Canada, oh, Canada. My mom, sister, and I went for a quick 5 day girls trip to Vancouver in July 2018. We went for the whale watching and ended up having so much more fun than we even expected. I figured I would share a super quick run down of the trip highlights.
What to do
Whale watching– this is honestly the ENTIRE reason why we went to Vancouver in the first place. This was the obvious highlight of our trip and I would suggest a whale watching tour to anyone in the area. It was absolutely perfect to be on the water and see the city from a far off perspective. We rode around for nearly 5 hours and saw not only orcas, but also bald eagles, dolphins, and sea lions. Magical is the only word I can think to describe it. We went with Prince of Whales tour company and would completely suggest it for anyone in the area. They were informative, friendly, and really seemed to respect the animals we were in search of.
Lynn Canyon Park — Just a short 30 minute bus ride outside of downtown is a beautiful park that we loved exploring. The trails were pristine and had many options for varied skill levels. Right at the onset of the trail is a stunning suspension bridge that you walk across. Another famous suspension bridge is in Vancouver, but that location charges $50 CAD for admission to walk across… this one was free.
If you pack a picnic lunch you could easily spend all day exploring around here. There is a 30 foot natural pool for swimming with some of the bluest water I’ve ever seen.
Gastown — this had to be my favorite section of ‘downtown’ Vancouver. Historic buildings, budding shops, cobblestone streets, great places to eat, the steam clock…. all of these things are in Gastown. We stopped at one of the restaurants The Flying Pig for drinks and apps while exploring. Their cheeseboard is great, but the real star was the walnut old fashioned.
Granville Island Public Market– this is a super fun place to explore. If picking up any kind of groceries/picnic foods I would completely suggest going to the market. Its full of fresh produce and small shops to get everything from fresh meat to fresh bread. We sampled a few things throughout the market and everything was delicious.
Edible Canada— we ate at this lovely restaurant in Granville island one afternoon and it did not disappoint. I got the salmon which was absolutely perfect. We shared the poutine, which was uniquely topped with bison gravy (YUM). I would stop here again and again.
Vancouver Fish Company — This was probably one of my favorite meals the entire trip. We started with the smoked trout dip…. which was fantastic and warm and I could have eaten a WHOLE LOT of it. Then I got the fish trio with the most delicious burre blanc sauce. My mom and sister equally enjoyed all of our dishes and we agreed that this was the best lunch we had during the trip. We sat on the patio and watched sea lions dance in the water awaiting fisherman to discard their scraps from the day’s catch. Picturesque is the only word to describe it….. that and delicious!
Stanley Park– I would completely suggest biking at Stanley Park. It is walk-able, but by bike you could experience so much more of the area and the sea wall is really made for biking. There are little alcoves all through the paths with various things to stop and see.
From lighthouses, to scenic ocean views, to multiple beaches, to totem-poles — Stanley Park has it all. It is busy, but its beautiful all the same. We went mid-day and walked the sea wall around the majority of the park. We stopped for snacks and got fresh fruit, we had coffee, and we walked on the beach just so I could dip my toes in the water. I loved the park, but next time I would definitely rent a bike to be able to experience more of it.
What to pack
- Hiking boots
- Hiking outfits
- Water resistant jacket
- Good walking shoes
- Casual wear
What to Eat
SALMON. Eat all the salmon, strike that, eat all the seafood. I swear, it is so delicious and impossibly perfect. I ate some type of seafood at every meal during our trip. Every time, it was perfect. The benedicts with crab cakes or salmon are so good I’m still dreaming about them. Also, while in Canada you have to get poutine. Fries with gravy, cheese, and meats is not a healthy dish — but its so stereotypically Canadian that we had to take full advantage and tasted several different versions (favorite was the bison poutine at Edible Canada).
I actually did lots of research before we went about places to eat, and we didn’t go to very many at all. The best laid plans, right? But, I figured I would share my research with you in case you are in the area and need some reco’s. Does it count as a recommendation if I haven’t actually eaten there? Not sure– but here they are regardless.
- Medina Cafe – waffles and brunch
- Revolver– coffee and pastries
- Le Marche St. George– quiche, crepes, and pastries
- Yolks — breakfast with Mimosa flights
- Tacofino- varied tacos with epic guac
- Coast– seafood, snacks, and apps, with $1 oysters during happy hour
- Grapes and Soda– seafood heavy menu
- Botanist– stunning setting, stunning food
- Miku Restaurant– best sushi in town, which is saying a LOT
- Bella Gelateria– actually did have this one, but ate it so fast I didn’t snap a pic!
- Mister– frozen desserts, s’mores bars
Have you ever been to Vancouver? What should I make sure to experience on my next trip? Leave a tip for me in the comments below.