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  • Writer's pictureJuliet Weller

Exploring the City of Vancouver, B.C.

If you have ever hung out in the City of Vancouver waiting to board your Alaska-bound cruise vessel, you likely spent some time walking along the seawall. And you weren't alone; the whole city seemed to be there with you - and I don't mean that negatively - it's a popular place. But have you spent time in this, the largest city in British Columbia? Time as in maybe three days or so, pre- or post-cruise?

The city's whose early beginnings as a sawmill and saloon town now has forward-thinking eco-designs such as the not-yet constructed Canada Earth Tower – which, when completed, will be the world’s tallest hybrid wood building. It's designed to be 37 stories tall. Vancouver, unlike most modern cities, has giant, ancient trees standing alongside sleek skyscrapers, and draws freethinkers and pleasure seekers alike. There really is something for everyone here: it's backed by snowcapped peaks, bordered by the sea, and blessed with a thriving culinary and craft beer scene; if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, culture buff, foodie, or parent seeking family fun, you’ll find plenty to do in this exciting international city. There’s freestyle mountain biking, kayaking, and skiing, excellent shopping, diverse dining options, and lively nightlife to the mix - it's the perfect weekend getaway - an easy drive from Seattle and Portland, or a nonstop flight from many other U.S. and Canadian cities.

Sometimes called Lotusland for its leisurely ambience, outdoor enthusiasts, food lovers, and sightseers converge in the West End, the city’s densest residential neighborhood. One of the world’s longest seawalls, and historic 1,000-acre Stanley Park (with forest trails, a pitch-and-putt golf course, and two beaches overlooking English Bay) flank public artworks, cool restaurants, and shop-lined streets, and keep the verdant Pacific Northwest landscape within easy reach.

Pro TIp: For a nature break, head to Grouse Mountain, a short drive from the city center. Take a gondola to the peak, 4,100 feet above Vancouver, or hike 1.8 miles (2,800 feet of elevation gain) up Grouse Grind and order a well-deserved cold beer at one of the restaurants at the top. After walking along English Bay or biking the seawall portion of Vancouver’s almost 200-mile cycling network, refuel at an array of food trucks or bánh mì and ramen spots throughout downtown and the West End.

My favorite restaurant is Forage. Try a bowl of its famous barbecued-duck chowder and and a glass of local wine or beer. A boom in Vancouver’s brewery and distillery scene has introduced inventive concoctions at tasting rooms and cocktail bars, from rice wine to gin to a profusion of great coffee joints,

Several Vancouver-area global brands – Lululemon, Native Shoes, Herschel Supply Co., Arc’teryx, Aritzia, Saje – have storefronts on or near the go-to shopping area on Robson Street. On the east side of downtown, gallery-like shops draw you (me!) in with eclectic finds like frankincense-infused incense, fashion-forward men’s and women’s clothing, or in the West End, local and international designs from the House of Jewels Boutique, located on a leafy residential block.

Southeast of downtown in SoMa (South of Main Street), independent boutiques reflect Vancouver’s easygoing and offbeat style in including abstract prints by Jamaican-born and Vancouver-based artist Tafui.

Whether you're in Vancouver pre- or post-cruise there is plenty to keep you busy. But where will you stay. I've got that covered of course. The lobby bar at the 367-room Fairmont Pacific Rim is a gathering place for locals and visitors (try the omakase sushi and cherry blossom syrup-infused Sakura Sour cocktail to celebrate Vancouver’s effusive spring blooms). Rooms come with stellar city or Coal Harbour views of seaplanes, sailboats, and ski runs on the mountains across the water.

Another option: the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, combines the grandeur of the 1920s with contemporary elegance in the heart of Vancouver. This legendary hotel has been returned to its place as one of the most prominent hotels worldwide.

Both hotels are Virtuoso-preferred, and are among the elite hotel membership programs with which my agency is affiliated, It's through these elite programs that I am able to bring elevated service, access and benefits to your vacation.

Whether or not you're Alaska-bound, are looking for a long vacation or a quick getaway, Vancouver, B.C.'s urban excitement, outdoor zen, well-developed gastronomy, and active adventure await. Clicking the button will start your Vancouver vacation.

'til next week



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