Vancouver is very close to my heart. Having spent nearly two years here, I’ve grown to love this city, the people and the food. Canadians are awesome (yep, I said awesome, how North American of me). It took me a while to realise that their friendliness wasn’t false. Now I find myself chatting to anyone within touching distance, tipping over 20% (not something you typically do in England) and giving all my spare change to the friendly homeless people that frequent downtown Vancouver. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t an unfriendly person to start with, Canada just tends to bring the best out in people.
If you’re an outdoorsy person, you’ll love Vancouver. The scenery is spectacular and there are endless things to do in and around the city. Here are my top five things to do or places to visit while here:
Vancouver Canucks Vs Toronto Maple Leafs
1. Vancouver Canucks Game at Rogers Arena. Canadians love hockey. When there’s an NHL game on the streets empty and the sports bars fill with a sea of blue and green shirts. Canadians are brought up with Hockey, kids learn how to skate before the can walk. The game itself is unbelievable fast and if you’re not paying attention a goal can be scored in a matter of seconds. Having been to a few sporting events in North America, hockey is by far my favourite. The fans are passionate, without being aggressive, and it comes with a sense of family and community. In true North America style it’s also a great show, with entertainment throughout the quarters. I would definitely put a Canucks hockey game at the top of your must see list.
Stanley Park Sea Wall
2. Stanley Park Sea Wall. This is definitely the most beautiful part of Vancouver. A stones throw from English Bay is the Stanley Park Sea Wall, a 10k trail around the outskirts of the park. It’s a great walk all year round, and if you don’t fancy walking you can always cycle or rollerblade! The walk is sprinkled with beaches and after the gentle exercise you can have a drink in Cactus Club on English Bay, one of my favourite places. The views of the bay are beautiful. Try to time it around sunset and you won’t be disappointed.
Chewies Oyster Bar
3. Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar. Chewies is a great little restaurant located in Kitsilano. Their fresh, local seafood with a New Orleans flare never ceases to impress. Their selection of local and imported raw oysters has something for everything, pared with their delicious home made dipping sauces – gorgeous! I’ve tried almost everything on the menu and honestly don’t have a favourite, they’re all delicious! Located on 2201 West 1st Avenue, this litte gem shouldn’t be missed. They don’t take reservations and are always busy so try and get there early
Wreck Beach Vancouver
4. Wreck Beach. 12km from downtown Vancouver this beautiful clothing-optional beach is one of the best in Vancouver. The scenery is outstanding, just be prepared to do some walking! Located on University Boulevard near UBC you will find the beach packed on a sunny day, but don’t worry there’s plenty of space! Make sure you check out the food stands, their montreal smoked meat bagels are delicious.
5. Whistler. This resort hasn’t been named the top ski resort in North America year after year for no reason, it really is amazing. Only 125km away from downtown Vancouver, this beautiful resort is not only a getaway for the Vancouver elite but also caters for backpackers. The resort has a great buzz, with apres-ski being almost as fun as the daytime activities. With two mountains leading to Whistler Village and the Peak to Peak gondola joining them at the top, you’ll find it hard to get bored. The selection of runs are amazing, whether you’re learning or a pro there’s something for everyone. There are also accommodation options for everyone. If you’re on a budget, stay in the HI hostel, rent a 2-4 bed chalet if there’s a group of you or stay in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler if you’re looking for a little luxury. My favourite would have to be the Fairmont, nothing beats a hard day on the slopes that a well deserved soak in one of their outdoor hottubs.