Some big cities guard their local flavour like treasure. Not Vancouver, though. No matter what you like to do, when you like to do it or who you want to do it with, there’s something for everyone. Here are the five top reasons to visit Vancouver year-round.
Buy Like a Local
Vancouver wears its weirdness on its sleeves. Just check out Vancouver’s many local markets to see what we’re talking about.
If you’re looking for funky vintage finds, head over to the Vancouver Flea Market in its iconic big red barn. You’ll find everything from rare vinyl and kitschy decorations to truly rare and remarkable antiques.
Maybe fresh food is more your fancy. In that case, there are huge farmers’ markets downtown and in East Vancouver. The downtown one runs almost all year! From locally-made kombucha to pottery and delectable donuts, there’s a stall with something you’ll love that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
During the pandemic, Vancouver’s many festive night markets were in jeopardy. Fortunately, the Richmond Night Market is returning in April 2022! The proprietors say it’s the closest thing to an Asian night market outside of the continent itself. The delicious smells wafting from food stalls confirm that along with the thousands of visitors this market gets every weekend.
There aren’t enough drummers in the world to match the beat of Vancouver’s rhythm. We could go on and on about the city’s markets and local shops, but it’s best to see it for yourself.
There’s A Festival Every Time of Year
Buying local’s great, but what about unique experiences in Vancouver?
As early as March and until the end of April, Vancouver’s about 40,000 cherry trees blossom into wonderful hues of pink and white. The city celebrates that with haiku competitions, picnics, walking tours and art fairs. Combined, these events make up Vancouver’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival.
In July of 2022, the Honda Celebration of Light will celebrate its 30th year of dazzling firework displays. Each year, three countries compete to put on the greatest firework show in the world. It’s spread out over three nights, but aside from fireworks, look forward to local music, food and plenty of dancing!
Fall is for film buffs in Vancouver. This year, the Vancouver International Film Festival will screen about 120 features and 80 shorts from filmmakers of all walks of life and genres. In between, there are Q&A sessions, film industry meetings and live performances. You can even catch some of their films online!
Don’t let winter get you down. Wander through 15 acres of lights and displays at the Vandusen Botanical Garden’s Festival of Lights. While the lovingly-crafted light-made roses and Christmas displays are enough to warm up cold hearts in the winter, imagine seeing them under the whimsical glow of the Northern Lights.
It’s a Technicolor Foodie Dream
Whatever pleases your palette, Vancouver has it. While you’ll find plenty of good grub in the markets, there are so many sit-down restaurants unique to Vancouver, you’d need months to complete a full food tour. We’ll break it down with one local favourite per meal.
Do you wake up with a sweet tooth? Cartems Donuts is your new best friend. They’re Vancouver’s choice for classic glazed donuts as well as unique treats like Earl Grey donuts, smoked maple walnut donuts and apple fritters. Everything’s made from scratch, too!
For lunch, we’re turning to a Vancouver diner that balances classic comfort food with chef-prepared flair: the Argo Cafe. While you can get a classic burger with a mound of fries, you can also feast on duck confit, sockeye salmon and coconut curry chicken stir fry. It’s as bare-bones or fancy as you want it to be.
For a truly up-scale Vancouver dinner, head to Elisa Wood-Fired Grill. From Wisconsin Holstein to Japanese Wagyu, the steak menu is geared to more discerning carnivores. You’ll also find rabbit, a whole range of ethically-sourced seafood, locally-grown produce and a bar stocked with a variety of high-end wines, beers, spirits and cocktails.
Vancouver Is a Big City With Adult-oriented and Family Fun…
Despite the patented Canadian warmth you’ll get from the locals, Vancouver is a big place with plenty of nightlife. Gastown glows with funky bars. Davie Village beckons everyone from all walks of life with LGBTQ-friendly businesses and nightclubs. Yaletown has a bit of everything after the sun goes down.
If your vice is high-end shopping, you’ll find plenty of that around Georgia Street’s luxury shopping district. Keep an eye out for Dior, Gucci and more.
For curious minds of all ages, you can stimulate your brain at one of Vancouver’s many museums like Science World or the Beaty Biodiversity Museum.
Travelling families shouldn’t miss the thrilling rides and theme park fun of Playland. For pure, unadulterated joy, Kids Market has toy stores, arcades, bumper cars and numerous craft workshops. For a more educational yet still fun experiences, head over to 1920s-inspired Burnaby Village. Whether you watch blacksmiths at work, ride the carousel or get a cone at the ice cream parlour, the whole family will love it.
The best part is Vancouver ties it all together with a public transit system that makes planning things to do in Vancouver that much easier for visitors.
… With Nature At Its Doorstep
If big city blues have you needing an escape, Vancouver’s got it. There’s green space inside and outside of the city.
Right on the edge of downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park’s 400-hectare grounds enchant visitors with beaches, lagoons and vast swathes of west coast rain forest. You can dine, see a live show and even visit the Vancouver Aquarium without leaving the grounds.
If the call of the wild beckons you further away from the city lights, take a challenging hike up to St. Mark’s Summit for dazzling island bay views. For an easier hike amongst misty, enchanting forests, take a short trip to Lynn Canyon Park. There’s even a suspension bridge for the more daring in your family.
Stay Close to It All at Sunset Inn of Downtown Vancouver
Whether you’re a solo traveller, staying overnight for a friends’ getaway or stopping in Vancouver on a summer family trip, Sunset Inn Hotel in Downtowon Vancouver is your temporary home. With a fitness center, gated parking, locked bike storage and much, much more, no matter the reason you travel to Vancouver, we’ll make it special. Reserve a room for your next Vancouver stay today.