Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve, Tofino
This sustainability-minded, hyper-luxe hotel-slash-campsite nestled into the stunning UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experience. The team does everything for you, from picking you upon arrival via a floatplane to catering to every hospitality need when you're staying in your own private–and lavish–safari-style tent. The daily activities are seemingly endless, from hiking to horseback riding to salmon fishing–all of which leave you hungry and even more appreciative of the decadent, local, chef-prepared meals served daily. There's even a spa on location, offering restorative massages and yoga.
The Wickaninnish Inn
Osprey Ln., Tofino
With the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean out front, a dense rainforest in the back, and jagged cliffs or beaches on either side, family-owned hotel The Wickaninnish Inn is about as close to nature as you can get without pitching a tent among the pine trees. Though overused, in the context of its driftwood-dotted interiors, ample fireplaces (there’s one in every room), and on-site woodcarving shed, “rustic” is by far the best adjective for describing the inn’s warm, welcoming personality. For storm chasers, observation points to take in the drama from a comfortable distance are scattered throughout the property, including the guestrooms, where floor-to-ceiling windows, overstuffed chairs, and binoculars are worked into the minimalist décor for that very purpose. (For those hell-bent on experiencing some weather first hand, each room comes with rain gear and wellies). Best of all, you can get a view from the top before you even step foot on the grounds by hopping on a seaplane over from the mainland.
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby St., Downtown
Over 11,000 works representing 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.
Stanley Park, Downtown
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.
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.
Richmond Night Market
8351 River Rd., City of Richmond
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.
Museum of Vancouver
1100 Chestnut St., Kitsilano
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.
Museum of Anthropology
6393 N.W. Marine Dr., University Hill
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 the building, which looks out onto the sea. Crafting enthusiasts will love exhibits focused 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, while also highlighting communities and ways of life under threat.
Granville Island, Downtown
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.
The Loden Hotel
1177 Melville St., Downtown
At 77-rooms strong, The Loden is relatively small compared to the city's big-name hotels. Its modest size and slightly off-the-beaten-path location are exactly what make it a good option for anyone looking to catch their breath. In this wellness-obsessed city, The Loden is right on point with yoga mats and soakign tubs in each earthtone-soaked, Philippe Starck-equipped room and bikes available for a whizz around the nearby Seawall and Stanley Park. After a day on foot, settle into the rooftop bar with a drink in hand and soak up the view.