Vancouver is known for...
The mountains definitely help play an integral role in defining this province’s reputation for being beautiful. Not only are theses mountains easy on the eyes, they attract sport enthusiasts all year round. In the winter months, locals and visitors glide down the snow-covered peaks on the North Shore, Whistler and numerous other ski resorts across British Columbia. After the snow has melted, you will find people strapping on their gear and heading for the thrill-inducing mountain biking parks, and scenic trails being used by both leisurely hikers and trail runners. Our mountains really are the best of both worlds and provide us with entertainment for much of the year. Did we mention that the views from the tops of the mountains are equally stunning, if not more, than those from the ground?
We don’t want to come across as bragging, but Vancouver’s oceanfront setting (in combo with the mountains) makes it one of the most beautiful cities in North America. And of course, where there’s ocean, there’s beach. Vancouver’s many beaches are summer playgrounds for sun worshippers of all ages. And depending on what vibe you like your beach to have, chances are there’s one in the city that will tickle your fancy. A city surrounded by ocean also gets some of the freshest seafood around. Local crab, fish, shellfish and other treats from the sea are easily found citywide. Try British Columbia’s wild Pacific salmon and there’s no looking back. If you’re lucky enough to befriend someone with a boat, a sunset cruise up Salmon Arm is one-of-a-kind.
Boasting North America’s second largest Chinatown,Vancouver offers a real cultural treat. Bordering Gastown - an area of Vancouver that has seen exponential housing growth -Chinatown has been getting more visitors by the day. Go there to indulge in baked goods, roasted duck, green teas, specialty items and fun home décor. While walking around Chinatown, you’ll forget you’re in Vancouver until you catch a glimpse of those aforementioned mountains.
Those who like to eat and drink will find themselves smitten with Vancouver’s culinary scene. The Pacific Rim tends to have a heavy influence on West Coast cuisine; enjoy experimenting with the fusion. Sushi joints are as abundant as New York coffee shops, while street food carts offer everything from fish tacos to tasty poutine. Vancouver loves lavish delights, but if your wallet is in need of a little restraint, there are plenty of spots that will gratify the taste buds without damaging your bank account. This diverse city may soon have you dreaming about the Indian, Vietnamese, French, Italian,Belgium, Japanese, Latin, or Thai meal that’s left you in a euphoric state. If mixology is your thing,Vancouver will keep you on your toes. Wine connoisseurs will appreciate the Okanagan’s bounty, found in local liquor stores and restaurants. You could literally eat your way across the city.
Mountains surround Vancouver and tucked away on these mountains are plenty of hikes that range from easy to multi-day treks that are only for very seasoned hikers. When going out on a hike, it's best to let people know where you're going, which trail you will be using and bring some snacks and water with you. Another important tool is to bring a GPS or compass with you. The Baden Powell trail on the North Shore is a very popular trail that has a few different off-shoots that will cater to your hiking level. Many of these trails are dog friendly, so don't be surprised if you see some four legged friends taking in a nice hike. The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is a beautiful hike that's relatively moderate. The view of the suspension bridge is a very welcome addition to the already pristine forest. Vancouver does have bears, so be vigilant and brush up on your bear safety knowledge before hitting the forest. Encounters don't happen often, but you should always be prepared.
The Pacific Ocean surrounds Vancouver and has gifted the city with many beautiful beaches. Downtown Vancouver has a number of sandy spots that are ideal for soaking up the sun and enjoying a little picnic. English Bay, Sunset Beach and Second Beach are all around the West End. They're clean, family friendly and the waters are safe to swim in. Across the bridge, you will find some larger beaches, as well as Vancouver's nude beach. Wreck Beach is the city's only nude beach and is well hidden away from the general public. It involves going down quite a lot of stairs and is not accessible for those with mobility issues. Kits Beach is always busy and full of people enjoying some sports like volleyball, football and frisbee. If you like being in the thick of the action, that beach is for you. Jericho, Lacarno and Spanish Banks are a little bit more subdued and are the perfect escape from the busy city on a hot summer day.