Prior to our trip, we rented a car from Hertz and picked it up upon arrival.
* Note: there is an additional fee if you are under 25 years of age.
We stayed in a cozy Airbnb in North Vancouver. Our hosts were incredibly kind, and we highly recommend staying here if you are renting a car and looking for a private, homey residence!
5 DAYS IN VANCOUVER: AT A GLANCE
Day 1: Queen Elizabeth Park, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden, Minami Sushi
Day 2: Maru, Capilano Suspension Bridge & Salmon Hatchery, Cleveland Dam, Grouse Mountain
Day 3: Granville Island, Stanley Park, Coco's, Alley Oops, English Bay Beach
Day 4: Horseshoe Bay, Shannon Falls, Whistler
Day 5: Coal Harbour, Digital Orca, Japadog
TAKE A STROLL IN QUEEN ELIZABETH PARK
After settling into our Airbnb, we decided to start the day off with a walk in Queen Elizabeth Park. The first thing I noticed was that the trees had really interesting shapes and I was really amused by them haha.
EXPLORE THE DR. SUN YAT-SEN CLASSICAL CHINESE GARDEN
Did you know that the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Garden was named after the first Chinese republic president, Sun Yat-Sen? We honestly didn't know the history of this garden before visiting, but we really enjoyed the serene atmosphere and architectural detailing. The area is actually split between a public park (that's free), and a secluded garden that requires an admission fee. We decided to just roam around the free public park, and found that good enough for us. There was a mini bamboo forest and a traditional gazebo that were great for taking pictures with.
Address: 578 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2
Hours: 10am-4:30pm (closed on Mondays)
VISIT THE CANADA PLACE
Canada Place is an iconic national landmark and venue located in the heart of Vancouver's downtown waterfront. Professionally, it's a multi-purpose facility that carries hotels, conventions, and a cruise ship terminal! There's also huge celebrations and community events held here on special days like Canada Day and Christmas. During our trip here, we just took a quick walk around and enjoyed the relaxing view of the water!
EAT DINNER @ MINAMI SUSHI
For dinner, we went to Minami Sushi, which is a sister restaurant of Miku - a really good sushi restaurant famous for its Aburi style (flame seared) technique. We heard about these restaurants from our friends, and decided to give it a try. We ordered the dinner set, and enjoyed the excellent customer service and intimate environment. The sushi was very fresh and we ended off with a delicious matcha dessert. Although the price was a bit on the more expensive side, we appreciated the experience!
EAT KOREAN FOOD @ MARU
For brunch, we stopped by for some Korean food at a restaurant named Maru nearby. We got the Pork Dumplings as an appetizer, and the classic Pork Bone Soup and Pork Belly Hot Stone Pot Rice as our main courses. Korean food is one of our favourite cuisines, so we were really satisfied after finishing our meal!
WALK THE CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most iconic landmarks in Vancouver that spans 140 metres long. It's located inside the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which requires an admission fee and includes a variety of activities to enjoy! Definitely mark this on your Vancouver travel itinerary.
VISIT THE CAPILANO SALMON HATCHERY
I always love learning more about nature and the world, so visiting the Capilano Salmon Hatchery was an interesting stop to learn more about the different types of fish!
RELAX AT CLEVELAND DAM
The view at Cleveland Dam was breathtaking! There's just something about staring at the mountains that make you feel relaxed and empowered. I don't know if it's just me, but whenever I'm entranced by scenery, I get the feeling that the world is so big and there's so much to explore and do!
EXPLORE GROUSE MOUNTAIN
Grouse Mountain is one of the main attractions of Vancouver. We saw a grizzly bear and enjoyed some stunning views of Vancouver at the top of the mountain.
ENJOY GRANVILLE ISLAND
Granville Island is famous for its Public Market that's housed indoors and filled with lots of fresh produce, baked goods, and delicious food. For lunch, we ordered beef teriyaki and had some gelato for dessert! Afterwards, we sat outside in the sunlight where we were surrounded by good music and vibes.
WALK AROUND STANLEY PARK
Our original plan was to bike around Stanley Park, but we decided to walk instead because we wanted a more slow-paced activity. The weather was sunny, the wind was blowing gently, and the water was glistening. It was a very beautiful and relaxing walk!
DRINK BUBBLE TEA @ COCO
Coco is one of our all time favourite bubble tea chains. We ordered the "3 Guys" which is the original milk black tea that includes tapioca, grass jelly, and pudding as toppings. I used to order my drinks with full sugar, but then I went down to 70%, 50%, and now I normally order 30% sugar with less ice.
TAKE INSTAGRAM PICTURES @ ALLEY OOP
After getting bubble tea at Coco, we walked towards Alley Oop (a fun, instagrammable area) located right around the corner. There were a few other people in the alley taking pictures with the bright coloured walls. We also did a quick photoshoot with our bubble tea and then left shortly after!
Gastown is best known for its whistling Steam Clock, and mix of souvenir shops, indie art galleries and gourmet restaurants. Gastown has a very unique, historic vibe to it and was named after "Gassy" Jack Deighton, a steamboat captain who opened the first saloon in Gastown in 1867.
WATCH THE SUNSET @ ENGLISH BAY BEACH
The sunset at English Bay Beach ranks as my favourite sunsets to date. The sky was a radiant mix of red and orange, and looked like a real life painting. I stared in awe of its beauty, and really cherished that moment in time. In fact, I loved that sunset so much that I wanted to return the next day - but when we went to check it out, the clouds were blocking the sun and it just wasn't the same.
ENJOY DINNER W/ A VIEW @ CACTUS CLUB
Nearby the English Bay Beach was the Cactus Club, a fancy restaurant with views of the beach. We went here after it was dark so the views weren't really present, but we enjoyed the intimate vibes and food. It was also Happy Hour after 9pm, so we grabbed a few cocktails and ordered the Grilled Dijon Salmon and Steak Frites. We found it affordable and delicious, and would definitely come back another time.
DRIVE TO WHISTLER (SEA-TO-SKY HIGHWAY)
We decided to take a day to drive to Whistler and make pit stops along the way because we've heard a lot about how beautiful the drive on the sea-to-sky highway would be.
PIT STOP AT HORSESHOE BAY
Our first pit stop was Horseshoe Bay, and there was some construction going on in this area. In hindsight, I think we could've skipped this one and headed straight for Shannon Falls because there wasn't much to see.
STOP BY SHANNON FALLS
Shannon Falls is known as the third highest waterfall in British Columbia and was a pit stop worth visiting. We had a lot of fun exploring the area and relaxing by the falls before going back on our drive to Whistler.
Address: Squamish-Lillooet D, BC V0N 1T0
HAVE LUNCH @ WAREHOUSE
Once we arrived in Whistler, we stopped by the Warehouse to grab lunch. We have this restaurant back in Toronto as well, and. the special thing about the Warehouse is that it serves all meals for only $5.99!
ADMIRE THE DIGITAL ORCA @ COAL HARBOUR
Coal Harbour is a modern downtown area (located between Stanley Park and Canada Place) known for its marine hubs, mountain views, and waterside restaurants. Within Coal Harbour, is the Jack Poole Plaza that showcases the Digital Orca - a large sculpture of a killer whale created in 2009 by Douglas Coupland. There's also another Cactus Club restaurant located here if you get hungry!
JAPADOG is a Japanese style twist on hot dogs! The history behind JAPADOG actually started with a Japanese couple who moved from Japan to Canada with low funds, but a dream of creating a world famous food stand.