Friday, April 19, 2013

City Special - Vancouver BC

Full disclosure, Vancouver BC, Canada is my hometown and I am very biased when it comes to it! That being said, Vancouver genuinely has a lot of great things to offer, particularly to the health conscious traveler.

1) Seawall - 10 kilometers (that's 6.2 miles) of paved walking path all along Vancouver's waterfront. You can literally walk, run, bike or Rollerblade your way around the entire downtown core. Along the way, you'll be treated to awesome beaches, forests and people watching.

2) Bike Lanes - ok, many Vancouverites like myself hate these bike lanes because they messed up the normal traffic patterns. But the truth is, riding your bike is a great body and earth healthy option.  And there are lots of places to rent bikes from while you're here (and if you're worried about riding on the bike lanes, see above!)

3) Capilano Suspension Bridge - a total tourist trap but there's great walking and beautiful scenery at this high in the sky suspension bridge. Most of the surrounding park is free to enter and boasts phenomenal hiking.

4) Whistler, Grouse Mountain, Cypress, Seymour - within the city limits, you'll find 3 great mountains with summer hiking and winter skiing and boarding. An hour outside Vancouver you'll find Whistler, home of much of the 2010 winter Olympics. The outdoor activities here are endless: boarding, skiing, hiking, biking, dog sledding, kayaking - the list goes in.

5) Grouse Grind - although it's a part of Grouse, the Grind (as its known to locals) deserves its own section because it's such a unique challenge. Known as natures stair master, this is 2.9 kilometers straight up a mountain!  It's a tough trek but honestly, the feeling of accomplishment you get from completing it and looking down from the top of a mountain you just literally walked up is unparalleled. (and yes, that is a warning sign about the Grind and yes it really does get harder after that part...even though the first part probably didn't feel really easy!)

6) Sushi - on every corner, at every turn, making it very easy to refuel after all those outdoor adventures without sacrificing on light, healthy food.

Vancouver is a strict no-smoking city - you can't smoke inside anywhere, you can't smoke outside most buildings, you can't smoke on patios - basically, you can't smoke!

Despite the high rain levels, Vancouver's core was built for walking. There's an overall health minded mentality that was bolstered by the city wide goal to be the fittest city to ever host the Olympics

Oh and it's the home of LuluLemon...we kinda invented the yoga pant trend!

All that being said, here's a few places I love to indulge at:
Vij - without a doubt the most interesting, and refreshingly different Indian food you will ever.  This is not your greasy, butter chicken from a food court.  In fact, I've never seen butter chicken on the ever changing, seasonally inspired menu.  You'll wait probably 1-2 hours to get in, you'll be grateful you did.

Bin 941 - amazing tapas and serious wine list.  You can't go wrong and since the portions are small, you won't leave feeling stuffed and gross!

Lucky Doughnuts - the doughnuts (or donuts) are great (I've been told the apple bacon fritter is to die for, personally I love the salted caramel) but the coffee is what I truly love.  High quality espressos made by a competitive barista (that's actually a real thing!)

Caffe Artigiano - just the absolute best coffee in my opinion.

Bao Bei - Vancouver has a huge Asian population (hence all the sushi) so you won't have trouble finding great Chinese, Korean, Thai and Japanese food.  But Bao Bei has done Chinese food in a really cool way, tapas style and things you may never have tried before.  And the cocktail list is epic.

Tacofino Commissary - coming from Texas, I love tex-mex food.  You can't get that in Vancouver.  Seriously, there's not much point in trying.  But Tacofino Commissary has done a wonderful job of doing Mexican fusion and the food is to delicious.  It's a small, communal eating style place with good prices and great food.

Vancouver is home and always will be. It's a city I adore that I truly believe is doing a lot right by way of healthy living. Of course any city can improve but if you're looking for a great vacation, in a gorgeous city with tons of active stuff to do, Vancouver is for you!


  1. I heart this post. And it cracks me up that you highlight the city bike lanes as a plus for travellers while also knocking how annoying they are. Haha :)

  2. It seemed very disingenuous not acknowledge how freaking annoying the lanes are! it's a good idea in theory and great for tourists getting around but super annoying! haha

  3. We did Grouse Grind, Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Seawall and the Granville Island Market last time. They were all awesome. We also had that coffee and OD'd on Lulu... and salmon and sushi. We did not get to Vij but it was recommended. Can't wait!! Let me know if you need recs. for Chicago (where I live now) or NYC (were I lived for a decade before here!) Love Austin, too! Did the half there this year and in 2010.

    1. I swear I could write a post every week in homage to my hometown! I'll definitely take you up on those local tips for NYC and Chicago! I have a brother living in NYC so my husband and I are planning a trip there in the next year or so. I've been to Chicago once and adored it! I was there only briefly but seriously wanted to move there after only 3 days (granted it was summer..,and before I had legal right to live in the US so kind of a pipe dream) but I fell in love!