5 Stylish Places To Visit In Vancouver
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Here’s a list of my favourite 5 places to visit in Vancouver – as tricky as it was to narrow it down to just 5, these are some of my favourite stylish places in the city…
1. To spend the day…Granville Island
The representative I meet from Granville Island admits to me that in his first six of months working here he gained so much weight that he had to start cycling to the office – such are the perils of working in a foodie haven.
With 10,000 visits a year and around 300 businesses, Granville Island may not be much of a secret on the Vancouver tourist scene but it’s the closest thing you’ll find in the city to a European style pedestrianized neighbourhood – a sort of Canadian Covent Garden (if you’re familiar with London you’ll know just what I mean) – and is just perfect for a day of mooching, shopping and nibbling.
Dip in and out of boutiques, restaurants, galleries and artists’ studios and eat your way around the famed food market which sells every edible treat you can imagine from locally-sourced fruit and veg to baked goods, sweets and cakes and world cuisine and stay on for the evening for a theatrical performance – there are three theatres on the island including the highly entertaining improv comedy club VanTheatreSports.
If you’re artistically or gastronomically inclined this is basically your spiritual home in Vancouver; come at the right time of year and you can catch one of the artistic festivals, whether it be jazz, literature or fringe and visit on a Thursday to shop at the Farmer’s Market – just be glad that as a tourist you won’t have time to pack on the pounds.
For more info visit Granville Island.
2. For downtown drinks and snacks…The Grain Tasting Bar
A refined and distinctly grown-up bar and lounge within the Hyatt Hotel on Burrard Street right in the epicentre of downtown Vancouver, Grain is the perfect spot to meet friends for an after-work or post-sightseeing cocktail.
Mixing a modern, chic and contemporary decor with a comfy and homely atmosphere you can settle in with a glass of Okanagan Valley wine or try one of Canada’s excellent craft beers – all while snacking on flatbread pizzas, cheese and charcuterie boards or tapas plates. And Grain prides itself on using a selection of local suppliers, whether it be Granville Island sausages or Victoria gin.
Newly opened this year it’s also worth stopping by in summer when the retractable windows transform this into an open-air lounge – just pray that the only Vancouver Fog you’ll experience will be in the form of the bar’s signature cocktail.
For more info visit Grain Tasting Bar
3. For inner city wine tasting…Vancouver Urban Winery
The only urban winery in Vancouver, tucked away on an unassuming side street just east of Gastown, the urban winery is a real haven of sophistication and taste in more ways than one.
The decor is a stylish blend of monochrome and earthy colours and textures with wood, stone and chalk boards featuring heavily in the design pallete, but there’s just as much substance as style.
Working with over 40 wineries to create the perfect blends this is the only winery in British Columbia that packages their vino in pressurized stainless steel kegs each holding the equivalent of 26 bottles, meaning every single one of the 36 wines they have on tap for tasting are perfectly preserved and fresh at all times.
You’ll be glad to know you’re saving the planet by drinking here too as the green credentials speak for themselves; steel kegs have a 20 year lifespan and the winery estimates they’ve saved production of 160,000 glass bottles so far with this process – to say nothing of the positive impact of cutting down on shipping and cork production.
As well as wine to guzzle and charcuterie boards to snack on there’s a delightful shop on-site selling some cool wine-themed accessories as well as locally grown and produced food products, such as Dolly’s Delicious Treats, a company making artisan jellies – complete with a dash of booze!
For more info visit Van Urban Winery
4. For A Facial…Skoah
If you want to try some authentic Vancouver-style pampering try popping into this friendly locally-founded skincare company which started with one shop on Hamilton Street and just 5 products in 2002 before rolling out multiple branches across BC.
Customers love the brand’s no nonsense practical approach (it has echoes of Dermalogica meets Bliss in the packaging and feel) and the company created their own range of in-store facials due to demand – best of all anyone can walk on and have a free 15 minute facial treatment if their skin is feeling like it needs a mini holiday of its own.
The skincare experts at Skoah will give you a consultation and discuss your ‘skin personal training’ needs, and chat through the way travelling, changes in diet and weather can effect your facial regime.
Hit products you may want to bring home with you include the Skoah Minty Meltdown Mask which excels at opening pores and exfoliating, or the Klearity Mask which includes tea tree. For airplane-induced break outs the staff also recommend Kick It Cream, is a paste that is as targeted and strong as any spot treatment.
As well as facials and skincare Skoah also has a range of make-up called Chiiki Munki, and based on customers asking about products for their pets it turns out you can also pick up a dog shampoo and conditioner if you think your dog deserves as much pampering as you.
For more info visit Skoah
5. To Enjoy Art…Surrey Arts Centre
As a Brit in British Columbia I soon realise that BC’s Surrey, is not to Vancouver what Surrey, England is to London. Rather, this satellite city around a 30 minute skytrain ride from downtown seems to be as under-appreciated as Essex (and the butt of a few similar jokes), while being as racially diverse as inner city London – and it has more to offer than meets the eye.
The Surrey Arts Centre for example is well worth the journey out here – an impressive facility which was completely renovated in 2001 it encompasses a large art gallery space showing three separate curated exhibitions which rotate seasonally and feature artists with either a connection to or an empathy with this part of the Lower Mainland.
The gallery also features ‘sound art’ in the exterior courtyard and challenges visitors with cheeky touches such as the elevator installation; a blend of musac (perhaps expected in an elevator setting) and quotes and pop lyrics (not so expected) are piped into the on-site lift catching you off-guard.
Once you’ve taken in all the painting, photography and multi-media art on offer you can stay on for the evening and catch a performance in the state of the art theatre which puts on world-class productions, and has just completed a run of Boeing Boeing, the most performed French play in the world.
The building is set within beautiful parkland which visitors are welcome to enjoy, and at this time of year (October and November) you can even see some natural wonders in the form of salmon spawning – walk down to the stream, watch and wait and you could be lucky enough to witness up to three different species of salmon returning from the ocean and swimming back here, to Bear Creek.
For more info visit Surrey Arts Centre
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