Canada twice in one year!!! I need to make this a life trend from here on out. Seriously, Canada, you are great, I need more of you in my life. Just spent a fantastic long weekend in you, ready for more. Your wacky weather did not deter us from doing all the things (wacky to me I guess, it's just typical there). Here are some recommendations for you if you are thinking about taking a West Canadian excursion anytime soon.
Stayed at: Hampton Inn Robson St
Fantastic location in the heart of the city. 10 min walk to Gastown, 40 min walk to Stanley Park, 45 min walk to the neighborhood across the bridge of Kitsilano (which had some great restaurants and shopping on W. 4th Ave). The hotel itself is a typical Hampton inn, but did have a jacuzzi, patio and pretty nice gym on the rooftop floor.
Walked the perimeter of main Vancouver along the water
Checked out Stanley Park, the Seawall, the harbor area
Nelson and the Seagull for brunch in Gastown- fresh baked bread, loved their avocado toast
Dinner at Annalena in Kitsilano- halibut in brown butter sauce, incredible bread, delicious mussels
Grabbed ice cream at Rain or Shine on West 4th ave (5 min walk from Annalena)
Breakfast at Granville Island Market (opens at 9am, get there early because it does get packed)- tons of choices from local vendors, indoors with optional outdoor seating. There were other restaurants on the island as well that looked super cute.
Drove the Sea to Sky highway along the coast- just beautiful.
Picked the Stowanus Chief hike in Squamish for a steep, steep, STEEP hike straight up for an hour. Worth it? Yes- the 360 views with the snowcapped mountains in the back were totally worth it. Very popular hike though, and those stairs up and rocks down killed my legs for the next 2 days. The whole hike took us probably 2.5 hours.
Back to Vancouver for dinner at Chambar in Gastown- shrimp crostini, classic moules and frites, and the dessert presentation on the chocolate caramel cup was extremely impressive (get this dessert).
Brunch at Wildebeest in Gastown- another impressive avocado toast
Noon Yoga flow class at YYoga Downtown- Jackie gave me a workout fo sho. I needed that stretch after the grueling Chief hike.
Shopping on Robson Street (love me some Roots clothing) and walked the south perimeter of Stanley Park with all the beaches.
Back to Kitsilano for dinner at Maenam- possibly the best Thai I've ever had. Hot and Sour Halibut Soup, Brussel Sprout salad, Pad Thai- yum
Rain or Shine ice cream was just next door- so that again to end an amazing meal!
A couple things to know about Vancouver:
-There is no uber! or lyft! or anything! it's all cabs! This caught me by surprise. Yes they have great public transit- trains, buses, and taxis. But it's just a little bit harder to get where you want to go.
-If you like Asian food, apparently there's is the best. If Maenam is any indication, I can vouch for that.
-Everything is just a little bit cheaper than you realize, being in Canadian dollars.
-Just because the weather says rain, don't let that stop you! Just be prepared. Bring a rainjacket. Layer. You'll be fine. You can still walk everywhere.
-So many skyscrapers!
-The city is big! We stayed on the main part in downtown. Kitsilano was the closest neighborhood, over a bridge. There is also North Vancouver (where the Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge park are) and West Vancouver- both over bridges. So Vancouver is basically 4 cities. You will need way more time than I had to explore all it has to offer for sure!
Until next time (hopefully soon) Canada!