estled between the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and located on the the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, Vancouver is a city that was made for exploration. From lush temperate rainforests, beautiful beaches, and vibrant neighbourhoods, it’s one of the most diverse culinary scenes on the West Coast.
We’ll guide you through the city by taking you to the very heart of it first—False Creek. A short, narrow inlet that separates the downtown core from the rest of Vancouver, you can walk, bike, run, or roller skate the iconic seawall route and give yourself a taste of every major neighbourhood that borders the water.
The place to go for a couple of beers on the beach at sunset, and home to Alvin Kanak’s Inukshuk, we’ll start our day at English Bay and stop by JJ Bean (1209 Bidwell St) to grab a Railtown brew like a true Vancouverite. Make mental note that the West End and Davie Village are only a couple blocks east, and come back on the weekend to dance the night away at one of the community’s legendary drag shows.
Stroll past Sunset Beach and we’re in Yaletown. Once the western terminus for the Canadian Pacific Railway, the red brick warehouses and rail yards from that bygone era have now been repurposed into boutiques, lofts, sidewalk cafés, and restaurants. Enjoy the abundance of waterfront views (and small dogs) before heading to Small Victory (1088 Homer St) for one of the best almond croissants in town.
Follow the seawall and make a quick visit to Chinatown and Gastown—this is just reconnaissance, you’ll definitely be back. When you find yourself here again, we recommend getting a bite to eat at the legendary Phnom Penh (244 E Georgia St) for the best chicken wings and bo luc lac, period. Then, make a beeline for The Diamond (6 Powell St) for a cocktail or two crafted by veteran mixologists of the city’s bustling bar scene, before ending your night with a glass of natty wine at Juice Bar (54 Alexander St).
Next stop is Olympic Village. Built to house athletes during the 2010 Winter Olympics, this residential neighbourhood on the southeast border of False Creek is now one of the greenest communities in the world. We’re going to Earnest Ice Cream (1829 Quebec St) for a scoop of what kickstarted Vancouver’s small batch, seasonal ice cream craze back in 2012. You’ll find hyperlocal flavours like Whiskey Hazelnut, Spruce Bud, and Sweet Corn Blueberry Swirl here, depending on the season. Don’t worry, the line moves fast.
Rounding the False Creek bend, you’ll be glad you saved your appetite for some of the best dim sum in North America. We’ll grab a table at Sun Sui Wah (3888 Main St) with the rest of the East Van crowd, before exploring what Cushman & Wakefield called one of “North America’s 15 Coolest Streets,” Main Street. Visit Vancouver Special (3612 Main St) to browse curated home goods, Pulpfiction Books (2422 Main St), or any of the other eclectic local businesses that line Main.
A trip to Vancouver just isn’t complete without a stop at Granville Island Public Market. A lively amalgamation of independent vendors—ranging from bakers and butchers to jewelers and ceramists—you’ll come to understand that this year round market isn’t just a tourist destination, but also a hub for local gourmands and artists. Plus, who can pass up a fresh lobster roll from storage container turned chef-driven eatery, Popina Canteen (1691 Johnston St).
As the sun sets over the beaches of Kitsilano, we’re just in time for dinner service at Chef Angus An’s Maenam (1938 W 4th Ave). Think green curry made with local sturgeon, lingcod with 8-spiced sauce, stir fried pork jowl: it’s Thai food with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, and a deep respect for tradition. Finally, we’re ending our night at Grapes & Soda (1541 W 6th Ave). Unwind and rest your legs with one last cocktail (the Forager’s Gimlet, perhaps?) in this intimate space while you plan tomorrow’s adventure.