A city that is alive and full of diversity
Coming from the Midwest, I miss diversity and culture and that is what Vancouver has. The downtown is alive after working hours and people live in the city and they all don't head out to the suburbs.
The city does have its fair share of vagabonds and only a few of my encounters with them were unpleasant . For example, one Lost Sole had AIDS and wanted to massage my feet. Hmmmm. I passed on the offer. Most just want what we all want, money and for free.
The city is surrounded with natural beauty and we were fortunate to have no rain. Seeing a city that is full of people living life. Coming from the Midwest, I am so used to cities emptying out by 5:30pm with the minivans and SUVs heading to the suburbs. Fabulous restaraunts variety and quality.
Visit Stanley Park and all its attractions. The totems (pic), aquarium, beaches, hiking trails, it's all great for a fun-filled afternoon! What's best about Vancouver is the city bustle in a sizable package. You'll find the best shops, the coolest bars and clubs and the most beautiful sights all closeby. Add the mild climate and gorgeous mountain backdrops and you won't want to leave. Unfortunately, I had to...
Skiing at Whistler/Blackcomb. ...
Skiing at Whistler/Blackcomb. Whistler is a three hour bus ride from Vancouver airport and is perhaps one of the most picturesque ski areas in existence. The bottom of the mountan sometimes skis wet below the cloudline, stay at the top for the best snow. The ski town is awesome and fully contained. Everyone is friendly, and for Americans, the exchange rate right now is extremely favorable. Molson anyone????
Strollin' the seawall
The seawall plays a major role in the authentic Vancouver experience. And it's fair to say that you haven't experienced Vancouver until you've strolled (or jogged, or cycled, or skateboarded, or rollerbladed) the seawall.
The seawall is what surrounds most of Downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park. It starts at Canada Place, heading west through Coal Harbour, around Stanley Park, along Third beach, Second Beach and English Bay, rounding its way down along False Creek to Yaletown, bending up around BC Place Stadium and over to Science World, and following along to Stamp's Landing, Fairview and hooking up with Granville Island then under the Burrard Street Bridge to Vanier Park and Kitsilano Beach. All together it's 22 km in length.
However, the seawall might be significant of thing further...
In 2006 I was invited to attend a Geography Alumni meeting at UBC on Valentine's Day (out of all days!) and our guest speaker was Lance Berelowitz, a Vancouver urban planner. He said something that has stuck with me since. He mentioned that unlike most major cities, such as London or New York, Vancouver lacks a central public gathering space. Where other cities might have places like Central Park or Trafalgar Square, Vancouver has... the seawall. But people do not come to the seawall to gaze n at Vancouver. People gather along the seawall to gaze out and away from the city.
Visit the North Shore
No visit to Vancouver would be complete without a visit to the North Shore. The North Shore, as the name implies, is the region across the Fraser River, on the North side of downtown. There are two bridges connecting Vancouver with the North Shore (represented by North and West Vancouver): The First Narrow's bridge (also known as the Lion's Gate Bridge) and the Second Narrow's bridge.
On the North Shore, you'll find ski hills, suspension bridges, and many, many hikes. Hiking on the various North Shore trails with my friends.