VANCOUVER SUMMER & WINTER RECOMMENDATIONS

Hi everyone!

Long time no blog post. But I’m back (temporarily LOL) with a very highly requested post on what to do/eat/etc in one of the best cities in the world… Vancouver!! If you don’t already know, yours truly grew up in Vancouver and therefore knows all the ins and outs to that city (just kidding, I left when I was like 18 – but I do have friends that know the ins and outs to that city…) so together, these are my personal recommendations (and my really good friends Yannis & Eric’s recommendations).

Hopefully this blog post can help you plan your trip if you’re ever planning on visiting or this can help you plan WHEN to go. In general, I recommend going to Vancouver in the summer time (if you can only go one time in the year) because Vancouver rains about 2/3 of the year and most of that will be in the winter. Unless your purpose is to ski/snowboard, summer is definitely a better choice to visit the city itself.  But of course, if you can afford the time and $$$, I would definitely recommend both summer & winter. Either way, I’ve separated this list to Summer and Winter so you can plan your activities and food schedules accordingly.

Without further ado, here goes:

PS: Whatever is in bold is my FAVOURITE and things you should NOT miss!!!!

Vancouver/Nearby Activities

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Biking along seawall / Stanley Park – This is my FAVOURITE activity by far in the summer!!! This is where you should rent your bike (the other places are really expensive)
  • Fireworks – I love when it’s fireworks time in Vancouver!! I spend the whole day at English Bay (that’s where the fireworks will be) and hog my spot until the fireworks come around. Check around for their dates! This is also completely free (obviously because economics taught us this is a public good)
  • Richmond Night Market – usually on Friday & weekends, go for Asian street food & cheap goods! If you’re from Toronto – this is better than the ones that are being hosted!
  • Granville Island
  • Improve Theatre (never tried but my friend Eric recommends it!)
  • Vancouver Theatre Sports League (recommended by Eric as well!) These are cheap on late nights or Sunday nights

 Outdoor Activities

  • Hiking (hikes below)
  • Paddle boarding (check it out on Groupon for deals!)
  • Jet skiing  (check it out on Groupon for deals!)
  • Cultus Lake Waterpark
    • There’s also a lake there if you want to spend the day
    • You can also go camping in this area!
  • Beaches
    • Rec Beach (by UBC)
    • English Bay (and all the surrounding beaches: 1st beach, 2nd beach…)
  • ATV (Whistler)
  • Moped around the city (only $22 an hour at some places)
    • one of my favourite activities as well! Made me feel like Lizzie McQuire 😉
  • Take a picture at the Steam Clock in Gas Town!

 Over Night Trips (most of these you can also do in just 1 day)

  • Vancouver Island
    • Visit Victoria – the capital of BC!
  • Cultus Lake (for camping)
  • Tofino (very north of Vancouver Island) to go surfing & camping!
    • however, this is REEEEEEEALLLLLYYY far from Vancouver. If you don’t have time/if you’re not a fan of camping/surfing, then this might not be worth it for you.
  • Whistler – just because you’re there in the summer doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do!!!
    • Ziplining – home of the longest zipline in North America – I did it myself and it was one of the most thrilling experiences
    • Bungee Jumping
    • ATV

 Night Life

lol tbh I don’t go out anymore but my 19 year old self gives you the following recommendations:

  • Celebrities on Tuesdays (LOOL this was my favourite place to go when I was 19)
  • All the bars/clubs on Granville Strip including:
    • Venue
    • Republic

Not gonna lie this portion kinda sucks just because it could either be outdated or because I’m just a grandma now =)

Hikes

Some of my favourite must-do hikes for the summer!

  • Joffre Lake (moderate level) – PS this one is near Whistlerish
    • If I had to pick one hike in Vancouver this would be it
  • The Chief (moderate – more difficult) – this one is before you reach Whistler (in Squamish) but still quite a drive from downtown
  • Quarry Rock (easy) – this one has a great view and it’s situated near Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver so if you’re planning on being in this area I would recommend kayaking this day and visiting those other places as well!
  • Garibaldi (never done this one but heard it was difficult)
  • Grouse Grind (this isn’t really a hike – it’s basically just stairs and a direct route to the top of the mountain but it’s definitely a work out!)

 Breakfast/Brunch

  • Catch 122
  • Medina Café
  • The Oakwood
  • Jam Cafe
  • Yolks
  • Bells & Whistles
  • Water Street Cafe

 

 Happy Hour

  • JOE FORTES – $1 oysters and their lobster roll is to die for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fun fact: the HSM cast loves coming here
    • You better go here. this is the best place in the world
  • Ebisu – $1 oysters, Izakaya-type food, and their sushi is also amazing!
  • Nightingale
  • Steamworks
  • Coast
  • Fanny Bay Oyster

Rooftop Patios

  • Reflections
  • Pier 7
  • The Roof

 Sushi/Japanese

  • Momo sushi (downtown) (affordable & big sashimi pieces!)
  • Sushi California (several locations)
  • Miku (and other sushi restaurants owned by the same parent company). If you’ve been to Miku in Toronto, the Vancouver one is where it was first created. Also try their other sister restaurants such as
    • Minami
    • (that ramen place)
  • Victoria Sushi (far from Vancouver but worth the trek)
  • Green Leaf Sushi
  • Ora Sushi
  • Poke Time
  • Black Rice
  • Gami Sushi

Korean

Thanks Yannis for these recommendations!

  • House of Tofu
  • Big Chicken Town
  • Sura
  • Sooda

Other Asian Food

  • Phom Pen (Cambodian Food) –
    • they have “the best chicken wings in town” (but in my opinon I like this other place way better which is right below)
  • Truong Thanh
    • This 24 hour Viet restaurant is actually one of my favourites in Vancouver – their BBH is amazing and also their chicken wings are better (IMO)
  • Japadog – Japanese hot dog: try their BUTTER FRIES (I’m drooling as I’m thinking about it). Fun fact: there were line ups for at least 6 blocks during the 2010 Olympics)
  • The Asian Heritage Eatery
  • Boiling Point
  • Top Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant
  • Banana Leaf
    • One of my favourite Malaysian restaurants!

Dessert

  • Lucky Donuts
  • Cartem Donuts
  • Passion8 (loooove their mango shaved ice!)
  • Honey & Salt
  • Dragon Ball Tea House
  • Breka Bakery
  • Milk Cow

Other Food

  • Negebuayo
  • The Sand Bar
  • Rhinofish
  • Crab Park Chowdery
  • M Cafe
  • Steveston Pizza Company
    • This is where I got that crazy pizza on my Instagram. I got so many questions about it and this is where it’s from!

 

WINTER RECOMMENDATIONS

Activities

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge (they decorate it with Christmas lights during this time of year!)
  • Light Show (in the past there has been a couple: “Enchanted” and “Glow” – not sure which one, if any, will come back!)
  • Stanley Park (there is usually a light show here as well, really pretty and you can also ride a Christmas train)
  • Christmas Market (last time I went it wasn’t thaaaaaaaaaaaat great – if you’re from Toronto, the one in the Distillery is way better but if you’re running out of things to do or you want to do something Christmas-y, there you go)

 Winter Activities

  • Skiing/snowboarding in Whistler (I assume that’s why youre in Vancouver in the winter??)
  • If you cant make Whistler, go to Cypress or Grouse – they’re closer and will still be better than your mountains!!!!!!!!!

 

I hope this list was helpful!!! I will continue to come back and modify it. If you’re from Vancouver and you think there’s something worth putting on here that I’ve missed please let me know!

Most importantly… enjoy your trip!!!! ❤

Love,
Lisa

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