Category: Things to Do in Vancouver

Vancouver has a long history of being an architecturally significant city. There are many building scattered throughout the downtown core as well as the surrounding suburbs that empashize the different architectural styles that have been important throughout the city’s history. This series of blog posts will focus on a particular building for each decade, all the way from the 1900s through to the future – the 2030s!

This first post will guide us through the 1900s to the 1950s.

1900 – 1910: The Hotel Europe

Photo: https://commons.wikimedia.org /wiki/File:Hotel_Europe_Gastown_(1).jpg

In June 1886, Vancouver was struck by one of the most catastrophic events in its history: the Vancouver Great Fire. Almost 90% of the buildings in town burned down to their grounds, causing many casualties and leaving many families without a roof on their heads; even the famous Gassy Jack’s pub was totally destroyed by the flames.

The city faced a $1.3 million dollar loss; so, when the time of reconstruction came, the city council decided that the entirety of Vancouver had to be rebuilt using fireproof materials (e.g. bricks).

It was during this period that Angelo Calori, an Italian immigrant, decided to open one of the first hotels in town: the Hotel Europe.

Construction began in 1908 and terminated in 1909, making Hotel Europe one of the first hotels in Western Canada to have running water, electricity, and, most importantly, a completely fireproof structure.

The hotel was, eventually, bought by the city of Vancouver in 1983 and, thus, converted to an apartment complex for low income people.

I particularly like this structure as it is heavily inspired by the world-famous   Fuller building (also known as the Flatiron) in New York City, with its “Renaissance Revival” architectural style.

Today, the Hotel Europe is still there where it was originally built more than 110 years ago and it’s one of the most iconic buildings in Gastown…too bad that it cannot be visited.

1910 – 1920: The Seymour Building

Photo: https://vancouver.skyrisecities.com/ news/2017/03/seymour-building-piece-vancouver-history-carved-granite

When I was attending Greystone College on Seymour Street, I couldn’t help but notice this massive white building right in front of my school; every time I looked out of my class’ window I was amazed by this wonderful Neo-Gothic architectural style that reminded me of the beautiful Woolworth building in New York City.

The Yorkshire Guarantee and Securities Corporation Ltd Building, later known as the Seymour Building, was built in 1912 and completed in 1919 due to delays caused by WWI, and it still exists today as one of the last Neo-Gothic edifices remaining in Vancouver. Designed by the Vancouver-based firm of Somervell & Putnam, the distinctive 10-storey granite-faced office tower stands at 525 Seymour Street in the heart of downtown Vancouver, where the bustling cityscape around the historic block has changed radically over the last century.

With its 10 floors, the Yorkshire Building was once planned to be the tallest in the city but was surpassed by the Sun Tower in 1912 (more than 7 years before its completion). Its elaborate granite facade was a symbol of progress and gave the whole downtown area a fresh and modern look.

Photo: https://vancouver.skyrisecities.com/news/2017/03/seymour-building-piece-vancouver-history-carved-granite

Today, the building is leased out as an office space on a per-unit basis and has changed hands numerous times over its long lifetime. The building is proclaimed by its current owners as prime downtown office space, and the careful restoration and upkeep of the exterior and interior heritage details are a major selling point for those looking to rent a unique space for their business.

I personally think that the Seymour Building is a handsome structure that stands as a testament of timeless design and fine detail work in a city with a modern cityscape made of steel and glass.

1920 – 1930: The Marine Building

Photo: https://forbiddenvancouver.ca    /2018/05/18/the-marine-building/

I consider the Marine Building to be one of the most exquisite examples of Art Deco today. This 22-storey construction is considered by many to be one of the most well-preserved and significant edifices from the 1920s. Its story is quite interesting and goes all the way back to the 1910s, when the Panama Canal was officially opened, making it possible to travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The opening of the canal made Vancouver one of the busiest and richest harbours in North America; this fact attracted many investors from all over Canada, one of them being J.W. Hobbs – a man who believed that Vancouver deserved a brand new skyscraper to increase the city’s importance in the world. He was profoundly fascinated by the elegance of the Fisher Building in Detroit and thought that, in order to become an important city, Vancouver needed a building of the same league and style as the one in Michigan; so he hired the architect firm “McCartner Nairne and Partners” and invested 2.2 million dollars into the project. Construction began in 1929 and ended in 1930 during the Great Depression which condemned the building to remain mostly empty. They even built an observation deck on the top, but nobody, during those times, could afford the 25 cents admission ticket. Due to the terrible economic recession, Hobbs found himself in debt, so he sold the building for nine hundred thousand dollars to the Guinness family of Ireland to repay his creditors. Despite this terrible start, the building today has been assessed to be worth more than 90 million dollars, and its beautiful hall is still open to everybody to enjoy.

Photo: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/LocationPhotoDirect Link-g154943-d591254-i281087946-Marine_Building-Vancouver_British_Columbia.html

1930 – 1940: City Hall

Photo: https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/2016/07/09/  history-of-metro-vancouver-city-hall-1936/

Since I live in Fairview, every time that I have to take the skytrain, I have to pass right in front of this marvelous Art Deco building that serves as city hall; its massive white structure is visible from all over Vancouver and it is still used today as the city’s council home.

Located on 12th Avenue, the building was ordered by the Vancouver Civic Building Committee and designed by architect Fred Townley. The building is highly recognisable by its iconic twelve-storey tower with a clock on the top that is lit during the night.

Until 1929, the original Vancouver City Hall was located on Main Street, in downtown, but that building was too small to accommodate the council of a growing city. It was more than clear that a brand new Town Hall was needed, so, after being elected mayor in 1934, Gerry McGeer created an opposite committee to select a new location for a city hall. The committee chose Strathcona Park on W. 12th Avenue as a site, and City Council approved the selection in 1935, making Vancouver the first major Canadian city to locate its city hall outside its downtown.

Constructions began in 1935 and terminated in 1936, when the building officially opened its doors to the city’s council. The cost of the whole structure was 1.1 million dollars and that’s partly due to the fact that most parts of the interiors were decorated with statues and ceilings covered by gold leaves.

An additional wing was added to the original structure in the 1960s and, since then, the building was never altered again. Nowadays this stunning edifice is still home to the Vancouver’s city council and is loved by many Vancouverites.

Photo: https://www.vanmag.com/                                          8-affordable-vancouver-wedding-venues

1940 – 1950: The Vogue Theatre

Photo: https://voguetheatre.com/

Each time I stroll around Granville Street, my attention is captured by its façade that is beautifully crafted in the Art-Moderne style, which emphasizes sleek lines and fluid contours. The theatre has two symmetrical façades, constructed in textured concrete with elaborated iron screens. One of the defining features of the Vogue is its large neon sign which is topped by the silhouette of the Goddess Diana (the Roman Goddess of the Moon).

The Vogue, as the name may suggest, first opened as a theatre pretty similar to the ones on Broadway St. in New York but, since then, has evolved to host many different events and special occasions like the Vancouver Film Festival or the Vancouver Jazz Festival.

Even today its beautiful neon sign is still shining on Granville St. for many to enjoy.

Welcome to Vancouver! This gorgeous city has plenty to offer, such as beautiful scenery, lively shopping districts, historical landmarks, and an array of different restaurants to fit your tastes. Besides these amazing components that make up our beautiful city, Vancouver also has a dynamic and unique nightlife! While you are here, stay up to see what this city has to offer – from animated streets filled with music to the hustle and bustle of bars and nightclubs all over the downtown core.

Next up – clubs!

Venue

https://i.ticket81 Gweb.com//i/venue/83154_Venue.jpg?v=30

This hip, energetic locale is a great place to get your groove on. Put on your dancing shoes and come down to Granville Street’s hottest nightclub, where you can find weekly special events or book a VIP service such as a birthday.

Where: 881 Granville St

Hours: Friday and Saturday 10pm-3am

Website: https://venuelive.ca/

Fortune Sound Club

https://i.ticketweb.com//i/venue/70765_Venue.jpg?v=6

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s diverse Chinatown, Fortune was once home to a Chinese restaurant but underwent major renovations to become a cutting-edge club with a modern lounge. Fortune offers many events with different music genres to appeal to everyone’s taste. If you’re looking for a place that is upbeat with high energy music, this is the perfect place to spend your Friday or Saturday night.

Where: 147 E Pender St

Hours: Friday and Saturday 10pm-2am, Monday 10pm-1am

Website: https://fortunesoundclub.com/

Studio Lounge and Nightclub

https://studionightclub.ca/

This venue doubles as a club and a lounge. Known as one of the bigger bars in Vancouver, Studio offers guests a large space to dance, mingle and listen to live DJs. If you’re looking for special events or theme nights this place is perfect for you!  They offer a karaoke on Monday night, Vancouver Latin Fever on Tuesdays and they have private event spaces that can hold up to 300 people!

Where: 919 Granville St

Hours: Monday 10pm-3am, Tuesday 9:30pm-3am, Wednesdays closed, Thursday 10pm-3am, Friday to Saturday 9:30pm-3am

Website: https://studionightclub.ca/

Bar None Nightclub

https://www.myrsvp.com/vancouver/night-clubs/bar-none-nightclub

This club, converted from a warehouse, has been Yaletown’s only standing dance club for over 20 years. Bar None is known to feature great international and resident DJ’s and they often host different weekly events. This bar has undergone many renovations over the years but the most recent on involves an addition of an elevated sake and sushi bar. Bar None has one of the most lavish VIP rooms with its own access to a bar and an intimate setting great for parties or private events. This bar is perfect if you’re looking for fantastic live music and themed events!

Where: 1222 Hamilton St

Hours: Friday to Saturday 10pm-3am

Website: http://barnoneclub.com/

Welcome to Vancouver! This gorgeous city has plenty to offer, such as beautiful scenery, lively shopping districts, historical landmarks, and an array of different restaurants to fit your tastes. Besides these amazing components that make up our beautiful city, Vancouver also has a dynamic and unique nightlife! While you are here, stay up to see what this city has to offer – from animated streets filled with music to the hustle and bustle of bars and nightclubs all over the downtown core.

Keefer Bar

Photo credit: https://irp-cdn.multiscreensite.com/ 927467dc/dms3rep/multi/desktop/rectangle_ home2-2000×1280.jpg

Located in the heart of Chinatown, this bar offers a unique experience with their award-winning cocktails. Their bartenders have perfected the art of mixology and consistently sit among the most impressive in Downtown Vancouver. Having been nominated throughout the years as one of the best bars in Downtown and rated 83rd best bar around the world in 2017, this place is sure to offer an experience like no other. The outside fireplace creates the perfect patio atmosphere and with their list of exclusive drinks, this bar is a must see if you are passing through Vancouver’s historic Chinatown!

Where: 135 Keefer Street

Hours: Sunday to Thursday 4:00pm-1:00am, Friday to Saturday 4:00pm-2am

Website: https://www.thekeeferbar.com/

Uva Wine Bar

Photo credit: https://www.straight.com/files/v3/ styles/gs_large /public/images/18/03/gp_uva.jpg ?itok=tkQXenxb

The UVA Wine Bar carries an assortment of cocktails, wines, beers, and is known as one of Vancouver’s best wine cocktail bars. It has been given much recognition, taking the top prize for “The Best Wine Bar” from 2010 to 2017 and was awarded second place for the best cocktail bar in 2015. If you are interested in trying a variety of rare wines, the UVA lounge is the perfect place to spend a night out with family and friends!

Where: 900 Seymour Street

Hours: Monday to Sunday 2pm-2am

Website: https://www.uvavancouver.com/

Six Acres

Photo credit: https://s3-media2.fl.yelpcdn.com/ bphoto/hZDU7sSdSoCJfFu1Jr7QSA/l.jpg

Head to the end of Gastown, where you will find Six Acres situated in the Alabama Building. This authentic heritage bar offers a wide variety of beer and ale from around the world, as well as a stunning list of wines and cocktails to choose from. The rustic interior of this bar paired with classic share plates with surely have you coming back for a second visit!

Where: 203 Carrall Street

Hours: Monday to Thursday 11am-12am, Friday 11am-1am, Saturday 10:30am-1am, Sunday 10:30am-11pm

Website: https://www.sixacres.ca/

The Cambie

Photo credit: https://www.vancouverisawesome.com /2019/06/24/cambie-bar-closing-sold-divorce- vancouver/

Vancouver’s oldest still-standing bar was almost shut down this year, but thankfully it’s been saved, so do yourself a favor and check It out. While most known for their student-friendly special nights and cheap pub grub, the Cambie also houses a hostel on the second floor.

Where: 300 Cambie St

Hours: Sunday to Thursday 8am-2am, Friday to Saturday 8am-3am

Website: http://cambiepubs.com/

Nobody saw it coming, but soon enough, good old-fashioned vinyl records will outsell CDs for the first time since the 80s. And if you’re in the mood to start (or perhaps restart) your record collection, look no further than Vancouver. The city’s known for its bustling culture of vintage shopping, and nothing screams vintage more than vinyl – so here’s a handy list of five great Vancouver record shops.

Neptoon Records

Photo credit: http://neptoon.com/about/photos-of-the-shop/

Vancouver’s oldest independent record is a favorite of local residents due to its massive collection of new and used records (the largest in the city) as well as the famed, limited-release selections one can find here every Record Store on April 18th.

Where: 3561 Main Street

Hours: Monday to Saturday 11am-6:30pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm

Website: http://neptoon.com/

Beat Street Records

Photo credit: https://foursquare.com/v/beat-street records/4c8fd4e45fdf6dcb81a82b91/photos

Located just a minute’s walk from the Lookout, this renown shop carries approximately 50,000 records in stock – so you can’t go wrong here, whether you’re looking for a shiny new release, rare collector’s item, or something from the bargain bin. They also sell DJ supplies, vintage collectibles, and even cassettes, making this a heaven for music lovers. And unlike most other Vancouver vinyl stores, they’re also willing to buy your records – visit their website to learn more!

Where: 439 W Hastings Street

Hours: Sunday to Tuesday 12pm-6pm, Wednesday to Thursday 12pm-7pm, Friday and Saturday 12pm-8pm

Website: https://www.beatstreet.ca/

Noize to Go Records

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/noizetogo/?ref=page_internal

Recently finding a new home on Union Street in 2014 after being evicted from its previous location, this small and charming shop on the of edge of Chinatown specializes in second-hand and collectible records. Friendly, knowledgeable staff make it easy to locate whatever rare album you’ve been itching to put your hands on. The owner, Dale Weise, has been a mainstay of the Vancouver vinyl community for years, so you can be certain you’re in good hands when you visit his shop.

Where: 243 Union Street

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 12:30pm-6:30pm, Sunday 1pm-5:30pm, Monday 2:30pm-6:30pm

Website: https://www.facebook.com/noizetogo/

Red Cat Records

Photo credit: https://www.facebook.com/redcathastings/

Recently voted by customers as one of the ten best independent record shops in Canada (CBC Radio 3 Searchlight), this quirky store is so-named after Buddy the Cat, who unfortunately passed away in 2006 (but not before leaving behind a great legacy, including a concept album by Ray Cooder that was inspired by him). The gang at Red Cat has recently opened a second location in the Hasting-Sunrise neighborhood. Both locations have a fantastic library of new and used vinyl as well as an assortment of turntables and speakers. Make sure to check out their website’s “staff top 10 lists” section for some great recommendations.

Where: 4332 Main Street and 2447 E Hastings Street

Hours:

  • Main Street location: Monday to Thursday 11am-7pm, Friday to Saturday 11am-8pm, Sunday 11am-6pm.
  • Hastings location: Monday to Thursday 11am-6:30pm, Friday to Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 11am-6pm.

Website: http://redcat.ca/

Zulu Records

Photo credit: https://www.thesnipenews.com/music/superchunk-driveway-to-driveway-live-at-zulu-records-vancouver/

Though a little ways away from downtown Vancouver, Zulu Records was a finalist in CBC Radio 3’s Searchlight contest to find Canada’s best record shop – and they have much more than just vinyl. They sell silkscreen posters, turntable equipment, concert tickets, and even host the occasional live performance of a local band or artist. Also under the same roof as Zulu Records you can find

Videomatica, a specialty video store where you can find a wide variety of blu-rays, DVDs and even laserdiscs (yes, those still exist).

Where: 1972 W 4th Avenue

Hours: Monday to Wednesday 10:30am-7pm, Thursday to Friday 10:30am-9pm, Saturday 9:30am-6:30pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm

Website: http://www.zulurecords.com/

Feeling jetlagged or fatigued? Is the early wake up time hampering your mood? Well, the solution to combating this is simple: breakfast!  Even when you are travelling it is important to remember that breakfast has long been recognized as the most important meal of the day and for good reason!

There is no shortage of great breakfast places in Vancouver, but the good news doesn’t stop there, many of them are actually located in close proximity to the Vancouver Lookout. Start your day off with a hearty meal at any of the restaurants recommended below and then come on over to the Lookout to get your 360° view of our beautiful city!

Brioche (3 minute walk)

brioche

Brioche Urban Eatery is conveniently located in the popular Gastown district. Their breakfast menu is loaded with local West Coast ingredients paired with traditional breakfast items such as omelettes, sandwiches, and pastries. This is the perfect place to stop at for a quick but delicious meal to start off your day.

Where: 401 West Cordova Street
Hours: Monday to Friday (7am-9pm), Saturday to Sunday (8am-9pm)

 

Pure Bread (4 minute walk)

purebread

Originally opened in Whistler, BC, Purebread is a local bakery that will surely satisfy your sweet tooth! If you’re short on time in the big city, stop by this bakery for a bite! Once you walk into Purebread, you are immediately greeted with a display of freshly-baked breads and pastries, guaranteed to make your mouth water! Why not take your meal to go and head up to the Lookout with your friends and family to enjoy breakfast with a view?

Where: 159 West Hastings Street
Hours: 8:30am-5:30am daily

 

Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar (7 minute walk)

chewies

After a long week of exploring, waking up early on the weekends can be a little difficult, so why not give brunch a try? With 2 locations in Vancouver, Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar has been operating since 2011, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping! Named after Richard Chew, a local Vancouverite with a passion for the hospitality industry, Chewies serves up the freshest breakfast dishes at their Coal Harbour location. From the ‘Big Chief Breakfast’ to Jambalaya, there is something for everyone at this beloved local restaurant.

Where: 110-1055 West Hastings Street
Hours: Saturday to Sunday (11am-2:30pm)

 

Jam Café (8 minute walk)

jam

If you walk along Beatty Street on any given day, you will see a small line forming outside a rustic building. Originally from Victoria, BC, Jam Café is one of Vancouver’s newest hot spots. Their specials are posted daily on their website – there’s always something new and exciting to try! With creative menu items such as ‘The Gravy Coupe’ to ‘The Harrison Fernando’, there is never a dull moment at Jam Café! We recommend going early in the morning before the brunch rush as they don’t take reservations.

Where: 556 Beatty Street
Hours: Monday-Sunday (8am-3pm)

 

Nelson and the Seagull (10 minute walk)

nelson

Nelson and the Seagull is known for its simple yet nutritious breakfast menu. From everyone’s favourite go-to avocado on toast to the classic poached eggs, there’s bound to be something for everyone. With a focus on local fare, you’ll also fall in love with the freshly made in house bread. Its minimalistic concept and design sets the tone for a relaxed environment, perfect for chats over coffee or for quiet mornings with a newspaper.

Where: 315 Carrall Street
Hours: Monday to Friday (8am-5pm), Saturday to Sunday (9am-5pm)

Maybe you’re only in Vancouver for a day before your cruise ship leaves from Canada Place, or are in the city for business and have only a few free hours to explore. In any case, if you’re only in Vancouver for a day and want to make sure to get the most out of your time here, this itinerary will ensure that you hit all the best spots in the city without having to travel outside of the downtown area.

9AM Brunch

Photo Credit: Geoff Peters 604

Start your morning off right with the most important meal of the day – brunch! Vancouver’s got some great places to eat breakfast, whether you’re planning an early morning wakeup or a looking to get a late start to the day. Some great places to check out include Brioche, Jam Café, Medina Café, Chewies’ Steam & Oyster Bar, Pure Bread and more – check out our “Top 5 Breakfast Spots Near the Vancouver Lookout” post for more information.

 

10AM Gastown

Photo Credit: Outside Brazil

Originally named after steamboat captain “Gassy” Jack Deighton, Gastown is a unique neighborhood in the city offering plenty of restaurants and boutiques steeped in a historic setting. Walk down Water Street along cobblestone sidewalks and explore shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants, all while taking in the historic architecture that gives this district of Vancouver its unique charm. The famous Gastown steam clock is also located along Water Street, so be sure to stop and watch as it blows a whistle of steam every 15 minutes, or plays Westminster Chimes on the hour.

 

 11AM Vancouver Lookout

Photo Credit: www.instagram.com/jennchanphotography/

Enjoy a 360 view of the city like you’ve never seen before from 553 feet in the air at the Vancouver Lookout! From the top of the tower located in the Harbour Centre, you’ll get a breathtaking view of the city, downtown core, famous Vancouver landmarks, coastal mountains, and beyond. Get a free guided tour around the observation deck to learn more about the city and the various attractions. Stop here for some great photos of Vancouver from the sky during the day, and then return with the same ticket at night for the sunset and night time view.

 

12PM Lunch

Photo Credit: www.instagram.com/hungryblob/

No visit to Vancouver is complete without trying some aburi oshi (pressed and seared) sushi! Make your way down towards Canada Place to Miku Restaurant, where the aburi oshi craze began. Located right along the water, you will be dining with a beautiful view of the water and the mountains.

However, if you are on a budget, you can find the same style of sushi within Downtown Vancouver’s the financial district for a fraction of the price at Yui’s Japanese Bistro – which was opened by ex-chefs of Miku Restaurant!

Located in the Fairmont Pacific Rim, Giovane Cafe is known for their sugar buns – a light and fluffy sugar bun, filled with a velvety and cloud-like cream filling. They offer their original flavour, as well as a rotating seasonal flavour. But get there early, because they sell out quick!!

 

1PM Vancouver Art Gallery

Photo Credit: Rachel Topham

Located right in the centre of downtown, the Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest gallery in Western Canada, and makes a great stop if you want to check out the Vancouver art scene. Step out of the bustling city and take in the ever changing curated exhibitions, featuring both Canadian and International works of art from world renowned artists. Have more time? Check out some other the other great galleries Vancouver has to offer, such as the Bill Reid Gallery in Gastown, or the Museum of Anthropology located on the UBC campus.

 

3PM Granville Island

Photo Credit: Confessionsofaballerunner.wordpress.com

Located in False Creek, Granville Island the place to go if you are looking for great food and quaint shops. The island is home to an extensive public market, many boutiques, shops, and art studios, as well as a marina and some nice restaurants. The island is also a great place to visit with kids, as it boasts a large kids market and a free waterpark complete with a waterslide. Stroll through the Public Market where you will find lots of fresh produce and food! If you have space in your tummy, check out A La Mode for their Clam Chowder Pot Pie.

Whether you snack your way through the Public Market, peruse the boutiques and galleries that line the streets, or simply stop for some ice cream, a trip to Granville Island always has something for everyone.

 

6PM Stanley Park

Photo Credit: Alamy

There really is no better way to experience the natural beauty of Vancouver’s temperate rainforests than by visiting Stanley Park. As Stanley Park is a large expanse of forest located just steps away from the downtown core, you can experience the “wild” side of BC without leaving the city centre! Explore over 400 hectares of urban park by biking or walking the seawall — a 22 kilometer pathway that wraps along the coast from Coal Harbour all the way to Kitsilano Beach. If you choose to cycle, it will take about an hour to complete the Stanley Park loop along the seawall, and there are many places to rent bikes within the downtown area.

Stop by the Teahouse in Stanley Park for a fine dining dinner experience.

 

7PM English Bay

Photo Credit: Tourism Vancouver

Enjoy all that the Pacific Ocean has to offer by spending the evening watching the sunset at English Bay. Vancouver boasts some of the best beaches in the world, and a trip to the city wouldn’t be complete without visiting one. Be sure to pose with the A-maze-ing Laughter statues while you are there!

 

8PM Vancouver Lookout

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/e.madou/

Come back to visit the Vancouver Lookout and see the stunning night lights with your all-day ticket. Don’t forget your camera!

Photo by: Vancouver Economic

If you are reading this, you’re probably anticipating your trip to Vancouver or are contemplating on taking a visit to our beautiful city! Along with the enhanced use of digital technology such as smart phones and tablets, applications are on the rise as the best hand-held digital side-kicks. Applications – also known as apps – are software that provides quick and efficient access to everything; from social media platforms to digital cutting boards for your kitchen counter, there is an app for everyone. We have gathered a list of the best (free!) apps to have on your phone that will guarantee to make your travels to Vancouver a well-organized and fun experience!

“App”-tivities  

Photo by: Tourism Vancouver

Visit Vancouver

Photo by: Bright Idea Vancouver

Tourism Vancouver is the city’s premier hub for creating the best experience for visitors from around the world. Just a few years ago, Tourism Vancouver launched its first app, Visit Vancouver, to enhance their innovative approach to tourism. Visit Vancouver provides everything, from food to events and activities happening around the city. If you are looking to plan your trip to Vancouver, the app also provides assistance with planning accommodation and transportation! The design of Visit Vancouver is visually pleasing to the eye as it also includes photos and videos. Click here to find out more about the app!

OnTheGoKids

Photo by: Emmy Lou Virginia

OnTheGoKids is the perfect app for families that seek kid-friendly events and festivals happening in the city. Created by yoyomama.com, a Canadian website with a focus towards family-oriented products, events, and other services, this app allows you to store information and access it offline – no need for Wi-Fi! Similar to our other apps mentioned, OnTheGoKids also has GPS and directions included. If you want to share your experiences, OnTheGoKids allows you to connect to social media platforms as well! Download the app here!

Nightbound

Photo by: Vancity Buzz

With nightclubs located all around the downtown area, Vancouver’s nightlife is always a blast! Developed and founded in Vancouver, Nightbound allows users to check wait times for lines, apply for guest lists and even access special deals and discounts! As an app that has been featured on about.com and BC Living, Nightbound is perfect for saavy club-goers! Click here to download the app now!

 “App”-y Hour  

Photo by: Rosewood Hotels

Street Food (Vancouver)

Photo by: Nomss

Within the last few years, the food truck industry has been incredibly successful. From food truck festivals in the Olympic Village to the daily gathering of food trucks at the Vancouver Art Gallery, there is bound to be a food truck that caters to your taste buds! The Street Food app provides a list of food trucks in the downtown core. It is colour coordinated so that you know which food truck is open and what time, as well as the websites and social media platforms. If you’re looking for some of the best, there is also a list of the top 10 food trucks in the city – try Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck or Japadog! Click here to download!

We Heart Local

Photo by: Vancity Buzz

Many restaurants in Vancouver have opted for local BC family-owned farms and/or food businesses for their ingredients. We Heart Local is an app that provides a list of the freshest and highest quality of food items in your area, as well as recipes if you plan on cooking! This app is great for the economy of British Columbia and it also builds a tighter community among restaurateurs and farmers. Ready to try some local goods? Click here to download the app!

Tap Map

Photo by: The Vancouver Sun

Developed by MetroVancouver as an initiative to encourage recycling, the TapMap app has remained as the go-to app for finding locations to refill your water bottles. With over 500 locations, TapMap encourages reusing bottles instead of plastic bottles, which end up in landfills every year. British Columbia has some of the cleanest water in the world – 30 000 samples are tested every year and the water is treated through world-class facilities. To quote Patricia Daly, the Chief Medical Health Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health: “most of the world does not have access to clean drinking water, but we have a pristine source of water here […] tap water is all I drink.” Vancouver is extremely environmentally friendly – join fellow Vancouverites and reduce, reuse, recycle! Click here for more information!

Tr-“app”-sportation

Photo by: Wiki Wand

Translink

Photo by: The Vancouver Sun

Translink is the transportation system for Metro Vancouver. Established in 1998, Translink has expanded from buses as their primary mode of transportation to skytrains, trains, and seabuses. Public transportation in Vancouver has improved vastly over the years – make sure you download the Translink app for access to live updates, maps, and stops! Click here to find out more!

Car2GO

Photo by: BenzInsider

Originating in the city of Ulm in Germany, Car2Go has been offering a unique way of transportation for its consumers since 2008. After you sign up as a member, you will be able to access any Car2Go vehicle in the areas offered, drive it to your destination, and drop it off. This reliable service is environmentally friendly and doesn’t charge you monthly – you pay as you go! Visit the Car2Go website for more information.

Go Parking

Photo by: City of Vancouver

As a city that is constantly evolving, driving around Vancouver can sometimes be a hassle. The Go Parking app allows you to search up areas that provide free parking in your vicinity. Simply type in your location and Go Parking will compile a list with the distance included! Download the app for the inside scoop for free parking!

Vancouver offers people a wide selection of unique coffee shops and cafes. Many of these places began in Vancouver and offer coffee and pastries found nowhere else. While visiting this city, be sure you stop at one of these state-of-the-art cafes and experience our coffee from all over the world and our endless list of savory and sweet treats!

Photo Credits: revolvercoffee.ca

The Revolver: This café, located in the heart of Vancouver’s historical Gastown, is a must see.  It gets its name from the fact that their menu constantly rotates coffee from all around the world. The Revolver offers customers a unique cup of freshly made coffee with every order, and their wide variety of espresso beans is sure to make your latte like no other. With endless options of coffee flavours and a rotating menu this café offers visitors or residents of Vancouver an experience like no other.

Where:  325 Cambie Street, Vancouver
Hours: Monday to Friday-7:30AM-6:00PM, Saturday -9:00AM-6:00PM, Sunday-closed

 

Photo Credits: treescoffee.com

Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House: In Gastown this café partners with a fair trade program which produces 100% organic coffee from single origin organic beans from countries like Mexico, Columbia, and Guatemala. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, Trees is well known for their decadent cheesecake, with a monthly feature, as well several other original flavours like mocha cheesecake or white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. While passing through Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood make sure you stop by and pick up a cup of organic fair trade coffee.

Where: 321 Water Street, Vancouver
Hours: Monday to Tuesday-7:00AM-9:30PM, Saturday-8:00AM-10:00PM, Sunday- 9:00AM-9:30PM

 

Photo Credits: https://shelley-bolton.squarespace.com

East Van Roasters: This cafe is  located inside a beautiful historical building called the “Rainer Hotel.” Since this café roasts all their coffee beans in-house for their hand made chocolate and coffee, you are sure to get fresh product every time you visit.  East Van Roasters serves their specialty made-in-house chocolates as well as 100% organic coffee coming only from a fair trade program. With this café making everything in house, from their chocolate to their pastries, this place is certainly like no other café or chocolate shop around.

Where: 319 Carrall Street, Vancouver
Hours: Sunday -Monday-Closed, Tuesday-Friday: 9:00AM-5:00PM, Saturday-10:00AM-5:00PM

 

Photo Credits: Stefanie C on yelp.ca

Timbertrain Coffee: This café is committed to picking select beans from around the world in order to ensure that the best quality is served to their guests. This cafe roasts their beans locally here in Vancouver and oversees the entire coffee bean production process. This café has two locations; one is seated in the heart of Gastown with long windows providing a natural lit atmosphere and the other situated in Grandview Woods, which is a perfect place to watch the coffee making process.  Timbertrain has a wide selection of high quality coffee beans from all over the world, and presents many ways to brew you the perfect cup!

Where: 311 West Cordova Street, Vancouver & 551 Mclean Drive, Vancouver
Hours: Gastown: Monday-Friday-7:00AM-6:00PM, Saturday-Sunday-8:00AM-6:00PM
Hours: Grandview Woods Monday-Friday- 8:00AM-3:00PM, Saturday-9:00AM-3:00PM, Sunday-Closed

 

Photo Credits: railtowncafe.ca

Railtown Cafe: This cafe has four locations around Vancouver, the main one situated on the historical east end of Railway Street.  All their food is prepared fresh everyday by their talented staff offering a wide variety of delicious meals and drinks to choose from. Railtown contains locally roasted coffee and offers guests an assortment of specialty drinks from their espresso bar. This café also offers an endless list of salads, soups, sandwiches and baked goods paired with their high quality coffee, refreshing drinks, and craft beer. Doubling as an award winning catering service out of their Railtown location, the cafe is sure to leave you satisfied.

Where: 397 Railway St, 980 Howe Street, 409 Granville Street and 1691 Main Street, Vancouver
Hours: Monday-Friday-7:30AM-6:00PM, Saturday-Sunday-11:00AM-4:00PM

The end of July leading into the beginning of August marks an exciting time for the LGBTQI+ community in Vancouver – it’s Pride season! Rainbow flags proudly hang on the porches of apartments, restaurant patios, and store fronts. Besides the Pride Parade, Vancouver Queer Film Festival and The Really Gay History Tour, check out these pubs and nightclubs located in Davie Village if you’re looking to celebrate into the night!

 

The Fountainhead Pub

Photo by: Club Zone

A popular pub located at the entrance of Davie Village, Fountainhead Pub opened its doors to patrons in 2000. They offer a variety of pub food as well as beers, ciders, and spirits. There are two dart board machines and a pool table, so if you’re looking to challenge a few friends to some games, hit up The Fountainhead Pub for the weekend!

Location: 1025 Davie Street
Hours: 11AM-12AM Sunday-Thursday, 11AM-2AM Friday-Saturday

 

1181

Photo by: Club Zone

1181 is a popular bar and lounge located by the Rainbow Crosswalk on Davie Street. This upscale lounge is the places to be if you’re interested in trying exclusive cocktails and spending your night watching drag shows. Their modern interior sets a great mood for a night out with friends!

Location: 1181 Davie Street
Hours: 6PM-3AM

 

Celebrities Nightclub

Photo by: Club Zone

Known as one of the most successful clubs in Vancouver, Celebrities has been in operation since the 1980s. With two bars on either side of the large dance floor, Celebrities will be holding several Pride events this weekend. From drag shows to out-of-town DJs, this will definitely be the place to be if you’re looking to dance the night away to celebrate Pride. Click the link below for specific events and tickets.

Location: 1022 Davie Street
Hours: Hours may vary for Pride, click here for more information!

 

Numbers Cabaret

Photo by: Club Zone

A historic club for the gay community here (celebrating its 36th year!) and holding the title for the longest running gay club in Vancouver, Numbers Cabaret continues to bring great music, drinks, and atmosphere to their guests! This two floor club offers a dance floor as well as a pool table area by the bar – it’s a great location for people looking to party and relax!

Location: 1042 Davie Street
Hours: 8PM-4AM (Hours specific for Pride Weekend)

 

Junction Pub

Photo By: Facebook

Junction Pub offers a week-long of activities throughout Pride. From dance parties to trivia night, you’ll definitely find something that suites your group. Open to 4AM for Pride, we recommend lining up early to skip long lines later – trust us, there will be a long line to get in!

Location: 1138 Davie Street
Hours: 9PM-4AM (Hours Specific for Pride)

 

Flygirl Productions

Photo by: Daily Hive Vancouver

Flygirl Productions is known for creating the most exciting and memorable lesbian parties. Their events are “inclusive of all genders, sexualities, ethnicities, and body types. Check out the CHICAS in the AFTERNOON party at the Sheraton Wall Centre or The Pride Hershe Bar-Closing Party at the Red Room and MIA nightclub! Both events will be happening on August 5th.

Location and Hours: Locations and hours may vary, click here for more information!

It’s the most wonderful time of year again, where the city lights up and the Christmas cheer begins! Amongst the chaos of the holiday season, one of the most magical and inner child-provoking activities has to be exploring the many Christmas light displays around Vancouver. With so many options to choose from, you’re sure to find yourself in a glittery winter wonderland at some point this season. Whether it be a family outing, a friendly get together with the crew, or a romantic night out, there’s a place for you to explore this Christmas.
Here are some of the options in and around the lower mainland!

Capilano Suspension Bridge – North Shore

Photo Credit: Capilano Suspension Bridge

Open year round, the Capilano Suspension Bridge puts on a spectacular show with its Canyon Lights throughout the holiday season. Along with the suspension bridge, the rest of the park is decorated with tens and thousands of lights and displays. After some exploration, make your way to the craft tent for more Christmas activities! If you’re a local, don’t forget to show your BC licence for a yearly pass for the cost your admission price!

When: November 23 – January 28
Location: 3735 Capilano Road, North Vancouver
Admission: Admission varies, click here for more information

 

Lafarge Lake – Coquitlam

This is the lower mainland’s largest free outdoor light celebration. Located in the heart of Coquitlam, take a stroll around the beautiful lake or join in the many free activities! Lafarge Lake can be easily accessed from the Evergreen Line as well.

When: November-January 21
Location: Lafarge Lake, Coquitlam
Admission: Free

 

Bright Nights Christmas Train – Stanley Park

Vancouver’s beautiful Stanley Park is even more wondrous lit up in twinkling Christmas lights. Take the delightful mini railway through the forest and be taken on a magical Christmas journey, on the Bright Nights Christmas Train.

When: November 30-January 6
Location: Stanley Park, Vancouver
Admission: $6-$12

Grouse Mountain – North Shore

Photo Credit: Grouse Mountain

What gets you into the Christmas spirit than snowy mountains, warm drinks by the fire and the twinkling of Christmas lights on the mountain side? Visit Grouse Mountain for a white Christmas this year! Loaded with different activities, you’re sure to have a great time with friends and family.

When: November 24-January 7
Location: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Admission: Admission varies, click here for more information.

 

The Winter Solstice Lantern Festival – Vancouver

Do you remember that scene in Disney’s Tangled, where the sky fills with glowing lanterns and you get all warm and fuzzy inside? You too can experience that in three different locations around downtown Vancouver. With the choice of Yaletown, Chinatown or Granville Island, the city will come alive for the Winter Solstice celebrations with a night full of entertainment and activities to experience.

When: December 21
Locations: Gathering Place Community Centre (Yaletown), Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (Chinatown), Various locations in Granville Island
Admission: Admission varies, click here for more information.

 

VanDusen Festival of Lights – Vancouver

Photo Credit: The Georgia Straight

One of the most beautiful spots here in Vancouver, VanDusen Botanical Gardens puts on a spectacular light show every year, with over one million twinkling Christmas lights on display. Your ticket also includes a magical carousel ride!

When: December 1-January 7
Location: 5151 Oak Street, Vancouver
Admission: Admission varies, click here for more information.

 

So make your plans, grab a cup of hot chocolate and set aside an evening to let your inner child run free and enjoy the spirit of the holiday season under a blanket of twinkling wonder!

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