Vancouver's the type of place that turns
other cities green with envy. Not that it's the fault of Western Canada's
largest city. Surrounded by dramatic mountains and blissful seascapes,
Vancouver is bound to ruffle a few feathers as it yanks travelers away from other
cities across the whole continent.
If Canada were a high school, Vancouver
would be the head cheerleader, quarterback, and brooding rock star all rolled
into one. It's got glitz. It's got glamour. Most of all, it's got edge. And even
if you have only a few days to spare, you can snatch a quick taste of all of
the sides of this dynamic Canadian city.
Looking for some ideas on where to start
your first trip to Vancouver? Here are a few suggestions.
Missing Stanley Park on a visit to
Vancouver would be nearly as big a sin as avoiding Central Park while in New
York. But truthfully, choosing not to wander in one of the largest urban parks
in Canada is harder that you'd imagine. Located just minutes from Downtown
Vancouver, Stanley Park tempts nearly every visitor as they stare across the
harbor at the park's age-old, skyscraping Douglas Firs and Western Red cedars.
Walk alongside local joggers on the
Vancouver Seawall for spectacular views of one of North America's finest skylines
or sink into Stanley Park's dense interior to hike through forests so perfect you'll
forget that you're firmly within Canada's third largest city.
Traveling with children? Families love
traipsing through the Vancouver Aquarium, located in the heart of Stanley Park
and home to an assortment of whales, dolphins, sea lions and seals among a
multitude of other mammals and fish.
Once an area that could instantly give a
city a seedy reputation, Granville Island is now a hotbed of activity that
everyone seems keen to join in on.
From glassblowing and painting to sake
fermenting and boat building, if it requires skill, you're bound to stumble
upon an artisan perfecting it in one of Granville Island's workshops or
A host of local farmers, vendors and
entertainers also call Granville Island a second home, peddling their food and
wares and amusing tourists and Vancouverites alike.
Even though Granville Island is accessible
by public transport and foot, hopping on one of the pint-sized ferries from
Vancouver's Olympic Village at the east end of False Creek is arguably the most
exciting way to get to there. On the 20-minute boat ride, you'll take in some
of the city's best views including sweeping panoramas of downtown Vancouver. Be
sure to charge your camera batteries!
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Ready to tackle your fear of heights?
There's perhaps no better place to do it in all of Canada than the Capilano
Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver.
Just over a half an hour from downtown by
public transit, the Capilano Suspension Bridge spans 460 feet (140 meters)
across the Capilano River at a gravity-defying height of 230 feet (70 meters).
Aside from its namesake bridge, the park's
eco-friendly Treetops Adventure and Cliffwalk are a hit among the fearless.
More cautious visitors can opt for a tamer experience by getting the low-down
on the park's history at the Story Centre and Totem Park or embarking on a
journey through the lower-altitude Living Forest.
Whether feeding your gastronomical cravings
in Yaletown, trudging through Chinese night markets in Chinatown or Richmond, or
flaunting your inner fashion model at the boutiques on Robson, the excitement
and sense of discovery never seems to end—for first-timers and veteran visitors—in
Which one of these activities for
first-time visitors to Vancouver do you think you'd you most enjoy? We'd love
to hear from you—drop us a line in the comment section below!