Travel Guide: Vancouver

bbc-travel
"On behalf of Air Canada, welcome to Vancouver. Please remain in your seats until the seat belt sign is turned off."

A weekend trip to Canada is hardly enough time to truly explore Vancouver, BC., however every ounce of sleep we lost that weekend was completely worth it. After all, you can sleep on the flight back home right?

BACKGROUND:

We landed in Vancouver at 11:30PM Friday night, retrieved our rental car at midnight and got to our hotel at 1AM. We woke up 4.5 hours later and drove out to Whistler to spend half the day with Mother Nature. 

Our schedule was filled with back-to-back activities, in which we were forced to narrow down our choices based on proximity to our hotel. To give you an idea of how little we slept, we spent Saturday out and about from 5AM to 2AM, woke up Sunday at 6AM and flew back to LA by 8PM. We wouldn't recommend taking this route unless you don't mind running on a few hours of sleep or if you're on a time crunch like us, but we wanted to make sure you had enough things to do in Vancouver. 

Huge thanks to Tourism Vancouver for assisting us on this trip and Budget for the car rental!

RZR Tour & Superfly Zipline

Tag Whistler

For the thrill seekers and those who are looking for a great adventure, Tag Whistler is the place to go.

Just a short 2-hour drive outside of Vancouver, Whistler is certainly for those who love a good hike, fresh mountain air, and views for days. 

RZR TOURS

We started our morning off with a RZR tour, which allowed me behind the wheel while Jen had to suffer through my extreme excitement over driving over mud puddles at high speeds. We had a great tour guide who made sure we were never left behind - and allowed us to be the obnoxious bloggers that we are by taking a million photos at each stop. 

Helmets, goggles, jackets, and pants are provided so you don't completely ruin your outfit, but the dirtier the adventure, the better right?

Whistler Backcountry is absolutely stunning and is much more gorgeous than our camera could capture. You'll feel automatically at peace staring into the mountains and the calm breeze will certainly put you into a trance. 

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SUPERFLY ZIPLINES

Let me start off by saying that I'm afraid of heights, but I love a good view. This translates to, "I will do it for the gram." Hah.

Despite my fears and doubts at the start of the zipline, I am proud to say I completed all 5 courses and would do it again.

Our tour guides were extremely comforting, understanding, and offered alternative routes if anyone did not want to go through with the zipline. They walked us through safety procedures, landing stance, and what each course was known for (ex: speed, height, length, etc). 

Overall, the experience was thrilling and I'm so glad to have it crossed off my bucket list. If you watch the video at the top of this post, you'll see more of our ziplining experience!

Suspension Bridge

Capilano

One of the most popular things to do in Vancouver is to visit the Suspension Bridge and to our surprise, it wasn't as scary as it looked online.

While the bridge does bounce and can get pretty crowded, it was well worth visiting. The river below is beautiful and the surrounding lush forest made it another perfect place to just reflect on life. We, unfortunately, missed the cliff walk and treetop adventures, but will certainly be back for that.

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Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen 

I had a total Mulan moment strolling through the Chinese Garden. I mean, look at how stunning this garden is - and how much more stunning it will be once they replace the water back into the pond (haha). It was under construction when we visited.

Despite the construction, the garden remains open to the public and there were crowds of people pouring in for tours while we were there. This place screams tranquility, with complimentary hot tea and a chance to play around with some calligraphy. Events and exhibits are also offered so you can certainly spend an hour here easily.

Note: parking is only available on the streets but Vancouver has an easy to use pay-by-phone meter system that I wish we had all over LA! 

Vancouver Lookout

Harbour Centre

With every new city I visit, I always seek out the best place for a city view. The Vancouver Lookout is similar to Seattle's Space Needle. You get a 40-second ride in a glass elevator to the observation deck, in which you're able to get great views on the way up. 

Located right in downtown, the Vancouver Lookout gives you 360-degree views of Vancouver while you're 553.16 feet above ground. 

You won't spend more than 30 minutes here, so make sure to stop by while you're in the city.

STANLEY PARK

Vancouver's first, largest, and most beloved urban park

Stanley Park is one of my favorite things to do in Vancouver because you get so much diversity within one drive. Depending on which end you start on, you can find a great view of the city, see the Lions Gate bridge from a few different angles, or simply relax within the park's 400-hectare natural West Coast rainforest. There's just so much to do and so much to see. 

Note: For the best views (for photos), come before 7AM! We were able to capture some great shots without any interference.

Thanks to Budget for lending us this classy Cadillac for our trip, which was perfect for driving through Stanley Park. 

VanDusen

Botanical Garden

For those looking to spend a few hours away from reality, go get lost in the VanDusen Botanical Garden.

With 55-acres of plants, flowers, a waterfall, maze, and much more, this place was one of the best ways to end our trip. Unfortunately, we only had 40 minutes to spare but ran through as much of it as we could. I certainly want to go back and take my time on our next trip.

Every inch of this garden was inspiring and if you're looking for a specific flower, check out their bloom calendar so you can coordinate your visit appropriately. With over 11,500 accessions representing more than 7,300 plant families and 255,000 individual plants from around the world, I highly doubt you won't find what you're seeking.

Great for families, couples, and just individuals who want to escape for an hour and a half.