Category: Our News
There is nothing better than a crisp, fall day. Our city is especially gorgeous at this time of year, with all the glorious fall colours out in full force. Why not spend your next (and rain-free!) day off exploring our city and checking out the fall leaves. Grab yourself a pumpkin spiced latte (see our previous blog on best places to grab em’ here), bundle up in a warm scarf, and get ready for a great new Instagram picture. Here are the best places to check out some fall foliage in Vancouver!
We obviously had to kick off this list with Stanley Park. Named the “best park in the world” by Trip Advisor, Stanley Park has over 1000 acres of beauty to explore. In the fall, the park is bursting with red, yellow and orange leaves. Talk a walk or bike around the iconic sea wall, and get those cameras ready.
University of British Columbia & Pacific Spirit Park
The gorgeous University of British Columbia (UBC) campus is surrounded by Pacific Spirit Park. Both the park, as well as the campus itself, is a great place to see some fall leaves. Walk one of the many trails through the park, or simply take a walk around the beautiful campus that is home to over 50,000 students and is one of the top 3 schools in the country.
Queen Elizabeth Park
This gorgeous park is the highest point in Vancouver, giving stunning views of our downtown core and the North Shore mountains. At this time of year the park is a great place for a fall picnic or walk through the gardens. You can also visit the Bloedel Floral Conservatory while you’re there! Located within the park, the conservatory is a wonderful place to escape the cold air for a little bit and checkout a wide variety of tropical plants and birds.
Our observation deck offers stunning 360 degree views of the city. Come see the fall colours from above during the day, and then come back in the evening for a beautiful fall sunset and the city’s night lights. Tickets are valid for the entire day! We are open 7 days a week from 9 am to 9 pm. See you soon!
It is that time of year once again! Fright Night takes over Playland from October 7th to October 31st offering a chilling experience. Open select nights, it features 7 haunted houses, 15 rides and 2 thrilling live shows.
Being Western Canada’s largest Halloween exhibit Fright Nights never disappointments, leaving kids, and adults alike terrified and wishing they never came in the first place. Classics such as Keepers Doll Factory, Haunted Mansion, and Car-N-Evil will be back once again for another year, while attractions such as The Beast, and Hellavator will be giving chills down your spine.
Want to skip the lines? You can purchase a Rapid Pass ensuring you get to the front of the line for all haunted houses as well as once for The Beast, Wooden Roller Coaster, Music Express, Atmosfear and Hellevator. Guests will be able to buy their tickets at participating 7-Eleven locations or online and save $3! Do not wait too long because these tickets are limited and sell out fast every year! For more information on tickets, and dates click here.
To get you ready here’s a look at one of the more popular haunted houses offered.
The leaves have changed colour, Halloween is just around the corner and the rain has set in; fall has arrived in Vancouver! It’s the season for sweaters, cute scarves and everyone’s favorite seasonal drink: Pumpkin Spice Lattes. If you’re getting tired of Starbucks or you want to try a PSL with a twist, check out any of the below locations for an amazing variation of this fall staple.
2565 Alma Street (Broadway & Alma)
Conveniently located only 10 minutes away from the University of British Columbia, Grounds for Coffee serves up a cozy Pumpkin Pie Latte. This café also serves up arguably the best cinnamon buns in the city – pair it with your Pumpkin Pie Latte for a match made in fall heaven.
595 Burrard Street (Bentall Centre)
4500 Oak Street (Oak & W29th)
Second Cup’s Pumpkin Spice Lattes are made with real white chocolate, espresso forte and pumpkin pie syrup. They are also garnished with pumpkin pie spice – perfect for those fall Instagram shots. You can find them in the Bentall Centre downtown or on Oak Street, just a block away from the beautiful VanDusen Botanical Gardens.
901 Homer Street (Homer & Smithe)
The Buzz Café and Espresso Bar serves up an array of fall themed drinks – including a traditional Pumpkin Spice Latte and a Canadian twist on the classic, a Maple Pumpkin Latte. And if pumpkin is not your thing, try their Ginger Banana Bread Latte, it will surely warm you up and get you in the fall spirit. This café is located in central downtown in Vancouver’s oldest retail art gallery, Harrison Galleries.
The Canadian answer to Starbucks offer up their own spin on a PSL, a Pumpkin Pie Caramel Macchiato – topped with caramel and graham crackers for that extra seasonal goodness. This time of year you can also find the Toffee Nut Latte on their menu if you wish to veer off the pumpkin path.
If you want pumpkin, just not in your coffee, head over to Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House. Trees are known for their amazing cheesecakes, and this fall they’re serving up slices of pumpkin spice cheesecake. Of course, they also serve up PSLs if you want to pair your pumpkin cheesecake with a pumpkin drink. Downtown, you can find them in Gastown, Yaletown, and just two blocks over from the Lookout at Granville and West Hastings.
Calling all you lovers out there, our city’s new art installation is for you!
A sculpture dedicated to eternal love opened in Queen Elizabeth Park recently. Couples can attach locks to the structure, located near the park’s Bloedel Conservatory. Designed by local artist Bruce Voyce, it features a set of four sculptures huddled together under umbrellas.
“This art project celebrates the shelter that love brings and the union that it forms,” reads the Park Board’s description. “Love has no boundaries and therefore the human forms in the sculpture have been left both ageless and genderless, locked together in an everlasting embrace.”
Voyce’s project differs from other love lock installations around the world. In many cities, couples are known to hang locks on popular bridges; most notably the Pont des Arts Bridge in Paris, as well as the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. This however, comes with some public safety concerns. Recently, officials in Paris had to remove hundreds of locks from a portion of the bridge that was collapsing. In Brooklyn, officials had to remove many locks over safety concerns for the vehicles below. Voyce’s installation also features a drop box for the keys, instead of throwing them into the trash. These keys will be collected and used for future art projects in the city.
The ‘Love in the Rain’ Sculpture is located in Queen Elizabeth Park (4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC).
Summer may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it while it’s still here. And any excuse for ice cream is always a good one. Good thing Vancouver has some amazing options for delicious ice cream. Here are the Lookout’s top recommended ice cream parlours in the city.
Starting off our list of ice cream shops is Earnest Ice Cream. A Vancouver favourite, Earnest Ice Cream has been serving delicious ice cream for the past four years, earning a reputation for their fun and innovative flavours. Check out their website to see the flavours they’re scooping that day, or drop by their second location just steps away from Olympic Village. You won’t be disappointed.
1829 Quebec Street, Vancouver
Hours: 10am-10pm daily
3992 Fraser Street, Vancouver
Hours: 12-10pm daily
Rain or Shine is making waves in the Vancouver ice cream scene. With everything made in store, including their fresh daily waffle cones, you’re sure to enjoy what Rain or Shine has to offer. Make sure to visit them on Taco Tuesdays to grab a one of a kind taco sundae!
Bonus: They also make cakes! These specialty ice cream cakes are made to order with the delicious Rain or Shine flavours you know and love. Be sure to put in an order 6 days in advance: http://rainorshineicecream.com/cakes/
1926 West 4th Ave, Vancouver
Hours: 12-10pm daily
3382 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Hours: 12-10pm daily
UYU, named after the Korean word for milk, is the place to go for all those soft serve ice cream lovers out there. With soft serve ice cream made with organic milk and fresh ingredients, UYU serves up a delicious treat for any occasion. Don’t forget to add some toppings – from classics like strawberry, to the more unusual, such as black sesame powder.
433 Abbott Street, Vancouver
Hours: 12-10pm daily
This next ice cream shop is definitely turning heads. This recent addition to the Vancouver ice cream scene is bringing with it a new twist to how ice cream is done. Using freezing cold liquid nitrogen, Lik creates delicious creamy ice cream in seconds. Check out their signature creations, or stick to one of their delicious rotating flavours.
320 Robson Street, Vancouver
Sunday – Thursday: 12pm – 10:30pm
Friday & Saturday: 12pm – 11:30pm
If you’re looking for amazing gelato in Vancouver, look no further than Bella Gelateria. This award winning Gelato stop is one of the most popular places in the city for a cold treat. With so many delicious classic flavours to choose from, it’s easy to understand why. You’ll no doubt find yourself coming back for more. Bella Gelateria has 2 convenient locations in Downtown Vancouver for you to satisfy that sweet tooth.
1001 West Cordova Street, Vancouver
Sunday – Thursday: 11am–10pm
Friday & Saturday: 11am–11pm
1089 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver
Hours: 9am–11pm Daily
Vegan or lactose intolerant? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Yaletown’s newest ice-cream parlour is 100% dairy free, yet still delicious. They carry all the classic flavours, as well as many fruity variations sure to sate your appetite.
1022 Mainland Street, Vancouver
Sunday-Thursday: 12pm – 10pm
Friday & Saturday: 12pm – 11pm
The sun is out and the sunglasses are on, which means that patio season has finally begun in Downtown Vancouver! What is patio season, you might ask? When the weather is cooperative with the sunshine, restaurants open up their outdoor seating. From there, you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city while having a meal with your friends and family. This is a great time for locals, as well as visitors, to enjoy the company of great food mixed with a brilliant outdoor atmosphere. From Gastown to False Creek, we have a list of the best patio-friendly restaurants that will have you feeling ready for the summer time!
The Chill Winston
The Chill Winston is sited at the end of Gastown, one of Downtown Vancouver’s oldest areas. Sticking to old-school traditions, they use local, wild, free-run, and organic ingredients in all their dishes. They boast a great selection of platters that are perfect for groups to share in the warm, sunny weather. The patio is located by Maple Tree Square, and it gives you the perfect view of the eventful city streets.
3 Alexander Street
604 288 9575
Cactus Club (Coal Harbour)
Situated to the left of the Olympic cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza is the Canadian casual-dining restaurant, Cactus Club Café. Since its first restaurant opening in North Vancouver, the restaurant chain has expanded all throughout Canada. Known for their wide selection of western-style dishes and laidback setting with friendly service, Cactus Club Café is definitely a top selection for a night out! Their Coal Harbour location provides a great view of the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Olympic cauldron, and several other outdoor art installations in the area. If you look further into the distance, you will also see the North Shore Mountains and the Burrard Inlet.
1085 Canada Place
604 620 7410
Who can think of a better place to have a meal by the water than at Cardero’s? Their patio is located by the marina of Coal Harbour, so fresh seafood is guaranteed! Since oyster season is starting to pick up, why not head on down to share a few with some friends and family? There are always specials on seafood along with the many wines that they offer. The patio views include beautiful mountains and seaside activity – you might even spot some Canadian wildlife (Click here to view our blog post about spotting some wildlife in Vancouver!). Cardero’s also offers live music every night, so it’s never a dull moment!
1583 Coal Harbour Quay
604 669 7666
Black & Blue Steakhouse
Located on Alberni Street, Black & Blue Steakhouse is one of the nine brands under Glowbal Restaurant Group. With a unique menu for both their patio and dining areas, Black & Blue Steakhouse carries everything from steaks to seafood. Their rooftop patio is perfect for small groups of people looking to relax after a long day at work. They have a large collection of different wines from around the Lower Mainland, as well as from around the world. This way, you can pair your favourite wine with your meal. Not only that, but they also have Canada’s first Josper Grill, a combination of an oven and grill that allows for the best way to bring out the flavours and textures in all types of food.
1032 Alberni Street
604 637 0777
Joe Fortes Seafood & Chophouse
If you walk along Robson Street downtown, you will eventually find Joe Fortes Seafood & Chophouse, a restaurant named after the prominent Vancouverite, Joe Fortes. Their patio, similar to Black & Blue Steakhouse, is located on the roof. This way, you can escape the busy city streets and enjoy a birds-eye view from above. The patio has everything, from a horseshoe bar to a cozy fireplace, which makes it the picture-perfect setting for catching up with friends or intimate dinners.
777 Thurlow Street
604 669 1940
The West End
Cactus Club (English Bay)
If you’re on the hunt for great views of the beach and sunset, then the Cactus Club Café located on English Bay is perfect for you! As the only restaurant located on English Bay, you are guaranteed the best views of the area. Although reservations are not required, we suggest making one to get the best seat in the restaurant.
1790 Beach Avenue
604 681 2582
Score on Davie
Where else would you find your meal stacked on top of a Caesar/Bloody Mary? Located in the heart of Davie Street, Score puts an interesting twist on traditional drinks and dishes. Their welcoming staff is always great with making conversation to make you feel right at home. If you’re also looking to make a few friends while you’re in town, Score is also a very popular place for locals as their bar always has the latest sports game showing! Start your night off by the patio and then make your way into the bar at night to experience the night life of Score!
1262 Davie Street
604 632 1646
If you’re looking for a cozy secluded patio setting, then Minami located in Yaletown is the perfect place to check out. A sister restaurant of Miku Waterfront, Minami offers traditional Aburi sushi that go well with flights of Japanese Sake. Unlike Miku Waterfront, Minami also touches on a fusion of Japanese cuisine with Western classics such as steaks, seafood dishes, and poultry.
1118 Mainland Street
604 685 8080
Romer’s Burger Bar
Romer’s Burger Bar is one of the best places for burgers in town. Currently, they have three locations all throughout the Greater Vancouver area – Kitsilano, River District, and Yaletown. Their menu is full of different kinds of dishes, but it’s their burgers that have stolen the hearts of visitors. From the “Wicked Deadly Cheeseburger” to the “Man’s Man Burger,” there is sure to be a burger to suit your tastes. Don’t forget to also pair your burger with fresh cut fries, which are available in six styles.
1039 Mainland Street
604 559 7210
Tap & Barrel
With three locations in Downtown Vancouver, Tap & Barrel continue to be one of the leading restaurants that boast the best views as well as craft beer selection. Their False Creek location provides a different perspective of the Downtown core. From their two-floor patio, you will be able to spot BC Place, Telus World of Science, Cambie bridge, and the docks for dragon boats. Tap & Barrel has an impeccable selection of shareables. Living up to our city’s goals to be greener, this restaurant chain utilizes local ingredients as well as implementing a custom tapping system for their wine in order to reduce their carbon footprint, and providing guests with the freshest food options.
1 Athletes Way
604 685 2223
Patio season is a great opportunity for friends and family to spend some time together while sharing some good food. We hope you enjoyed this list that we’ve compiled! If you’re interested in more restaurants to check out around Downtown Vancouver, check out our posts on the best desserts in town or restaurants five minutes away from the Vancouver Lookout!
We Vancouverites consider ourselves some of the luckiest people in the world. We get to enjoy a bustling cosmopolitan city and live remarkably close to nature. The sea, mountains, and temperate rainforest are right at our doorstep, making Vancouver an extremely livable city that attracts millions of tourists every year. For many visitors from abroad, no trip is complete without seeing some exotic Canadian wildlife. While many will flock to the many national, provincial and regional parks near the Greater Vancouver area, encounters do occur within the city. Although sightings of large animals such as coyotes, black bears and even the occasional cougar do happen in suburban neighbourhoods, it is possible to view wildlife safely and in their natural, yet urban, habitat. Here are some suggestions to help you check off those exotic Canadian animals from your bucket list.
Although an urban park, Stanley Park is truly a wild haven at the heart of the city. With over one thousand acres of dense forest, wetlands and lakes, it is home to many native and introduced species of mammals, such as beavers and river otters (look for them around Beaver Lake and the Lost Lagoon). However, it is the over 200 species of birds that make wildlife viewing exciting, especially in the spring. While duck, gulls, and Canadian geese are ubiquitous, look for nesting pairs of bald eagles and great blue herons high up in the trees. Even though there are only about five bald eagle nests and ninety great blue heron nests, they are fairly easily seen nesting or flying around the park, lakes and seashore.
Many other city parks are home to wild populations of birds and mammals; Hinge Park in Olympic Village has been home to a beaver or two this past winter. While it might take a bit of luck to see a beaver, the dam they built in the pond is hard to miss. In Vanier Park, Kitsilano, it was a family of river otters that were seen this past winter frolicking in the pond. Further afield, Burnaby Lake Park is another great bird-watching location, with great blue herons, eagles, raptors and numerous species of waterbirds wading in the lake. Parks further from the City of Vancouver may also be home to larger wildlife such as coyotes, deer, black bears and even cougars!
If you wish to view some large Canadian wildlife safely and within minutes of downtown, you can head up to Grouse Mountain and visit the Refuge for Endangered Wildlife. There you will find Grinder and Coola, the two resident grizzly bears who were both rescued fifteen years ago and have just come out of hibernation. Towards the base of the mountain, you will also find Alpha, a timber wolf who was once in the movie industry. You can learn all about these animals and more by catching a Ranger Talk, or attending a Birds in Motion demonstration, where you will get to witness the impressive hunting skills of Grouse’s birds of prey.
Vancouver’s famous seawall stretches from the Burrard Inlet to Stanley Park and all the way to Point Grey, making it Vancouver’s favourite urban features. While out for a walk or bike, the seawall can also be an opportunity to see some marine wildlife – and we don’t just mean the everyday seagulls! You may find other birds such as cormorants and great blue herons perched by the water, as well as harbour seals swimming or poking their head out of the water. You can often find them near marinas, such as in Coal Harbour or at Granville Island, where fishermen sometimes feed them. On rare occasions, whales may visit Vancouver’s harbour and may even be seen from the seawall, such as Bigg’s killer whales looking for some seals, or last summer’s grey whale that was seen over a few weeks within meters of the seawall. This past couple of weeks, a humpback whale has been seen in the harbour, so if you don’t have the chance to get out on a boat, you may still get lucky.
Strait of Georgia
The best place to see whales, however, is aboard a whale-watching boat heading out of the harbour into the Strait of Georgia. Although trips do go out year round, mostly from Victoria, we are now approaching the prime whale-watching season. Boats will mostly be on the lookout for killer whales, the iconic black and white British Columbian species. Killer whales are often found in groups called pods that can contain three or four to over thirty. Humpback whales are also frequently found during the spring to early fall as they head north to feed in our waters. Other species frequently seen around Vancouver include harbour and Dall’s porpoises, seals and Steller sea lions later in the season. Whale watching is also a great chance to appreciate the coastal beauty of British Columbia, with terrestrial species such as deer and even eagles!
The Vancouver Lookout opened in August of 1977, and since then, the tower has seen many visitors come and go, as well as countless days and nights. The view from 553 feet (or 168 meters) above the ground is spectacular and breathtaking no matter the time of day or season, but there are some wonderful points of interest worth noting.
Many guests have asked about whether the view from the Vancouver Lookout is more captivating in the morning light, or once the sun goes down. No need to look any further, for we are going to compare and contrast the two views right here and right now!
Vancouver Lookout Day View
Why the Morning View is Unique:
In the bright light of day, you can see out for miles and miles. The enthusiastic tour guides are able to point out fascinating landmarks and buildings that cannot be easily seen without the clarity of daytime. You can see all the way to Burnaby with its tall buildings sticking out into the horizon, and even Mount Baker all the way in Washington state if it’s an especially clear day!
What & Where to Look:
Stanley Park – The park is easy to catch with its many trees shrouding the entire piece of land! It sticks out into the Burrard Inlet, and is a natural retreat away from the bustling downtown core.
Sun Tower – The mint green colored roof of the Sun Tower will catch your eye, and having been home to the Vancouver Sun newspaper, the architecture is definitely worth writing home about.
The Mountains – We are surrounded by beautiful mountains here, and three distinct ones pop out in the light of day. Grouse Mountain, Mount Cypress, and Mount Seymour are visible across the Burrard Inlet, and make for beautiful photographs.
Rogers Arena – The arena where the famed Canucks hockey team plays is almost directly in front of you when you enter the Lookout. Just take your eye to the smaller, dark dome to the left of the larger white one and you’ll be staring straight at the arena, where concerts and exhibitions are often held at when games are not being played!
Vancouver Lookout Night View
Why the Night View is Unique:
The city seems to come alive at night, with all the lights from the buildings, cars, and skyscrapers bursting through the darkness. In downtown Vancouver, the bright lights mimic those of New York City, although with a quieter charm. With beautiful views of lit up bridges, streetlights and glowing windows from across the entire city, the night view from the Lookout is sure to steal your heart away.
What & Where to Look:
Gastown – The oldest part of Vancouver is also one of the most charming places. At night, the rounded street lamps of Gastown light up the entire street, and is reminiscent of a little village. With souvenir shops and the most low lit pubs around, Gastown is the perfect place to enjoy a pint in.
BC Stadium – The big white dome is hard to miss in the daytime, and even harder to miss at night. With the world’s largest retractable roof and the ability to light up in animated color at night, the stadium is one of the most beautiful sights to behold after the sun goes down.
Lions Gate Bridge – The bridge crosses from the city of Vancouver to North Vancouver and West Vancouver on the other side of the Burrard Inlet. The suspension bridge was designed by the same architect that designed the Golden Gate bridge in New York City. Its twinkling lights reflected in the water below will make for a beautiful sight.
Canada Place – Built in 1986, this building is reminiscent of a sailing ship, for the theme of the World’s Fair that year was transportation. The structure itself lights up in beautiful colours at night and truly looks like a ship sailing out to sea!
Now that you have a good idea of the structures and buildings that stand out in the day and night, here’s the kicker: your ticket for the Vancouver Lookout is valid ALL DAY so you can take in the mesmerizing sights and enjoy a tour in the morning, and come back at night for the breathtaking view of the city lights.
See you there!