Explorable neighborhoods, drink-and-dine delights and memorable cultural and outdoor activities framed by striking natural vistas – there's a superfluity of reasons to fall for this ocean-fringed metropolis.
Don't tell the rest of the country but Vancouver is Canada’s dine-out capital. Abandon your diet and dive right into North America's best Asian cuisine, from chatty Chinese restaurants to Vietnamese banh mi sandwich joints, or unleash your appetite on a rich smorgasbord of fresh-caught local seafood, including seasonal spot prawns and succulent wild salmon. The farm-to-table movement has also reinvigorated West Coast cuisine here – anyone for Fraser Valley lamb with a side of foraged morels? And we haven't even started on Vancouver’s thirst-slaking craft-beer scene, pouring the nation’s finest IPAs, sours and more.
Downtown is just the start of Vancouver. Walk or hop public transit and within minutes you'll be hanging with the locals in one of the city's diverse and distinctive mini-districts. Whether discovering the independent boutiques of Main St or the coffee shops of Commercial Dr, the redbrick bars of Gastown or the heritage-house beachfronts of Kitsilano, you'll find this city ideal for easy-access urban exploration. Just be sure to chat to the locals wherever you go: they might seem shy or aloof at first, but Vancouverites love talking up their town and regaling you with their personal recommendations.
There's a multi-textured canvas of creativity to pore over in this city. Dig deeply and you'll find an eclectically diverse grassroots scene that operates like a locavore movement for culture fans. Mingle with the regulars at indie festivals, sparkling theatrical events, toe-tapping live music, waterfront Shakespeare shows and a camera-ready menagerie of eye-popping public art. There’s also a savor-worthy menu of independent galleries, a large public gallery that’s about to break-ground on a grand new building, and a huge, party-like open-house art crawl that lures locals and visitors every November.
Those snow-capped giants peeking at you from between downtown's glass towers? They're less than 30 minutes away by car. Vancouverites really can ski in the morning and hit the beach in the afternoon – although it's far more relaxing to chill out and take your time. The city's North Shore nature doorstep offers snow sports, mountain biking and rainforest hiking trails, while the city itself is studded with sandy shorelines, kayaking routes, verdant gardens and Canada's urban green-space jewel, the mighty and highly beloved Stanley Park.