vancouver bc, vancouver skyline, granville island, vancouver travel
AP/Robert E. Klein
Partial view of Vancouver, B.C. as seen from Granville Island.

Spring Getaway: Vancouver, British Columbia

May 03, 2010
by Sarah Amandolare
For city lovers seeking a breath of fresh air, Vancouver should be at the top of the list for an urban getaway. The city sits on the coast of British Columbia, and offers visitors kayaking and beaches, as well as cultural draws like museums and renowned restaurants.

Stanley Park

Along with Portland and Seattle, Vancouver belongs to a West Coast trio of cities that may be the most environmentally conscious in North America. So it’s no surprise that Vancouver boasts an amazing park, Stanley Park, which is the biggest urban park in North America. Destination360 offers a gorgeous 360-degree, rotating image of the 1,000-acre space.

But Vancouver’s claim to eco-fame goes beyond the well-kept greenery that’s typical of most parks. The city also offers rainforests, marshland and beaches. Rent a bike—there are several rental shops in the park—and cruise around the lengthy seawall for stunning views of the beach until dinnertime. Destination360 suggests The Fish House, located amid the gardens of Stanley Park.

Vancouver Culture

There is so much to love about Vancouver’s outdoor offerings, but the city also has indoor cultural attractions that should not be passed over.

In its April issue, Gourmet magazine pitted three food-fanatic Canadians from rivaling cities against one another. Elianna Lev made the case for why Vancouver outshines Montreal and Toronto, citing the farmers’ markets held in four separate locations in the city every week from May to October. Lev goes on to list a few of the Vancouver restaurants that have made the city an icon of the local, seasonal food movement: Gastropod, Fuel and Chow. But the most prolific and perhaps highest quality food in Vancouver is sushi, which Lev claims, “rivals that of L.A.’s or Tokyo’s.”

Food & Wine magazine has a more thorough list of Vancouver restaurant possibilities. The eateries are listed along with contact information, links to Web sites (where available), reviews and insider tips on things like cocktails to try or whether reservations are recommended.

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia reopened in early March after a multi-million dollar upgrade. To welcome back visitors, the museum is offering a reduced admission rate of just $6 per person “until further notice.” There’s no excuse not to stop by and peruse the numerous exhibits featuring objects, textiles, coins and paper-works from all around the world. Through September, check out “Tatau: Samoan Tattooing and Global Culture,” an exhibit on Samoan tattoo traditions.

Vancouver’s Fresh Fare

Catch a ferry across False Creek from downtown Vancouver to reach Granville Island. This lively area deserves at least an afternoon of your trip time.

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Public Market at Granville Island draws home cooks and tourists looking for exotic ingredients and longing to experience a vibrant community of purveyors and customers. The Market is so vast and varied that guided walking tours are provided. If you’re keen to brave the scene solo, there’s plenty to see and select from. Pick up a loaf of freshly baked bread, a bushel of seasonal fruit or an exotic ingredient you’ve never heard of—stinging nettles or wild fiddleheads, for example—and head outside to enjoy the Island’s lovely scenery.

The blog Eating Out Loud featured a post in April on the Granville Island Public Market that includes several large, colorful photos of the tasty offerings. Be warned, however, writes blogger Allen: “As you enter the building, your eyes may be overwhelmed by the bright colors from the produce, flowers, and counter cases filled with fresh fish and meats. It is a popular destination and can get a bit packed during peak hours.”

Guide to Vancouver

Before you go, visit Fodor’s Vancouver Travel Guide for specific tips on visiting this breathtaking city. The guide covers Vancouver entertainment, hotels, shopping and outdoor activities, restaurants and plenty more to get you inspired. 

Most Recent Features