Little known fact: Many of our nation’s best television shows are filmed in Canada (Vancouver to be precise). For example, our very own Arrow just so happens to be filmed across the northern border, meaning we have spent more than our fair share of time in O Canada. So, when we started putting together travel guides to some of our favorite cities, it felt natural that we start with the real Starling City. If you have a trip planned, or simply just need some travel inspiration, here is what we think the perfect sojourn to Vancouver looks like:
WHERE TO SHOP
Gravity Pope - Known for its sick shoe selection, Gravity Pope carries little known brands alongside cult favorites. Oh, and did we mention there are clothes, too. (Neighborhood: Kitsilano)
Inform Interiors - If contemporary furniture is your thing (hell, even if it isn’t), Inform Interiors is worth a pop-in. We rarely leave without a few ideas and a wishlist a mile high. (Neighborhood: Gastown)
Holt Renfrew - Vancouver’s answer to Barney’s New York, if you are in a hurry and need something fabulous, Holt Renfrew is sure to have what you need amidst its sizable selection of designer duds and beauty products. (Neighborhood: Downtown)
WHERE TO STAY
Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel – A modern and ultra-luxurious hotel that boasts one of the best lounges and bars in the city. Need we say more? (Neighborhood: Coal Harbour)
Rosewood Hotel Georgia - If you like historic hotels, then Hotel Georgia is for you. It is history meets luxury and is conveniently located across the street from both The Four Seasons (and the amazing YEW) and Holt Renfrew. (Neighborhood: Downtown)
Opus Hotel - OPUS Hotel is conveniently located for days spent biking (free to borrow from the hotel) and nights spent out and about in Gastwon. Oh, and did we mention they offer free cell phones to borrow while you are visiting? (Neighborhood: Yaletown)
Shangri-La Hotel – The rooms at the Shangri-La are well appointed, from the televisions in the bathroom vanities right down to the L’Occitane toiletries. Even the gym is lovely to look at. (Neighborhood: West End)
WHAT TO DO
Grouse Grind Hike - This is no leisurely hike, but the average person can do it if you take your time. Straight up the side of a mountain that overlooks Vancouver, the rewards are great once you reach the top. The whole hike takes about an hour. (Neighborhood: North Vancouver)
Granville Island - Definitely a tourist destination, Granville Island boasts an abundance of street shops, artwork, and street performers. However, the best thing about visiting Granville are the parks and the Granville Island Public Market (a farmer’s market). (Neighborhood: Granville Island)
Stand Up Paddle Boarding - Paddleboarding is on of Vancouver’s favorite past times, so it only makes sense you have to try it. There are many places that offer paddle board rentals and rentals. One such place, Stand Up Paddle Vancouver even offers Stand Up Paddle Yoga for those who are more experienced. (Neighborhood: Granville Island)
WHERE TO GO OUT
Killjoy - If you like gin, this is your place. Interesting cocktails (try their Rose Gin concoction) and a good atmosphere make Killjoy a good place to grab a pre-dinner drink. (Neighborhood: Yaletown)
House Guest - The ambiance at House Guest (taxidermy meets chandeliers) is a hipster heaven. Plus, it’s excellent DJ makes this a good place to go out late-night. (Neighborhood: Gastown)
Guilt & Company - This place has everything you could want in a night out – live music, board games and craft beer. Should we meet you there? (Neighborhood: Gastown)
YEW seafood + bar - Tucked away inside the Four Seasons Hotel, this is one of our favorite places to grab a bite of seafood. We highly recommend the lobster and crab tacos.
Fairmont Pacific Rim Lounge - A great place to grab drinks and a light bite regardless of whether or not you are staying in the hotel. Did we mention there is live music?
Cactus Club Cafe - A great location and amazing views are not all Cactus Club has to offer. It is a great place to pop in for lunch while out shopping in downtown Vancouver.
Minami Restaurant - Sushi lovers rejoice, Minami has you covered. The menu is equal parts traditional and inventive. If you like sushi, this well known spot is a must try.
West Oak - West Oak is one of our favorites in all of Vancouver. With a great menu and a bar in back, it is a great place to head with group of friends for a great dinner and fun night out.
The Flying Pig - This is an unpretentious place that has a great ambiance and food to match. The brussel sprouts are amazing and so is the macaroni.
Hapa Izakaya - There are several locations across Vancouver but this one is our favorite. Another great Vancouver sushi joint with desserts that are just as good as the main course.
Tojo’s Restaurant - Can be a bit pricy but it is consistently rated one of the best Japanese restaurants in Vancouver. If you are looking for a special night out, we suggest you give this staple a try.
Granville Island Public Market – Not really in Kitsilano (it is on Granville Island), but the Public Market is one of our favorite places to experiment with food and grab a quick bite. This market takes your traditional farmer’s market up a notch.
Fable - With a menu that is equal parts inventive and delicious, you can’t go wrong with a stop in to Fable. It is the perfect mix of casual and upscale dining.
Chambar - Looking for something outside the norm? This Belgian restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Vancouver to head for a special occasion (i.e., any Thursday night). Not to mention, the Blue Fig Cocktail is stuff dreams are made of.
L’Abattoir - The antler chandelier, chevron shelving and tiled floor say it all – if you are hip, eat here. Fabulous cocktails and great food amidst interior design worth writing home about. This is our kind of place.
Chill Winston - Why we love Chill Winston? It is a chill (get it!) place with an excellent patio. Makes for the best people watching on nice days.