We first visited Vancouver in September 2014. On that trip, we stayed at a VRBO in the Yaletown neighborhood. More centrally located than this year’s West End accommodation, it was walking distance to Chinatown, Gastown, and Canada Place.
Some observations about the City from both visits:
Downtown: It is very hilly with many great eating and drinking establishments; a beautiful waterfront; a Chinatown; urban parks; and lots of retail and tourist attractions. In fact, it reminded us a lot of San Francisco. It is cleaner than SF, however, and has lots fewer (visibly at least) homeless people wandering the streets and panhandling. We did not visit Chinatown, but did wander through and enjoy Gastown, a historic neighborhood along the waterfront.
Canada Place: Canada Place is located on the waterfront and consists of a cruiseship terminal, the Convention Centre, a visitor’s center, and a number of restaurants and cafes.
Bike Friendliness: Perhaps its most interesting quality about Vancouver is how bike friendly it is. Not only are there bike lanes along most of the downtown streets, but there are also bicycle-only-dedicated paths all along the cityfront and beyond. Indeed, there are paths divided between “pedestrian” and “bicycle only,” and never the twain shall cross—there are even signs painted in crosswalks that read “Watch for bicycles”–sometimes it takes longer to cross these paths than to cross the street!
The People: Folks here are very outdoorsy—year-round they ride bikes and hike, and in the winter they ski. And they love their sweets—there are bakeries, especially cupcake shoppes, on every block. There is literally nothing sugar-free to be found—the only way I could get unsweetened iced tea was to order hot tea and fill it with ice cubes! When I commented about this to a waitress, she jokingly said they “needed to store up fat” for their long, cold winter.
The reason for this year’s visit to Vancouver was to go on an Alaskan cruise that departed from here. After spending three days exploring and enjoying the City, we boarded Celebrity Millennium and began our latest adventure: seven days of cruising the Inside Passage, followed by ten days of exploring the Alaskan interior by bus and train. Let the fun begin….