Vancouver Offers Culture, Fine Dining, Top Shopping, Outdoor Sports and More
Home to a host of festivals, the city is often named one of North America’s best
Vancouver, British Columbia, is consistently ranked one of the best places to live worldwide. In March 2018, Human Resources consulting firm Mercer named Vancouver the fifth -best city in the world for quality of living, and the best place to live in North America for the second year in a row.
Despite being one of the most expensive places in the world to live, Vancouver has a lot going for its residents, including safety, educational resources, and environment—its surroundings and the quality of the air, among other aspects.
Vancouver is a thriving, cosmopolitan center in a breathtaking, natural setting. It’s also one of Hollywood’s favorite stand-ins for just about any U.S. city, and shares the title of “Hollywood North” with Toronto.
The largest island offers proximity to a 180-mile long For the luxury Vancouver boasts a year-long calendar of events and festivals, including the Honda Celebration of Light, the TD Canada Trust Vancouver International Jazz Festival, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, and the Vancouver International Children's Festival—all of which take place in summer.
And there are residential neighborhoods for everyone—from the old-school posh area of Shaughnessy Centre, to the hip and trendy Yaletown, to the densely populated former hippie hub of Kitsilano.
Vancouver boasts a vast array of excellent culinary delights across the city – from cheap and cheerful options, to kitchens staffed by world-class talent. And the city’s star is on the rise.
Canada’s diversity can be seen in the restaurant options in Vancouver: Banana Leaf is a Malaysian restaurant that is regularly named on “best” restaurant lists and has five locations throughout the city, including on Broadway and Robson. Tacos are the draw at Tacofino Taco Bar, with locations in Gastown and Yaletown, among others; and Molli Cafe on Burrard Street, named Best Latin by Vancouver Magazine in 2018.
Top-notch Italian is the draw at Ask for Luigi in Gastown, and Traditional French cuisine is on the menu at Les Faux Bourgeois in Mount Pleasant.
Vancouver also boasts its share of celebrity chefs. David Hawksworth’s restaurant Hawksworth, recently named one of Canada’s 100 Best, and located in the Rosewood Hotel, is consistently praised for its contemporary take on the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest.
Another world-renowned chef is Vikram Vij, owner of Vij’s, Rangoli, My Shanti and Vij’s Sutra, options that range from fine to casual dining. Mr. Vij is acclaimed for creating dishes using classic Indian and global spices and cooking methods, combined with locally sourced ingredients.
Bauhaus, located in Gastown’s Boulder Hotel, and owned by German film director Uwe Boll, creates award-winning dishes that marry German cuisine with West Coast influences.
For outdoorsy types, Vancouver offers close proximity to hiking and cycling trails, mountains, water, parks, and beaches, both in and outside of city limits.
Some of the greatest skiing on Earth is only a 90 minute drive away at Whistler Blackcomb.
Stanley Park, right in the middle of the city, is a 400-hectare natural rainforest. Here you’ll find kilometers of trails, the Seawall, and stunning views of water, mountains, and trees. The park is also home to beaches, restaurants, local wildlife, and Canada’s largest aquarium.
Vancouver’s Robson Street, just off Stanley Park, is its most famous shopping destination. Once known as “Robbsonstrasse,” and home to many German and European shops that opened after World War II, Robson is now where you’ll find most major North American fashion and beauty brands—Aritzia, J-Crew, Frank & Oak, Saatchi & Saatchi—as well as furniture, cafes and restaurants. These include Zeffereli’s (for Italian), Ramen Danbo (for Japanese) and Sura Korean Royal Cuisine.
Just one block away from Robson is Alberni Street, which has recently become one of the most prestigious retail destinations in North America, and is known as the “Luxury Zone.” Shops include Rolex, Hermes, Van Cleef & Arpels, Prada, and Versace.
Another high-end, and wholly Canadian shopping experience is to be had at Holt Renfrew on Dunsmuir Street. Holt’s isn’t just a retail store. Established in 1837, it’s a rich part of Canadian history. Here, you will find luxury staples, as well as exclusive brand offerings, including Alani, Ba&sh, Juun J, and Dorateymur; menswear brands Sunspel and Title of Work; and beauty brands Grown Alchemist, Frederic Malle, Nannette de Gaspe, and Erno Laszlo.
Center of Culture
Vancouver boasts more than 50 professional theater companies, and a fringe festival. The Fringe takes place in September, features more than 700 performances, and attracts over 40,000 attendees.
Around the city, you’ll find everything from major productions of Broadway shows to tiny experimental works in a wide selection of venues. These include the Stanley Theatre, the Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts, and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre complex.
The Vancouver Opera Company is the second largest in Canada, and produces renowned productions featuring international artists. Vancouver is also home to vibrant dance and music scenes.
And, while it’s not quite the Toronto International Film Festival in terms of prestige, the Vancouver International Film Festival delivers an excellent film experience. The latter takes place over 16 days in late September and early October, showcases about 350 films from 70 countries, and attracts more than 140,000 film fans and 4,000 movie industry professionals.
All photos & video care of Tourism Vancouver