Exquisite meals, fabulous public transit, and outdoor adventure galore make Vancouver a fabulous long-weekend getaway.
Somewhere between getting impatient with waiting at the U.S./Canada border and having children we stopped visiting Vancouver. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but something just that happened, so when we first heard about Kenmore Air adding Vancouver as a flight destination my husband and I were ecstatic. Vancouver has always been one of our favorite places to visit. It is a world-class city filled with notable restaurants, endless shopping and the perfect blend of both city and mountain getaway. There is more than enough to keep you occupied for a long weekend. And given the current exchange rate, now is the perfect time to book your next Canadian adventure.
As we boarded our early morning flight the prospect of being in another country by brunch posed such a thrill. As the city came into view and we dropped down into the harbour, I was reminded how much I have missed Vancouver.
Home at The Douglas
Our home for the weekend was one of Marriott’s new Autograph Collection hotels called The Douglas. The Douglas is part of a larger complex called The Parq Vancouver, an entertainment destination featuring Vancouver’s only casino and eight distinct restaurants and lounges. The Douglas is located next to BC Place Stadium and a stone’s throw from False Creek.
With the constant buzz of passenger ferries along False Creek, it is effortless to access the other side. We enjoyed an afternoon of wandering around the Public Market on Granville Island and found no shortage of delicious, locally made treats to sample. As a mother of two boys, it has been a downright thrill to shop for our little girl on the way. We found some Vancouver made items from Parade Organics and Redfish clothing that will look so cute on our baby.
Extraordinary Dinner at The Victor
As a wonderful commencement to our trip in town, we enjoyed a leisurely and memorable meal at The Victor, one of the many restaurants located in the Parq Vancouver. Our meal at The Victor was a constant string of culinary punctuation marks. From their crab cakes and milk bread to their waffle macaroni and cheese and grilled branzino, each and every bite we sampled tasted like the best version we had ever had.
A meal like that needed to end on a high, sweet note. So, we ordered the cotton candy atop a bed of donuts. Clearly, we had started something. Every table surrounding us noticed and followed suit.
Exploring Stanley Park
On Saturday, we took a carriage ride through Stanley Park during which we learned about both the park’s history and the surrounding area. As we skirted along Stanley Park’s famous seawall we caught glimpses of the water, mountains, sky and all the majestic trees planted in the park.
If you want to cover a large area of Stanley Park in less time and from a different vantage point than being on foot a carriage ride was a great way to see the park. Some highlights of the park included the totem poles, the rose garden and learning about a little train you can ride.
After our tour, we spent an afternoon exploring the Vancouver Aquarium. Although we enjoyed the exhibits and sea life shows, we were most struck by the thought-provoking art installation entitled Vortex by Douglas Coupland. Vortex highlights how single-use plastic waste is harming ocean life. Our family has been pretty good about avoiding these types of plastics. Still, it was a valuable reminder of how we want to make beach cleanup a bigger part of our ongoing community service.
Visual & Culinary Feast at Hawksworth
Having walked the better part of the day and logging almost 11 miles, we were more than ready and prepared for our meal at Hawksworth. After a couple years of following David Hawksworth’s career we were ecstatic to finally dine at his restaurant. Our experience at Hawksworth turned out to be both a visual and culinary feast for the senses.
Our meal inspired us to ponder how thoughtful presentation can really set the stage for our everyday meals at home. After dinner, we visited the Vancouver Lookout just in time for the sunset and to see a 360-degree view of the city at night. The Vancouver Lookout allows you to come up twice on one ticket; once during the day and then once again at night. How amazing is that! It is a fun way to cap off a fun-filled day in the city.
Hiking with Outdoor Explore
Sunday morning we hopped on the SeaBus and met up with John Gill from Outdoor Explore for a heart pumping and jaw-dropping hike along Howe Sound. The SeaBus is a passenger-only ferry that crosses the Burrad Inlet. By connecting Downtown Vancouver with the North Shore, this fun water ride makes it a breeze to travel between the two sections of the city.
Outdoor Explore is a Vancouver-based company most known for its thoughtfully procured hiking and canoeing trips in British Columbia, the Yukon, and the Himalayas. If you’re looking to plan a trip to remember, John and his co-founder, Drew Copeland, will create a trip you will talk about for the rest of your lives.
John took us on a trail we would have never found on our own. It was a busy, beautiful weekend for hiking, but far enough off the beaten path that we only encountered one other group on our way down. If seeing British Columbia in all its beauty away from the crowds speaks to you, Outdoor Explore knows the area well and will make it happen.
Monday morning, we headed to the waterfront and hopped on the free shuttle bus to Grouse Mountain. Although we missed the peak snow season we encountered snow and saw one of the resident bears. Between all the public transit options there really is no need to bring your car to Vancouver for the weekend. Why pay for it to sit in a parking garage while you have fun? My suggestion: take the money and buy a ticket on Kenmore Air. You will not regret a car-free weekend where you can enjoy a lively city with a gorgeous natural backdrop.
Monday afternoon, we boarded our plane and headed back to Seattle. On board, we had a couple first timers who were wide-eyed and eager throughout the flight.
Once we landed they remarked to each other it was the “best flight of their lives.” If you are a long-time resident, a new transplant or just looking for a different way to travel than battling traffic or long airport security, then Kenmore Air will help you create the seamless trip of your dreams. As we caught sight of the Space Needle I was reminded of how lucky Seattleites are to call this beautiful place home. Seattle is the perfect hub for adventuring and I cannot wait to discover more destinations just a short seaplane ride away.
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