I think it’s about time I start blogging about my city, Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s such a beautiful place & I get so many requests for travel advice so I will split them up in a few blog posts so it’s less overwhelming. First up is what to do in Vancouver in the summer. Some of these can be done all year round and some are seasonal. I hope you enjoy if you’re a local or tourist alike!
- Stanley Park – This is one of Vancouver’s best gems. Bike the seawall (less than 2hrs and flat). If you don’t have your own bike or don’t want to have to carry it around afterwards, you can rent from Spokes Bike Rental. I trust this company the most. Their bikes are always in good condition, their workers are efficient in getting you going and they are knowledgeable based on your needs. They carry a variety of bicycles. I usually choose tandem to allow myself to enjoy the view while the boyfriend does all the work 😉 . There are other bike rental companies that are cheaper but whenever I’ve tried another company, I just wasn’t as happy with my bike’s function so now I just save myself the hassle! If you start from Spokes, they can show you your route that circles back to them and should take you less than 2 hours unless you stop. Stanley Park also has pitch and putt, which is laid back and a lot of fun or else you can always have a picnic or talk a walk through this enormous park (405 hectares)!
- Shipyards Night Market (Seasonal – Spring/Summer only) – A night market every Friday between 5 p.m. -10 p.m. at Lonsdale Quay between May and September. There’s live music, lots of food trucks, a beer garden and even some fun small vendors selling crafts or even produce! It’s transit friendly, just on the other side of the water from Vancouver (via the Seabus) and a lot of fun. Dog & family friendly.
- Richmond Night Market (Seasonal – Spring/Summer only) – A night market open every day starting at 7 p.m. until 11 or 12 (depending on the day). To be honest, this place is VERY busy and not my favourite but there are SO many food vendors and the scale of this night market is huge. So if you’re into good (mostly asian food), cheap phone cases and just having a good time, I would definitely check it out. Now that I’ve been a few times, I usually just go, eat dinner, walk around a bit and leave because the crowds can get annoying some days.
- Granville Island – A fun market that can be reached by taking a water taxi across the water or driving/public transit. I prefer to drive but park quite a few blocks away because the actual island is quite small and with so many pedestrians, it makes it tough for drivers to get on and off unless you have a lot of patience :). The market has lots of little vendors selling artisan food products, fresh produce or trinkets. So grab a friend, head here in the morning, grab a coffee and take a browse followed by lunch at a nearby restaurant or even the food court. It’s a fun 1/2 day of strolling. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could even pick up ingredients to make a meal later in the day at home.
- Beaches – have a low key relaxing day and visit the various beaches Vancouver has to offer. My favourites are Kitsilano Beach because it’s super dog friendly, the vibe is so chill with lots of people are having fun and playing games but beware, this place gets packed! Kitsilano Beach also just renovated their pool and now has a salt water pool that just opened in 2018. My second favourite beach would be English Bay, it’s a lot larger than Kitsilano Beach and has so many shops and restaurants within walking distance that there is something for everyone. English Bay is a part of Stanley Park so there is the bonus of those amenities too.
- Honda’s Celebration of Lights (Seasonal – Summer with date changes each year)- Each year, usually end of July and beginning of August, there are firework celebrations over English Bay & Burrard Inlet (can be viewed from some other locations too). They are spectacular shows with music that are put on by sponsor countries that last about 30 minutes. If you decide to do this, go early and secure a spot because the beach is packed! Plus, maybe don’t drink too much liquid because after a certain time, it’s practically impossible to go anywhere. As always, there’s lots of food vendors, police making sure everyone is having fun safely and huge crowds going home via the Skytrain (transit) but if you’ve never been, it’s a must see. This year’s dates are: July 28, August 1 & August 4.
& now for some hikes…
- Grouse Grind (North Vancouver) – this is a terrible hike with a great view! Everyone calls it nature’s stair master and that’s pretty accurate. It’s about an hour + of hiking stairs (man-made) with no view and a narrow path until you get to the top. The locals love to beat their time each time they do it and the tourists like to show up in flip flops. This is definitely not an easy hike so come prepared but if you like short but hard hikes, you could definitely try this! Plus there is a restaurant and attractions up on Grouse Mountain and you can take the gondola down (hiking down is not allowed) so it’s easy on the knees that way ;).
- Quarry Rock (Deep Cove) – This is one of my favourite hikes because the view is gorgeous and the hike is relatively easy. My boyfriend and I like to run up and down, which only takes us about an hour. It’s easy because it goes uphill and then downhill so you can catch your breath. Note: parking here is a nightmare so come early or have someone drop you off. Pack a nice quick bite for the top overlooking the water or have lunch at the end of the hike. There are numerous restaurants, ice cream shops and little stores to choose from here.
- The Chief (Squamish) – The drive to Squamish is gorgeous on its own but this hike is just breathtaking. There are 3 peaks (I’ve done peak 1 and 2 only) and both had a beautiful view. The trail is dog friendly and a fun spot to have a packed lunch at the top. Plus the pictures you’ll get…UNREAL! I would give yourself a good half day to do this hike to allow time to drive there, hike, enjoy the view at the top and then come down.
- Joffre Lakes (Pemberton) – This is about 3 hours from Vancouver or if you’re planning to visit Whistler about an hour away from Whistler (which is what I recommend). Personally that’s a lot of driving in one day, plus a hike that is not just a walk in the park. It could be done as a day trip but would definitely take an entire day. I’d recommend spending a night or 2 in Whistler so you can experience both things at once. There are 3 lakes here. The first lake is right when you first start, beautiful aqua coloured water and great for people who may not have the ability to hike but if you do, I highly suggest going until lake 2. This by far has the best view IMO. The mountains in the background, and the glacier water are unreal. We continued to the 3rd lake, which was also gorgeous but not so much after seeing the 2nd lake. The trail is well marked and busy. Bring some food for lunch by the water and you may just have a bird steal a bite. The birds are very friendly here and even eat off your hand. Although wildlife should not be fed…please be responsible and bring bird food if you plan to feed them and not your sandwich bread etc. PLUS, if you’re brave enough to go swimming in ice cold water, you can jump in quickly and jump out just as quickly… Even in summer, that water does not warm up! Bring a change of clothes if you decide to do so :). No one likes hiking back in the shade in soggy clothes. P.s. if you’re like me, a bug magnet, remember to bring some bug spray with you too!
Some other things you might want to do, which are popular but not always my go-to:
- Capilano Suspension Bridge – I’m a wuss with heights so I definitely have not done this but have heard that it’s magical. It’s practically a big swaying bridge but hey if that’s your thing, go for it!
- Vancouver Art Gallery – if you’re into that kinda thing… they get some cool exhibits from time to time. Personally, I’m like an impatient kid in art galleries so…
- Science World – They get some fun exhibits from time to time that are fun for kids & families too!
If you’re planning a trip and have questions, feel free to reach out at anytime.