If you are ever looking to open your front door to the beach and your backdoor to the forest, Vancouver is the place for you. I visited Vancouver, Canada for a week and that wasn’t enough time to explore the entire city. Despite all the nature the city embodies with the beach only meters away, the locals have a southern charm. I had a chance to bike along the English Bay, hike up Grouse Mountain, dance to some good music on a weekday, and much more. After an adventurous week there, I know this won’t be last my time seeing Vancouver. If you are looking to explore the city and want to know what to do from someone who experienced it themselves, read on.
In the west end of Downtown Vancouver, there are countless bike rental places to choose from. I rented one for $8 an hour and biked down one particular road straight into Stanley Park. The park is big enough to spend your entire day there; however, I biked in it for an hour and a half. You will find various bike paths and stumble upon animals like raccoons and ducks roaming around. The park seemed more like a forest with its towering trees and different hiking paths. The best part is that the beach was a minute away while on the other side, the city stood.
I took a bus ride to the shoreline of Vancouver where the ferry would take you to Granville Island. A roundtrip ferry ticket cost only $5, and you could spend most of the day there. The island is small enough to walk around without needing a cab or a bike. It had an industrious artsy vibe to it while also, carrying a family friendly atmosphere. I had the opportunity to walk around after most of the stores closed, but I encountered random art structures. It features a brewery, art galleries, shops, theater, and a hotel.
If you are looking to get away from the city and mold yourself in nature, go to Grouse Mountain. Now, if you are like most travelers who don’t have a car when visiting, you can take advantage of their free shuttle service. Located in Canada Place, I was content with the service. Not only because it didn’t cost a dime, but because this was a great way to get to know Vancouver’s history and other activities since the driver educated the riders. Once you are there, you aren’t required to hike up the mountain, since they have a tram to carry you to the top. If you know a local, get their ‘local’ badge for the attraction. Many of them have it which allows you to take advantage of their activities for free or half price. At Grouse Mountain, you could see real live bears, watch some outdoor shows, zip line, or just enjoy the views.
Located in the northern part of Vancouver is Deep Cove Kayak Centre. Here you can canoe or kayak on the waters and have a miraculous view of Downtown Vancouver. Besides driving a car, you can easily take the bus to drop you off with a few minutes of walking. You can rent it per hour or for the entire day. If you decide to make it a short trip, don’t hesitate to explore the area and try out new restaurants.
One of my favorite places I would have to say is visiting the Cambie Bar Pub in Gastown. The prices of food and drinks are affordable, plus other travelers surround you. They have games, patio, and live music to enjoy while drinking a brewski. Gastown is known for its indie art galleries, souvenir shops, and Victorian buildings. It had a historical element that could easily be featured in a classic film.
The best part of Vancouver is that the beaches are easily attainable no matter what part of the city you stayed in. There is Kitsilano, Third, Wreck, Jericho, Second, and much more. Each beach has its own vibe, and you can experience it by biking along the coastline in one day. If you are looking to loosen up a little bit more while laying out, check out Wreck Beach. Clothes are optional aka a nude beach. However, note, you won’t be out of place if you decide to keep your swimming suit on.
The activities mentioned above are from personal experience when I visited. Note, there is so much more to do in the beautiful city. Check out more things you can partake in here.