Travel Guide: Vancouver
Vancouver, B.C had been on my top destinations for a long while. I had never been to Canada before, so this trip was pretty exciting for me! It was also the first time I had been “out of the states” in over a decade! CRAZY. I spent five gorgeous days in Vancouver and by the last day, I truly felt like a local. (= So lets travel back to my Vancouver days as I give you a guided tour of all the spots I found the most memorable. Ready? Lets go!
WHERE TO VISIT
To start off this trip, lets begin at Stanley Park. It should be called Stanley forest because this park is HUGE. It would take you roughly 3 hours on feet just to walk the whole thing once. Many of the travelers were on bike, which seemed fun, but I decided walking on feet would give me the full experience without the hourly charge of having a bike rental. The views through Stanley park are incredible. The path along the coast eventually turns into the “seawall”, and you will sea why. The views from the seawall are nothing you have seen before. There is a strong divide between the city life of Vancouver and nature side of Vancouver.
It. Was. Epic.
As you walk along the seawall, you will hit a nice resting spot where you will be able to see the Lion Gate Bridge, as well as North Vancouver. FUN FACT: The Lyon Bridge is identical to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The only difference is that the Lyon Bridge is GREEN. Mind blown.
Downtown shopping center
As you leave Stanley Park and venture your back to the city, you will reach Coal Harbour. You might be lucky enough to watch one of the airplanes land or take off by the Harbour!
As you continue walking you will reach downtown Vancouver, which is a GEM. You will be dazed by all the high rise reflective buildings and the gorgeous views of the water. The shopping center itself is very nice, with both high end and low end shops to wander through. I was especially impressed by the food court! Even though it was a rainy day when we were there, there were still a ton of people throughout the shopping center.
If you have ever traveled to San Francisco and visited the Haight area and Fisherman Wharf, then Gastown will feel very familiar to you. There are TONS of souvenir stores along Gastown, as well as boutiques and low end stores that you will not find in downtown, Vancouver. They even have cable cars! This def reminded me of home.
The Chinatown in Vancouver is nothing special and lacks a lot of the culture and diversity I am use to seeing in San Francisco. The streets are pretty deserted and many of the shops are closed down (bummer )= ). So why should you check out Chinatown? The only reason you should check out Chinatown is for the great food. I ate at the New Town Bakery and Restaurant. You can check them out on yelp. It was one of the best local Chinese foods I ever had. That, or I was just very hungry. Another reason you should check out Chinatown is for the cheap t-shirt souvenirs! I bought Vancouver t-shirts for 5 bucks per t-shirt. This was a steal considering many of the shops in downtown Vancouver were selling t-shirts for double the price!
Lynn Canyon suspension bridge
Lynn Canyon suspension bridge is identical to the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The only difference Is that the Lynn Canyon is completely FREE. Yup, no need to pay for entrance. Plus, the bridge is gorgeous and gives you a pretty surreal view of the waters below. I enjoyed exploring the rest of the park and hiking along the water streams. Be sure to snag some photos!
Metropolis at Metrotown
The Metropolis is a huge shopping center with many lower ends shops as compared to downtown Vancouver. It is located just a few miles away from Vancouver in the wonderful city of Burnaby. Since the skytrain stops right in front of the mall, it is highly worth checking out!
Lonsdale Quay Market
The Lonsdale Quay Market is like a farmers market mixed in with a little street fair fun. It is pretty comparable to Seattle’s pike market. There are food vendors, fresh produce, and boutiques. For an in-depth look into what Lonsdale Quay Market has to offer, as well as hours of operation, check out this link.
Granville island public market
Granville island is like a mini escape from civilization. It is its own island away from downtown Vancouver. It offers fresh food, entertainment, and MANY shops to wander through. Click here for how you can get to Granville Island.
The Skytrain was my main source of transportation through the different cities or zones. I was pretty confused as first with how it worked, but after a few trips, I finally got the hang of it.
There are only three different skytrains you can take:
- Canada Line
- Expo Line
- Millennium Line
Once you fly into YVR-airport, you will most likely take the Canada Line to your destination. If downtown Vancouver, or any of the stop before downtown, is your final destination, I strongly recommend getting a one way ticket. Since I was going to be traveling to Burnaby, I bought the day pass which allowed me to travel on any of the skytrains + buses for the entire day.
TRAVEL TIP #1- Do not buy a compass pass! There is an automatic charge for purchasing a card itself. Simply buy single pass or day passes. You can buy a single pass or day pass at ANY skytrain station OR a convenient store such as 7/11.
TRAVEL TIP #2- You can use a ticket purchased at a skytrain station on buses, but you cannot use a bus pass (a ticket that you buy on the bus) on skytrains!
For more information on the skytrain system, click here.
The buses run all throughout Vancouver as well as the major cities surrounding Vancouver. It is all the same system and requires the same bus pass. Taking the buses in Vancouver and Burnaby were so easy and convenient. It saved me a ton of money and made me feel like a true local.
For more information on the bus system, click here.
The aqueous is a unique way to travel to Granville island. For grid advisory, click here.
The Seabus takes you from downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver. It also gives you a fantastic view of the surrounding waters!
For more information on the Seabus system, click here.
WHERE TO EAT
You can check out my ultimate where to eat in Vancouver travel guide here (=
I hope you found this post insightful for your next Vancouver trip. I had an amazing time and will be back one day. But for now, I’ll have these pictures in my memory.
For more wanderlust content, click here
As always, thank you for reading!