48 Hours In Vancouver

Downtown Vancouver Lookout Tower (Photo: Lissandra Melo/Shutterstock)

Toronto often steals the spotlight when it comes to Canadian cities, and while the T-Dot has plenty to offer, don’t take that to mean that Vancouver isn’t worthy of a visit. Vancouverites are friendly, the food is top notch and there’s an overall healthy vibe to the city—just the sight of all of the runners and cyclists on the seawall and kayakers in the water will make you want to get your fitness game on track, too. For your first Vancouver visit, here are the essentials to cross off your list.

Where to stay

Conveniently located in the central neighbourhood of Coal Harbour, the Loden Hotel is a modern boutique hotel that offers all of the sleek decor but none of the snooty attitude that can sometimes plague hot spots. Not up for hoofing it to your meeting or dinner? Request at reception for a complimentary lift in the Loden car (it’ll take you anywhere in downtown Vancouver). Another free mode of transportation available to hotel guests that will have you fitting right? Borrow a bike and helmet and ride the loop of the Seawall.

Where to eat

With so many incredible restaurant options in Vancouver, you’ll be regretting only having the opportunity of eating three meals a day. For a casual lunch, get your carbs and protein in the most delicious way: in a sandwich from Meat + Bread (go for the porchetta). In the evening, grab a table at the new hot spot Homer St. Cafe & Bar. The vibe is rustic chic—comfortable enough for grabbing a drink with the guys yet plenty upscale and pretty to bring your girlfriend. Rotisserie chicken is one of the main dishes it’s known for—whatever you order, though, do not miss the fried chicken skin—it’s savoury, crispy and addictive. And, lastly, being on the coast, it’d simply be wrong to not indulge in some sushi. Hit up Miku for some superb sushi, which offers several fulten-free options. Include some aburi dishes in your oder (aburi is the centuries-old way of flame-searing the sushi to enhance the fish flavours; our mouths are watering just thinking about the aburi salmon oshi sushi).

Where to visit

Yes, towers are major tourist traps, but you can’t deny the great views and the Vancouver Tower Lookout in particular is low key and you can learn a ton of history from the placards as you make your way around it–you may even discover sights to add to your Vancouver itinerary (we added the Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden to our schedule after seeing how pretty it was from the Tower!).

What to do

Make like a local and get active in the fresh Vancouver air. Want to earn bragging rights? Climb the Grouse Grind; Grueling Grind would be a more apt name for this difficult 2.9-kilometre hike up Grouse Mountain. It is not for the unfit (consider this your warning). For something much more moderate, visit Capilano Bridge instead, where you’ll be surrounded by stunning trees and the sound of birds chirping. Think of it as all of the nature, but with just a fraction of the physical exertion of the Grouse Grind.

Where to drink

Wildebeest holds it own against any big-city restaurant with its flawless food and drink, cool, stylish crowd and just as stylish decor. Cocktails are handily separated on the menu into ones to enjoy with food or without good (it’s a tossup between the Mamacita, a mix of sparkling wine, watermelon, lemon, basil and ginger, and the bourbon-based Huckleberry Fizz when it comes to our personal favourite). Meat lovers, aim to come for dinner or plan to share the order as a very hearty late-night “snack” because the restaurant’s juicy, flavourful short rib is worthy of doing a happy dance.

Tags: Travel Guide, Vancouver

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