I had the incredible opportunity to go to Vancouver, Canada last week for work. We were there to shoot nine commercials in three days, which meant non-stop working. However, we came a day early to explore and it was the BEST decision we could have made. We had enough time for food and some site-seeing and y favorites are below:
Lynn Canyon Park + Suspension Bridge: There is a more famous suspension bridge, called Capilano Suspension Bridge that is longer and generally more famous (but costs $40), so we opted to do Lynn Canyon, which is free. It was gorgeous. The hike involves a lot of stairs, but is overall easy and will only take you an hour and a half to two hours. At one side of the hike there is an ADORABLE country store that is an absolute must do, where we got quite a few souvenirs (in my case, Canadian sauces), called The End of the Line General Store (not kidding, it’s SO cute). We did the entire loop on the map, including the Baden Powell trail.
Sea to Sky Highway (Highway 99): My boss and I were told by several friends before this trip that this drive is a MUST DO, and they were SO RIGHT. We simply put Highway 99 into our Google Maps from Downtown and started driving. It is the kind of drive where you have to be careful to not get in an accident because the scenery is SO UNBELIEVABLE. It’s a bit hard to get good pictures, a lot of the shoulder’s where you can stop have trees that block you from getting the entire amazing view in one photo. There is a sea to sky gondola (that we didn’t have time for) that people recommend. Your best bet is to try a few exits that strike your fancy and try to get as close to the water as you can for photos, try Porteau Cove or Lions Bay for some great pictures.
Horseshoe Bay: We were in the middle of Googling “good places to stop on Highway 99” when we approached the exit for Horseshoe Bay, so we decided to go for it. I’m so glad we did. The downtown/waterfront area is an adorable little walk. You can go out to the docks, walk the little town, and get food within an hour or two.
Downtown Waterfront: There is a ton of great food and you can rent bikes and ride along the water for a few miles. Everything in Vancouver is gorgeous and pristine (the lack of trash is insane!), but this is super pretty.
Gastown: We drove through here on our way back and didn’t have time to stop, but I would suggest it if you have time. It feels very old world and had a ton of shopping, bars, and restaurants. (Ashley recommends Ask For Luigi if you’re in the mood for some good Italian!)
In Horseshoe Bay:
Olive and Anchor: Again, Google was the official sponsor of this trip ;). We googled best fish and chips in Horsehoe Bay and this is what we got. We also ordered their Clam Chowder. Definitely in the top five I’ve ever eaten of either, and I love/know my seafood.
Berry’s Frozen Yogurt: Because you’re allowed to have ice cream on vacation! I got two child’s size scoops so I could try multiple flavors, the salted caramel and coffee were both amazing.
Starbucks: I’m only including this because it’s right on the corner by the bay, is a great place to pee for free, and we parked right across the street for free.
In Downtown Vancouver:
Fanny Bay Oyster Bar: I wanted Oyster Happy Hour and the internet said this was the best. The internet did not lie. I sat at the bar, where the staff shucked hundreds of oysters flawlessly like machines. The oysters were SUPER fresh and the staff takes great joy in explaining to you the different types so you can explore and really get to know the all the variations. Before I ate here, I really didn’t taste much difference. I also had their baked scallop special (scalloped seared and then rebaked in the shell with mashed potatoes and mushrooms, served with a green bean and artichoke salad with citrus dressing) which was absolutely insane and if they have it when you’re there you MUST get it.
Miku Restaurant: This sushi spot was one of the best meals I’ve had in YEARS. Not only was the service phenomenal and the location insane (it’s right on the water), but the food is absolutely amazing. The place is owned by a Japanese chef who has several locations, including Japan. They do a special style called “Aburi” which you MUST try. It’s hard to explain so I’ll leave that to their amazing staff. Their sashmi was also the most fresh and delicious I’ve ever tasted. The salmon broke apart with just a chopstick. It was surreal. We paired with “Gold Omachi” sake, which was incredible. We then finished with a green tea and matcha dessert that was perfection.
Joe Fortes: This dinner was hosted for our work. It’s got a very old world vibe and is your standard seafood and steak house. Pretty location, solid food. My salmon was really overdone, but everything was otherwise okay. Great for big groups.
Where to Stay
I would vote downtown! We stayed in Hotel Blu, which was a bit expensive for what it is (keep in mind this was a work trip so options were dictated by the company), but centrally located and right by the sports stadiums. But, if you can find an Airbnb in Downtown, it’s a great place to be and still be able to walk or take a super quick cab to a lot of GREAT restaurants and neighborhoods.