Today I’m doing a little nod to Vancouver, the first Canadian city I visited back in 2003 when I was 14. And almost exactly 10 years later I head back to Vancouver, at 24; excited more than ever. I’m curious to see how this city has grown and if the city still is, what I’m thinking it still is. I’m curious to see what more there is to do and if my impressions will be any different 10 years later.
So here is what I do remember:
When I was 14 I flew into Seattle and then drove up to the Canadian border with my family. It was cheaper than flying into Vancouver and for the most part it’s still cheaper to fly into Seattle. For this trip, flying direct to Vancouver was about the same price as flying into Seattle so it just made sense to fly to Vancouver.
What I remember most about Vancouver is how walk-able it was. My first visit, I said it was a cleaner, nicer, more expensive Seattle. Is that still true today? I also compared a lot of the atmosphere to Seattle, just about 2 hours south of the city. There are mountains to the east of both cities, both have Starbucks on about every block in the their downtown (it’s truly something that stands out when you visit), both cities experience rather mild rainy weather for most of the, and both are on the edge of some of the best scenery in North America and the world.
Walking along the streets of Vancouver one gets a sense of how well Vancouver citizens live. And polls seem to agree. Vancouver is consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the entire world. The city is also one of the leaders in becoming a green city. It leads other Canadian cities with taking initiatives to install fantastic public transportation (recently installed the new SkyTrain from the airport to the city center) and make the city as energy efficient as possible.
I remember famous Stanley Park. If anything could be close to an icon for this city it would be Stanley Park. It currently is the number 1 activity to do while in Vancouver, on traveladvisor, and is essential for any Vancouver visit. I also remember the famous Sea to Sky highway although I didn’t call it that back in 2003. Back then the road was still a 2 lane highway that took you from Vancouver up to Whistler through some of the most spectacular scenery. The scenery is still amazing today but the lanes have been widen thanks to Vancouver getting awarded the 2010 Olympic Games.
I remember the city to be relaxed, easy-going, and friendly.. The citizens are healthy; there is always someone running around near Stanley Park, the waterfront, or near the mountains. It seems there is always a good restaurant just around the corner, and it’s actually good for you. Just head up near Grouse Mountain and you will see joggers and climbers hiking the 3000 foot mountain on these huge man made steps! If you’re feeling more lazy than you can always take the gondola up (which is what I’ll being doing).
What I Want to Discover:
Coming back 10 years later, and as an adult sans my parents, I’m eager to see what I remember and if my impressions will be different. I think as teenagers we tend to not take as much in and we don’t analyze a city that well. Growing up you start to have different impressions and I’m eager to see what part of the city I will newly discover and also “rediscover.”
I first want to re-do the things I did 10 years ago. I want to head up to Grouse Mountain and get the whole view of Vancouver. I want to drive the Sea to Sky highway, arguably one of the best drives in North America, and take plenty of pictures. I want to walk along the whole of Stanley Park and rediscover the variety of activities to do in Vancouver.
I want to discover new places such as
- Davie Street – the gay street of Vancouver. I want to see what the gay culture in Vancouver is like!
- Gastown – Where Vancouver started; it’s the oldest neighborhood in Vancouver.
- Granville Island – The posh part of Vancouver; known for it’s artsy upscale cafes, bookstores, and quaint stores.
- Kitsilano (“Kits”) Beach – One of the most famous beaches in Vancouver. Known to offer panoramic views of downtown.
- Capilano Bridge – Vancouver’s famous suspension bridge. I actually drew a picture of this bridge back in 2007 (I enjoy drawing).
- Lynn Canyon Park – Capilano’s free brother. Lynn Canyon Park offers scenic landscapes, waterfalls, and even a suspension bridge.
- Queen Elizabeth Park – Pretty flowers and an observatory; all for free of course!
- VanDusen Botanical Garden – Next door to the Queen Elizabeth Garden, it is exactly how it sounds! Beautifully, maintained flowers and trees!
I want to discover some less known sites. I’m going to use the free time to go wherever I feel. Give myself time to explore and stumble upon sites that a traveling guide wouldn’t tell you.
I also want to discover some of the best places to eat as I heard that Vancouver is very much a food city (just like Chicago; if you have some tips I would gladly appreciate them). I’m going to trust yelp and find someplace that would be great to eat at. And yes I even want to chill at a Starbucks. Hey, it’s a a northwestern thing to do!
I have three full days in Vancouver, which I believe is more than enough time to discover the city and it’s outer parts. I’m going to keep notes on some of the interesting things I find about this city and write a full post when I get back from my travels. You can follow me on my journeys through this website and on twitter. I will have some wifi in Vancouver and maybe have some during my cruise through Alaska, which will become my 23rd state visited. That’s 3 states in 2 weeks, bringing me ever so closer to my goal.
Stay tuned and for more updates! There will be no more posts until I get back from my trip but I will being updating on twitter.