West Coasting In Vancouver

Visiting friends in other cities, provinces or countries that you’ve never been to before is probably one of the best things that you can do as a traveller.  Not only do you get to catch up and share some new memories with an old friend but they mostly likely know of all the hot spots to check out, so it’s like having your own personal travel guide!

This years big trip took me away to Vancouver to visit one of my longtime friends, Candace.  Candace has been in Vancouver for around two years now and when I was visiting, I could definitely see why she enjoys living there so much.

Located in Kitsilano,  she is super close to some major hot spots like Granville Island. Only a 20 min walk away,  it was the very first place to check out after I arrived.  It was alot smaller than I was expecting but definitely is a spot that draws the crowds.

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It’s a tiny area know for it’s shops, galleries, market and of course the Granville Island Brewing Company.

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A short distance away from Granville Island is The Seawall – the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.  Perfect for biking, walking or rollerblading, with an amazing view of the ocean.

Which also features a very large inukshuk along the way!

inukshuk

The second day of my stay there took us to the Grouse Grind, aka Mother Nature’s Stairmaster.  This hike is fun but can be a bit challenging (you’re gonna wanna take your time with this one), with a straight climb of 2,830 steps up a mountain – helloooo burn!

Unfortunately for us, the weather wasn’t so great that day so the “amazing view” from the top of the mountain was a bit limited that day and all we saw were clouds (on a completely unrelated note – pay attention to the bathroom signs at the building here.  If not, you may or may not accidentally walk into the wrong bathroom).

At the top of the mountain, is a Beavertail stand (insert “drooling” here)!  Which I must say was totally worth the 2,830 steps to get there and I would show you our celebratory photo with out Beavertails but I can’t find it right now.

Also, we got to see a lumberjack show and some bears up close and personal.

The one benefit of this mountain is that it’s a pretty easy ride down.  Since the Grouse Grind trail is so steep and narrow they don’t allow you to hike down it so you can relax and enjoy the gondola lift ride on the way down, just be aware of the sudden drops 🙂

Having spent the morning outside in the rain, we decided to escape the dreary weather by exploring the Vancouver Maritime Museum.

Two things to note about this museum:

  1. Although it’s relatively small, it’s off of any of the main streets and so isn’t overrun with tourists.
  2. They literally built this museum around an actual ship that is still intact and which was used by the RCMP – you even get the chance to walk around on it.

RCMP boat

The next day finally brought a bit of sun!  Also probably one of my favourite memories from this trip.  We drove up to Squamish for a hike up Stawamus Chief Mountain aka The Chief.

chief stawamus

This mountain has 3 peaks and a variety of different obstacles from stairs to ladders and even chains to pull yourself up the really steep rocks.

Following our hike, we sauntered up to Whistler for a stroll around Whistler village.

Whistler

Helpful tip! One thing I learned quickly being in downtown Vancouver is how friendly it is to bikers.  There are bike trails all over, and even bike lanes on the streets.  They have a bike share program that costs $10 for 24 hours of use – only downside is that you have to check your bike into a station every 30 min or you’ll get charged $5 for every 30 minutes after the initial 30 minutes of use.  Luckily there are a ton of these stations throughout the downtown core so finding a place to check in every 30 minutes is relatively easy.

If you’re visiting and biking around downtown Vancouver, I highly recommend doing the path through Stanley Park.

Some pretty sweet views of the city skyline….

….and some parts have you feeling like you’re not in a city at all.

You can also stop to admire the pretty impressive totem poles.

On the other side of downtown, I got to see Canada Place and a cruise ship! Didn’t think I’d be so excited to see a cruise ship but I’ve never been on one, sooo thats basically my excuse.

Nearby was a quaint little area called “gastown” which has cobblestone streets, alot of old buildings and a famous whistling steam clock.  Did I mention it also has a bunch of really cute shops?

My second last day in the city was on Canada Day.  What better way to spend the day than having a beer at a handful of the cities lovely breweries all the way in East Van.

East Van city brewery tour stop #1 – Parallel 49.  This place was probably the largest brewery on our tour with a variety of brews on tap and a number of yummy things to eat – like specialty doughnuts!

East Van city brewery tour stop #2 – Storm Brewery.  This was by far the smallest brewery but also the one with the most unique flavours.  They don’t actually sell their beer by the glass at this one so you have to donate and in turn you get 6 well sized samples of your choice to try.

East Van city brewery tour stop #3 – Doan’s Craft.  Small but quaint.

Van city brewery tour stop #4 – Andina.  A busy spot with yummy food.

Why do trips always have to go by so fast!

On my last day I went back to Stanley Park but this time checked out the Vancouver Aquarium.

The only other aquarium I’ve been to before is the Ripley’s aquarium in Toronto.  It’s hard to say if one is better than the other.  I mean the aquarium in Vancouver had a 4D theatre and also had dolphin’s, seals and walrus’ that put on shows but the one in Toronto has a moving sidewalk and probably alot more tanks and interesting fish. Soooo I’m going to say that they are equally as awesome each in their own way.

Squishies!

The last little adventure in the city that we had was visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Although not huge, this park was pretty cool.  Locals consider it a huge tourist draw, which if you go during the day, you can definitely expect to wait in line to check some of the things out.  We had noticed on their website that you could save 30% by visiting after 5pm so luckily it wasn’t too busy when we went and we even got some shots without the risk of photobombers in the background.

Treetop trekking!

Finished off the final day with a lovely view of the sun setting 🙂

Vancouver you definitely made me fall in love with you.  I will definitely be going back one day!

Until next time

♥ JS

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