This past April, I made my first trip to Vancouver, BC. It was a glorious 5 days I was lucky enough to spend in such an oasis, and although this post is long overdue, I hope it may be helpful for some of you who are looking/planning a visit to Vancouver this summer!
Before we begin, if you’re looking for a stress-free 4 day Vancouver itinerary, click the button below to download my itinerary for free!
Where to Stay:
Vancouver is a fairly modernized/urban city, so there are a wide variety of places to stay during your trip. Price ranges can vary, from posh hotels to home-y local hostels. For a more inclusive experience, I recommend shying away from the high-end luxury boutique hotels and perhaps attempting an Airbnb.
- OPUS Hotel Vancouver – I’ve heard glowing reviews about this hotel from fellow bloggers with it’s contemporary and posh design. Located in Yaletown, which is the center of the food and music, and a fairly close walk to most spots in Vancouver.
- The Westin Bayshore – We passed by this hotel multiple times when we explored the seawall, and this gorgeous hotel is located in Coal Harbor, right on the water’s edge. It’s a short walk to Stanley Park and Robson Street (5th Avenue-esque), and about a half-hour walk to the Granville Island Market
- West End AirBNB – This is where I stayed during my trip. I was fortunate enough to make it to Vancouver right at the end of Cherry Blossom season, and when I heard that the West End had some of the best blossoms, I immediately booked my hotel there. It was a super close walk to Robson Street (where we often ate), and there were tons of nearby bike rentals to choose from.
Where to Eat:
- Meet @ Gastown – We stopped by this place, but unfortunately, it was a Friday night and was completely packed to the brim, so we skipped this restaurant. It’s a casual but posh vegan-friendly restaurant with (apparently) wonderful burgers.
- Granville Island Public Market – I have to be honest, this was probably one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. My recommendations from the market are the little booth selling calamari + pita (absolutely DELICIOUS), the Fraser Valley Juice & Salad, Fish & Chips, and of course, Lee’s Donuts!
- Go Fish – We biked to this little trailer by Fisherman’s Wharf and found that it was a 30-minute wait for one plate of Halibut. We went back the next day to find that they were closed for “fishing day”. Needless to say, I was extremely sad that I didn’t get to try one of the extremely recommended Fish & Chip places, but I hear it’s very good and a must try!
- Chinese food @ Richmond – Richmond is overflowing with Asian cuisine, so if you’re craving a bit of Chinese BBQ or Pho, definitely head to Richmond (only about a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver) for all the Asian food you desire.
- Honey’s Donut – Located in the town where Quarry Rock is, treat yourself to a donut (or three) after your heart-pumping hike!
What to Do:
- Rent a bike – Vancouver is fairly small, so you might be surprised at how easy it is to bike around the whole island. Head to the Vancouver Seawall and take a day to bike around the island along the water’s edge for a relaxing and unforgettable experience.
- Go hiking – One of the perks of this city is that the sea, the mountains, and the city are such a close proximity to each other. Drive north 20 minutes and you’ve arrived in lush mountainous towns, perfect for hiking.
- Go Skiing – Unfortunately, due to our short trip, we didn’t get a chance to head to Whistler, but if you’re visiting during the winter/spring, there are multiple mountains nearby to explore the snow and test your snowboarding skills!
- Go hunting for flowers – Vancouver has the loveliest tulips and cherry blossoms, providing you’re traveling during the right season. I was lucky enough to visit right at the end of the cherry blossom season and the beginning of the Tulip season, so I got the chance to see both!
Where to Go:
- Stanley Park – Perhaps the most well-known area in Vancouver, Stanley Park is located just half-hour walk from Gastown & Coal Harbor. It’s a huge park, and the seawall snakes around the water’s edge, allowing for an amazing walk/bike.
- Lynn Canyon Park – This is a great alternative to Capilano Bridge and it’s free! Walk across the popular Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, hike the trails, and admire the waterfalls just 20 minutes away from Vancouver downtown!
- Quarry Rock – A popular hiking trail east of Lynn Canyon, Quarry Rock is home to an amazing view (providing you finish the hike!) Once you’ve made it to the top, be sure to take a while to admire the view, and quickly hike your way back down to enjoy a Honey’s Donut!
- Abbotsford Tulip Festival – Definitely one of the highlights of my weekend in Vancouver and extremely instagrammable, the Abbotsford Tulip Festival peaks around May, and is a large tulip farm about an hour away from Vancouver.
- Depending on when you visit, the weather in Vancouver can vary. However, I have heard that the city is relatively rainy year-round, so be sure to bring an umbrella.
- I visited in late April, which coincidentally meant the end of Cherry Blossom Season and the beginning of Tulip Season.
- Whistler (the popular snow resort 3 hours from Vancouver) is open for skiers and snowboarders until early May.
- Don’t be alarmed if you see weed smokers around the city, especially Gastown. Due to the proximity to Washington, and the current legalization process for marijuana, smokers are increasingly popular.
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