public Market and Stanley Park are all just a short cycle away.
As well as bike rental, Best Western Plus Downtown Vancouver also offers amenities such as a spa-tub, fitness facilities, a restaurant and free Wifi to all guests.
*All prices are subject to availability at the time of booking
For more information and travel tips on planning your holiday visit www.Hotels.com or call 1800 55 3338 to wake up happy on your holiday!