Vancouver is one of the best cities on the planet. Ok, so I am from Vancouver and therefore biased, but where else are you going to find the perfect combination of natural and modern cityscapes? Vancouver is a bustling city perfectly nestled amidst mountains, the ocean and lush forests. Because of the versatile land and mild weather, Vancouverites go hard when it comes to summer. Hey, we have to take advantage of those three months of the year when it’s not raining. Here’s what you should do when you visit Vancouver in the summer.
Where to Eat
Vancouver food is at its finest in the summer. Your first stop in Vancouver really should be Tacofino, a food truck turned franchise with six locations in the downtown core. I recommend going to the Gastown taco bar for the full experience, make sure you order the guacamole and a margarita. Speaking of cocktails, be sure to check out Botanist restaurant for craft cocktails and a totally instagrammable backdrop. Their cocktails are super unique and hilariously named, like the Rye ‘n’ Reynolds.
If you’re thinking of something a little more casual, we’ve got plenty of that as well. Faubourg is a Parisian-inspired cafe with four locations downtown. They offer fresh-made sandwiches, coffees, pastries and seasonal macrons all in a casual atmosphere. Still too fancy? A Vancouver-must is hitting up Japadog, a vendor that gained international attention after the 2010 Olympics for their Japanese-inspired hot dogs.
Where to Shop
Some of Canada’s (and the world’s) most popular brands started in Vancouver, so why not go to the source? We Vancouverites take our Lululemon very seriously, and the first store is still open to this day. The skincare brand Skoah also originates from the West. Though they have locations across Canada, they remain a go-to for skincare in B.C.. Their professionals can recommend the perfect routine for your skin, as well as give you a killer facial with their own products.
While in Vancouver, make sure to check out some local brands that are on the rise. The perfect souvenir is a candle from Vancouver Candle Co., that embodies nine different parts of the city in original scents. The brand has expanded into two additional lines, Great White North and Toronto, so that Canadians can get whatever scent feels like home. One of the staples in west-coast culture is the cozy crewnecks from BRUNETTE the Label. The company still has their classic collection of Blonde, Brunette and Redhead sweatshirts but has expanded to other graphics and garments. It will be perfect for your newfound love of the laid-back Vancouver style.
Where to Go
Vancouver has one of the most diverse landscapes in the world…where else can you go skiing in the morning and paddle boarding in the evening? So make sure when you visit the west coast, you pay attention to what nature has to offer. For sea lovers, the Vancouver Aquarium is the place to go. They have tons of exhibits and different things everyday, you can even meet a penguin or sleepover at the aquarium. This summer they’re opening a new exhibit called Vortex, which highlights plastic pollution in the waters. You can be one of the first to see the exhibit at the Night at the Aquarium on June 21st, a party complete with a five-course Oceanwise meal. From sea to air, you definitely have to check out all that the Capilano Suspension Bridge has to offer. There’s the suspension bridge (duh), as well as a cliff walk and treetop adventure and information sessions on the Kia’Palano people to which the land belongs. Overall, it’s the best way to see the lush forestry that Vancouver has to offer.
If paying admission isn’t your style (I feel that), then there are plenty of places you can go to free of charge. Granville Island boasts incredible views of the city, as well as a famous market. Make sure to bring your appetite, because the food market is to die for (Lee’s doughnuts is the best). Another way to take in the view is around the Vancouver Sea Wall. It’s the perfect place to have a picnic and go for a stroll, but I recommend grabbing a bike so that you can take in the whole view. Trust me, it’s breathtaking.