See, Eat & Drink: The Perfect Long Weekend in Vancouver, Canada

Heading to Vancouver, Canada, anytime soon? Don’t leave home without this list of what to see and what to do. What makes me an expert? Well, not only do I love Vancouver, but I’ve been going there for years! And what a bargain the US Dollar gets right now ($1.00 USD = $1.35 CAD, as of 5/28). I’m going to make some assumptions: that you haven’t been before or at least in a long while, and that you’re staying downtown, as that’s where most of the hotels are. If you drink coffee, I’ll throw in some great cafes to try too. I’m also assuming you’re not renting a car, since it’s not really necessary.

  1. They don’t have Uber, and taxi from the airport is set by zone, so I always use a taxi into downtown. They do have public transportation, but we still take a taxi from the airport. For two people and given the exchange rate, it makes sense. It’s ~$37 CAD (~$27 USD) from Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and takes about 20-30 minutes depending on traffic.
  2. I stay downtown at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. Just in case that’s your hotel chain of choice as well, it’s a terrific property. I feel pretty strongly about this hotel, its location, and its lounge.

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These suggestions originate from downtown and here’s what I’d put on the A list. I walk A LOT, so the A list has a lot of walking in it.

1. Stanley Park. No matter what the weather, it’s always a walking city. I’ve been there in the winter with snow and sleet and still walked all over the place. Walk and you’ll feel like a local. The park is huge with many walking routes. If you walk the perimeter of the park all the way to English Bay, it will take a few hours. There are shorter routes to the bay. They are all beautiful.

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2. Granville Island. You can walk there from downtown or take a bus. Even if you’ve been to the Pike Market in Seattle, Granville is better and nicer and more fun. Lots of fun eateries. You must have the chai tea from Granville Island Tea Company.  It’s my favorite of all chai. They make each cup fresh from scratch.

3. Robson Street is a fun street with stores and shops. Hip and trendy stuff. The real action starts from the corners of Burrard and Robson. Walk Robson west all the way to Denman and then turn left and head to the Bay. Great urban walk.

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4. Another fun area to explore is Yaletown. Walk to Davie Street and head east all the way to the water. That’s the Yaletown area. Then you can walk along the water called False Creek.

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5. I know TWG readers like challenges, so ask at your hotel about the Grouse Grind. It’s a huge uphill/downhill hike outside the city.

6. Cineplex Odeon. If you’re in the mood for a movie, there’s a terrific art cinema. I go there all the time when I’m in Vancouver.

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Food in Vancouver is Asian-based, but I have a few non-asian favorites as well.

  1. Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna –  I go for the great lamb and mussels.
  2. Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro – I love this place!
  3. Sura Korean Cuisine – great food!
  4. Sylvia Hotel – this is a lovely historic hotel on English Bay. The restaurant is quite good and it’s also a great spot to pop in for some drinks.


If you’re staying downtown, I’d recommend two places. One is JJ Bean Coffee Roasters. You’ll find them around Vancouver. The other is Caffè Artigiano, which you’ll also find in various locations. These are the two best cafes.

A GREAT chocolate place is called Mink Chocolate.  If you like chocolate, even a little bit, this is a must. If you’ve never tried drinking chocolate, this is the place to enjoy one for the first time!

As for getting out of the city, most people would choose to see Whistler, but this would take a bus and a whole day. I prefer visiting Vancouver in the spring/summer/fall when you can hike. Need any other more specific info, please let me know. Always happy to help! Have a great time.

25 thoughts on “See, Eat & Drink: The Perfect Long Weekend in Vancouver, Canada

  1. Jonathan

    I am a local. Why would you take a taxi downtown ? Not only do you have to fight the traffic but it is much more than the skytrain.

    Also, the Hyatt is in the middle of downtown, so it is not a bad location, but the rooms are very sterile and I would recommend something on the water of either the Fairmont or the Westin Bayshore.

    1. shelli

      HI Jonathan, I agree, the Skytrain is good to know about. Taxi works too depending on a few things like luggage and mobility. And I don’t find the traffic to be that bad getting into downtown. I much prefer the Hyatt location to the Westin’s location. If you have Hyatt status, the Hyatt is a super place to stay. Excellent lounge, too. Thanks for your other suggestions, though.

  2. phoenix

    /also a local. I echo Jonathan’s suggestion of taking the Skytrain or Canada Line, but if you have to taxi (ie. lots of luggage) then ask for the flat rate when you hop into the cab.

    JJ Bean and Artigiano are decent but if you can make it out to Kitsilano or Mount Pleasant then Elysian Coffee Roasters and 49th Parallel are a cut above. If tea is your thing then I highly suggest O5 Tea Bar, they have rare teas from all around the world and the owner is great to talk to.

    Don’t forget the Chinese cuisine – Victoria in the basement of the mall adjoining the Hyatt has good dim sum and Cantonese cuisine, while Peaceful has a more Northern Chinese bent.

    And if you like your beer, Vancouver ranks with Portland and San Diego for quality and quantity. Red Truck, 33 Acres, Big Rock, and Andina will not only serve you a great pint but also a great meal!

    1. shelli

      HI Phoenix, The fee that I mentioned for the taxi is for the city zone that the Hyatt is in. I love that the taxis use a zone chart for the fare so you know before you leave the airport what the rate will be. And depending on the exchange rate, the taxi fare is quite decent. I love Elysian and actually know the owners. I’m not a fan of 49th Parallel coffee, though. Thanks for your TEA suggestion! Victoria is a great Chinese restaurant. Thanks for mentioning it. And excellent beer suggestions! Thanks for taking the time to add to the suggestions :)

      1. phoenix

        Ahh sorry if I missed that. I should add the passenger must mention he/she is looking for the zone-based flat rate fare otherwise the fare is calculated per-km.

        Good to hear you love Elysian! All I can say is our lists are nowhere near exhaustive, there are no shortage of boutique coffee shops run by obsessive passionate peoples!

        1. shelli

          Thanks for stopping by, again, Phoenix. Good data point about the taxi. I always just confirm that the taxi driver and I are on the same page as to what zone the Hyatt is in. And I agree about the coffee list and the passionate people :) I just mentioned the two that most tourists will see around town during their stay.

          1. Paul

            Hi Shelli – we’re arriving in Vancouver on Thursday from the UK, and are staying at the Sutton Place Hotel on Burrard Street – which zone is that in for the taxi? Thanks! PS: Thanks also for the tips -they’ll be very helpful! We’re planning to head for the Storm Brewing Company as there is also one here in Macclesfield UK where we live!

          2. shelli

            Thanks for stopping by, Paul. Lucky you :) The Sutton Place Hotel is a bit closer to the airport than the Hyatt so make sure to tell the taxi driver to look up what zone the hotel is in. Sutton Place gets wonderful reviews from people I know who have stayed there. Glad the tips helped. Enjoy your trip……..Vancouver is a fantastic city!

          3. phoenix

            @Paul Sutton Place and Hyatt are in the same taxi zone.

            And YES check out Storm Brewing. You’ll find it’s completely different from Storm Brewing in the UK! It’s eclectic to say the least…. strike up a chat with the owner/brew master if he’s in, he’s quite the fellow!

            Be sure to check out the other breweries in the area too. That part of town is called “Yeast Van” for good reason.

          4. Paul

            Thanks Phoenix – that’s a great help! And thanks for the Storm Brewing endorsement – the UK operation delivers brilliant beer, so the bar is set pretty high – but sounds very promising!

          5. shelli

            Appreciate the taxi zone info, Phoenix. And good to know we have a brew man onboard at TWG. I’m always busy with the coffee scene, but next time I’m in Vancouver I’m going to give some of your suggestions a try!

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  4. YoLaViajera

    Excellent post. We’re actually thinking of visiting Vancouver for 4-5 days sometime in August. I see there are 4 (!) Fairmont hotels in Vancouver, although one of them is located at the airport. Any Vancouver locals want to chime in as to which of the remaining 3 Fairmonts is the best? We’re traveling with a well-behaved, well traveled 5 yr old, who can handle luxury as well as camping. :) We have some free nights from the Chase card we want to use, so we’re trying to spend them at the fanciest one in the city… Thanks!

    1. phoenix

      All the Fairmonts are beautiful. Shelli referred to the Hotel Fairmont Vancouver, which is a fine choice and a block away from the shopping overload that is Robson & Alberni Sts, if that’s your thing.

      I personally prefer the Fairmont Pacific Rim, which is right on the waterfront across from Canada Place, which means gorgeous views of Stanley Park (which is a very pleasant walk to/from) and Vancouver Harbour, plus it’s a block away from Waterfront Station, which is a terminus for Seabus, Canada Line, and Skytrain Expo lines which means easy transpo to the rest of Metro Vancouver. Bonus: Bella Gelateria is in the same building as Fairmont Pacific Rim. Your 5-year-old will be spoiled for life, guaranteed :)

      Although don’t discount Fairmont YVR, it keeps winning awards for some odd reason ;)

      1. phoenix

        Sorry I keep getting Fairmont Pacific Rim and Fairmont Waterfront confused, Bella Gelateria is at the Fairmont Waterfront, but given they’re a block apart, my comments apply to both properties.

        1. shelli

          Thanks so much for adding to the conversation, Phoenix. I appreciate your taking the time! Both Fairmont hotels are also close to MINKS for drinking chocolate, too :)

  5. shelli

    Glad you enjoyed the post! You’ll love Vancouver and August is a great time to visit. The Fairmont Hotel on West Georgia Street is an excellent choice. The location is perfect (it’s a few blocks from my favorite Hyatt). Have family time fun!

    1. shelli

      You’re most welcome. That’s what we’re here for! Have a great time in Vancouver…….it’s easy to do :)

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