One of the most vibrant areas of the city of Vancouver is its downtown core. Surrounded on two sides by magnificent waterfronts and topped by the greenery of Stanley Park, this downtown area is anything but a dead-zone buffered by the business of 9-5.
Whether it is international art, fantastic galleries, amazing food or specialty Vancouver shopping, the downtown of Vancouver has it all plus some. Static Photography’s photographer Kris Krüg had a chance to tour the streets of Vancouver for some fun in the sun and sight-seeing.
Come join us for a tour of Downtown Vancouver and see the sights for yourself!
Located on busy Granville Street the rock n’ roll hair salon Chop Shop is a definite stop for a quick color and haircut. Featured with their own reality show the ChopShop has its walls covered with rockabilly memorabilia and pin-up artwork. Their front desk is made from the front half of a Cadillac classic car – so cool!
When it comes to fashion in downtown Vancouver, El Kartel has some of the best pieces available. Stocked from Canadian, American and Central American fashion designers, this independent clothing boutique has some extremely rare finds for Vancouver. If you want to find the perfect fashionable gift, El Kartel is the place to check out.
Fritz is a European-style fry house that specializes in just that: french fries! Though a specialty restaurant, their food is far from limited. All of their fries are cut fresh in-house and their laundry list of dips and sauces makes choosing extremely difficult! Their poutine is out of this world but for a more traditional route try their fries with the cajun ketchup!
Since opening their first location’s doors in 2000, Artigiano Coffee House has been serving the city of Vancouver some of the best italian-style coffee. Their second location, convienently located across from the Vancouver Art Gallery, is often busy with business people, students and tourists. Their classic latte is perfection in a cup, complete with fancy barista coffee art.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is the largest gallery in Western Canada and conveniently located in the heart of downtown. This massive building is the home to thousands of pieces of art work including works from Canadian artists Emily Carr, Frederick Varley and Bill Reid. Many international shows often stop here for showing including the Leonardo di Vinci show that toured during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics.
Last year the city of Vancouver licensed a limited amount of permits for food carts for the streets of downtown. One of the lucky ones was the Re-Up BBQ cart. Unlike the other food carts, the Re-Up has a very limited menu that consists of exactly two items. Everyday they serve countless numbers of pulled pork sandwiches and freshly made sweet tea. For a quick and easy lunch, this is the place to hit.
The city of Vancouver is surrounded by a lot of water which gives way to awesome beaches, harbors and boats. One fun adventure to explore while downtown is Vancouver’s own Aquabus. This delightfully rainbow colored boat serves as a quick and easy water taxi to some of Vancouver’s best spots, all from the convenience of downtown pick-up locations. From downtown the Aquabus can take you to Granville Island, False Creek or Science World by way of scenic waterways.
When you walk around the city of Vancouver, one of the things you will notice is that there are large street art murals on almost every available space. Whether it is down small alleys between buildings or under large bridges as they jet out over the water, there is painted art everywhere. A great one to see if the large scale Wyland mural that was restored for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Make sure to stop and check out the bright colors because they definitely brighten the neighborhood. :)
One of the largest art murals in all of Vancouver is located on Beatty Street in the heart of downtown. This large artists space was once home to one of the most stunning murals in all of Vancouver’s history. Due to the city-wide effort to clean-up just before the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the mural was regrettfully painted over. The city has since restored the mural, not to its original status, but to space where Vancouver’s historical figures are captured in beautiful artistic renditions. When you walk down Beatty Street, you actually get to walk beside some of Vancouver’s most famous residents!
Granville Street is one of the main street that intersects the downtown of Vancouver from North to South. This single way can connect you from the beaches in Kitsaliano all the way to the Seabus which can take you over to North Vancouver. In between Granville is a busy area of lively nightclubs, restaurants and fun shopping. Granville at night can be a very different experience than Granville during the day but it is definitely the place to find some fun adventure while in downtown Vancouver.
Many renovations were made to the downtown core of Vancouver to help make it a greener city. One of these renovations was the addition of bike-only lanes in some of the busier streets of the downtown area. These bike lanes have their own light systems and crosswalks, which help control pedestrian and car traffic around them. The addition of these bike lanes act as an encouragement for commuters to take a more environmentally friendly way to work but also for visitors to explore the city by way of two wheels.
Vancouver Convention Centre: Outdoor Cauldron and Wall of Wood
1055 Canada Place
A year ago the city of Vancouver was completely transformed by the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. As part of the Olympic legacy the skillfully designed outdoor cauldron was left as a cultural element added to the beautiful downtown waterfront of Vancouver. This structure stands over two stories tall and is identical to the indoor cauldron that was lit during the Open Cermonies during the 2010 Winter Games. If you head down to check out the cauldron, make sure to stop into the new Vancouver Convention Centre to check out the Wall of Wood, which is also part of the 2010 Olympic history.
Whether it is for loved ones or a gift to yourself, flowers always brighten someone’s day. There are many little flower carts and shops through out the streets of downtown Vancouver for a quick bouquet pick-up. Located on Davie Street Downtown Florist is a great spot for colorful flowers of all kinds. Whether it’s red roses or blue Gerber daisies, you can definitely find what you want here.
The downtown location of the Vancouver Public Library is a massive architecture structure that is reminiscent of Rome’s Coliseum. This massive structure is home to the Vancouver Public Library’s largest branch and often has awesome events scheduled throughout the year. There are also coffee shops, eateries and small shops housed inside. Perfect spot for a moment of reflection or rest.
Located just near the entrance to the new Granville Street Skytrain station for the Canada Line, a large sculpture called Artificial Rock #143 sits amongst all the city traffic. This large scale piece is part of the Vancouver Biennale which is a radical art organization that places large-scale sculptures from international artists on the streets of Vancouver. Artificial Rock #143 is an installation piece of the 2011 edition of the Vancouver Biennale. Art is seen everywhere in Vancouver and the Biennale brings an international flavor to the city’s downtown.
The most awesome element of downtown Vancouver is that it is a living residential area. Flocked between tall business buildings are resident high rises with hundreds of people filling the downtown core of Vancouver at any hour. This characteristic of constant residency adds to the city planning of elements that may have only existed on the fringes of other cities, like city-planned parks complete with swingsets. Nestled near the corner of Seymour and Davie, this quaint little haven is complete with swing sets, grass, trees and a small fountain.
Seeing friendly faces as you walk down the street does not compare to seeing the friendly face of a four legged furry one. Downtown Vancouver is home to many residents and often times those residents have furry ones accompanying them on their daily outings. The city of Vancouver is extremely pet-friendly, with many outdoor patios and seating areas. Don’t be afraid to bring your pets with you as you explore the streets of downtown.
Make sure to check out Inside Vancouver next month when we start exploring our next Vancouver neighborhood, the awesome Chinatown!