Vancouverites are a different breed. They somehow never work, they line up for brunch every day of the week, they live for the latest food trend, and they’re decked out in head-to-toe Lululemon. It is no surprise that if you were to Google things to do in Vancouver, a generic list would come up, but it would not encompass an authentic Vancouver experience. It would probably include Stanley Park, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Granville Island, and of course, the Aquarium. While these are all worthwhile destinations, if you want to get the real essence of the Vancouver lifestyle, follow along with my list of local favourites and attractions that locals frequent.
Vancouver’s all about boutique fitness classes, I personally love a boujee fitness class, and it’s the best way to start my day. Kondi, Ride Cycle Club, Movement108 or Lagree West are a few of my top picks to get a quick sweat session in and get energized for a day of local adventures.
Brunch is always a good idea
To a Vancouverite, brunch may be the most important meal of the day, and there is no shortage of options. As someone who has completely immersed themselves in the Vancouver culture, I live for a good brunch. Since there are so many good options, it’s very rare that I return to the same place twice! However, a few of my regular spots are Catch 122, Yolks, Chambar, Jethro’s Fine Grub, and Edible Canada. Each have their own claim to fame: Catch 122’s menu is amazing with elevated brunch options, Yolks has amazing chicken and waffles, Chambar is known for their Belgium waffles with flavoured dips and handcrafted lattes, Jethro’s has huge portions, and Edible Canada has a delicious french toast.
What’s brunch without coffee
If Vancouverite’s had their own food pyramid, coffee would have its own category. Independent coffee shops are huge in Vancouver, each on filled with hipsters and freelance entrepreneurs. I recommend bringing a good book or your laptop so you can people watch and digest your brunch. Elysian, Revolver, 49th Parallel, Matchsticks, La Marche St. Georges and Small Victory Bakery are a few places that I like to frequent for a good cup of joe.
Browse local shops
Although I’m usually an avid online shopper, Vancouver has some really cool shopping areas and boutiques to visit. It’s no surprise that thrifting, up-cycling and eco-fashion is a huge trend, given that Most Vancouver locals value sustainable fashion. Main Street has really cool consignment stores, while Gastown is home to an assortment of stationary stores, unique home goods, and independent clothing stores. 8th and Main, Front and Company, Welks, One of Few and Old Faithful are a few of my favourites.
Let’s get serious about lunch
If you haven’t noticed already, Vancouver is a foodie’s dream destination. Although I could give you a long list of options for lunch, there’s one place I think everyone should visit in Vancouver, and that’s Tacofino. I live for their burritos—my favourite is the crispy chicken, but make sure to ask for a side of green sauce! There are quite a few locations throughout Vancouver, so you can opt to eat in or get your burrito to-go and enjoy it at one of Vancouver’s local beaches or parks.
Get outside and explore
Speaking of beaches and parks, the ocean views and mountain ranges are a site to be seen. Queen Elizabeth Park, Grouse Mountain and Quarry Rock all have amazing lookouts with panoramic views of Vancouver. If you have a vehicle, I would highly recommend planning to spend the day at Garibaldi, Joffre Lake or the Chief. There hikes are quite intense, but the view makes it worthwhile.
Indulge in happy hour
Vancouver has a vibrant brewery scene; craft breweries have started to pop up in every neighbourhood. Each has their own eclectic feel, and they usually have an assortment of light snacks. If you’re into IPAs, stouts, lagers, or even cider, each brewery has something to offer! A few of my favourite breweries are 33 Acres, R & B Brewing and Postmark Brewing.
Catch a beach sunset
In the summer, biking is the number one mode of transportation. It is the easiest way to get around, and the city is built for it. There are quite a few streets that cater to cyclists, so you can use this Vancouver city map as a guideline. All of Vancouver’s beaches are easily accessible by bike, so I would recommend grabbing some snacks, sushi, and a blanket and then biking to the beach for sunset. Wreck Beach, Spanish Banks, English Bay and Kitsilano Beach will not disappoint. The perfect ending to a busy day in Vancouver.
That’s a wrap
Vancouver has such a unique culture, especially for a city. It has a laid back, health conscious vibe. Nothing happens in a hurry, and there’s always a new place to explore. For the foodie traveller, the outdoor enthusiast, or the luxury lover, Vancouver is the place to be. Where are you looking to travel next? Leave your next destination in the comments below!