Sushi – the city by the sea has a reputation for delicious sushi. I make sure I have it every single visit. I go to the Bluewater Cafe in Yaletown or the Fairmont Pacific Rim for a treat. When I’m on a budget, I stop in at Sushiholic on Denman Street. There’s a lot of mediocre sushi too – a lineup is a good sign that the restaurant is local-approved. And if you don’t like sushi, there is a lot of cuisine to choose from – Vancouver has a well-earned reputation for excellent dining. I like Nightingale, and Hawksworth.
The perfect morning – rent a bike in English Bay and then ride around the Seawall at Stanley Park. The path is flat and the route around the park takes you past the city’s best beaches and jaw-dropping views. There are lots of places to stop for photo moments. It’s a super easy ride – a beginner can do it without breaking a sweat. Just go early as the path is choked with cyclists and tourists in the afternoon.
Granville Island – I love starting my day with a coffee and freshly baked scone at Granville Island, one of my favourite places in Canada. There’s something about the stands of fruit, fish, baked goods and cheese – I’ve never seen a market as good. If I don’t arrive by bike – it’s an easy ride over the Burrard Street bridge – I’ll hop on one of the mini ferries that depart from Yaletown or Sunset Beach. When I lived in Vancouver, I did all of my weekly grocery shopping here – everything from the flowers to fruit is better here.
Where to stay – You’ll find lots of options in Vancouver which can be very expensive year round. If you prefer a hotel to an Air BnB, my two favourites are close to Stanley Park. The locations are outstanding and perfect for walkers or cyclists who don’t need to stay in the heart of downtown. Covered in vines, the low-rise Sylvia Hotel is across the street from English Bay. It’s very basic but clean and reasonable for longer stays. On the other side of the park, in Coal Harbour, is the Westin Bayshore. Perfect for business stays, it’s at the base of the harbour and takes about 30 minutes walking to get to Pacific Centre. I love it for its stunning views, amazing buffet breakfast and heated outdoor pool.
And so much more – Sunset Beach (like the name suggests) is a fantastic place to read a book and watch the sun go down. If you have a little extra time in Vancouver, rent a car and check out Kitsilano and Jericho Beach (further west), or head over the Lions Gate Bridge and explore Grouse Mountain, or drive west to Lighthouse Park. I also highly recommend going to Coal Harbour and taking a one hour sea plane tour over the city. On a clear day, you’ll be making plans to move here!