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.
Is the cold winter chill putting a damper on your Christmas spirit? Have no fear; the Vancouver Trolley Company has the perfect remedy! The Karaoke Christmas Lights tour is your ultimate Christmas experience around the city, making stops at Stanley Park’s Bright Night Displays and Van Dusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights. However that’s not all, the trolleys will be festively decorated and equipped with karaoke machines for you to show off your vocal chords!
Tours will depart from Canada Place every evening at 6:30pm until December 29th with the exception of Christmas day. Upon pick up, you will merrily make your way through downtown Vancouver before arriving at Stanley Park. After taking some time to take in the lights, the tour will continue through local light displays before arriving at the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens. Not only will you feel the warmth of the holidays radiating through you, your trolley guide is there to entertain and to make sure no song request is left unheard.
The magic of dazzling light displays and the joy of singing your favourite carols at the top of your lungs is guaranteed to put anyone in the best of moods. Additionally, a donation to the Burn Fund is included in each ticket purchased. This tour is by reservation only please visit the website for more details and to book your seats today!
When: December 1st-29th,2016 (except December 25th)
Where: Pick up at Canada Place @ 6:30pm
Rates: Adults ($40), Seniors/Students ($40), Children ($25), Family [2 adults & 2 children] ($125)
With the temperature cooling down to single digits and lights hanging from the trees that line the streets of Vancouver, you can see that the holiday season is just around the corner. Whether you’re visiting for a vacation or a local Vancouverite, there are always new places to discover for holiday shopping! We have compiled a list of places to check out in the Greater Vancouver area that will surely help you knock a few items off your shopping lists!
Since its opening in 1971, Pacific Centre provides its shoppers with a comfortable shopping experience as it spans for 4 blocks and is completely underground! Vancouver can be a little rainy and snowy during the cold winter season, so this is a great place to go for a little heat and shopping. Make sure you check out some of their notable department stores, The Bay and Nordstrom!
Location: 701 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Hours: 10:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Tuesday), 10:00am-9:00pm (Wednesday-Thursday), 8:00am-9:00pm (Friday), 10:00am-7:00pm (Saturday), 11:00am-6:00pm (Sunday)
Park Royal Shopping Centre
Located in the North Shore, Park Royal has been operating for more than 60 years! With over 280 stores and services within the mall, you won’t be disappointed with their selections. We suggest checking out the stores before or after visiting some attractions such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge or Grouse Mountain!
Location: 2002 Park Royal South, West Vancouver
Hours: 10:00am-7:00pm (Monday-Tuesday), 10:00am-9:00pm (Wednesday-Friday), 9:30am-7:00pm (Saturday), 11:00am-6:00pm (Sunday)
McArthurGlen Designer Outlets
Are you in a hurry to pick up a few things before catching your flight? Luckily for you, McArthurGlen is the newest and closest shopping outlet to the airport. With brands such as Nike and Coach, you’ll get the best deals in town. Don’t forget to also stop by their food court, it is loaded with a variety of new and interesting foods to try (ever heard of a churro sandwich?)!
Location: 1000-7899 Templeton Station Road, Richmond
Hours: 10:00am-9:00pm (Monday-Saturday), 10:00am-7:00pm (Sunday)
One of the busiest shopping districts in Vancouver, Robson Street offers a great selection of stores and local boutiques. While you’re walking down Robson Street, make sure to check out the beautifully decorated trees and different restaurants.
Just a few blocks from the Vancouver Lookout, Granville Street is the perfect place to visit for some Christmas shopping! Not only does this shopping district offer access to Pacific Centre, it also holds the name as one of the most popular entertainment districts in Downtown Vancouver. It’s never a dull moment on Granville Street!
Gastown is one of the oldest parts of our city and acts as one of the best places for souvenir shopping! As you walk down historic Gastown, you will see many local boutiques, art museums, and restaurants. Make sure you walk all the way down to visit the statue of Gassy Jack, the man who built the first bar in Vancouver.
Vancouver Christmas Market
The Vancouver Christmas Market will be celebrating its 7th year at Jack Poole Plaza! This German-inspired market is a great place to visit while you’re in the downtown area. It is easily accessible by public transit (5 minute walk from Waterfront Station) and is kid friendly as well. If you’re already in the Christmas spirit, make sure to ride the Christmas Carousel and browse through the different vendors now!
Dates: November 26 – December 31 (Closed on December 25)
Location: Jack Poole Plaza, 1055 Canada Place
Hours: 11:00am-9:00pm DAILY, 11:00am-6:00pm (Christmas Eve)
Enchant: Christmas Light Maze & Market
Decorated with over 55 000 square ft. of sculptures and lights, Enchant is the world’s largest Christmas light maze. Besides its amazing light maze, there will also be over 50 vendors and food trucks, entertainment, and great photo opportunities. Grab a couple a friends and head over now – tickets are selling out fast!
Dates: November 25 – December 31*
Location: West 1st Avenue & Crowe Street, Vancouver
Hours: Hours may vary, click here for more information
Looking to get in the holiday spirit? Our city is filled with beautiful Christmas light displays to get you in that holiday mood and enjoy some wonderful sights during the most wonderful time of the year!
Light Walk at Grouse Mountain
If you’re looking to head to the mountains this winter season, make sure to stop by Grouse Mountain’s beautiful light walk. Walk among the fur and spruce trees covered in snow for this truly magical light display. Located just beside the mountaintop skating pond, this display is open at dusk every evening.
Where: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
When: Daily, 4:00-10:00pm
Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Looking for some thrill to go with your Christmas light viewing? Take a trip to Canyon lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park! From now until January 8th, the entire park is lit up with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights. A wonderful family activity, canyon lights is a must see this holiday season!
Where: 3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver
When: Daily, 9:00am-10:00pm
Enchant Christmas Light Maze and Market
Visit the world’s largest Christmas light maze at Enchant! Located near the Olympic Village, this holiday event also features a market with over 40 local venders as well as 12 food trucks to enjoy a wonderful meal. Buy tickets online to avoid any disappoint of missing out on the fun.
Where: W 1st Ave & Crowe St, Vancouver
When: Daily, 4:00-10:00pm
Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park
Visit Vancouver’s favourite park this holiday season and check out Bright Nights in Stanley Park. Take a ride on the train and check out the beautiful light displays, all set to live music. A portion of the proceeds will go towards the BC Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund. This great attraction is open until January 1st.
Where: Pipeline Road in Stanley Park, Vancouver
When: Check their website for full list.
Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden
Head over to VanDusen to check out their wonderful garden light display. With over a million lights, they boast the biggest holiday light display in the city! Open from now until January 2nd, this is a light display that is sure to dazzle all!
Where: 5251 Oak St, Vancouver
When: Check their website for full list.
Looking for a free option? Take a drive or walk around your neighbourhood and try to spot all the houses that are decked out! Happy holidays!
This Christmas you won’t have to lose sleep wondering whether or not you’ve made Santa’s naughty or nice list, ask him yourself over breakfast! Taking time out of his busy schedule up in the North Pole Father Christmas himself is headed to Grouse Mountain to entertain guests from far and wide.
Enjoy the most important meal of the day with Santa while partaking in activities such as face painting and a magic show. However that’s not all! The purchase of admission to breakfast with Santa also includes a round trip Skyride on the gondola and access to all of the Peak of Christmas festivities.
The Peak of Christmas is a popular annual tradition that includes a plethora of different activities and adventures that will keep the family busy from morning till night. After breakfast with Santa go meet his reindeer or visit the Gingerbread village, then go ice skating under the stars, before finally strolling through the Light Walk and taking in the dazzling light tunnel and lanterns. There is no shortage of festive fun up on Grouse Mountain, so bring the family and create wonderful new memories that will surely keep you warm this holiday season!
When: December 3rd, 4th, and 16th – 24th
Hours: Breakfast times will vary, please check the website for more details.
Prices: Adult (19-64) and Senior (65+) $55.95, Youth (13-18) $31.95, Child (5-12) $19.95, Tot (4 and under) $8.95
That’s right! The world’s biggest Christmas light maze is coming to Vancouver on November 25th. Enchant 2016 is a combination of 55, 000 square feet of amazing illuminated sculptures, a unique Christmas market, live performances, holiday drinks, outdoor fire pit, and much more!
Located on 1st and Crowe Street, guests will not only be able to experience the wonder of Enchant, but can also feel the magic of supporting various charities such as Variety – The Children’s Charity, Canuck Place, Ronald McDonald House BC and Yukon, Music Heals and Backpack Buddies.
The light maze features 23-foot tall-reindeers, snowy caves, complex structures, and a 64-foot-tall tree, all spectacularly lit up with hundreds of thousands of lights thanks to SHINE. Guests get to feel the adventure of helping Santa Claus find his missing reindeer, all lost in the maze, by exploring the seven worlds of light in order to save Christmas. The mission should take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.
Afterwards, guests can enjoy the Enchant Christmas market that includes a diverse range of local vendors and artisans for a unique holiday shopping experience. The market will also feature 12 food trucks where delicious seasonal treats will be served. Guests-of-age can take delight in the licensed, covered and cozy eating area with their favourite spiked holiday drink.
There’s no doubt that Enchant 2016 will be the #1 holiday event for Vancouver. Tickets can be bought at the door or online. To pre-reserve tickets or for more information about Enchant 2016, you can visit their website.
When: November 25th – New Year’s Eve
Where: 1st and Crowe Street, in between the Cambie Street Bridge and Olympic Village
Maze and Market:
Adults 16+: $20
Children (6-15): $15
5 and under: Free
Family (2 adults, 2 children): $60
Kids and adults (6+): $5
5 and under: Free
Did you sleep in? Are you hungry, but it’s too early for lunch? Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with this helpful list of places to grab brunch. These restaurants are all located in, or very close to, Downtown Vancouver so they’re very easy and convenient to get to.
Jam Cafe is an all-day breakfast and lunch joint that has everyone’s mouths watering. Established in Victoria, their success has brought them over to Vancouver. They are located on Beatty street, about a block away from Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain Station. They have something to satisfy every craving, from sweet treats like Triple Stack Pancakes, Red Velvet Pancakes to savory delights like Green Eggs and Ham and Huevos Rancheros. Served by welcoming staff, Jam Cafe is a great family-owned, rustic cafe.
Where: 556 Beatty Street
Hours: Monday to Friday (including holidays) 8:00am to 3:00pm
The Red Wagon is a wonderful neighbourhood joint located on the corner of East Hastings and Garden drive. The Red Wagon not only boasts about its magnificent all-day breakfast and lunch menu, it is also proud of its wide selection of wines on tap and local craft beers. Not only that, they also offer jaw dropping pies by The Pie Shoppe. Feel free to drop by and try out their Pulled Pork Pancakes or their Supertrucke; featuring 22 buttermilk pancakes, pulled pork, crisp pork belly, homefries and toast!
Where: 2296 East Hastings Street
Hours: Monday-Tuesday: 8:00am to 3:00pm. Wednesday through Friday: 8:00am until midnight. Saturday- Sunday: 9:00am until midnight.
Catch 122 offers all their brunch items for $13; served 7 days a week until 4:00pm. Come try out items such as the gastown classic, dirty breakfast and the catch 122! All of these are guaranteed to make your mouth water. Catch 122’s tasty food can be accompanied by any of their brunch cocktails; pretend its 5 o’clock and sip on a mimosa, a bourbon bellini or a espressotini! Yum! Don’t miss out on this great grub+drink combination and go to their location on West Hastings and Abbott street.
Where: 122 West Hastings Street
Hours: Monday: 8:00am to 4:00 pm; Tuesday – Thursday: 8:00am to 10:00pm; Friday: 8:00am to 10:30pm; Saturday: 9:00am to 10:30pm; Sundays: 9:00am to 4:00pm.
Bottomless mimosas. period.
Also featuring incredible Eggs Benny, comfy couches and a cozy, cute atmosphere. Located in Yaletown, close to Mainland and Helmcken street, it is very easy to get to. Go for the Hangouver Cure which is Fettuccine Alfredo, bacon, a poached egg and a vodka shot. Then stay for the bottomless mimosas.
Where: 1131 Mainland St
Specific Brunch Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 10:00am to 3:00am
Twisted Fork offers fantastic brunch options for $15.50 each. Favourites include the Eggs Benny and the Banana stuffed brioche French Toast. Same as Catch 122, Twisted Fork has a variety of brunch cocktails and mocktails that will complement your food quite well such as the Absinthe Pie and the Grandaddy Mimosa. And since waiting in line for a table in the rain is not pleasant, you can check how long the wait is right here.
Where: 1147 Granville Street
Hours: 7 days a week from 8:00am to 3:00pm
Fall is the best time of the year to buy local, artisan and handmade goods in Greater Vancouver. With so many good markets and fairs to choose from, we’ve compiled a list of 3 popular ones taking place this November!
The annual Circle Craft Market is the perfect place to do some early holiday shopping. With goods ranging from handmade ceramics, hand knit scarves, jewelry, toys, candles, and soaps there’s something for everyone at this large artisan market.
Whether you want to just enjoy the festivity and have a look at the items, or do your Christmas shopping, this craft market is fun for the whole family!
When: Nov 9-13
Where: Vancouver Convention Center West, 1055 Canada Place
Admission: $13 (Adults), $12 (Students and Seniors)
To get away from the big crowds around the holiday season, this smaller craft fair is the perfect place to go and relax while enjoying the festivities. The Deer Lake Craft Festival is a tradition that the Burnaby Arts Council has sponsored since 1971.
This year there will be over BC 55 artisans and their work selling everything from glassworks, sculpture, pottery, wood, fashion and jewelry.
As a special treat, there are door prizes and raffle draws as well as live music and entertainment.
When: November 18, 19, 20
Where: Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, 6450 Deer Lake Avenue
Another great and long running craft fair is the 34th Annual Dunbar Holiday Craft Fair. This year there will be over 140 exhibitors and the attendance is expected to be over 2000! This craft fair is a single day event, which means a concentrated and full day of festivities, shopping, and fun!
When: Saturday November 26 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Where: The Dunbar Community Center, 4747 Dunbar Street
Admission: $5 at the door, $4 online
It is that time of year once again! Fright Night takes over Playland from October 7th to October 31st offering a chilling experience. Open select nights, it features 7 haunted houses, 15 rides and 2 thrilling live shows.
Being Western Canada’s largest Halloween exhibit Fright Nights never disappointments, leaving kids, and adults alike terrified and wishing they never came in the first place. Classics such as Keepers Doll Factory, Haunted Mansion, and Car-N-Evil will be back once again for another year, while attractions such as The Beast, and Hellavator will be giving chills down your spine.
Want to skip the lines? You can purchase a Rapid Pass ensuring you get to the front of the line for all haunted houses as well as once for The Beast, Wooden Roller Coaster, Music Express, Atmosfear and Hellevator. Guests will be able to buy their tickets at participating 7-Eleven locations or online and save $3! Do not wait too long because these tickets are limited and sell out fast every year! For more information on tickets, and dates click here.
To get you ready here’s a look at one of the more popular haunted houses offered.