I can’t speak for any other season besides the summer (heard winters are brutally cold), but Vancouver is absolutely beautiful in the summertime. I’ve heard about how green it is, the beautiful mountains and a great place to be outdoors. I didn’t go with any particular set of expectations – just an open mind to exploring a new place. I knew I liked Canada, but had only been to Toronto and Niagara Falls way back in the day, so when I saw a great deal to Vancouver, I jumped on it. I have to say, I was exceptionally pleased with the decision.
Have you ever flown in a seaplane? I mean taken off from the water not a runway strip and flown high above the city for the most amazing views.
If not, Harbour Air Seaplanes in Vancouver is the place to do it. First, it’s located in the heart of Vancouver’s waterfront area, so definitely a place you must check out. I was able to book my ticket online (http://www.harbourair.com) a day in advance – I wanted to make sure the weather was going to cooperate. You show up to their office on the waterfront about 30 minutes prior to departure. They have a cafe inside where you can grab some coffee or food before heading out. I choose the Vancouver Classic Panorama tour which is 30 minutes total and 20 minutes in the air. It offers spectacular aerial views of not only the city’s beautiful downtown skyline, but iconic landmarks such as Stanley Park, English Bay, Lions Gate Bridge and the North Shore Mountains. It’s a wonderful “experience” you won’t soon forget.
Other notable places to check out while you are near the waterfront – Stanley Park, FlyOver Canada, and The Drop. Stanley Park is an enormous park that borders downtown and right on the waterfront. Great place to rent a bike and ride through this huge park and take some great pictures of surrounding attractions. FlyOver Canada is a very cool flying theater show. It’s like a ride at an amusement park, but you really feel like you are flying over the city of Vancouver. It’s a bit touristy sure, but you’re a tourist, so go enjoy this awesome experience. The Drop is a steel sculpture which looks exactly like a massive blue raindrop. It’s a great photo-op, especially with the beautiful scenery (mountains) behind it.
I personally can’t write a blog about Vancouver and not mention Gastown. I just found this area so appealing on so many levels. Gastown is known for its whistling Steam Clock, but of course, it’s so much more than that. You can find souvenir shops to pick up an item to remind you of the city or get a gift for friends and family. There are some cool indie art galleries and snazzy decor stores in Victorian buildings that are worth a few pictures. I haven’t even mentioned the best part yet… Gastown has an awesome food and drink scene, which includes trendy cocktail lounges and restaurants where you can get a range of foods that are very tasty. My personal favorite vibe is a restaurant with a bar area called “Local.” It’s such a chic place for you and some friends to go grab some drinks, food and take in the beautiful ambience. People are just enjoying themselves and it has a great energy to it. I personally went alone and still had a great time, so that’s how good a place it is.
Obviously, this blog won’t exhaust all the places to visit in and around Vancouver. However, I want to get you excited about this beautiful city. Some other notable places or areas to check out are listed below. Some of these places are mostly going to come up when you do any research, but some are places I personally found while exploring the city. If listed here, I believe they are absolutely worth checking out.
- Grouse Mountain (take skyride up to the top for the most beautiful views)
- Capilano Suspension Bridge (yes, Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is free, but it’s not as nice)
- Granville Island (food markets, shopping district)
- Lonsdale Quay Market (see the lovelocks, shopping and restaurants like Tap & Barrel)
- Lionsgate Bridge (if you like bridges, you’ll love the look of this one)
- Kitsilano Pool (one of the most popular beaches that faces out onto English Bay)
- YBC Yaletown Brewing Company (Yaletown worth checking out alone, but if you want some beers, hit up this brewery)
Until the next time Vancouver. I’ll definitely be coming back.
In closing… More Travel, More Life!