Vancouver is part metropolis, part nature reserve, and entirely one of North America’s best cities. Actually, it’s THE best city, depending on who you talk to. With ocean to the west, mountains to the north, and friendly people all around, it’s definitely worth a visit—even if you only have a weekend to explore.
Did someone say spiked nog? Nothing warms up the winter season like alpaca sweaters, kettle corn, and of course, spiked eggnog. From late November to December, the Vancouver Christmas Market lights up downtown with a carousel, drinks, giant tree, and…pickles? Just look up “German Christmas pickle,” then search for the decorative pickles around downtown.
If you’re not visiting over the holidays, try to plan your trip around one of the coolest nights in Vancouver: FUSE. Regular Vancouver Art Gallery hours get thrown out the window on these Friday nights, when the space transforms into a club with live DJs and a distinctly SoHo feel. Didn’t time it right? There might not be a Top 40 soundtrack playing at the gallery in the a.m., but the iconic Ansel Adams photographs speak for themselves.
Grab an organic, fair trade brew and bagel with lox (local of course) on Robson Street to start the day Vancouver-style. Use that energy to do some shopping, then come full circle to Robson Square. December to February, you’ll find the Robson Square ice skating rink, and in the summer, salsa lessons and the occasional break-dancing competition (so work on those mad skills).
Is your chopsticks expertise still at the elementary level? Cue in the shame bell and get to practicing. Canada’s largest Chinatown has plenty to offer—especially food. Find your chosen bun during dim sum at a Chinatown Vancouver restaurant, where you can load up on steamed dumplings, rolls and more. Walk off lunch with a visit to the Jimi Hendrix Shrine (surprised? It’s his grandmother’s house!), then head 900 m west and channel your inner math whiz with a new profile pic at the giant abacus in downtown Vancouver.
Find your fellow party people on Saturday night. Classy, historic Gastown is a stylish place to sip, see, and be seen, while Yaletown nightclubs are the spots for the well-heeled and well-dressed. Whether you want bass in your face or laid-back vibes, Vancouver delivers.
Work off those Saturday night cocktails on “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” aka Grouse Mountain, and the 2.9 km trail known as the “Grouse Grind.” If you need even more action, there’s always paragliding and helicopter tours, you animal, you. And if you’re visiting in snowy season, try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or kicking back in the lodge with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book. Not a fan of exercise? Get breathtaking views without all the effort on the Grouse Mountain Vancouver gondola.
Ready for a visit to the Best Coast (ahem, sorry, West Coast), Canada-style? Van-City awaits with snow-white slopes and fresh sea breezes, plus culture and nightlife galore. Check it out and get in on the magic, year-round.