The Vancouver Guide
Vancouver is one of those cities that’s just as good to visitors as it is to permanent residents. The ocean-side location and Stanley Park—a green oasis with miles of trails, trees, and expansive views—enhance the cosmopolitan hub with pockets of nature, making spending time in this corner of British Columbia relaxing and invigorating all at once. A crop of young chefs are taking full advantage of the seafood and fresh-produce abundance, categorically transforming the food scene, while the burgeoning micro-brewery culture draws beer enthusiasts in droves. What’s more, Vancouver’s proximity to the mountains means a wilderness experience is never far. If you’re game, we’ve partnered with our friends at Black Tomato on a four-day itinerary that celebrates the adventure potential of nearby Tofino (hop a seaplane and you’re there).
Granville IslandDowntown | 604.666.6655
An indoor market flowing through six former ship-building factories, Granville Island Market is packed with food vendors, locally-made crafts, and fresh groceries. Hop on the ferry and spend a morning drinking too many coffees as you eat your way through the seafood, produce, and snack stalls. Aside from the food, there are dozens of artists-in-residence on the island selling their wares, which include ceramics, jewelry, paintings, and glass pieces. Musicians regularly set up shop, adding to the already lively atmosphere.
Museum of Anthropology6393 NW Marine Dr., | 604.822.5087
The Arthur Erickson-designed Museum of Anthropology is structurally spectacular—built in 1976, mostly in concrete—the exterior echoes the jagged West Coast mountains, while the interior mimics a First Nations Longhouse. Erickson sought to respectfully capture and honor the evolving Canadian identity through his structure, which looks out onto the sea. Crafting enthusiasts will love exhibits focussed on blankets woven by the Salish people in the 1800's, Amazonian textiles, and ceramics, as well as a permanent collection of ethnographic objects from First Nation communities. The museum’s mission is to promote discourse around the relationship between Vancouver and the people who settled there, alongside highlighting communities and ways of life under threat in a culturally sensitive manner.
Museum of Vancouver1100 Chestnut St., Kitsilano | 604.736.4431
The founding mission of the Museum of Vancouver has major civic undertones. The facility seeks to encourage inter-community understanding via an incredible archive of photographs that document the century of public activism that has shaped the city’s identity. The permanent collection comprises ethnographic, archaeological, and natural history objects. A real bonus is the kid's program: the museum regularly schedules day trips to archaeological digs, organizes hands-on experiences with ancient artifacts, and hosts scavenger hunts through the galleries for the whole family on weekends.
Richmond Night Market8351 River Rd., City of Richmond | +1 604.244.8448
Active throughout the summer season (May to October only), this night market is reminiscent of the markets you find throughout Asia, open in the darker hours to keep the food (and the vendors) cool. Over 10,000 visitors browse through the market every night which makes for a fun, chaotic-in-a-good-way atmosphere. For legitimate Asian food, skip the restaurants and come here instead; cash essential.
Stanley ParkDowntown | 604.681.6728
There’s no denying Vancouverite's passion for the outdoors, every inch of the city is covered in joggers, bikers, or people simply enjoying their surroundings. Stanley Park is the locals' playground, a sprawling green oasis spanning 1,000 acres, and covered in trails, wildlife, landmarks, and a handful of restaurants smack in the middle of the city. Our favorite for a long hike, the Siwash Rock Trail leads to a historic rock—that depicts the legends of the local Siwash people—and is over 32 million-years-old. Other must-sees include the First Nations totem poles at Brockton Point, the Rose Gardens, and the Seawall. For those visiting with kiddos, the miniature train is a perfect family activity that takes you on a winding journey through the breathtaking wilderness of the park.
The SeawallStanley Park, Downtown | 604.682.2222
The Seawall (mostly contained within Stanley Park) is the world’s longest, uninterrupted waterfront path, hugging the sea for a full 14 miles along Vancouver’s waterfront. You can walk or bike the trail—there’s a pedestrian-specific section of around five miles that takes two to three hours to complete, depending on the person—and take in the driftwood-strewn beaches, views of the city skyline, cedar-covered mountains, and the Lions Gate bridge. A dream for nature-lovers or parents looking to give kiddos a chance to run off some energy.
Vancouver Art Gallery750 Hornby St., Downtown | 604.662.4719
Over 11,000 works represent a century of art produced in British Columbia and the Asia-Pacific region—with a heavy focus on the creative contributions of the First Nations—fill the Vancouver Art Gallery. The program schedule keeps it interesting, with exhibits on everything from Scandinavian design to portraiture. A recent favorite is Hyderabadi artist Asim Waqif's "Salvage" show, a visual commentary on the waste generated by the excesses of modern living. Waqif built a completely immersive architectural experience using waste products salvaged from shipyards, landfills, and demolition sites in the city. Guests are encouraged to make their way through the structures and contemplate what we should really determine as waste, and the social responsibility we all share in moving towards sustainability.