Travel Tips

Ask the Locals Travel Guide: Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver SeawallThe Olympic buzz on Vancouver is getting louder and the locals are gearing up for the madness this February.

But whether you’re traveling to Canada for the 2010 Games or beyond, our neighbor up north is hot this year.

Read on to find out where you can avoid the tourist traps and hang with the locals instead.

Mike Killeen, 2010 Olympics Reporter, CTV British Columbia

For affordable eats, check out Rice ‘N Spice in the Royal Centre Mall (in the Food Court under the Hyatt Hotel). Wednesday’s chicken masala can’t be beat, especially considering the enormous portions (a half order is only $6.95). Get there for an early lunch to beat the long lines, and bring cash.

Hon’s Wun-Tun on Robson Street in Vancouver’s West End serves authentic Chinese cuisine at very reasonable prices, from CA$3.50 potstickers to dinner for two for CA$21.98. The won-ton soup is a must.

Arm’s Reach BistroThe Arm’s Reach Bistro in North Vancouver (Deep Cove) is about 25 minutes by car from downtown. Try the Angry Chicken or the spicy spaghetti, and pair it with a bottle of Mission Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc … a great local British Columbia wine.

In Gastown, not far from BC Place and Canada Hockey Place (aka GM Place), Chill Winston restaurant is a popular spot for locals. True to its name, this is a chill lounge with great food. When the weather is nice, grab a seat on the patio.

Inside the Shangri-la Hotel Vancouver is Market by Jean-Georges. It’s definitely worth spending time in the bar, which comes complete with a full raw bar.

If you’re traveling to Whistler for the Games and beyond, you can’t beat the atmosphere at the Mallard Lounge in the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, located at the base of the mountain. Stop by in the afternoon for tea, or enjoy an evening with martinis or Scotch and cigars.

Don’t miss Spotlight on Vancouver Olympics 2010: Whistler & Blackcomb.

Olympic ringsNot far from the Olympic Oval in Richmond, where the speed skating evens will take place, there are dozens of great Chinese restaurants, particularly in the Aberdeen Centre  shopping mall that caters to the Asian-Canadian population. You can get to Richmond in 20 minutes on the new Canada Line train from downtown Vancouver.

A walk around the Stanley Park seawall near downtown Vancouver—even in the rain—is a must. Or rent a bike in the West End at Denman and Georgia and go for a ride.

The seawalk in West Vancouver across the Lions Gate Bridge is a great place to stretch your legs. For those into hiking, I prefer sections of the Baden Powell trail on the North Shore. Maps are available at the information centers, but be aware that some sections can be slippery this time of year.

Geoff Nelson, Broadcast Engineer

Hikers should try a trail called Grouse Grind along Grouse Mountain on the north shore. It’s about 1.8 miles long and relatively accessible—hard-core athletes can do it in 30 minutes but regular folks should allot hour and a half or so.

For accessible outdoors travel in Vancouver and beyond, don’t miss Adapative & Accessible Hiking Adventures.

A popular sport around here is to go skimboarding in the tidepools that form when the tide goes out on beaches like Spanish Banks. Somewhat similar to surfboards, these small, wooden boards that you can throw into the tidepools and surf away.

Roxy burgerGranville Street is always a good place to be on the weekends, and if you’re out late, check out Roxy Burger. It’s in the midst of the street’s busy bars and nightclubs, and continues serving late into the night.

Vancouver is filled with pizza joints, but a local favorite is Seymour Pizza, located downtown on Seymour Street. Slices are tasty and enormous.

If you’re visiting British Columbia, you may want to consider getting out of downtown Vancouver and into adjacent cities such as Port Moody, Coquitlam and Burnaby. There are some gems in these areas, such as the Port Moody Art Center and the Burnaby Village Museum & Carousel at Deer Lake Park.

Gregory Henriquez, Henriquez Partners Architects

West End of VancouverMetropolitan Home in downtown is a mecca of vintage Mid-Century Modern furniture, particularly pieces that were crafted in Canada as well as American and Danish items.

Vancouver has a plethora of fantastic Asian food, but one favorite is Wild Rice, located downtown, which serves contemporary Chinese food with a Western twist.

Although most visitors head straight to Stanley Park to get city views, a better-kept secret is Jericho Beach, just west of downtown. From here, you can get incredible views of downtown Vancouver’s skyline and the mountains.

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