im headed to vancouver for a few days over the holidays.
for anyone whoz spent time there or lives there..... what the hell should i be doing?
think of the best scenery, beer, girls, and other important items.
Will you be cycling? If so, rule #1: Do not leave your bike unattended even for a minute. It's been a few years since I've been there, but there was a huge bike theft problem. Stolen and resold within minutes for drug money. Hopefully they've got it under control.
Lots of small and good restaurants in the main downtown area (trying to find my travel journal to get the name of the street)...it's basically the main drag.
I remember Granville Island being nice for a hike/bike. Enjoy
It is dark and miserable in Seattle. It will be worse in Vancouver. I guess a Canucks game is out?? Haha. A couple of places I like, that should be unaffected by shit weather:
1) The Alibi (Gastown) - nice selection of craft beer, emphasis on BC beer. Food's solid, younger crowd but not teeny boppers.
2) Lolita's (Davie St. @ Jervis) - dimly-lit bar w/ good yuppie Mexican food and drinks. Attractive staff, nice service. I went here a lot while living in VAN. I'd typically end up with a beer (Alhambra), a cocktail and an iced tea running simultaneously. Recommend.
3) GUU (Japanese street food chain). I like the fancier GUU Garden (upstairs @ Nelson & Hornby) and the small & loud one on Robson near Denman.
4) Bao Bei (Chinatown - Keefer @ Main). This place is LEGIT. Small plates, sort of Chinese tapas. Food is excellent, as are the cocktails. Get the pork belly and special fried rice, and some pickles. Pretty much cannot go wrong. Young & attractive clientele.
5) Pastries/coffee at Thomas Haas (Broadway & Larch)
If you haven't been, it's worth going out to Commercial (takes about 5 min from downtown on the Skytrain) and walking that strip. It has a different feel, more neighborhood-y. You'll probably like it. They're both sorta corporate feeling, not a huge fan of either, but St. Augustine and Biercraft on Commercial both have great beer selections.
In the summertime, it is hard to beat the Stanley Park seawall, and Wreck Beach. Wreck Beach is top notch. Nude beach off UBC campus, pretty much a live-action Porky's movie. Arrive with $40 in your sock and call it an afternoon.
Touristy, but also fun......is walking down to the end of Davie St. (on the False Creek side) and riding the Aquabus/False Creek Ferry around. Granville Island is amazing, but really only if you're looking to cook. The Oyama Meats stall is a freaking fantasyland of sausage.
If you care about mountain biking head to Deep Cove bike shop - you could make an argument for the modern freeride bike being born in this small shed of a shop.
Wheelworks Handcrafted Wheels
Many more here (including locals) much more qualified to opine, but from my limited time in Vancouver I would definitely recommend renting a bike and riding out the peninsula to UBC, hiking down to the beach around Spanish Banks on the north side, and of course the nude beach. Also a trip around Stanley Park is well worth it.
I'll also second the trip out to Commercial - kind of Vancouver's version of Greenpoint/Williamsburg, the hip parts of Oakland, H St. NE in DC, etc., only maybe a little grittier? The neighborhood in between downtown and there is not the nicest.
Also plenty of trouble to get into on Granville St. The Roxy, Doolins, short walk to Yaletown Brewing.
There's a well-regarded fish shack on the waterfront down by False Creek Marina, but I could never manage to catch them when they were open, and I imagine they might be seasonal.
I lived a half block from those Granville bars. 7 nights a week, 10:30 PM - 3 AM - people screaming their lungs out, and the shortest skirts known to man. on granville I'd go to the morrissey sometimes for beer and the Commodore/Vogue for shows. I could take those Granville bars or leave them. At the Roxy (guh!) use cash b/c they will put a $100 hold on US credit cards that won't get "unheld", if you catch my drift.
It's a cheesy steakhouse chain, but The Keg in Yaletown has a slick rooftop bar that is an absolute scene. I can see you getting kicked out of there. Give me a heads up when you're in Vancouver!
I think the fish place Eddie's referring to is Go Fish. I've never been but have also heard good things.
It's dark cold and dreary season here where everyone looks glum and wants to jump off a bridge. Unless you are a skier, then it's dank storm skiing powdery awesomeness. Whistler has gotten a good spackling this last week.
Re Cove bikes. They are no longer in the old gas station down in Deep Cove. So some of the history is lost. The current location is on Main in North Van and doesn't have the old charm.
If into mtb you could either rent a bike and go scare yourself on the Shore. Or just go for a hike and see the trails. Shortest hike to see some great trail work is Natural High and Immonator.
Yes Alibi Room for beer. Best craft selection in the city.
GUU is a great Japanese recommendation, all locations have a different menu and slightly different atmosphere.
If it's a clear sunny day it's worth a trip up the tram on Grouse for a view of the city. If it's cloudy/overcast don't bother.
I don't leave the Shore much other than skiing in Whistler so I can't really come up with much more.
Slippery When Wet?
Sea Plane to Victoria could work. Driving and ferry time might be too much.
Haven't been there in a few years but one of our favourite restaurants was Bin 941 on Davie. Get the Navajo fry bread.
If you like coffee, there are lots of places to choose from. Mussette Cafe is a cycling themed cafe, but it's a little tucked away, so make sure you figure out directions before embarking. Revolver in Gastown is great coffee as is Milano ... lots of cafes on Commercial too.
Granville is hit and miss ... lots of skirts but also lots of d'bags who wanna flex their egos ... large concentration of bars/nightclubs though.
Go Fish won't be open in the winter ... it's great in the summer though. If you wanna walk off the hangover, grab a coffee and either walk some of the Stanley Park seawall or walk around False Creek. I'd lean towards doin the False Creek seawall and take it west towards Kitsilano ... if it's sunny, you'll see most of the Lululemon catalogue walking/running around. West 4th in Kits also has lots of foot traffic, again, lots of Lulu being shown ... take it east towards Granville Island.
Gastown is trendier now than Yaletown and Robson St is full-on tourist. Main St south of Broadway towards King Ed (25th Ave) is trendy too ... hit up Luckys Doughnuts for Vancouver's answer to Voodoo in PDX or Top Pot in Seattle.
Goosebumps never lie
Got some cash
Bought some wheels
Took it out
'Cross the fields
Hit a wall
But we're alright
The weather is likely to be the shits but a stroll through Stanely Park is nice. UBC (University of British Columbia) is on a fabulous site with scenic Wreck beach close by. When the weather is nice, Wreck is a clothing-optional place with a good counter-culture (in a good, bad and pot-dealing way). Not sure what it'll be like in winter but it's a pretty beach anyway. UBC has a very nice museum.
For out-of the ordinary food, try Sha Lin Noodle (Cambie & Broadway, one bridge out from downtown). Northern Chinese food where they make the noodles fresh and in front of you. Very cool but a bit divey.