Insider’s tips: Beautiful British Columbia. Love from the first sight.
As some of you may know my sister lives in Vancouver. She has been living in the British Columbia enough to become an expert in local life and discover all these hidden lovely places. Funny, but seven years ago, when I visited Vancouver for the first time, I fell in love with with this city and even told to myself that it would be my home on 20 years. Now I live in Luxbourg and my sister in Vancouver. The God loves to joke 🙂
So, here are some tips about this lovely city, relaxed and vibrant at the same time, diversified but unique in the wish of the inhabitants to have healthy balanced lifestyle.
Vancouver has been ranked as the best place in North America and number fifth in the world not without purpose. Despite a high standard of healthy living and medical care, Vancouver attracts millions of tourists every year for its beauty and cleanliness. I have been in Vancouver for almost four years and I fell in love with this city as soon as I came out of the airport. The first thing you might notice is the politeness and courtesy of Canadians. Prepare to hear “Sorry” from locals about a hundred times a day. You also wont get lost, because there are a lot of volunteers who work for the government in a high tourist seasons. They have a special uniform and an Ipad to show you directions. The downtown area is very small. It takes 40 min to walk from one end to another. The public transportation operates in Vancouver smoothly, so you can get around the city very easy. It takes around 30 min and 9.75 CAD to get from Vancouver Airport (YVR) to the downtown area by skytrain.
First nations art: totem poles
Time to visit
If you like rain boots, umbrellas and other appropriate equipments for a rainy day you are welcome to visit Vancouver in its longest rainy season that starts in October and lasts until March. There is no much to see at this period, except during the Christmas time, the city gets into Christmas mood with holiday light display. Thousands of light bulbs illuminate the dark sky and streets in Vancouver. Capilano suspension bridge located in the North Vancouver area is a must see place during the Holiday season. The 140-metre long bridge is very impressive. The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park offers plenty of holiday activities for the whole family: cookies decorating, drinking hot chocolate, exploring local flora and fauna and simply admiring sparkling lights and Christmas decorations. For your convenience there are free shuttles between downtown Vancouver and Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Capilano Suspension bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
The springtime is always beautiful, but in Vancouver it is breathtaking. The whole city wakes up after long very wet nights of winter. One of the most gorgeous seasons in the city is when the Blossoms are in full bloom.
Fall in love
Fall is personally my favorite season. It is the time of the year when trees take on golden, red and amber hues, the air gets crispy in the morning and the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin indicates the upcoming holidays: Halloween and Thanks giving.
Stanley Park. English Bay
Stanley Park. English Bay
Stanley Park. English Bay
Joy of Summer
Summer is simply the best in Vancouver. You can fill up your warm and sunny days in the city with a bike ride around Stanley Park, get a tan on a beach, visit art, music or food festivals that take place every weekend. The highlight of the summer is a firework competition that happens at the end of July and brings around 400 thousand spectaculars.
View from Granville bridge on Granville Island market
A common stereotype example of the Vancouver citizen will be a hipster, who drinks craft beer, wears yoga pants, eats organic fruits and vegetables, complains about weather and price of property. This description as any other stereotypes might sound offensive, but they precisely reflect the culture in Vancouver.
Here are the facts. Vancouverites love everything that says organic. Some of them do not even buy products that have been grown more than 1000 miles away from the city. Vancouver is home to Lululemon, so don’t be surprised seeing a girl on a first date wearing Lululemon yoga pants. Here’s what I like about Vancouver: everybody dresses casually and nobody tries to overdress somebody. So, the saying “Meet by clothes, see off by mind” does not work here. For a Russian girl, who used to try to impress everybody, this was not easy to understand why nobody actually cares what are you wearing and how much it costs. What they care is whether you contribute to local community, volunteering, run marathons to support local charity, doing yoga and maintaining healthy life style. That’s probably why the ratio of yoga studios per sq. meter in the downtown is just as high as numbers of Starbucks in NY. Two of my favorites are Onehourhotyoga and Yyoga. The last one is a bit pricy, but very trendy and hipstery.
When it comes to my favorite restaurant it is and always will be Bellaggio Café on Hornoby street. This is the place where I worked for almost three years in an Italian rustic style and spirit of Rome. The food is here pretty mediocore, but the location is perfect in downtown and in the middle of everything. Another place I would suggest is Forage on Robson street. They serve the best breakfast and brunch in town.
Bar at Bellagio Cafe
Granville Island Market