Growing up in the tiny town of Leduc, Alberta meant turning to my imagination. For about 7 months, I’d hide indoors because I just couldn’t face the cold. Once summer came around, everyone would travel to explore other cities. My family’s summer vacations always led us to beautiful BC, where we’d hang out at the beach, go boating and master the hiking trails. We’d do all of the things that were impossible to do back home. To me, Vancouver felt like the perfect getaway – I couldn’t believe people got to live there! When I turned 19, I got the opportunity to move to this city and didn’t think twice. It seemed too good to be true!!
There’s so much to do in this beautiful city. If you EVER get the chance to visit, check out some of these top things to do. They still get me every time:
1. Grouse Grind. If you are an active person, challenge yourself to the Grouse Grind. I REPEAT, ONLY IF YOU ARE A SERIOUSLY ACTIVE PERSON. They call it the “grind” for a reason.
It’s a 2.9 km trail up Grouse Mountain – Mother Nature’s stair master. It usually takes about an hour to an hour and a half to fully make it up this mountain. But, let me tell you, it’s worth it. You get a SERIOUS butt workout and then once you get to the top you get THE most gorgeous views of the city. There’s also a restaurant there where you can reward yourself with nachos and a nice, cold beer. Walking around the mountain, you’ll find Grizzly bears (in a confined area), a bird show (ew, not for me) and other cool sights. During the winter, you can take the tram, which is SO much easier than the hike! You can spend the day skating on the frozen pond, skiing, snowboarding and enjoying some of the restaurants. It’s definitely one of my favourite things to do in Vancouver (especially, the après-ski part).
2. Granville Island. Definitely a must see! You can drive down or take a quick water taxi from downtown – which, I recommend because you get to be on the water.
There are a lot of great restaurants for serious foodies (The Sandbar is my fav), Check out the shops, boutiques and live entertainment. There’s a brewery and a farmer’s market with fresh foods (including seafood – which I just love!). It’s a fun place to visit as a family, as a couple or even solo!! When I close my eyes, I can just SMELL Granville Island – there’s nothing I don’t love about this place.
3. Fly over Canada. This is a new one for me! I recently went and felt like I was in Disneyland!! It’s a 10-minute interactive ride where you buckle up and “take off” on a virtual flight through Canada. I don’t think anyone realizes how stunning Canada really is. I know I have a good amount of American followers who might think like Shawn – that it’s all igloos and frozen tundra. But, take this ride and you will want to travel the whole country. It’s incredibly inspiring, fun and entertaining.
4. The Vancouver Aquarium. Anytime my friends or family visit, I take them to the aquarium. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s always a good idea. What I love most about this place is that it’s non-profit. They protect animals in the wild and care about conservation. Ultimately, they use what they learn to help sea life in the wilderness. I’m also a lover of animals so this place is just right up my alley. I feel like a little kid when I’m there. You’ll see everything from whales, jellyfish and sea otters to sloths and frogs.
5. Kitsilano Beach. This one is my go-to spot in the summer. The Kits area is a 15- minute walk from downtown over the Burrard Bridge – you go from a downtown vibe to literally, the most relaxed place in Vancouver. Everyone is so laid back and in beach-mode. There are concession stands, an outdoor pool overlooking the beach, a seawall (another one of my favs), people dancing in drum circles and lifeguards (so you can paddle board with no fear!). It’s Vancouver’s Venice Beach with mountain views and AMAZING sunsets. I have a thing for grabbing a blanket, a bottle of wine, and Shawn (of course) – just in time to catch the sunset. Before I met him, this was my all-time favourite thing to do with girlfriends.
The west coast lifestyle is so alive here. People slow down and enjoy life a little more – there’s just no rush to get from point A to point B. Over the last couple of years, my life has become a bit busier and I DO need to keep myself on time and on schedule! I rely on my CLUSE watch – it keeps me from getting on people’s bad side. It’s a simple piece – elegant and minimalistic. Fits right in with Vancouver’s vibes!
Shawn and I are heading back to Vancouver this summer. Hopefully, I’ll run into some of you at one of my favourite spots!!