As I’ve been bringing you along on my summer vacation, I’ve been focusing on things to do as a family because like me so many of you have kids tagging along! And that’s fun and everything, but I also think that sometimes it’s nice to have some kid-free time in a beautiful new city too. I spent a year in Vancouver while doing my residency in 2019. This month, I left the kids with Shafi and had a little getaway there, all on my own. So in this post, I’m going to focus on great places to eat and sights to see as a solo adult or carefree couple! Let’s get started, shall we?
First, let’s talk about day trips! I truly love watching my children discover new places but let’s face it. Day trips are so much more fun when you aren’t worried about who needs to eat, who needs to nap, and who needs a change of clothes! These places don’t disappoint and are so fun to wander around aimlessly by yourself as an adult.
Seabus to Lonsdale Quay and Deep Cove
I went to the Lonsdale Quay, which is a beautiful location in North Van. You can reach it by seabus, which you can take from the waterfront station. It includes a public pier, seawall, docks, farmers market and event space, art galleries, parks, restaurants, local shops, and so much more! I also went to Deep Cove right outside North Vancouver. This area is incredibly scenic, perfect for hiking trails, shopping in the village, and paddling or sailing if the mood strikes you. I loved my time here. An absolute must have is a classic donut at Honey’s Donuts especially after the hike up Quarry Rock!
A scenic drive to Squamish and Whistler
I didn’t make it there myself on this trip, but another thing to do in North Vancouver is Lynn Canyon Park with its suspension bridge that you can cross free of charge, unlike the Capilano Bridge which is also spectacular but does have a fee to cross. If you are looking for a beautiful drive during your stay in Vancouver, consider taking the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish and experiencing all the amazing things to do there, and stop at Shannon Falls Park on the way! Or, you can keep going to Whistler and try the Peak to Peak Gondola (only one of many things to do there!).
Experience a water crossing
If you want the experience of a water crossing, you can take the ferry to Victoria or one of the gulf islands. Or, take the aquabus to Granville Island or one of its many stops along the False Creek area.
To have the ultimate weekend away, head to Gibsons, BC and relax on the Sunshine Coast!
If you would rather travel by air instead of water, consider a seaplane ride to Vancouver Island and head to Tofino for surfing, or look into some of the resorts that offer the chance to just relax on the beach or to check out local cities and towns. There is just so much to see and do on the Island!
Where to Eat in Vancouver
Now, let’s talk about FOOD. I’m going to give you my tried and true list of favourite places to eat in Vancouver. When I lived there for the year of my residency, I got the opportunity to eat at all these wonderful places and I can’t recommend them enough.
Let’s start with seafood! Vancouver is right on the water so seafood is fresh and plentiful. I would not call these restaurants budget friendly, but they are a nice treat for a special occasion.
- Blue Water Cafe
- Sandbar Restaurant
- Coast (I had my 30th birthday dinner here, and got a fancy seafood tower. So delicious!)
My favourite cafes
Next up: cozy cafes. These places hold happy (and sometimes stressful) memories for me, as I spent a lot of time in them working on my dissertation!
- 49th Parallel and Lucky’s Donuts
- Revolver Coffee
- Pallet Coffee Roasters
- Matchstick Cafe
- Grounds for Coffee (BEST cinammon buns you’ll ever eat!!)
Now, some more relaxed but still very cool places to eat! These are great for any casual dining you want to do with your time away.
- Nuba (halal)
- Afghan Chopan (halal)
- East is East (some meat is halal)
- Banana Leaf
Enjoy a nice brunch
There are also some wonderful restaurants that are perfect for brunch!
- Forage (Hands down the best scones ever!)
- Medina Cafe (Make sure to try their liege waffles!)
- Honey Salt
- Jam Cafe
My favourite restaurants with a beautiful view
Sometimes you just need a restaurant with a view! These are all beautiful options.
- Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant
- Water St. Cafe
- Seasons in the Park
- Teahouse in Stanley Park
- Tap and Barrel (on the Lonsdale Quay)
- Cactus Club (English Bay)
Vegetarian and vegan spots
And finally, if you are interested in vegetarian/vegan eats, there are lots to choose from as well!
I hope I’ve convinced you that Vancouver is a wonderful city (or jumping-off place!) to take a break from real life and explore our own Canadian backyard. I would love to see your travel and foodie photos from your time there! Tag me @mintcandydesigns, and I hope you return home rested and refreshed and ready to take on the world again.
And if you decide to bring the kids, check out my post on A Kid Friendly Trip to Vancouver.
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