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.
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.
1128 W. Georgia St., Downtown
The best rooms at the Vancouver outpost of the Shangri-La are the ones on the highest floors, offering dizzying views of water, city, and mountains. Meanwhile, plush beds, moody Asian-influenced interiors, and high-tech touches are consistent throughout the guestrooms. While the location is as central as can be, it's worth it to pick a night to stay in for a dinner at three-star chef Jean Georges Vongerichten's MARKET restaurant.
Rosewood Hotel Georgia
801 W. Georgia St., Downtown
The combination of a Georgian Revival building, roaring twenties-inspired interiors, and proximity to Stanley Park make The Rosewood Hotel Georgia a great starting point from which to explore. Open since 1927, this hotel and its beautifully appointed guest rooms have something for every kind of traveler, starting with the Prohibition bar in the basement (unabashedly opulent in décor with polished black wood walls and plush royal blue banquettes) and ending with in-room baby-bottle warmers and child-proofing services. For parents traveling with tweens, the spa has a selection of treatments for under-thirteens. And while Vancouver is packed with excellent restaurants, hotel restaurant The Hawksworth is a good reason to eat in.
900 W. Georgia St., Downtown
If you’re looking to stay in downtown Vancouver, book a room at The Fairmont on Coal Harbor—it has all the creature comforts we've come to expect from a Fairmont property—opulent guests rooms, an indoor pool, and more—plus, the benefits of incredible city views and a historic castle to call home. Doing business since 1939, the lobby, bar, and ballroom are over-the-top (in a good way) with marble floors and bas-relief moldings, while on-site restaurant Notch8 serves up classic west coast comfort food—a good option if you're burnt out on both going out and room service. Note: The hotel is particularly well-equipped for families, with cribs, tot-sized robes, and on-call babysitters.
YEW Seafood + Bar
791 W. Georgia St., Downtown
Yew is an upscale fish restaurant committed to sustainability, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a stellar weekend brunch. Chef Weimar Gomez prepares fish in every possible iteration—lobster bisque, crab salad, seafood risotto, roasted salmon, and tuna tartar to name a few. The restaurant itself is grand and elegant with sky-high ceilings, and a heavy use of wood.
958 Main St., Downtown
The restaurant incarnation of a former food truck, Torafuku serves modern Asian food designed for sharing. Taking inspiration from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam, expect bold flavors in a range dishes from ramen to spicy calamari. While the main body of the restaurant is super minimalist, with a mix of booth-style and stool seating, a polished stone floor, and zero ornamentation, all the action happens in the back. There, you'll find a commissary and the original Le Tigre food truck that started it all for owners Clement Chan and Steve Kuan.