With a strong U.S. dollar and sunny summer weather, now is the perfect time to travel to Canada’s west coast. Vancouver is a mere 3-hour drive north and makes an awesome day or weekend trip destination. Personally, I’d recommend staying the weekend since there are so many awesome things to do, see, and eat. Like Seattle, the city is diverse and near the water, with delicious food, friendly people, and beautiful nature to explore. In addition, we are partnering with Sea to Sky Gondola to give away a pair of round trip passes to the summit.
Sea to Sky Gondola
For spectacular views, one of B.C.’s newest tourist attractions, Sea to Sky Gondola, sits just outside of Vancouver in the Squamish corridor. An eight minute Gondola ride will have you exploring trails, a suspension bridge and viewing decks 800 meters above ground.
Tickets include one round-trip ride on the same day. Once at the summit, you can access the interpretive loop trails, take an informative trail tour, grab a snack at the Summit Lodge while enjoying beautiful views, access vast climbing and hiking trail networks, or walk across the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge to the Spirit Viewing Platform.
Sea to Sky is giving away a pair of passes to 1 lucky Seattleite reader! It is valid for the month of August. Winner will be announced, Wednesday August 3rd. Share this article and follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be entered for a chance to win! Make sure to use the hashtag: #SeattleiteSeatoSky
Relax beachside in Kitsilano by the outdoor saltwater pool which at 137 metres (85 feet) is the longest pool in Canada. This spot is ideal for beachy afternoons or evening picnics with a clear view of the sun-setting.
Find lavender or raspberry lattes and Belgian liege waffles at Cafe Medina in Vancouver’s Crosstown. The cafe’s bright and beautiful new space has an open kitchen, high ceilings and is flooded with natural light throughout the day.
Waffle toppings include: Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate Lavender, White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater, Salted Caramel, Raspberry Caramel, Fig Orange Marmalade, Mixed Berry Compote, Passion Fruit, Maple Syrup or Yoghurt. Add a scoop of Earnest Cardamom Ice Cream on the side for $2. It’s a creamy and decadent treat—a little goes a long way.
Granville Island Public Market
Visit Granville Island Public Market for fresh fruit and vegetables, every style of food from grab-and-go deli goods, to a fresh sushi bar and handmade crafts. The outdoor courtyard offers front row seats to live entertainment and views of the marina. There’s plenty to browse around the market too: art shops, restaurants, and antique and gift shops.
You can drive directly over to Granville Island (which is actually a peninsula) or you can take a water taxi across the water to the market. The colorful Aquabus is a quick trip that departs every 5 minutes from 6:30 am to 11:00 pm. It’s very touristy and cute and only costs about $5 round trip.
For a classy dinner with gorgeous, instagrammable plates, Anna Lena is one of Vancouver’s most-popular restaurants for dinner. They serve Canadian fare with creative cocktails with a focus on using locally-sourced products. The intimate room has polished concrete floors, bench seats, and curious décor from teddy bears to lego structures.
Tucked in Vancouver’s hippest neighborhoods (Main street) sits Brassneck Brewery, a craft brewery that prides itself on simplicity – no food just really good beer. Wood tables and benches are set up for socialized seating.
They are constantly experimenting with different and new beer styles. They’ve brewed 75 different beers in two and a half years. From Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts to Corn Lagers, Sour beers to English Milds, Brett Primary Fermented Wheat Ales to Traditional Saisons, the scope of beer styles is endless & Brassneck intends to cover them all!
The Japanese izakaya at Guu is unlike anything we have in Seattle. Traditional Japanese-style pub featuring inventive small plates & sake in a fun, boisterous atmosphere. Guu has 6 locations in the Vancouver area and one in Toronto. I’ve only visited the Thurlow and Robson locations and each location has a slightly different feel and menu.
My favorites are the takoyaki (deep-fried octopus balls), okonomiyaki (japanese pancake with squid and cabbage), and the kabocha croquette with a Guu housemade sauce. If you go with a group, you can order a variety of items to try and it ends up being a very reasonably priced meal.
Designated a national historic site of Canada, Stanley Park is a magnificent green oasis in the midst of the urban landscape of Vancouver downtown. It is centered around the water, with scenic views of the mountains, sky, and nature. There are extensive trails, beaches, wildlife, restaurants, and cultural and historical landmarks.
This is a stop I make almost every visit, especially during the summer and early fall when the weather is nice. It’s perfect for an afternoon stroll or a leisurely bike ride. Rent bikes at Spokes Bicycle Rentals or Bayshore Bike Rentals for less than $10 per hour.