Visiting Downtown Vancouver

A friend asked me what to do in Vancouver with only a day, while staying near the Waterfront in June without a vehicle. I don’t spend too much time downtown when I’m home, but here are some ideas (of course, many of them involving food) – those in bold are my favourites:

Food & Drink

  • Food trucks/stands, like Tacofino (have not been) or Japadog (been to the store)
  • Gelato at Bella Gelateria
  • Lunch time? I hear that Meat+Bread is good too, especially for the porchetta sandwiches!
  • Want a local drink? Stop by Steamworks in Gastown (close by – their home brew root beer is used to be a nice alternative to alcohol if you’re not really a drinker) or Granville Island Brewery, maybe?
  • Seafood: Joe Forte’s, if you’re not on a budget ($$$) – per J.w’s recommendation. Especially the miso black cod he would say; fresh catch of the day features at Sandbar at Granville Island (or happy hour mussel+fries+beer $12 special), ramen at either Kintaro (get the medium to fatty broth ;) ), Santouku (though that’s available inToronto now too), izayaka at Guu (also in Toronto) or Kingyo (also in Toronto – haven’t been to either location), and here’s a tweet dedicated to sushi:

By foot or Skytrain

  • Rent a bicycle on Denman and take it for a ride around the Stanley Park seawall (if pressed for time, this is what I would do first)
  • Take the seabus over to North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Quay and browse the market
  • Take the Rainbow (Aquabus?) ferry to Granville Island from False Creek, and walk around Granville Island (shopping – see below, or touring around the Emily Carr Art Gallery), have a bite or a drink or two (like Sandbar  – see above), or even catch a comedy show at the theatre
  • Visit the Science Center or Vancouver Aquarium if you like to see fishies and science exhibits (more family friendly)
  • Shopping (boutiques or shops): Robson and Granville Streets, take the skytrain to Richmond and shop at the Asian malls (like Aberdeen – get a 8juice there as well from the food court, or a “snowflake ice” dessert), Granville Island (and its market)
  • Walk along the beach at English Bay
  • Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery or catch a show at half price

By Bus

  • Queen Elizabeth Park
  • Kits Beach / Jericho Beach / Kitslano
  • UBC campus (if you like academia settings with mountains and water in the background)
  • Grouse Mountain (and the Grouse Grind if you like walking up steps up a mountain – it’s much more scenic than the CN Tower climb I’d imagine, but I actually find it quite mundane). Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver (with a free suspension bridge – skip Capilano if you’re on a money-saving trip)
  • Kitslano / Kerrisdale (if you do, then get some Japanese food at Hitoe and french pastries and coffee at La Foubourg, and high tea /scones at the Secret Garden Tea Company, visit Rocky Mountain Soap for all natural soap / body products from the West Coast)

You may wish to avoid East Hastings near Gastown if you’re walking, especially at night; it’s generally safe but if you’re unfamiliar with the area, it can be an eye-opener.

If you had a car, I’d definitely suggest a hike up the Chief in Squamish, but I guess that’s for another day :)

Any other suggestions for someone without a car?

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