Category: Things to Do in Vancouver
Spring is coming, which means that the days are stretching longer and the weather is slowly getting warmer. This season provides the perfect time to spend weekends outdoor, exploring the beautiful natural landscapes of Vancouver through hiking.
Here are a few hikes and trails that we recommend as the most suitable for this time of year!
Elevation Gain: 450m
Hollyburn Mountain is located in West Vancouver on Cypress Mountain with views of Vancouver, the Burrard Inlet and even the Lions (the twin peaks along the North Shore Mountains). Not only does this hike offer a great combination of breathtaking views, it is also a convenient commute from the city. The average time for completing this 7 kilometer hike both ways is 3.5 hours. However, if you want to enjoy its beautiful views leisurely, set aside at least 4 hours of your day.
Hollyburn Mountain begins from the cross-country skiing area at the Cypress Mountain Ski Resort. If you are driving from Vancouver it should take you 45 minutes get to the parking lot. Hiking Holyburn Mountain is completely free – including parking!
Elevation Gain: 100m
Dog Friendly: Yes
Another year-round hike in the North Shore is the Quarry Rock Hike in Deep Cove. The total distance for the round trip is 3.8km, which makes this the perfect activity for families that want to spend a day outdoors. Similar to the hike on Hollyburn Mountain, Quarry Rock has marked sections that are easy to climb.
It takes about an hour to reach the top of Quarry Rock and from there you are greeted with a stunning view of the Indian Arm, Belcarra, North Burnaby and North Vancouver.
How to get there? You can either drive or take a public transportation. Estimated driving time from Vancouver is less than 30 minutes. Head eastbound towards Highway 1, then cross Iron Workers Memorial Bridge. Turn Right onto Mount Seymour Parkway, after 5 km turn to Deep Cove Road.
If you are taking public transportation from downtown Vancouver the easiest way is to take the sea bus at Waterfront Station across to North Vancouver. At Lonsdale Quay transfer to bus 239 Capilano University and at Phibbs Exchange change to bus 212 Deep Cove.
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Dog Friendly: Yes
Lighthouse Park is a small piece of heaven hidden in West Vancouver. This hike takes you through a Douglas-fir and Western Red Cedar forest, ending right next to the ocean. There is no set route for this hike; feel free to choose from a variety of trails that cut through the forest and end by the shore. The trek through Lighthouse Park takes less than 2 hours to complete (about 6 kilometers round trip). This beautiful park is a perfect example of British Columbia’s jaw-dropping West Coast Temperate Rainforest. Also, the lighthouse that you see at the end of the trail was built in 1912 and has been since then a great place to take pictures!
Lighthouse Park is quite easy to get to by car or public transit. If you drive from downtown Vancouver, it will take roughly 40 minutes. You can also take bus number 250 Horseshoe Bay departing from West Georgia Street.
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!
If Vancouver winters are known for one thing, it must be the rain. Sure, we’ve got mountains that offer great skiing and winter hiking trails amid lush greenery, but for most, the winters in Vancouver can seem wet, foggy and interminable. While it’s easy to stay in on those rainy days, Vancouver offers many great indoor attractions that will keep you warm, dry and entertained. Here is a list of the top museums and attractions to visit this March in Vancouver while you patiently wait for spring to come out in full bloom.
TELUS World of Science
Science World, a legacy of Expo ’86, is a well-known family favourite located in Vancouver’s False Creek area. Science World offers interactive displays and exhibits to educate and inspire visitors. During your visit, you can learn about sustainable energy consumption and even have your mind tricked by optical illusions. Watch the new OMNIMAX film, America Wild: National Parks Adventure, displayed in the geodesic dome. As well, don’t forget to visit the feature exhibition, Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out. This exhibition features Dr. Gunther von Hagens’ plastination technique on over 100 specimens, allowing you to see the anatomy and physiology of animals in a way you never thought possible. Come see why people around the world flock to Body Worlds’ exhibits. But be quick – Animal Inside Out ends its Vancouver run on March 28th.
Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery is Western Canada’s largest art institution and is one of Vancouver’s best known museums. To shake things up in 2016, they are putting on their biggest exhibition yet: a new, groundbreaking modern art exhibit three years in the making that will take over all four floors of the gallery. Until June 12th, MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, explores the evolution of visual culture through various media during the last one hundred years. From Pablo Picasso and the birth of modern art to digital art and production of the twenty-first century, this highly talked-about exhibit is sure to have something to please – or intrigue – everyone.
Nestled within beautiful Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is one of Vancouver’s top attractions. With plenty of indoor galleries and covered outdoor viewing, the Aquarium is guaranteed to give you a fun, informative and dry day – but make sure to watch out for the splash zone near the belugas! A visit provides a great chance to discover the aquatic ecosystems of British Columbia, learn about the biology and care of their marine mammals, and even touch a few marine creatures. Meet Chester, the false killer whale that was rescued as a baby and learn about the ongoing research in Canada’s Arctic region. In addition, opening March 10th is the new and exciting feature exhibition, Discover Rays. This will highlight two types of rays in a brand-new touch pool. You will learn all about their biology, threats they are facing, and how they are cared for by Aquarium staff.
Richmond Olympic Experience
The Richmond Olympic Experience, or ROX, is a new attraction in the Greater Vancouver area located at the Richmond Oval. Built for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, the ROX opened last November and is also the first of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Museums to open in North America. This state-of-the-art facility will immerse you in a complete Olympic experience. The sport simulators will give you the impression of racing down a bobsleigh track or ski jumping at over 100km/h! Interactive challenges will also give you a chance to test your athletic skills and compare yourself to real Olympic athletes. The ROX also showcases moments and memorabilia of past Olympics and Canadian Olympians. For adults and children alike, this may be your best chance at bringing out your inner Olympian!
Royal BC Museum
The Royal BC Museum is located in Victoria, British Columbia’s capital city. Situated by the Inner Harbour between the equally impressive Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel, the Royal BC Museum is one of Canada’s best cultural museums, collections and archives. The Royal BC Museum boasts impressive natural history and anthropology exhibits such as: the First People’s Gallery and The Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcase, which runs until April 4th. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year, produced by the Natural History Museum in London, is a showcase and competition of the best nature photographs from around the world. This past year’s overall competition was won by Canadian photographer, Don Gutoski! Moreover, on display until April 28th in the lobby of the museum is the Rolls Royce that John Lennon owned and famously visited Buckingham Palace in before having it painted yellow in a gypsy style. Although it’s a rare occasion to see it on display, the car was donated to the province and has been in the museum collections for over twenty years!
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching us in Vancouver, and Cupid is no doubt getting ready for this holiday by polishing his trusty bow and arrow. With all the cotton-candy pink, bright red, and heart shaped boxes of chocolate, doesn’t it induce a craving inside of you that can only be satisfied by copious amounts of sugary sweets and rich, sweet desserts?
Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of the top 12 places here in Vancouver to indulge that sweet tooth. Whether you’re spending the day with a loved one, or just finding an excuse to delight in a dessert (after all, you deserve a treat!), then look no further.
A classic high-tea experience is what you’ll find at this quaint establishment, with shiny china tea cups and cloth napkins to charm you out of your fancy socks. For high-tea, you will receive a three tier tray of beautiful goodies, loaded with scones, sweets, tiny sandwiches, and of course, tea. From tangy tarts to beautiful pastries and everything in-between, this delightfully elegant experience is perfect for a leisurely afternoon. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are also available, as well as take-home orders made in advance. Don’t forget to wear your pearls!
Must Try: Dark chocolate pecan cake with milk chocolate chantilly. It looks decadent and almost too pretty to eat, but it’s worth every bite.
With seasonal treats such as candied chestnut lattes and chai apple cider, this cafe has easily built itself a sweet reputation (pun intended). Pick up a small batch of chocolates here, with prices running for individual pieces ($1.95) to a large box ($33.95), and everything in between! They use ingredients such as Tahitian vanilla, Quebec maple syrup, and the finest chocolate to craft these treats for you. If chocolate isn’t your thing, then take a nibble at one of their colorful macarons.
Must Try: The chocolate chip brown sugar macaron is a must, as is the cassis flavored one (a sweet, red liquer flavor with blackcurrants). Both pack a pleasant punch in terms of flavor.
A classic go-to for the city’s best waffles! You can choose between 2 types of waffles to start off with: brussels waffles (light and crispy waffles), or liege waffles (sweet and fluffy). After that, you have a hard decision to make. You can choose between 9 different flavors, with classic ones such as fresh strawberries and fluffy whipped cream, or branch out and try more decadent ones such as their orange mousse flavor (fresh orange pieces and dark belgian chocolate mousse.
Must Try: Their Bresilienne waffle (a Liege waffle with creamy vanilla ice cream, whipped cream peaks, hazelnut crumble, and a dash of caramel sauce) is to die for! It looks as good as it tastes!
In the mood for a mouthwatering Japanese ice cream parfait? Not yet? Don’t worry, once you step foot into this quirky little cafe full of little cakes and parfaits, you’ll be dreaming about the next time you’re able to drop by again. With a colorful assortment of Japanese desserts to choose from, you’ll never be out of options. The towering ice cream parfaits were made for sharing with a loved one!
Must Try: Their popular green tea parfait is refreshingly light and sweet. Make sure to pick up a Japanese baked sweet from their counter before you leave to take home!
A beloved favourite in Vancouver since its launch in 2012, this popular and often talked about ice cream parlour features seasonal flavors that rotate throughout the year, perfected in small batches. An interesting fact about Earnest Ice Cream is that it is the first of its kind to pack pints of their delicious ice cream in glass jars that can be returned and reused. You can enjoy an ice cream cone at the store, and then take home a pint (or two!) of your favourite flavor once you’re finished. They also have delicious vegan options for those who go dairy-free!
Must Try: The London Fog flavor is one of their most well-known flavors, made with light Earl Grey tea and sweet vanilla. Often recommended! Another favourite is their Peanut Butter and Jam flavor, which features house-made berry jam with light peanut butter, which is the perfect sweet and salty combination for those who like to have it all.
Known as one of the top ten chocolatiers in North America, Beta5 has definitely lived up to its status in terms of their treats. Their products are visually pleasing as well as tummy pleasing. They fuse together art with chocolate, and their creations speak for themselves. From their unique cream puffs to their richly decorated chocolates, this is one place you can’t pass by if you’re a chocoholic. Beta5 has collaborated with local artists to create fixed gift boxes in which you can purchase dozens of their chocolates to give to your special Valentine.
Must Try: The Vietnamese Coffee cream puff is as unique as it sounds! A unique blend of coffee, blonde chocolate cremeux, and condensed milk chantilly, this white and purple treat is worth biting into. Of course, their signature chocolates bo12 unique pieces) are worth mentioning as well, with flavors such as The Whole Cherry, Caramelized Banana, and Jasmine Tea.
The name Styo means “frozen yogurt in style”, and with this dessert place, you’d be hard pressed to find a treat that doesn’t suit your style and taste. Their towering swirls of frozen yogurt are decorated with sweet syrups and topped off with a crunchy cookie straw. Their frozen yogurt boasts colorful swirls of the creamy treat and have unique toppings that make the frozen treat one of a kind.
Must Try: The Strawberry Kiss parfait boasts tart frozen yogurt, fresh strawberries, popping candy, and marshmallows, turning it into one luscious treat. If you’re more adventurous with your desserts, try their Green Tea Harmony parfait, which consists of green tea frozen yogurt, sweet red beans, crunchy cereal, jiggly coffee jelly, and a pillowy cream puff.
Creme brulee and lattes, oh my! CrackleCreme specializes in this popular custard and caramel treat, with liquor based ones as well as vegan options! It’s a unique twist on this classic treat, with extraordinary flavors such as bourbon butterscotch, dulce de leche, and even frosted flakes cereal. If you’re looking for a familiar dessert, but with amped up flavors, then Cracklecreme is your perfect after-dinner stop! If you’d prefer to have your dessert at home, Cracklecreme also offers their creme brulee in take-home mason jars, so you can enjoy their treats on your very own couch.
Must Try: Their creamy vanilla latte pairs perfectly with their vegan pina colada creme brulee. A hint of sweetness and tangy tartness from the pineapple makes these two a match made in confection heaven!
The first thing you notice when you step foot inside Soirette Macarons & Tea is their bright display of colorful meringue-based macarons. They promise that their macarons are “wonderful little bites of airiness and flavor”, just as they should be! Their bright, delicate flavors and crunchy shells make them a delight to share with a loved one. Get a box of them in a beautifully decorated white and powder blue box, and attempt to guess each of its wonderful flavors as you devour each one. Don’t forget to sit back and relax with a cup of their herbal tea while you nibble each vibrant treat.
Must Try: Their seasonal flavors are interesting and intriguing at the same time. For a sweet tooth, you must try the Blackberry and Pear macaron (a lovely raspberry colored macaron with splashes of yellow across the top), which is refreshing and tangy at the same time. Another must-try is their Santa’s Milk & Cookies flavor (a white macaron with little chocolate “chips” on top), which is every bit as indulgent and rich as the name suggests.
The doughy confections you get from this charming little shop are simple, but worth every bite. The store opened in June 2012, after years of perfecting their simply-made, delightful dessert rings. Often noted as one of the best doughnut places around Vancouver, Lucky’s Doughnuts at 49th Parallel offers a wide range of flavors that change frequently, so you can experience as many new flavors as possible! Their doughy works of art are nothing to be sneezed at, with each one looking more extraordinary and delicious than the next. A must-try for any doughnut lover!
Must Try: The PB&J Remix is the most unique of the bunch! A square doughnut (yes, a square doughnut) filled with creamy peanut butter in all four corners, topped off with a tantalizing blueberry glaze, and sprinkled with crunchy, crushed peanuts! The doughnut itself is worthy of a picture or two. If you’ve got an Elvis lover in you, you’ll go nuts for the Memphis Flash doughnut, a stick doughnut named after Elvis’ favourite snack (supposedly). A peanut butter pastry cream filled stick doughnut topped with Nutella and pieces of caramelized banana. You “can’t help falling in love” with this one!
Everyone needs to experience the joy of dipping cakes, pretzels, fruit, and cheese into mouthwatering melted chocolate over a burning candle at least once in their lives, and what better time than Valentine’s Day to give it a spin? You can choose your own personal-sized cheese pot or chocolate pot (56% dark chocolate or milk chocolate) to dip your fruit and cakes into. The chocolate fondue set comes with cubed fruits, tea cookies, and an assortment of pastry items. The cheese fondue comes with seasonal fruits as well, veggies and baked potatoes, and artisan French bread and assorted pastries.
Must Try: The fondue experience is not one to be missed! Although by itself, the cheese and chocolate fondue pots are mouthwateringly delicious, you have the option of getting a chocolate fondue add-on, which happens to be mini ice cream truffles! You can order 6 or 12 ice cream truffles with toppings to dip into the chocolate, which will harden over the ice cream into a perfect treat.
With cupcakes this amazing, you’ll want your loved one to take a bite as well! This cupcake store looks good enough to eat! A pastel hued, retro-styled Vancouver cupcake shop that churns out custom cakes, wedding cakes, and of course, cupcakes; this sweet stop is sure to satisfy your cravings for this delightful dessert. Their enormous cupcakes are crafted with real buttercream that melts in your mouth, the softest and fluffiest cake base, and the most picture worthy toppings as far as confections go. Bite into one of the best cupcakes Vancouver has to offer and I guarantee your sweet tooth will thank you!
Must Try: The tiramisu cupcake is made of vanilla coffee marble cake with cocoa powder dusted on top of their cream cheese peaks. It’s like a vanilla latte in a cupcake, full of intense flavor and creamy richness. Just one bite, and you’ll fall in love.
Now that we’ve got the dessert part of Valentine’s Day figured out for you, all you have to do make the hard decision of picking your favourite!
Looking for a place to grab a bite after visiting the Vancouver Lookout? Don’t worry, we’ve got it covered! We compiled 5 of our favourite restaurants, all within a 5 minute walk from the Lookout. From Japanese fusion to good ol’ comfort food, this list provides a variety of cuisines that will satisfy your hunger from a long day of exploration around the city!
Located in Blood Alley, the heart of Gastown, Salt Tasting Room lets you pick your own tasting plate from a selection of 30 different items. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, allow the staff at Salt to choose a plate for you – it’s sure to create a memorable experience.
45 Blood Alley, Gastown
Originated from Tofino, British Columbia, Tacofino has expanded to Downtown Vancouver. With locations all around the city (including food trucks!), Tacofino has made its way into the hearts of tourists and locals. The Gastown location of Tacofino offers a Taco and Burrito bar. We suggest pairing the Guac and Dips with the famous Fish Taco and ending the meal off with Churros!
15 West Cordova Street
Tuc Craft Kitchen’s menu is filled with dishes inspired from cultures around the world. With their rustic dishes mixed with the contemporary interior design, this is a restaurant that you must try if you’re visiting! Try their Crispy Bacon & Egg – a twist on the old-fashioned Scotch egg!
60 West Cordova Street
Positioned at Waterfront by Canada Place, Miku brought Aburi-style cuisine to Vancouver in 2008. Their menu features a variety of sushi as well as Ocean Wise seafood platters. Along with their tasty dishes, the view is also unbelievable when the sun sets. This makes a great place for a special night out with friends and family!
70-200 Granville Street, Granville Square
Widely recognized as the first gyoza bar in Vancouver, Gyoza Bar doesn’t fail to fill your stomach with yummy house-made dishes! Known for their different takes on traditional Japanese gyozas, they also offer other dishes such as Bao Boards and ramen. Give their Lettuce Wrapped Crispy Chicken Taco Gyoza a try – guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds!
622 West Pender Street