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48 Hours In Vancouver

by Travelbag on 09 April 2015, 11:04AM

As the third largest city in Canada, Vancouver truly embodies the essence of North America – metropolitan sophistication mixed with an abundance of wildlife and an outdoor lifestyle.  Continuously ranked as one of the most liveable cities, Vancouver captivates visitors with its unparalleled natural beauty, multi-cultural character and laid-back atmosphere. 

With stunning seascapes, dense forests, snow-capped mountains and a diverse collection of museums, gardens, beaches, parks, shopping centres and restaurants – this West Coast city thrives on abundance and variety. Equipped with a car, good walking shoes, plenty of energy, a sense of adventure and a strong appetite, you’ll be ready to explore all that this majestic city has to offer, even if it is just for a weekend.


Day 1

Natural Beauty

Wake up early and get a strong start to a busy day at one of the many cafes along Robson Street. Medina café is a particular favourite among locals with its inventive use of fresh, flavourful and healthy ingredients. 

Start by taking a light stroll or bike ride through Stanley Park. The 1,000-plus acre public park just outside downtown is one of the largest and best in North America. Check out the large outdoor swimming pool, totem poles, gardens and beaches. The seawall, which circumvents the park, offers stunning ocean views. Choosing to walk the entire 10km stretch will take about three hours. As you make your way through the park, head to the city’s well-curated aquarium. Those who are interested can tour, but viewing the beluga whales is free thanks to the glass wall facing the park. 



Head to the public Market in Granville Island. The former industrial plant is now the city’s artistic centre. Spend some time perusing the various shops and galleries then take a short tour of Granville Island Brewing – one of Canada’s oldest microbreweries. For lunch, grab some food at one of the numerous restaurants nearby. Foodies will enjoy the fine selection of meats at Oyama Sausage Co., especially the Belgian truffle pâté. 

From there, check out the shops and boutiques in Kitsilano. The friendly neighbourhood, now geared toward modern-day hipsters and yuppies was once a self-proclaimed mecca for hippies in the 1960s and 70s. 


Cultural Cues

Next, make your way to the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Museum of Anthropology. The extraordinary structure houses an extensive collection of artefacts from the Pacific Northwest First Nations. Totem poles, canoes, ceramics and masks are just some of the many on display. The University’s campus is worth exploring, especially the garden’s canopy walkway. Meanwhile, the nearby Nitobe Memorial Garden is a beautiful Japanese-inspired garden. 



After all that walking, why not relax with a pre-dinner beer. Main Street runs through the city’s new and trendy neighbourhood. Down there you’ll find several high-end shops, upscale eateries and the Brassneck Brewery. Dinner at Tojo’s is an absolute must. With access to fresh fish, Vancouver is a sushi and seafood paradise, and nobody prepares the sushi like the restaurant’s acclaimed chef. Alternatively, go back to Robson Street and dine at Forage. A champion of the farm-to-table movement, the restaurant’s menu offers a tasting flight of local goods and flavours.

If you have some leftover energy, check out the vibrant nightlife. Yaletown features trendy cocktail bars and lounges while Granville has nightclubs for the younger crowd. The swanky hotels like the Rosewood Hotel Georgia are great for celebrity spotting and people watching.

Day 2

An Early Start Head back to Granville Island for a quick breakfast, the earlier, the better. Indulge in the world-renowned pastries at Beaucoup Bakery & Café or the Montreal-inspired bagels at Siegel’s. 

Mountain Escape

Next, hop in the car and take the 25-minute drive to Cypress Mountain. The North Shore resort is a year-round outdoor playground. Nearby, you will find the iconic Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain, which contains beautiful hiking trails and a grizzly bear enclosure. If you don’t mind a longer drive, head to the resort town of Whistler. The host of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games boasts great runs during the winter and incredible excursions in the warmer months.


History Lessons

Make your way back down to the city to explore Gastown. This charming, historic town is where Vancouver originated during the 1860s. It is home to several boutiques, cocktail bars, restaurants and the whistling steam clock – one of the world’s few remaining steam-powered clocks – which is worth a quick viewing. The nearby Chinatown is one of the oldest in North America. The market serves as a reminder of Vancouver’s prominence during the 1800s as a railway hub. 



Vancouver’s ties to Asia, and more specifically China, are strong. Sample some of the traditional Chinese and Chinese fusion food in the market. Or, stay in Gastown and enjoy one of the many upscale eateries like L’Abbitoir (located on the site of the city’s first jail), a popular French restaurant. The Salt Tasting Room encourages guest to create their own tasting menu with a fine selection of meats, cheeses, and condiments and drinks. For more seafood, try the Cannery or Fish House in Stanley Park, while Vij’s serves amazing South Asian food. 

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