Consistently voted one of the top cities in the world to live in, Vancouver is an absolutely amazing place to spend a few days. It is a foodie paradise, has tons of interesting cultural stuff, fab neighborhoods, and great shopping to boot. 48 hours will never be enough, which means you’ll have to come back again someday, but here’s how to get a great overview of the city in the time that you have.
9AM MEDINA CAFÉ
Start your day at the Medina Café. They use inventive ingredients that really make their breakfasts a culinary adventure (such as braised short ribs or wild boar bacon with their eggs). The coffee is superb too.
10AM STANLEY PARK
Head to Stanley Park, one of the world’s best urban parks, rent a bike and make your way around the park by following the bike path. You can stop at the beaches, the huge outdoor pool, the petting zoo, the impressive collection of totem poles, or the Vancouver Aquarium (there’s a glass wall to the beluga pool on the exterior so you don’t need to go in to see the whales), which are all in park. Watch out for the raccoons there, as they fear no man, despite looking cute (they’ll steal food right from your hands).
1PM YALETOWN BREWING COMPANY
1111 MAINLAND ST. VANCOUVER, BC V6B 5P2
Do lunch at the Yaletown Brewing Company, where you’ll find great craft beers and really excellent food that goes way beyond the usual pub grub. Their pizzas are excellent, but they do great sandwiches and bowls too.
2PM YALETOWN SHOPPING
After, take a little time to explore the excellent shopping in Yaletown, where there are tons of fabulous boutiques (The Cross has gorgeous homewares, while Lola Home and Apparel has delicious beauty supplies, clothing and knick-knacks); you’ll wish you had bigger suitcases to take more goodies home with you).
Take a short walk (or a fast cab) to Chinatown. The biggest Chinatown in North America outside of San Francisco, here you’ll find traditional stores, restaurants and bakeries mixed up with hip little shops and trendy bars and restaurants. Be sure to take a walk around the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, a little oasis in this busy part of downtown.
7PM SALT TASTING ROOM
Dine at Salt Tasting Room, where you pick meats, cheeses, and condiments to create your own ultimate tasting plates. (If you love charcuterie, you will adore this place.) They have a fab wine list, but you can also pair your meal with beer and other beverages.
10AM GRANVILLE ISLAND MARKET
Head to Granville Island Public Market (the most fun way to get there is to take a rainbow painted Aquabus across the harbor) where you can pick up breakfast and browse the stalls for gifts and local specialties. You’ll find everything from seafood, wine, fruit, and pasties to silver jewelry, artwork and wood carvings, and there are little galleries and boutiques all around the market too.
1PM VANCOUVER ART GALLERY CAFÉ
Take lunch at the lovely Vancouver Art Gallery Café, then explore the gallery, taking in the permanent collection of works by local art hero Emily Carr, as well as whatever visiting exhibitions they are hosting.
7PM HAPA IZAKAYA
Eat at Hapa Izakaya, a Japanese bar style restaurant which has a fun atmosphere and really fantastic food. Order lots of the hot and cold tapas dishes (everything from scallop tartare to beef short ribs to halibut tacos) to share, and wash them down with warm sake or Japanese beer.
9PM OPUS BAR
If the night still feels young, stop at the Opus Bar for an Asian Pear Martini, and admire Vancouver’s beautiful people propping up the bar at this Yaletown hotspot.
WHERE TO STAY: OPUS HOTEL
322 DAVIE ST. VANCOUVER, BC V6B 5Z6
The super chic and trendy Opus Hotel is located in Yaletown, which makes a great base for exploring. Rooms are decadent, the service is great, and it has an excellent restaurant and lounge too (which is why many visiting celebrities choose to stay here when visiting or filming in the city).