Don’t shoot me for saying this, but Vancouver and I didn’t hit it off right away. Maybe it was the abundance of Lululemon and athletic attire. I mean, if you’re going to climb a mountain later that day, I can understand why you might want to wear leggings to breakfast. But I like to dress up, even overdress if I can get away with it. The perpetual grey skies were also somewhat of a deterrent despite having visited Vancouver on unexpectedly sunny days. Regardless of our previous differences, I fell in love with Vancouver on my most recent visit.
I was fortunate to stay with my friend, Todd, who had recently moved to the area. He was the perfect host and tour guide, and I saw Vancouver through a new set of eyes. The city overwhelmed me in the best way possible. We also caught up with Brooklyn and Brianna, two Yorkton gals who were both in my sister’s class, and it was such a pleasure catching up with these prairie kids.
Whenever I travel, I like to dabble in various activities. I usually start my day off with a strong coffee (always espresso) and delicious breakfast before I take in something cultural or artistic. What I loved most about Vancouver was that my afternoons and evenings usually involved cycling (Stanley Park seawall!) or hiking (Grouse Mountain Grind!) As a somewhat sporty person (and yes, I wear Lululemon when I exercise) I loved how active I was during my three days in Vancouver.
Planning a trip to Vancouver? The following is a list of my recommendations:
Revolver Coffee: This cozy café is the perfect place to meet a friend or settle in with a book. The cortado was one of the best I’ve tasted.
Timbertrain Coffee Roasters: Another excellent option for espresso lovers.
Matchstick Coffee Roasters: A specialty roastery that focuses on single-origin coffees. Their Chinatown location is absolutely stunning.
49th Parallel Coffee Roasters: If you’re looking for a top notch locally-roasted bean, you’ve come to the right place. Oh, and they also serve Lucky Doughnuts, so it’s a win-win!
Prado Café: One of the liveliest cafés in Vancouver, it’s all about atmosphere at Prado.
Lukes General Store: More of an old school general store, Lukes sells everything from Mast Brothers Chocolate to kitchen and homeware. The highly curated grocery and apothecary carry hard-to-find brands. Don’t get me wrong though, the coffee here was the best I had in Vancouver.
Medina Café: I had read about Medina from a few trusted sources, so it topped my list of brunch spots to try. You won’t be disappointed with anything on the menu, but I recommend the lavender latte and the rosewater pistachio waffles!
Chambar: Another great option for weekly breakfast or weekend brunch.
Nelson the Seagull: If you’re after a simple breakfast, this place reigns. The interior is beautiful and the coffee and avocado toast are impeccable.
Baked Goods & Sweets/
Small Victory: An airy bakery with a delectable selection of sweets.
Beaucoup Bakery: Croissants from your dreams!
Cartems Donuterie: High-quality cake donuts in refreshing flavours. Think earl grey and Canadian whisky bacon.
Earnest Ice Cream: I had a scoop of London fog and my life will never be the same!
Birds and the Beets: Healthy, wholesome sandwiches and salads in a stunning café/flower shop. This is the ideal spot to spend a few hours with a coffee and a book.
Tacofino: The freshest fish tacos in the cutest surroundings.
L’Abattoir: If you’re looking for Pacific-Northwest fare, you’ve come to the right space. This intimate setting serves up some of the inventive dishes and delicious seasonal cocktails.
Six Acres: Housed in Vancouver’s oldest brick building, Six Acres is a cozy pub that serves rustic comfort food (think macaroni and cheese!) and a large selection of beer and cocktails.
Wildebeest: You’ll start to notice a Gastown trend as it’s my favourite Vancouver neighbourhood. Wildebeest is a carnivore’s dream, with adventurous meat-centric dishes made with local ingredients.
Old Faithful Shop: If you’re on the hunt for carefully curated goodies and gifts, Old Faithful’s got your back. The beautiful general store sells everything from bourbon maple syrup to shower curtains. It’s the perfect place to stock up on good quality essentials for your home.
One of a Few: This gorgeous boutique stocks locally made threads and an extensive jewelry range. My personal favourite are the Kara Yoo necklaces that are so reasonably priced.
The Block: With covetable brands like A.P.C., Filippa K., and Nudie, The Block is a great spot to stock up on womenswear, menswear, and accessories.
Stanley Park: Save time to explore this beautiful park that is almost entirely surrounded by water. Autumn was the ideal time to cycle around the Seawall, taking in scenic views from every angle. The changing colours were breathtaking!
Grouse Mountain Grind: Commonly referred to as nature’s stairmaster, the Grind is a relatively steep 3km hike up to Vancouver’s highest peak. On average, it takes an hour and a half to complete, but give yourself two hours if you want to stop a lot to take in the views.
Vancouver Art Gallery: Located along Robson Street in the old courthouse, the Vancouver Art Gallery features a diverse mix of contemporary and historic exhibitions highlighting artists from around the world, Canada and British Columbia, such as Emily Carr.
Vancouver’s Public Library: A beautiful building inspired by the Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome, the library has six floors chock-full of books.