VANCOUVER - I've lived in Vancouver for the past 11 years and know the city well, though I won't be so conceited as to say that I know everything about it. Every time I leave my house I see something new, literally. Today I found out that turtles (or perhaps tortoises?) live in the Lost Lagoon. Well anyways, I wish to share a bit of my knowledge of this beautiful city and suggest worthwhile things to do on a visit here.
I'll start with the downtown core:
- Walk, cycle or rollerblade (plenty of reasonable rental places near the starting points) around the Stanley Park seawall. It's not too far (just over 8km) and it's beautiful. You're right next to the water almost the entire time.
- Explore Robson Street. This is the shopping street of Vancouver. And even if you aren't a huge fan of shopping, its worth walking along for the restaurants and the atmosphere. During the day, this is one of the most lively spots in the city.
- See the Olympic torch. It's a pretty impressive structure, even when it's not lit.
- Go clubbing on the Granville strip. This street is filled with lights every night after nine. All the clubs have a different feel and are all worth going to.
- Go to the library. I know that sounds lame. I'm not suggesting you go for the books though, but the building itself. The center of it looks quite a bit like the Colosseum and is architecturally very elegant.
- See the Vancouver Art Gallery. The building was originally the Vancouver court house, and still has engravings, such as "offices" above doorways along the buildings. On the steps of the gallery, on the Robson side, there are often buskers or gatherings. And no one uses the Art Gallery steps unless they are worthy. Also of note, on the Georgia side of the Gallery is the Centennial fountain. This was built to commemorate the centennial anniversary of BC signing the Canadian Constitution.
- Eat a crepe at Cafe Crepe. The crepes are made perfectly every time and there is a large variety of fillings to choose from. You'll be happy no matter what mood your taste buds are in. There are also tasty burgers and sandwiches if you'd prefer.
Now the rest of Vancouver:
- Visit Granville Island. This is an absolute must. Granville Island is one of the most unique places in Vancouver. First of all, it is in fact a man made island. It also happens to be filled with the most amazing stores and institutions. There's a market located on the island that has everything from freshly caught fish to fridge magnets. The Kids Market is a building filled with kid related things, such as a play area, a ticket arcade and a toy store. There are a lot of interesting and fun things to do on Granville Island, especially considering how small the island actually is.
- Go shopping at Metrotown. This is the biggest mall near Vancouver, and its filled with stores that are all actually worth going to. All the big name stores are in there, along with a few random and unexpected ones. For example, there is a Christmas store in the mall. Also there's a "As Seen on TV" store, where you can try all the products that you have actually seen on TV. If you're being dragged to this mall against your will however, do not fear! There's also a massive arcade and large 8-theater cinema in the mall.
- Take a gondola up to the top of Grouse Mountain. Or if you're an active person, walk up the Grouse Grind. If you're in relatively good shape you should be up within a couple hours. It's quite satisfying to accomplish. When you're at the top of Grouse Mountain, there's a lot to do. You can go visit the bear cubs in their pen, or climb up the small hill to reach the official peak of Grouse Mountain. You can see the Lumberjack show, in which two lumberjacks compete against each other, doing things which real lumberjacks once did. Or you can just take a walk around the mountain. Its absolutely gorgeous up there, no matter which way you're looking. Also, there are chainsaw carvings dotted around the mountain. Of of them were made with only a chainsaw, and many of them have an amazing amount of detail. There's a restaurant by the gondola as well, along with a coffee shop.
- Educate yourself with a visit to the Telus World of Science, which is much more commonly known as Science World. There's always an interesting exhibit being held there, along with permanent sections that teach you about physics or nature through examples that you can play with. My personal favorite thing in there? The giant piano! Also there are hourly presentations that demonstrate fascinating phenomenons of science. This is definitely worth the entrance fee!
I hope I've been able to inspire you to take a trip to the city that has been voted the best place to live in the world. Or maybe you'll even want to move here now? Anyways, take my advice and you'll have fun while you're here!