The following article was contributed by Tourism Vancouver Media Relations staffer Sonu Purhar
Despite having lived all 27 years of my life in Vancouver, I still stumble across under-the-radar experiences that most visitors wouldn’t even know to check out for themselves. My ideal 24 hours in the city would combine visiting some of these lesser known hotspots with revisiting – yet again – my all-time favourites. The whirlwind tour starts here:
Waking up in the penthouse suite at Opus Hotel Vancouver, a chic lion’s den of luxury. They say you should greet each morning with a smile, and there’s no better way than stepping out onto the Juliet balcony and looking out over the coffee-drinking, dog-toting Yaletown crowd. Each room at the Opus now features a personalized iPad – but as a discerning local, I’ll venture out sans techno-concierge.
Breakfast is a stroll away in Crosstown, at the contemporary-meets-homestyle Café Medina. Perfect for whiling away the morning hours with friends, Medina dishes up melt-in-your-mouth Belgian waffles with equally droolworthy toppings – think dark chocolate for decadence or yogurt to appease your health-conscious conscience.
I could spend hours with friends at the Stanley Park seawall, either biking or strolling – either way, looking out over the sparkling ocean and sprawling on the sands of English Bay is one of my favourite ways to spend a sunny day. If it’s raining – what, rain in Vancouver? Never! – I’ll get my daily workout with a free yoga class at Vancouver-born lululemon.
After working up a sweat, it’s time for a wind-in-your-hair commute to Granville Island aboard a rainbow-coloured Aquabus for lunch at the bustling Public Market or, more likely, a triple-scoop gelato. In summertime, I’ll fuse culture with historical suspense by tagging along on the Vancouver Police Museum’s Sins of the City walking tour – a great way to see the city and learn about Vancouver’s colourful past.
My go-to place for after-dark fun? Gastown, hands-down. The once-seedy neighbourhood is now home to some of Vancouver’s coolest restaurants and lounges, and I’ve spent countless memorable evenings roving the cobblestoned streets with friends. Though there’s tons of choice in Gastown, my tried-and-true resto is Blood Alley’s Salt Tasting Room for perfectly paired wine and cheese in the cellar, followed by neighbouring Pourhouse for a cocktail crafted to my mood. Lately I’ve been venturing deeper into Gastown into the transitioning neighbourhood of Chinatown for a trifecta of newly discovered experiences: an uplifting concoction at The Keefer Bar, dinner at Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie – home to the best dumplings I’ve ever tasted, anywhere – and a night of dancing at Fortune Sound Club.
After my activity-packed day in Vancouver, I’ll crawl into bed with a smile, knowing that when I wake up I get to do it all over again – this time with a fresh batch of experiences to try.
5 More Hidden Vancouver Experiences
- Take a private tour of the Rennie Gallery, housed in Chinatown’s oldest building.
- Enjoy one of the city’s best views atop the Eye of the Wind turbine on Grouse Mountain.
- Learn about the art of handcrafted sake at Osake on Granville Island.
- Take a cocktail class at The Diamond in Gastown.
- Unleash your inner gourmet at The Dirty Apron Cooking School.