The best burger in Vancouver....
Of course, Vancouver has so much more to offer than burgers but sometimes a simple burger with fries is just exactly what you need. Personally, I would recommend on of the mouth-watering burgers at RED ROBIN (803 Thurlow St). They have various types of burgers and there french fries are simply amazing - and in case you're super hungry you'll even get free refills!
Granville Island, which used to be an industrial area, is now a perfect place for shopping, leisure and cultural activities.
The public market, which is the heart of Granville Island, is perfect for enjoying delicious specialities and for buying fresh groceries.
It seems as if there's always something going on on the island and if you are especially interested in arts & culture, this is the right place for you.
Go Fish, which is located on the seawall (just go left before you go onto the island) is the best place in the city to get fresh seafood. I absolutely loved their Fish & Chips and they serve delicious seafood burgers as well.
6 June 2013
Late Night Cheesecake Galore
I've never meet a person who doesn't like cheesecake ... have you?
That's the reason why this insider tip is about "Cheesecake Etc." - a restaurant which focuses on serving delicious cheesecake. The restaurant is open every night from 7pm until 1am, which makes it a perfect spot for satisfying late night cheesecake cravings.
PS: In case you are travelling with your partner this is the perfect place for a romantic date!
Gastown is the most historic part of Vancouver and can easily be identified by its cobblestone streets.
The majority of tourist guides just focus on one of the most popular attractions in Gastown: The Steamclock. It's a nice place to take a picture and to look at the steam coming out of the clock, but the most important place in Gastown - definitely not! There's so much more to see and do.
First of all, there are many boutiques that offer unique products and curiosities. You should definitely go into the stores to see all of their products and not just look at their shop windows.
Gastown is the perfect place to enjoy a drink in the sun on one of the various patios. I really liked the following bars/restaurants:
Chill Winston (http://chillwinston.com/)
The Lamplighter (http://donnellygroup.ca/locations/pubs/the-lamplighter/)
If you're just want to take a stroll through Gastown without a specific plan I would recommend to walk along Water Street.
5 June 2013
Just a ferry ride away - Bowen Island
Fancy a trip to an island? Bowen Island is just a 20-minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver (there are regular buses from downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay)
Go to the website to find out about the exact timetable. The ticket for the ferry costs around 11$, which includes the return trip to Horseshoe Bay.
The ferry terminal is located in Snug Cove, which is a small and charming town. There are several walking trails on the island and all of them are well marked. If you're not sure where to go just look at one of the maps (eg. at the tourist information right in the town centre) and you will definitely find your way around. If you also enjoy nature as much as I do you will love walking through the woods of Bowen Island. It is such a tranquil place.
In case you get hungry make sure to check out Snug Cafe (great coffee and several vegetarian options) and Miksa Restaurant (I loved their Fish and Chips!)
4 June 2013
Brunch at "Twisted Fork"
It took me my whole stay in Vancouver to find out about "Twisted Fork", which is in my opinion one of the best places in Vancouver for brunch.
The brunch menu is exceptional and I really liked that they "upgrade" traditional brunch dishes like French Toast with special ingredients and make innovative combinations out of it.
I would recommend to reserve a table, as it is rather small and cozy.
Check out their website to find out about their menu in advance.
Nightlife: Guilt & Company
Some people say Vancouver doesn't have a lot to offer when nightlife is concerned. Personally, I don't agree with them.
Of course, it cannot be compared with cities like New York or London but if you go to the right places you can really have a fantastic time.
I really like Guilt & Company in the "old town" of Vancouver which is called Gastown. You just need to walk down some stairs and there you are - in a cosy and entertaining bar.
There's live music almost every night and the drink menu is very appealing. If you're not sure which drink to choose - just ask one of the bartenders, they are happy to help!
PS: One hint - the bathroom at Guilt & Co. is a little bit different - be prepared for a surprise ;-)
Deep Cove is a small town only 13 kilometres away from the centre of Vancouver. Since it is easily reachable by bus it is perfect for a daytrip to get away from the buzzing city centre.
If you feel like walking I would recommend the Baden Powell Trail which leads up to "Quarry Rock". The trail is well maintained and it takes around 45-60 minutes to get up to Quarry Rock. On top you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view over the cove and if you are lucky you can even see the skyline of Vancouver.
For people who prefer activities in the water Deep Cove is the right place too. You can easily rent a boat or a kayak at the bay or just go for a swim in the cold but very clear water.
There are several restaurants and coffee shops in Deep Cove and it could be possible that you accidentally meet Ben Affleck while sipping your Cappuccino (I heard that he owns a house in Deep Cove).
3 June 2013
Vancouver is the place to be for Sushi-lovers!
Before I came to Vancouver I wasn't really a sushi fan but when I tried my first sushi in Vancouver I changed my mind immediately! Maybe it's because of the high percentage of Asians who are living in Vancouver or because of the fresh fish which comes right out of the pacific ocean but eating sushi in Vancouver is definitely a delicious experience.
There are a lot of different places where you can get sushi so it's really hard to get an overview and to find "the best" sushi in town.
Personally I can recommend "Shiro" (3096 Cambie St.) and "Minato" (992 W Broadway). Both restaurants are typical Japanese restaurants which offer a wide selection of sushi, maki, nigiri and everything else you love about the Japanese cuisine.
Battle of the Beaches II
Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks are a little bit further away from downtown but very nice for spending an afternoon with friends or family at the beach.
Wreck Beach is a "clothing optional" beach - decide for yourself if you are the right typ for this or not. It is located on the UBC Campus and you need to walk down around 500 steps to get to the beach which can get pretty exhausting when it's hot.
Kits Beach - my favourite beach! Not far away from downtown but not as crowded as English Bay. Kits Beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming and for playing frisbee or beach volleyball. Personally, I think it's most beautiful when there's low tide and you can talk a walk through the wet sand and enjoy the view on the mountains.
Battle of the Beaches I
It's always a good idea to go to the beach - whether it is for sunbathing, for playing beach volleyball, for having a picnic or for swimming in the refreshing ocean. Vancouver offers a lot of beaches and it can be really hard to decide to which one to go.
The most touristic beach is English Bay, as it is easy to reach and as it is part of each and every tourist guide. There are a lot of good restaurants and coffee shops around which is really convenient if you want to enjoy some take away food or a coffee at the beach. Unfortunately English Bay gets really crowded during summer time, which makes it hard to enjoy a quiet sunset.
Sunset Beach, which is right next to English Bay is a dog friendly beach, which is great if you have a dog but not so great if you want to sunbath or go swimming.
Second Beach and Third Beach are two beaches right along the sea wall around Stanley Park. Since they are not directly accessible by car, they mainly attract bikers and walkers.
2.9 kilometers, 853 meters elevation gain, 2,830 stairs... may I introduce "The Grind"
The grouse grind is well known among Vancouverites as well as tourists and each year over 100,000 people walk up the steep track. I wouldn't describe myself as an unathetlic person but I have to admitted I cursed several times when walking up the grind. So, be prepared, the grind is not walk in the park and it can get really exhausting. I would recommend to take an early bus from downtown Vancouver and do the grind in the morning as it gets really hot during summer time. Additionally, bring enough water and wear proper shoes. As I said, the grind is not a walk in the park but imagine the feeling when you've made it up to the top of grouse mountain - incredible!
Please note, that it is not allowed to walk the grouse grind back down. You need to take the "skyride" gondola, which costs around 10$.
2 June 2013
The Reef - Carribean Restaurant
After doing some sports in the fresh air it's always good to enjoy a delicious meal. I can highly recommend "The Reef" on Main Street (there is also one on "Commercial Drive"). There are various types of restaurants on Main Street and it is really hard to make a decision.
I went there for brunch and had wild salmon fillet on a toasted English muffin topped with poached eggs, citrus hollandaise and hash browns. It was DELICIOUS!
The service was also pretty good and the atmosphere was nice although I can imagine that the atmosphere is even nicer in the evening.
Get lost in Stanley Park... (but bring a map in case you get REALLY lost)
Of course - the well known Stanley Park is not a hidden gem anymore, nevertheless it is still a place that needs to be part of each stay in Vancouver. The park is around 400 hectares big and numerous trails are leading through the park. The trail with the prettiest of views is certainly the so-called "sea wall". The sea wall around the Stanley Park is approximately 10 kilometers long and easily walkable in around 3 hours (including several stops to take pictures and to enjoy the view). If you do not feel like walking it is also possible to rent a bike at several locations nearby. I would recommend to check out one of the bike shops on Denman Street.
When walking/biking along the sea wall you will stumble upon "Third Beach", which cannot be directly reached by car. Due to this fact the beach is less crowded than the other beaches during summer time.
Last but not least, make sure to stop at the totem poles (close to Brockton Point) and get a look at incredible Canadian heritage.