Weekend Escape | Vancouver, Canada

Spend a weekend in this chic and trendy city nestled on the coast in the Pacific Northwest. Filled with Asian influence, Vancouver has a wide variety of excellent ethnic food, street food, cafes, and gourmet dining. Couple that with amazing seascapes, a world class city park, and fashionable shopping, and you’ve got the recipe for a fantastic long weekend escape!

Father carries son in bicycle trailer in Vancouver Canada

Day 1:

Embrace Vancouver with a bike ride in Stanley Park, the 1,000-acre park located on a peninsula adjacent to downtown. Sixteen miles of trails wind through the forest and along seawalls and beaches with scenic views of the city. Tours are available to highlight the First Nations history, unique rainforest diversity, and nine totem poles at Brockton Point, the easternmost end of the park. Grab a bite at the Teahouse in Stanley Park, an unforgettable dining experience with breezy views of the ocean and tremendous seafood.

Head west and enhance your calm at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a Taoist garden which is breathtaking, rain or shine. This look into another world lets visitors know what a 15th century Chinese garden was like and features koi ponds, weathered rocks, jade green water, and mystical plants.

After a relaxing day of fresh air and zen, cap it off with a trip to the Gastown district, the birthplace of the city, named after “Gassy” Jack Deighton, a Yorkshire seaman who opened the area’s first saloon in 1867. Today, visitors can take their pick of fine seafood restaurants and nightlife.

Day 2:

For an extensive look at a variety of Canadian and international artists, spend your morning at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Continue your museum theme with your choice of either the Museum of Vancouver, featuring interesting exhibits all about this dynamic city, or the Vancouver Maritime Museum, which houses the historic St. Roch, the first vessel to traverse the Northwest Passage from west to east, and the first to circumnavigate North America.

Travel over to the Granville Island Public Market, a shopping district on the water known for its large market, brewery, and thriving artist community. Spend the afternoon walking and shopping downtown, then hit up the Craft Beer Market, a hip spot with Canada’s largest selection of draft beer.

Day 3:

Spend the day outside exploring Vancouver’s extensive seaside attractions. Take a whale watching tour departing from Granville Island, in the downtown area. Views of the city, the Coast Mountains and Stanley Park are unforgettable, as well as the diverse marine wildlife like sea lions and Orca whales. These tours generally last three to seven hours, and you are guaranteed to see some whales. Sample some of the best sushi in the world at your choice of restaurants downtown, then top off your Vancouver visit with a lazy viewing of the spectacular sunset at Sunset Beach Park, right along English Bay.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling! His favorite RTX spots to visit are Orange Beach, Alabama, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, but he's visiting new places all the time. .

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