We sometimes forget the wonderful treasures in our own backyard. For locals and visitors alike, here’s our weekend getaway guide to relaxing in Vancouver.
Lock up your condo and forget the kids/partners/parents/animals/frozen dinners at home, it’s time to spend an art-filled weekend at the recently updated Opus Hotel. We recommend the Art + Identity + Travel package, where LA/Vancouver-based contemporary artist, Alana Rothstein, will work with you to create a work of art inspired by you. The package includes a newly renovated Deluxe King guest room, an art consultation with Alana Rothstein and a beautiful art piece to add to your collection at home. Starts at $539, or if you’re interested in a room only (they all include an iPad, iHome, free Wifi + more), the Queen Standard starts at $259.
Gastown is one of our favourite neighbourhoods to people watch, eat and shop. For drinks, there are a ton of options. Start at Bitter for beer, Boneta for wine + cocktails, Shebeen for whiskey or the Chill Winston patio for drinks and people watching. For tapas, try The Sardine Can for Spanish wine, sardines on toast and our favourite dish, chorizo fried with white wine and garlic. Then head to L’Abbatoir for fabulous French dining, followed by The Pourhouse for expertly crafted cocktails (try the Old Fashioned). For a post-drinks snack, try our new, late night best friend, Bestie, where sausage-and-fries street food is smothered in curried ketchup.
For brunch, try The Flying Pig in Yaletown or Gastown for pure indulgence. Every meal starts with a complimentary cinnamon bun, hot from the oven and divine. For a change of pace, head to Cafe Medina for Moroccan-inspired tagines and crisp, fluffy Belgian waffles with dipping sauces (we like the lavender milk chocolate and pistachio rose water).
For hipster finds, try the Mount Pleasant district, where you can pick up vintage pieces at Front & Company, and LA brands at Vincent Park and several other boutiques. Pacific Centre and Robson Street are great for high street shops like TopShop, Club Monaco, H&M, Forever 21, Zara and Aritzia, and there are always luxe offerings at holt renfrew. We also like Ishara, Lynn Steven and Board of Trade in Gastown for their finely curated selection of dresses, jewellery and specialty home pieces.
Vancouver is a little crazy about its coffee, but for a nice change of pace, consider a calm drive to Kerrisdale for afternoon tea at Secret Garden or Faubourg. If coffee is more your thing, forgo the usual Starbucks or Tim Hortons for an espresso at 49th Parallel (they make their own raw almond milk in-house), Milano Coffee in Gastown or Bel Cafe just outside Pacific Centre.
If you still have some time between eating, drinking, sipping and shopping, the Vancouver Art Gallery is a great place to take in a special exhibit or two, like The Grand Hotel exhibition, featuring the above “Layers Love Hotel Room 307” installation by Richard Hutten.
If the weather is nice (trust us, it doesn’t always rain), a run, stroll or bike ride along The Seawall is a refreshing alternative to the glass buildings and bustle of the city.
Welcome to Vancouver!