Last week I had a brief getaway to Vancouver. It was my first trip to Canada and the first surprise was it was so hot! Heat and Canada are two things I've never associated in the same sentence so it came as a very pleasant surprise to experience temperatures much higher than in San Francisco.
Its a small city so very easy to navigate on foot. The stark contrast of the bright sun bouncing off the modern buildings, surrounded by an expanse of water with mountains on the other side, made for a very picturesque city. its very clean and seems so orderly and organised. Here are a few recommendations I'd make based on my brief, but jam packed trip.
Shopping was great, Gastown was good for independent boutiques, you'll find all the major shops and Aritzia is a must. Its a Canadian chain and its always nice to visit places on their home turf. Practically next door is Holt Renfrew. The big kahuna Canadian department store. Its a bit like Harvey Nicks or Neiman Marcus. I loved their jewellery selection as they carried quite a few designers I hadn't come across before. The shoe section was a little limited, bags were great and I have to say the women in the cosmetics section were LOVELY!
I'd recommend a trip to the pretty, tranquil Classical Chinese Gardens. Such a beautiful park in an urban landscape.
Yaletown has a great mix of waterside cafes and restaurants and cool boutiques. So go for a walk around there and see what you find while exploring. I completely fell in love with The Cross Design. Such a beautifully put together mix of furniture and home decor. At night, the action is focused around Davie Street.
Kitsilano is the boho beach town on the mainland. It might seem like a bit of a schlep if you're staying downtown but its totally worth it. The sunset there is AMAZING!
For nighttime, The Fairmont Pacific Rim is an outstanding hotel and if your wallet doesn't quite stretch to the equally outstanding room rates, do what I did and make your way over in the evening for a drink in the lounge where they have live music every night. Its a pretty special place.
I found this site superhelpful so have a look if you're heading out to Vancouver and enjoy a fun stay in a great city full of wonderful people.
Vancouver Convention Centre
Vancouver Art Gallery
Classical Chinese Gardens
I don't often write about food but Salt Tasting Room was a pretty special place. Its tucked away on a very hard to find alley in Gastown and they offer a fresh daily selection of cheese, meat and wine flights. You choose 3 options from the cheeses and meats (hams and salamis mainly), 3 condiments (which include fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, aritsan mustards) and then 3 wines. And it looks like this.
I can't recommend it highly enough.