24 Hours in Vancouver

Here’s a question for you..would you rather eat a brilliant breakfast every day in a restaurant that is in a crap location with a rubbish view or an average breakfast with a stunning view?  If, like me, you are all for the advantage on the food, then let me give you a fantastic recommendation.  Go to Vancouver now!

I’ve never been somewhere that has better options to start the day in the right way.  Top of my list is Yolks, on West Broadway, which offers a huge array of options – my personal favourite of fried chicken and waffles, gravy and a hash brown fritter is the most popular dish – and sees queues form up to an hour before opening at the weekend.  They’ve recently opened a new brand in East Hastings.  Medina in Richards Street is more central and also offers a wide choice, whilst Forage is more your brunch-type establishment in Robson Street.

Fully sated after breakfast it is time to head out into the wonderful city centre.  Vancouver’s location is the envy of most cities in the world.  Located on the water, backed by the snow-capped North Shore Mountains and just across the border from the US, it is a city that it high on the tourists map.  It is certainly an outdoor city, with a lot of the action based around False Creek.  One good walking route (around 5 1/2 miles in total) is from Kits Point, around the basin, taking in the Science World at the far end and then around to the north side, ending at .  You can of course cheat and get the Ferry Service that hops between points on the north and south shore.

The North shoreline is dominated by BC Place, the 50,000 seater stadium with the retractable roof that hosts major events and the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps side. Next door is the Rogers Arena, home to the best supported team in the city, the Vancouver Canuck Ice Hockey team.  It is well-worth trying to catch a game during the season (October to April) when you are in town.

On the South shoreline is Granville Island which is really the hub of the best food and drink options in the city.  Popina Canteen was established by four of Vancouver’s top chefs, and offers a wide array of options at the end of Johnstone Street and on the water’s edge.  The Granville Island Brewing Company located close by and offers a very good selection of beers.  The former Olympic village further eastwards on the South Shore has plenty more options including Tap & Barrel, Craft Beer Market and The Flying Pig.  A climb up to Broadway offers some stunning views of the city centre and the mountains beyond and definitely worth the effort.

If you want a bit of Chinese culture then take a trip to Vancouver’s Chinatown, the oldest in Canada and the largest. Perched on the edge of the Downtown Financial District and Gastown, Chinatown offers up an array of shops, markets, and of course, the best Chinese restaurants in town. Sunday is the busiest day for Dim Sum.

One stop on any tourist agenda is the Museum of Vancouver, located in Vanier Park, which offers a background to the city’s development as well as rotating exhibits. Here you will also find Richmond Night Market, the biggest of its kind in North America, which opens nightly and offers a huge range of food option.For those who love a bit of macabre history then the Vancouver Police Museum in Cordova Street, in the hip and trendy Gaslight district, is worth a visit.  The museum houses a collection of approximately 20,000 objects, including confiscated firearms and other weapons, counterfeit currency, police uniforms, archival documents, photographs, publications, and various other artifacts and memorabilia.

If you have the time then the Sea to Sky Gondola is a must.  Forty miles north of the city centre, the dramatic gondola ride to the top of the mountain, some 885m above sea-level where there are cafe’s and a stunning suspension bridge.  Certainly an unforgettable experience.

True mid-range hotels are in scarce supply in the city centre but there are some bargains to be had depending on the time of the year. The centrally located Hotel Le Soleil is a well-appointed boutique hotel with large suites. At False Creek and Granville Island, the Residence Inn by Marriott is a great hotel with studios, as well as suites with full kitchens. At the east end of downtown, close to BC Place, Science World, and Gastown, is the Georgian Court Hotel.

The great thing about Vancouver is that it can be combined with a trip south of the border to Seattle, just a 3-hour drive down Highway 5.  So fly into the US, spend time in Washington State, drive up the stunning highway into Canada and get the best of both worlds.

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