Situated on the west coast of Canada, the city of Vancouver is the third-largest in the country, with a reputation for great outdoor activities, top museums like the Science World, and a feel for gastronomy ably demonstrated by its seafood and farm-sourced restaurants. Its epic, pine-forested landscapes and the Canadian Rockies have earned the city the nickname “Hollywood North,” with everything from “The X-Files” to the Twilight Saga filmed around here.
Set against the might of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver offers plenty of adventures for the outdoor enthusiast. Beaches allow the opportunity for everything from swimming to body boarding. Locals know to head to Wreck Beach for sunbathing, while you can take a boat out on the deep blue waters for world-class fishing and scuba diving. Check out Kitsilano Beach for a few rounds of volleyball or to introduce the kids to the 360° views from the splash-haven of heated Kits Pool.
A short 25-minute drive will get snow bunnies to the North Shore peaks of the Rockies and Grouse Mountain, a popular snowboarding and skiing spot, with unparalleled views of the coastal landscape and glass city below. Take the Skyride to the top of the mountain, enjoy a ride on the mountain zip-line and stop by the Grizzlies at Bear Discovery.
Grouse Mountain also offers a challenging hiking trail called the Grouse Grind. This 1.8-mile trail on the face of the mountain is known to locals as “Mother Nature's Stairmaster.”
For less intense activity, take a walk down the Sea Wall. Located at Stanley Park and approximately 13 miles long, this popular paved path is laid along Vancouver's waterfront. Perfect for a casual stroll or jog, the path will guide you around Lost Lagoon and will take you past multiple parks and beaches, including English Bay. From here, you can cross Lions Gate Bridge into North Vancouver and head to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, taking a walk across the forest from one of the seven footbridges suspended 100 feet above the ground.
First-timers to the area will get a kick out of staying in the thick of things at a hotel in Downtown Vancouver. Bunking in the heart of the city gives easy access to the high-end shopping on Robson St. as well as the bars, restaurants and clubs of the famed Granville St. Many of the Vancouver hotels located downtown also offer meeting spaces, computer access and Wi-Fi for your business traveling needs.
For an enchanting experience, guests will want to stay in the charming, historic Gastown. Make sure you stop by and check out the famous steam clock, located at the corner of Water St. and Cambie St. A short, two-block stroll west will take you to the Top of Vancouver, which provides a panoramic view of the sprawling city from an observation deck.
Vancouver is located on the coast of the Great Northwest and experiences moderate weather and temperatures. Because Vancouver is located at sea level and enjoys mild winters, snow within the city limits is less common than in the higher areas such as North and West Vancouver or Burnaby Mountain. To increase your odds of avoiding a downpour, visit Vancouver from May to September. As an added bonus, visiting in spring will give you the chance to see the beauty of the bright pink cherry blossom trees that pepper the streets in full bloom.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is located in nearby Richmond, BC, and offers direct flights to the US and worldwide. YVR is located along the Skytrain line, which transports you from the airport directly to Downtown Vancouver in approximately 45 minutes. The airport also offers access to car-rental agencies for a quicker drive Downtown. If you'sre driving over the border, the closest city is Seattle, at around a three--and-a-half hour trip, taking the northward bound I-5.