Planning Your Trip to Vancouver - Lea Carmen

Planning Your Trip to Vancouver

Last week Isaak and I joined some family for a quick trip to Vancouver, Canada. I'll be honest I did very little research up until the day we left for things to do! We were invited on this trip with a main priority to see Chris Stapleton's show. Confession: I didn't even know where Vancouver I thought it was smack dab in the middle of Canada that featured a lake. We flew into Vancouver and my husband had to tell me we were flying over the Pacific Ocean and that the city was on the coast...oops! 

Going into this trip I had very little expectations, I will say that I was really impressed with this beautiful city! Canadian people were so nice, the food was amazing, and the weather was nice and chilly (a great change up from Houston's hot and humid temps). I'll briefly outline what are some must sees and must trys below. I apologize in advance for some of the blurry photos, they were taken from our phones!

Must See:

Stanley Park + Seawall Drive + Brockton Totem Poles

This was the very first place that we ventured out to after checking into our AirBNB. I highly suggest renting a car to travel to all the sites of this city! You can drive around the perimeter of Stanley Park and stop to take great photos of the city's beautiful mountainous landscape. Some of the highlights of the park are the Brockton Totem Poles, the Lighthouse, the Seawall, and even the Aquarium is located at this park. We made the drive in the evening and caught the most gorgeous sunset over the Pacific Ocean coastline.

 a stop along the seawall
Brockton Totem Poles

Capilano Suspension Bridge

The second day of our trip we drove to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. You can see the attraction at their website here. We loved walking along the bridge, the nature trails, and the treetop mini bridges. Across the entrance there is a nice coffee shop, which was amazing for a hot chocolate before the adventure. The bridge is located across a beautiful river and there's a waterfall that leads into it.

after completing the bridge

view from the bridge

Granville Public Market

We ventured out to this public market after we ate breakfast one morning and were stunned at the size! Outside of the actual market there were plenty of restaurants, gift shops, and even ferry tours that take you around the harbor. I loved seeing all the different baked goods, seafood, and fruit/vegetable vendors at the market. Definitely take your appetite with you. We loved this area so much that we went back a couple days later for dinner!

outside the public market entrance

in the harbor area outside the food vendors in the market

Vancouver Aquarium

If you are planning a trip with children then I would reccommend a trip to the Vancouver Aquarium! If you are not, I would say that you could skip this. It was fun to go and see their huge jellyfish exhibit and see the rescued whale and dolphin, however with a group of adults the magic kinda ended there. I will point out that this attraction does highlight the area (Pacific Northwest) and the sea creatures living in it.

photo credit: vancouver aquarium

Roger's Arena

Unfortunately when we went to Vancouver, the Canucks were playing an away game. However, we did get to see Chris Stapleton play at this arena the night before we left. Sidenote: we also saw Ariana Grande for a hot second after her concert one of the nights on the street saying goodbye to fans! Not seeing a hockey game was a total bummer, I suggest checking out Roger's Arena for the even schedule!

photo credit: fasteel industries

Whistler, BC Canada

Now this town is actually an hour and a half drive one way from Vancouver to reach Whistler. During our stay, the climate was nice and cold but only rained. We really wanted to experience some Canadian snow! So after some quick research on Yelp, we found a snowmobile tour in Whistler. I highly reccommend making the drive up to this ski town. Ya'll the drive alone was breathtaking. The highway to Whistler was right on the coast and we drove past mountain after mountain and saw green landforms on the water. Once we got to Whistler, snow was on the ground and it was heaven to these Texans! We did this snowmobile tour and cannot reccommend it enough! They provided all the gear for a 3 hour snowmobile tour and were incredibly patient and kind (it was all of our first time). This excursion was hands down the highlight of our trip-it even started snowing up in the mountain while we were there. If we go back I want to do the dog sledding tour that they also offer.

 Whistler Ski Town plaza
 hot chocolate at Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar and Grill
 Blackcomb Snowobile Tour

What to Eat:

Breakfast- Twisted Fork 

This is literally the number one highest rated place for breakfast on Yelp. We had to go see what all the fuss was about. Ya'll. It. Was. So. Good. We each tried something different to sample each other's dishes but I have to say that I liked mine best-it was a banana stuffed french toast with vanilla creme on top. They offer a wide variety of dishes and offer french pressed coffee.

Brioche French Toast

Breakfast- Brioche

We used a Groupon to try this place and so glad that we found this hidden gem! While the offerings are somewhat common, the flavor profile was certainly nothing that we were used to. This was the favorite breakfast place among the group, with dishes like smoked salmon benedict it's not hard to see why.

Traditional Breakfast with egg whites sub

Lunch- Granville Public Market

Now I know I already mentioned this attraction but we typically ate breakfast at brunch times so we didn't really eat a "lunch" most days. When we did though it was here at Granville Public Market. What I love about this place, especially traveling with a group, is the diverse offerings. Literally one person had fish and chips while another had shrimp tempura and udon noodles. I opted for gelato and Italian pizza which was delicious.

inside the market, vendors wall to wall

This was hands down my favorite meal of the trip! We got to try Washington oysters-they offer a menu of different species of oysters and it was so fresh. After that we had a bowl of clam chowder that was absolutely divine. To finish, Isaak and I split the smoked scallop risotto that was also delicious. What I loved about this restaurant, which the deemed sea to table, was that they also had a section of the restaurant where you could purchase Fanny Bay oysters to take home. I highly reccommend this restaurant!

Kumamato Oysters

Dinner + Drinks- Lamplighter

We ventured out to this restaurant one night in Gastown. I would describe this area as a trendy and young bar scene, which was perfect for our group. We ordered prosciutto and fig pizza, a sausage sampler, and edamame. Additionally they had flights of Canadian beer, which the guys tried and a huge selection of wine and cocktails. This place is perfect for a group dinner and drinks.

Proscuitto & Gorgonzola Pizza

What to Skip:

Chinatown Vancouver

We actually stayed at a high rise condo that was across the street from Roger's Arena. It was also right in the middle of Chinatown. We wandered into this Asian market that had a selection of dim sum, boba tea, to go sushi, and other treats. The seafood market inside this huge grocery store was also interesting especially since they carried live urchin and geoduck. We grabbed an assortment (even Matcha Kit Kats) and headed back to munch on. Other than that grocery store I wouldn't say there was too much to Chinatown.

Blendz Coffee

Isaak and I are not avid coffee drinkers but the group we were with are! For every Starbucks we saw in Vancouver there was a Blendz coffee. We wandered into the coffee shop with high expectations. I would certainly skip this coffee place, with mediocre coffee and deli like food offerings you are better off going to Starbucks.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this travel recap! Let me know if you need any other travel recommendations in the comments below.

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