Vancouver Weekend Guide

Vancouver is a rare gem of a city with a sophisticated urban center filled with acclaimed restaurants, high-end boutiques and cultural fun.
By: Jennifer Plum Auvil
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Vancouver is a rare gem of a city with a sophisticated urban center, sprawling urban parks and stunning mountains. A weekend of fun can easily include ziplines, sailing or skiing by day and cocktails and fine dining at night.

Vancouver

Vancouver

Photo by: Thinkstock

Thinkstock

Where to Stay

Amid a sea of luxury hotels in Vancouver, the Wedgewood stands out for its refined elegance. With just 83 rooms, this boutique hotel is noted for its impeccable attention to detail. Each room has a walk-out balcony that provides great views of the chic Robson Square surroundings. Relax in the spa's eucalyptus steam room or enjoy a cocktail and live piano music at the award-winning Bacchus restaurant.

With a great location on bustling Robson Street, Pacific Palisades goes out of its way to make vacationing in Vancouver easy. Spacious suites with kitchenettes are perfect for families. Pampered pooches and felines are greeted with treats and water bowls. And the hotel's green practices are easy on the earth with a focus on energy efficiency and eco-conscious products.

The Westin Bayshore is a tranquil escape just outside the heart of the city. Although it's a short trip downtown, this Coal Harbour resort feels far removed with stunning views of the coastline and mountains. Guests can enjoy the outdoors lounging by the pool or jogging along the Seawall to nearby Stanley Park.

Where to Eat

Salt uses fancy meats and cheeses to lure foodies to historic Blood Alley in the hip Gastown district. This choose-your-own-charcuterie-adventure approach invites diners to customize a tasting plate with artisanal cheeses, meats and condiments. The chalkboard menu changes daily with 30 unique choices like Oyama sausage, organic local and imported cheeses and fancy condiments like honeycomb or grainy Guinness mustard.

Vancouver is known for its melting pot of ethnic cuisines and Vij showcases the area's best Indian food. While the flavors and spices maintain their essence, the menu is constantly changing to highlight fresh and local ingredients. Guests are greeted by staff like old friends with a cup of chai to kick off a phenomenal dining experience with freshly baked naan and curries galore.

What to See & Do

Stanley Park is a 1,000-acre paradise of West Coast forest. There are forest trails for running, beaches for relaxing, sprawling rose gardens and a 6.5-mile seawall path that circles the park. In addition to natural beauty, the park is home to the city's aquarium. Get a great overview of the park on an hour-long narrated tour in a horse-drawn carriage.

Ride the aquabus to Granville Island, an island cultural center in the heart of Vancouver. The daily public market is the mother of all farmers markets, with local seafood, fresh fruit, baked goods and ethnic treats. Kids will want to empty their piggy banks for treats at the kids market including gourmet ice cream, kites, handmade toys and art supplies. The island's bargain is the free water park open during the summer months with sprinklers galore and water slides.

Climb aboard a San Francisco-style trolley to take in the best of the city at your own pace. Propane-fueled trolleys traverse the city with stops at popular spots including Stanley Park, Chinatown, Granville Island and Grouse Mountain. Narration provides fun historical facts and insider tips on each spot. And a flexible schedule means you can hop off and spend some time at your favorite stop.

After Dark

Plenty of old-time watering holes have lined the streets of the city's historic Gastown district. Today, most of the saloons have been replaced by hip pubs. Chill Winston has a cozy pub atmosphere with good drinks, a tasty brunch and a happening outdoor patio scene.

Rock legends like the Police, KISS, the Clash and Nirvana have all graced the stage at this popular art-deco theater. Today the venue hosts popular artists and indie bands on the road making it a staple on the Vancouver music scene.

Most references to lifts involve ski slopes, but not at this waterfront bar overlooking Coal Harbour. Guests can raise their glass at Lift and enjoy carefully picked wines and fun cocktails like the "over the hill" with gin, lemon and elderberry juice. The rooftop bar and patio offer stellar views of Stanley Park and the North Shore mountains.

Travel Channel Insider's Tip:

The Inside Vancouver blog, sponsored by the Vancouver tourism board, is updated frequently with recommendations for the most up-to-date happenings around the city. The blog is maintained by a variety of writers, both tourism board staff and others, who each offer a fresh perspective on the city.

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