I love this place!
I love the sirens…
I love the traffic….
I love the construction…
I love apartment life…
I love not having a car…
I love Starbucks on every corner…
I love the diversity…
I love city life…
Wait what? I love city life? Never in a million years would I think that would be coming out of my mouth…
This month in Vancouver has been everything we wanted and more. It would be too easy to stay on indefinitely but we have our tickets booked home already!
When I think back to our time here I’ll be thinking of the leisurely walks out in the cold November streets. Ducking into the nearest Tim Hortons or Starbucks to get hot lattes to last us through our outings. Taking the little ferries to Granville Island. Pub crawling through Yaletown in a hunt to find not-so-hoppy beer. Stumbling upon a ‘meth head market’. Sitting in our apartment watching the city night lights. The list goes on.
For Kiwis and Aussies, you’ll probably feel right at home in Van City. There’s tonnes of us here! We went out for a quick beer at a local pub where a group of Kiwis and Aussies were at the table next to us… Long story short we drunk a lot of beer as we usually do and stumbled home during the wee hours of the morning. Making friends = SUCCESS! Also, Vancouver is a short drive from Whistler, a snowboarders/skiers haven. Many people will move here for the winter season and go up to Whistler when they can. So a huge bonus if that’s what you’re into.
There’s a few things about Vancouver that I feel is worth sharing for those thinking of visiting. Do note though that we didn’t do any ‘touristy’ activities during our time here. For the month we just wanted to assimilate into the local life.
WALK THE SEAWALL:
One of my favourite things to do on a clear blue day! The sea wall wraps around most of the city, giving you lovely views of the water and surrounding mountains. This looked awesome in November as the trees’ leaves held the autumn colours and the peaks of the mountains were blanketed in snow. We were super lucky with the weather during our stay here!
You can access Granville Island by bridge but the ferry is well worth it. It’s about $7.50 for a return fare per person. We would get the ferry from Yaletown (near city centre) and it would take about 15mins one way. The ferries come about every 10mins so you’re never having to wait too long. The ferry ride is unexpectedly scenic with the views you get of the city and the mountains. Even if you weren’t going to Granville Island, it’s worth jumping on one of these and going for a ride.
Granville Island itself is filled with character. The Granville Island Market has fresh food and produce. There’s also a variety of boutique stores, perfect for gift shopping or to find something to remember your trip by. Everyone recommends the Granville Island Brewery for beer. Vancouver is big on the craft beer scene, so it’s worth taking a trip to the island just for the beer if you’re a beer lover!
If you don’t have a car, rent a car and drive to Whistler for a few days. Winter or summer there’s something to do. Lucky for us the mountain opened early so we were able to go snowboarding as well as do a scenic walk. Though the walk we originally wanted to do was closed due to “treacherous” snow conditions. Whistler Village itself is gorgeous with cobblestone pedestrian streets, all nestled in among the mountains. Even if you can’t stay in Whistler long, the drive from VC and back is scenic to say the least. (You can check out Nate’s vlogs on our Whistler trip here)
GASTOWN & YALETOWN:
Both areas are trending in VC right now. Yaletown is where we were living for the month and has a tonne of cool bars and restaurants. Gastown also has a variety of bars and restaurants but has the cobblestone streets to add a little more character.
Note: Sometimes a turn down the wrong street will get you into some interesting situations… When wandering through Gastown, Nate saw some pop up tents and a blocked off road. Excited that it might be Sunday markets we head that way… Only to find it’s a meth head market. Literally hundreds of drugged up people selling a bunch of stolen goods. Old shoes, used bongs, freshly stolen boxes of Sushi going for $1 apiece. A little unsettling at the time but kind of hilarious once we made it through the crowd. Just a heads up for those of you that would rather avoid it!
Car Rentals: Vancouver makes it ridiculously easy to hire cars. They have this thing called ‘Car 2 Go’ or ‘EVO’. They’re these rental cars you can book online and pick up at the nearest parking lot that hosts them. I believe you can even pay by the minute, so it’s good if you just need to zip out of the city for a few hours. For our Whistler trip we used Budget Car Rentals… We didn’t even need our passport for the rental. The hire process was smooth and fast.
Hockey Game: If you get a chance, you’re in the right season and if it’s in your budget, try and make it to an ice hockey game. It’s such a huge thing for Canadian culture, but unfortunately we didn’t make it to a game while we were here. And talk to anyone and they’ll recommend for you to go.
Overall, we’ll miss this place and the sense of ‘home’ we found here. But who knows, maybe we’ll be back to live for a while. That’s something I know many people wouldn’t object to after experiencing this remarkable city.