How to have the perfect weekend in Vancouver

How to have the perfect weekend in Vancouver

Vancouver is a Canadian city that’s instantly captivating. Located on the picturesque west coast, it perfectly blends a natural playground of adventures with a cosmopolitan urban scene. With only two days in Vancouver, get set to spend your time dining at the city’s best farm-to-table restaurants, literally climbing up a mountain and exploring its scenic urban parks. This guide provides the perfect itinerary for a weekend in Vancouver.

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Weekend in Vancouver: day one

Morning

Any weekend in Vancouver must start with brunch. If you’re an early riser, head to the rustic Jam Cafe before the crowds congregate. Many locals will confirm the dishes at Jam Cafe are worth the wait though, as it serves the best brunch in Vancouver. Their menu is inspired by Southern comfort food and includes a long list of eggs benedict options, an innovative waffle board, and sweet and savoury pancakes as well.

Alternatively, if you want to start your Vancouver weekend with a plant-based meal, head to Heirloom. From a truffled omelette to vegan blueberry French toast, dining at Heirloom is never a bad idea. After breakfast, make Stanley Park your first port of call. At 400 hectares, the urban park is larger than Central Park. Surrounded by water, Stanley Park is home to a plethora of walking trails, Canada’s largest aquarium, landscaped gardens, and popular beaches come summer. A visit to Stanley Park is one of the top things to do in Vancouver.

Photo: Mike Benna

Photo: Mike Benna

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There’s a good reason why you should visit two parks in one day in Vancouver

Afternoon

In the afternoon, or once you’re peckish, head across to Granville Island Public Market – an indoor marketplace home to stalls selling fresh produce, handmade snacks and gift ideas. Afterwards, continue south away from the city centre toward Queen Elizabeth Park. There’s a good reason why you should visit two parks in one day in Vancouver. Firstly, Queen Elizabeth Park is the city’s highest point, so it offers the best views in Vancouver. It is also home to Bloedel Conservatory, which is a domed temperature-controlled environment with 120 free-flying birds and 500 exotic plants and flowers. Step inside to enjoy a tropical holiday within a holiday.

Evening

Spend your evening in downtown Vancouver, which is home to both the city’s best fine dining restaurants and nightclubs. The award-winning Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar uses only the freshest locally-sourced ingredients and has an inspiring list of cocktails. Meanwhile, Le Crocodile is a popular French restaurant and Hawksworth Restaurant is located inside the luxurious Rosewood Hotel Georgia (more on that pretty property below).

If you want to keep the party going after dinner, we suggest heading to The Diamond, which is a classy cocktail lounge with DJs taking you on a “vinyl-only adventure.” To salsa the night away visit Mangos Lounge, which is known for its rhythmic Latin playlist. Otherwise, Celebrities – the city’s most popular gay nightclub – focuses on techno and house music.

The Diamond | Photo: Luis Valdizon

The Diamond | Photo: Luis Valdizon

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Weekend in Vancouver: day two

Morning

Vancouver is proudly home to many farm-to-table restaurants, serving the best in local produce. Forage is one such sustainable dining venue with an extensive brunch menu. Try the Haida Gwaii crispy halibut cheek eggs benedict or the award-winning barbecue duck and shrimp chowder with crab and shrimp toast. Pair your meal with a whisky latte or the Forage backyard iced tea, featuring Wayward Distillation Drunken Hive rum and Sons of Vancouver amaretto.

If you want to skip brunch for more active endeavours, one of the top things to do in Vancouver is to tackle the Grouse Grind. Called Mother Nature’s Stairmaster, it involves over 2800 stairs that take you up the face of Grouse Mountain. More than 150,000 people climb the Grouse Grind annually and it takes around 1.5 to two hours to complete, depending on your fitness level. It’s also a one-way trail, so on your descent you, fortunately, get to enjoy the breathtaking views from the Skyride cable car. Grouse Mountain also hosts a slew of activities year-round.

Other nature-oriented things to do in North Vancouver include doing the Quarry Rock Hike, visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and exploring Lynn Canyon Park. The latter has its own mini (and free) suspension bridge, as well as hiking trails.

Capiliano Suspension Bridge | Photo: Ivana Cajina

Capiliano Suspension Bridge | Photo: Ivana Cajina

Stanley Park | Photo: Luc Tribolet

Stanley Park | Photo: Luc Tribolet

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Vancouver is proudly home to many farm-to-table restaurants, serving the best in local produce

Afternoon

After a strenuous morning, relax in the afternoon and explore downtown Vancouver, which is home to a few different neighbourhoods. Yaletown is a waterfront area filled with dining options, but you can’t go wrong with lunch at the uber-popular Tacofino. While in Yaletown, don’t miss dropping into MASC – Skincare and Grooming for Men. A few streets west you’ll find Robson Street, a shopping area featuring classic Canadian stores like Arc’teryx and Roots, which conveniently sits next door to Paris’ very own Laduree. If you have free time, why not pop into the Vancouver Art Gallery too – one of the most respected visual art institutions in North America.

MASC Vancouver

MASC

Evening

The perfect place to end your weekend in Vancouver is Gastown, the city’s oldest neighbourhood. The historic district is picture-perfect, with cobblestone streets, decorative street lamps and twinkly lights adorning the trees. Start with drinks at Steamworks, a microbrewery with a long list of drinks available, including cocktails in fishbowls. There are many choices for dinner in Gastown, like MeeT on Main – a charming play on words as they’re a vegetarian restaurant. An alternative is Tuc Craft Kitchen, which serves seasonal farm-to-table dishes, inventive cocktails and local craft beer in a warm rustic atmosphere.

Where to stay in Vancouver

Some of the best places to stay in Vancouver include its four Fairmont properties, which each offer the same world-class service. But the city’s most luxurious five-star hotel is undoubtedly the Rosewood Hotel Georgia. In the heart of Vancouver, the historic property expertly combines 1920s grandeur with contemporary design. However, if you’d prefer to stay in a boutique hotel, The Burrard looks like it’s relocated from Palm Springs, with modern facilities and colourful retro vibes.

The Burrard Vancouver

The Burrard

The Burrard Vancouver

The Burrard

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