Category: Things to Do in Vancouver
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
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 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
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!
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 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 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!
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Grouse Mountain – North Shore
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Come back to visit the Vancouver Lookout and see the stunning night lights with your all-day ticket. Don’t forget your camera!
Harbour Centre’s Vancouver Lookout is celebrating its 40th anniversary. As a part of its “coming of age”, Vancouver Heritage Foundation has partnered with the Lookout and invites you to experience different perspectives on the city through a new event series from this special vantage point. Perspectives: Talks & Discussions will explore stories – surprising, thought-provoking, and thrilling – that have shaped Vancouver over time.
Five talks from different speakers will offer insight on a range of topics including Indigenous stories and context, South Asian history and immigration, architectural development and change, Vancouver’s music scene and nightlife, and the city’s seedy criminal history.The mix of daytime and evening events runs September through November. Coffee will be provided at morning talks.
For more information, visit: vancouverlookout.com/blog or follow #VancouverPerspectives on social media.
Please plan to arrive at Harbour Centre at least 15 minutes before the posted start to allow time to take the elevator to the Lookout. Each talk will begin promptly 15 minutes after the posted start time.
Blanketing the City: Musqueam Stories
Saturday September 23
Debra Sparrow and Kamala Todd
The dominant stories of our city tend to be those of the colonial culture, which has written itself into the built form and the narratives of Vancouver. Musqueam artist Debra Sparrow’s people have lived here for thousands of years, her people’s history and relationships with this land are “written in the earth”. Metis-Cree filmmaker and community planner Kamala Todd holds deep gratitude for the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish people, who so generously share their lands and wealth – while being in many ways written out of the story and landscapes of Vancouver. Join us for a dynamic conversation that weaves important Indigenous stories and asks how we can inhabit an urban past, present and future which fully reflects and embodies the Indigenous people of these lands.
Historic Crime: Early Forensic Investigations
Thursday October 19
Join Author Eve Lazarus for a night of true crime as she draws on stories from her latest book Blood, Sweat, and Fear: The Story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver’s First Forensic Investigator. Starting in 1907 as the City Analyst for the City of Vancouver, John F.C.B. Vance worked in several buildings in downtown Vancouver before being named honorary inspector for the VPD and put in charge of the newly formed Police Bureau of Science (now housing the Vancouver Police Museum). Vance used his cutting-edge skills in serology, toxicology, firearms examination, trace evidence and autopsy to solve some of the most sensational crimes of the twentieth century. His techniques were so effective that there were seven attempts on his life, and for a time, he and his family were under constant police guard.
Heritage from Up High
Sunday October 29
Join John Atkin, as he explores the constantly changing Vancouver landscape and tells the stories behind some of its most iconic buildings and neighbourhoods. Hear about the Woodward’s site including the story behind the store’s demolition, learn about gold rush money, renewal and restorations around the Flack Block, gaze down at the Morris J. Wosk centre as you hear its tale of demolition threats and eventual adaptive reuse as well as the complex history of Waterfront Station where modern uses have breathed new life into this venerable building.
Vancouver After Dark: History of the Entertainment Scene
Thursday November 16
Downtown Vancouver was home to legendary nightclubs throughout much of the last century where, thanks to Vancouver’s geographic location, many performers would kick off tours. Today, most of the theatres of Granville Street are gone, and only a few legendary nightspots remain. How did some of Vancouver’s clubs remain, and others simply disappear? Is the city’s “Granville Entertainment District” really the answer? Author Aaron Chapman explores the history and future of Vancouver’s music scene.
Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a registered charity working to support the city’s built heritage through educational programming and awareness building. To find out more about VHF, visit vancouverheritagefoundation.org.
This event (November 16 only) will feature a cash bar from Vancouver’s first micro distillery, Long Table Distillery.
Cultural Landscapes: Vancouver’s South Asian Community
Sunday November 26
Naveen Girn, Paneet Singh and Milan Singh
In one of the earliest South Asian Canadian novels, Sadhu Singh Dhami wrote that sometimes the landscape of Vancouver can evoke the idea of home because “the Fraser was much like the Sutlej gliding through the plains of the Punjab.” This talk looks at how migrants over the past 100 years have worked to create belonging and thread their lives into the story of Vancouver. From the epic tale of the Komagata Maru to clandestine freedom movements, from the fight for civil rights to the living legacy of trauma and displacement, this talk will illuminate South Asian stories and intercultural relationships that can only happen in Vancouver.
Vancouver’s worldwide reputation for diversity and inclusion becomes especially visible during the enormous Pride celebrations that occur at the end of July and first weekend of August.
This year will be the 39th annual Pride Parade and celebrations. The theme for 2017 is ‘My Pride,’ which according to the official Vancouver Pride Society website “[recognizes] that for each individual, Pride week can be a very unique personal experience with both celebratory and deeply emotional component.”
This year we have Vancouver’s very first all ages Pride dance! Prance on the Pier will start at 5pm on August 2nd in The Shipyards at 25 Wallace Mews in North Vancouver. There will be food, games, drag performances, and much more! This is an all ages, family friendly, and free event for folks who want to celebrate pride and dance the night away.
The West End is the home of Davie Street, where the gay and LGBTQ2+ subculture and community thrive. On the Friday before Pride weekend Davie Street is closed off from Burrard all the way to Jervais for the Davie Street Party. This year’s Davie Street Party is on August 4th from 6 pm until midnight; there will be vendors, performers, art installations, two stages, and the infamous Silent Disco. Davie Street is also home to many fantastic restaurants and businesses which will be open during Davie Street Party.
On August 5th the Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast begins at 8 am. It will be in the Jim Deva Plaza next to the famous rainbow crosswalks at Davie and Bute Street. It is a by donation community breakfast honouring one of the founders of pride in Vancouver. He is remembered as a warm and friendly individual who worked hard to keep the Pride Parade afloat in the beginning. Terry Wallace managed the old Castle Pub and he was the backbone of Pride parade during the 1980s and 90s. Wallace and fellow bar owner Garry Penny, along with board member for Pride Community Foundation Rob Atkinson, all managed to pull together the very first parade in less than 3 months.
And finally Pride week ends off with the famous Vancouver Pride Parade on August 6th. The parade starts at 12pm at Robson St. and Bute in Downtown Vancouver, proceeding west on Robson St. to Denman St., then south to Beach Ave., ending at Sunset Beach. Vancouver’s Pride Parade is known as one of the biggest in the world and reportedly has around half a million attendees every year. Last year the parade had special guest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau march alongside various community, independent, and corporate groups. It is 3 hours of rainbows and music, and where one can see the diversity of the LGBTQ2+ community and its allies.
While the parade is marching along there will be a large Pride Festival at Sunset beach. There will be various food and merchandise vendors, a large stage with different performers and all sorts of fun activities.
Vancouver`s Pride Parade started as a protest against the oppression, discrimination, and marginalization of the LGBTQ2+ community in Vancouver. Vancouver is lucky to be able to celebrate its LGBTQ2+ community and have one of the largest Pride Parades in the world.
Amongst the glee, glitter, and gaiety there`s an important history still being made. It is important to remember that LGBTQ2+ folks are still being discriminated against for their various identities and Pride is an important part of recognizing the experiences of LGBTQ2+ folks. Pride celebrations are an important statement for declaring and celebrating the existence of LGBTQ2+ folks. Vancouver and Vancouverites are fortunate in being able to proudly fly the rainbow flag because many are unable to.
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!
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 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!
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!
Street Food (Vancouver)
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
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
If you’ve been following the local news at all, you’ll know that the talk of the town in Vancouver since early December has been snow and ice – and salt. Although winters in Vancouver are usually known to be mild and rainy, this year we’ve been getting snowfall after snowfall. And while the residents may complain, for tourist it means you can finally enjoy a true Canadian winter right in the city.
Hit the Mountains
Vancouver is renowned for its proximity to mountains that offer all kinds of winter (and summer) activities. Cypress Mountain, Grouse Mountain and Mount Seymour are located across from Vancouver on the North Shore, and have been getting lots of snow this year. All are quickly reached from downtown Vancouver, and offer lessons, rentals and night time skiing, as well as many other winter activities.
Cypress Mountain offers the highest vertical rise of the North Shores. It is the most popular with locals, with amazing views and the greatest number of expert runs. Having hosted the freestyle skiing and snowboarding events for the 2010 Winter Olympics, it also boasts 5 terrain parks. If cross-country is more your thing, you’ll find 19km of trails, as well as snowshoe trails.
Grouse Mountain is one of Vancouver’s biggest attractions, where the Skyride Gondola will bring you right to the top. It offers great skiing, again with amazing views, but if you prefer a more relaxed day, Grouse Mountain is the place for you. Excellent dining, a theatre, snowshoeing, zip-lining and even skating await you at the Peak of Vancouver.
The eastern-most mountain, Mount Seymour is perhaps lesser known with tourists. A great choice for families or beginners, it receives the most snowfall of the North Shores, and also has snowshoeing, tobogganing and snow tubing.
Unlike most of Canada, winters in Vancouver rarely dip below freezing, making outdoor ice skating rather unlikely. Luckily, we’ve got Robson Square Ice Rink, right in the heart of downtown. Located next to the Vancouver Art Gallery, steps from the Robson Street shopping district, it is open from 9am to 9pm daily (11pm on Friday and Saturday). With free access to the rink and $4 skate rentals, skating at Robson Square is a Vancouver winter-time favourite.
However, if you are hoping for the real Canadian experience of skating on a frozen pond, you might just be in luck. For the first time in 20 years, Trout Lake in East Vancouver completely froze over in early January and was opened to the public for skating by the Vancouver Park Board. This is weather dependent, so visit their website for updates on weather, conditions and closures.
See Holiday Lights
There’s something magical in walking around on a cool winter’s night surrounded by snow and colourful lights. Most holiday light displays have come and gone, but the Lights at Lafarge in Coquitlam are your last chance to explore the magic. Easily accessible thanks to the Skytrain Millennium Line extension to Lafarge Lake – Douglas; it is open daily from 4:30 to 11 pm. Until January 22, see over 100,000 lights at the Winter Light Display, as you walk the 1.2 km loop around Lafarge Lake through 10 different themes.
Catch a Hockey Game
While it isn’t an outdoor activity, going to a hockey game is a true Canadian winter-time experience. The Vancouver Canucks are the local NHL team, vying for the Stanley Cup. While the team has been struggling to stay in a fighting position lately, attending a game is still a guaranteed exciting evening. Upcoming games at Rogers Arena are January 17, against Nashville, January 20 against Florida, and February 2nd against San Jose.
Canada’s largest food and drink festival is returning to Vancouver this month. If you are visiting the city from January 20th to February 5th, 2017, this experience is one not to be missed. Celebrating it’s 15th year, Dine Out Vancouver Festival includes over 280 restaurants offering three (or more) course prix-fix meals at $20, $30 or $40 per person.
Over the 17 days, festivalgoers are given a variety of dining experiences not offered throughout the rest of the year. Some of these include guided dining adventures, brunch crawls, cooking classes and cocktail masterclasses, guest Chef lectures, wine and craft beer tastings, street food markets and more! There are also special hotel rooms rates which allows visitors to experience a true “night on the town”. Most restaurants are now accepting reservations, so be sure to grab a spot while you can!
Here’s a full list of participating restaurants in this year’s Dine Out Vancouver.
1927 Lobby Lounge
Afghan Horsemen Restaurant
AllStar Wings & Ribs
American Cheesesteak Co. (The)
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine in Kitsilano
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine on Broadway
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine on Davie
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine on Denman
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine on Robson
Big Rock Urban Brewery & Eatery
Bimini Public House (The)
Blackbird Public House & Oyster Bar (The)
Brasserie Bistro – Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites (The)
Butcher & Bullock
Cannibal Cafe (Commercial Drive)
Cheshire Cheese (The)
Cinema Public House
Deepwater Micro Eatery
District Brasserie (The)
Dubh Linn Gate
Fish Shack (The)
Flying Beaver Bar & Grill (The)
Gyoza Bar Ltd.
Hurricane Grill – North Vancouver
Hurricane Grill – Yaletown
Lamplighter Public House (The)
Las Margaritas Restaurante Y Cantina
Library Square Public House
Lickerish Restaurant & Lounge
Mahony & Sons – Stamps Landing
Mahony & Sons Public House – Coal Harbour
Match Eatery and Public House – Langley
Match Eatery and Public House – New West
Max’s Restaurant – Cuisine of the Philippines
New Oxford (The)
Old Spaghetti Factory (The)
Park at English Bay – Best Western Plus Sands Hotel (The)
Red Card Sports Bar + Eatery – Moda Hotel
Relish Public House
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. – Kitsilano
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. – Main
Romer’s – Kitsilano
Romer’s – Port Moody
Romer’s – River District
Romer’s – Yaletown
Spicy6 Indian Cuisine
Stages Bistro & Lounge – Holiday Inn Vancouver Centre
Tap & Barrel – Convention Centre
Tap & Barrel – Olympic Village
Tap & Barrel – Shipyards
TAPshack – Burrard Bridge
TAPshack – Coal Harbour
Three Brits Public House (The)
Vaades Indian Restaurant
American Grille – Vancouver Airport Marriott
Bay Moorings Restaurant
Bayside Lounge – Best Western Plus Sands Hotel
Bella Gelateria & Pizzeria – Yaletown
Bellaggio Cafe – Downtown
Bellaggio Wine Bar – Convention Centre
Boathouse Restaurant – English Bay (The)
Boathouse Restaurant – Kitsilano (The)
Boathouse Restaurant – New Westminster (The)
Boathouse Restaurant – Port Moody (The)
Boathouse Restaurant – Richmond (The)
Boathouse Restaurant – White Rock (The)
Bogart’s Bar & Restaurant – Hampton Inn & Suites
Bottleneck Bar & Grill
Bravo Cucina Ristorante
Burnaby Mountain Clubhouse
Burnaby Riverway Clubhouse
C|Prime Italian Steak & Wine
Cactus Club Cafe – Ash
Cactus Club Cafe – Bentall
Cactus Club Cafe – Byrne Road
Cactus Club Cafe – Coal Harbour
Cactus Club Cafe – English Bay
Cactus Club Cafe – Kingsway
Cactus Club Cafe – North Burnaby
Cactus Club Cafe – North Vancouver
Cactus Club Cafe – Park Royal
Cactus Club Cafe – Robson
Cactus Club Cafe – West Broadway
Cactus Club Cafe – Yaletown
Cascade Room (The)
Catch 122 Cafe & Bistro
Catch Kitchen + Bar
CAVU – Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel
Charcoal & Woodz – Holiday Inn Surrey Cloverdale
Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar – Coal Harbour
Chewies Steam & Oyster Bar – Kitsilano
Cibo Trattoria – Moda Hotel
Cloud 9 Revolving Restaurant – Empire Landmark Hotel
Currents at Bayshore – The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver
Curve Lounge – River Rock Casino Resort
Distillery Bar + Kitchen (The)
Dunn’s Famous Restaurant BC
e.b.o restaurant & lounge in the Delta Burnaby
Ebisu on Robson
Feast Neighbourhood Table
Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ – Downtown
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Dining – Broadway
Hapa Izakaya – Coal Harbour
Hapa Izakaya – Yaletown
Harold’s Bistro & Bar – Sheraton Vancouver Airport
Hub Restaurant – Denman
Hub Restaurant – Yaletown
Kaya Malay Bistro
La Cigale French Bistro
Lobby – The Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier (The)
Mangia e Scappa
Masa Japanese Restaurant
Mosaic Bar & Grille – Hyatt Regency Vancouver
Moxie’s Grill & Bar – Abbotsford
Moxie’s Grill & Bar – Davie
Moxie’s Grill & Bar – Guilford
Moxie’s Grill & Bar – Langley
Moxie’s Grill & Bar – Richmond
Oakwood Canadian Bistro (The)
Olive & Anchor
p2b bistro & bar – Pinnacle Vancouver Harbourfront Hotel
Pat Quinn’s Restaurant & Bar
Per Se Social Corner
Pier 7 Restaurant
PIER 73 Restaurant – Pacific Gateway Hotel at Vancouver Airport
Pink Elephant Thai Restaurant Ltd.
Prestons – Coast Coal Harbour Hotel
Reef Restaurant on Main (The)
Reef Restaurant on The Drive (The)
Saloniki Greek Taverna
Sandbar Seafood Restaurant (The)
Seasons in the Park
Shady Island Seafood Bar & Grill
Showcase Restaurant & Bar – Marriott Pinnacle Downtown
Spacca Napoli Pizzeria
Spencer’s – Delta Vancouver Suites Hotel
Sylvia Restaurant & Lounge – Sylvia Hotel
Teahouse Restaurant (The)
Ten Ten Tapas
The Yale Saloon
Trattoria – Kitsilano
Trattoria Italian Kitchen – Park Royal
Urban Thai Bistro
UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar – Moda Hotel
Village Table (The)
Water St. Cafe
Yaletown Brewing Co.
Yokohama Teppanyaki Japanese Restaurant
Zend Conscious Lounge
Al Porto Ristorante
Ancora Waterfront Dining
ARC Restaurant – The Fairmont Waterfront
Arms Reach Bistro
Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge- Wedgewood Hotel & Spa
Baru Latino Restaurante
Beach Bay Café and Patio
Biercraft Wesbrook Village
Bin 941 Tapas Parlour
BISTRO SAKANA Neo Japonesque Sushi & Tapas
Black + Blue
Blue Martini Jazz Cafe
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
Bridges Restaurant, Bistro & Bar
Brix & Mortar
Cactus Club Cafe – Coal Harbour
Cafe II Nido
Cafe One – Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel
Chi Modern Vietnamese Kitchen
Chop Steakhouse & Bar
Ciao Bella Restaurant Ltd.
CinCin Ristorante + Bar
Copper Chimney – Executive Hotel Le Soleil
DIVA at the Met – Metropolitan Hotel, Vancouver
Dockside Restaurant – Granville Island Hotel
East is East Chai Lounge – Broadway
East is East Chai Lounge – Main Street
Federico’s Supper Club
Francesco’s Ristorante Italia
GLOWBAL at Telus Garden
Gyu King Teppanyaki
Hart House Restaurant
Homer Street Cafe and Bar
House Special Vietnamese
Italian Kitchen (The)
Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House
Kamei Royale Japanese Restaurant
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Alberni (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Burnaby (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Coquitlam (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Dunsmuir (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Granville Island (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Langley (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Maple Ridge (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Morgan Creek (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Richmond South (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Scott Road (The)
Keg Steakhouse + Bar – Yaletown (The)
Kobe Japanese Steak House
La Pentola – Opus Hotel
LIFT Bar Grill View
MARKET by Jean-Georges
Mission Kits Restaurant
Notch 8 Restaurant & Bar- The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
Observatory – Grouse Mountain Resorts (The)
Oceans 999 – Pan Pacific Vancouver
Poor Italian Ristorante
Reflect Social Dining + Lounge
Salmon House on the Hill
Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro
Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall
Tableau Bar Bistro – Loden Hotel
The Greek by Anatoli
Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant
Tramonto – River Rock Casino Resort
Vancouver Fish Company Restaurant & Bar (The)
West Oak Restaurant
West Restaurant + Bar
Wild Fig (The)
WildTale Coastal Grill
YEW seafood + bar
Zen Japanese Restaurant
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 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)
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)
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)
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 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)