For what feels like forever I have wanted to visit Vancouver. Friends have told me how cool it is and how I would never want to leave. I will be the first to tell you that my friends don’t know me very well. HAHA! The truth is Vancouver is a very cool city but it is so much city. You really need more than 48 hours to really see it. So my trip focused more on Northern Vancouver because that is where I stayed and it felt more manageable to me.
I rolled into Vancouver off of the ferry from Victoria. Talk about a dramatic entrance! Driving off of the ferry you exit onto a strip of land that is boarded by water on both sides. A causeway that you have to traverse in order to get onto land. It’s pretty cool. It was also around rush-hour but the traffic wasn’t too much of an issue. The first day for me was a bit of a wash. I checked into my Airbnb and familiarized myself with a map, asked friends what I should do and then made a game plan. I grabbed what I needed to make dinner at my Airbnb, which by the way was amazing and that was my evening.
Day one. The day started off on Granville Island. If you look at any ‘to do’ list of Vancouver this will be on it. I started my morning there around 9 am, thinking I would’ve beat the crowds and parking wouldn’t be an issue. Well I partially beat the crowds and parking wasn’t too much of an issue but if you can find alternate transportation to get to Granville Island, ie. a bike, I would do it. Granville is an enclave of grocers and local artisan shops selling everything from fruit and veggies to artisanal cheeses and throw rugs. To say you’re in a bit of foodie heaven, wouldn’t be an understatement. I mean they had a booth of just TEA! (I love tea.)
In a stand-alone building across from the Public Market, you find A Bread Affair. Although there is a ton to choose from I couldn’t pass up their double baked Croissants. Oh, my. I had their double baked almond croissant with chocolate. When I tell you that I felt like I was eating a hug, I would not be lying. It was by far the best breakfast confection I’d had in a while. I spent the morning exploring the Island. After that, I headed to Stanley Park.
Stanley Park is a public park bridging Vancouver with North Vancouver. An overwhelming response from my friends told me that I had to rent a bike and explore Stanley Park that way. I would agree it would’ve been a great way to spend the afternoon but I decided to just explore on foot and bring lunch. Stanley Park is a beautiful oasis from the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver. Unfortunately for me, it’s the only place I didn’t take photos of because I found myself just happy to be there. There are several outfitters to rent bikes from both on the outskirts of the park and just inside.
Dinner again was spent at my fantastic Airbnb in North Vancouver but I did have a friend who recommended a place downtown called Fable. This farm-to-table restaurant looked amazing but lazily I didn’t want to go back downtown after I had left that afternoon. Ali did say it was the most amazing meal she had ever had. I take her word for it.
Day 2. I dithered back and forth about whether or not to go to the Capilano Expansion Bridge. I had seen video of it and thought it would be great but the cost deterred me. At $43 per person (Canadian) I thought it was a bit steep to traverse a bridge, but after talking with the admissions person I ultimately decided to take the plunge. I’m glad that I did. The suspension bridge is only one part of what can only be called a tame adventure park. Tame because you don’t need a harness to traverse any part, just a little bit of iron will.
The first bridge was a rope bridge created in 1889 by the Scottish engineer, Grant Mackay who was looking to connect his property which was divided by a canyon. Many of his adventurous friends would come up to stay with him and after his death in 1903 the rope bridge was replaced with cable. Since then the bridge has passed through several hands each one improving on the area to create a destination that people would want to stop at. The current owners have owned the area since 1983 and have developed several nature trails and added a tree top adventure.
I think it’s a great thing to experience at least once. To do all of the walks it takes about 2 hours. After you explore you can have a tea or coffee on either side of the bridge and leave with some souvenirs from their gift shop. If you’re a resident of British Columbia you only have to purchase your ticket once and it’s good for the rest of the year. You can visit as many times as you like your one ticket acts as a season’s pass, which is great!
On the same road as the Capilano bridge, you can drive up to Grouse Mountain. Grouse Mountain is a ski resort during the winter and a hiking and viewing destination in all other seasons. They have a gondola you can ride up to the top for $40 and get an expansive view of all of Vancouver. I didn’t take the gondola ride because the day I was there it was so cloud covered once I got to the top my visibility would’ve been minimal. However, on a clear day, the views are spectacular. I was able to get some hiking in on Grouse Mountain which was great. My views weren’t as good as if I could get to the top but they were still pretty good.
There is so much more to see in Vancouver then I had time for. If I had a week I might not have been able to see all that I wanted. It is a great vacation destination. If you have the time, even 48 hours spend them in Vancouver and get a taste of the Pacific Northwest. Until next time.