Vancouver has many run-of-the-mill attractions, such as lookouts, beautiful parks, and its nearby mountains. However, the city is also home to a few off-the-beaten-path activities. Here are the most unique experiences to have in this British Columbia gem.
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Burnaby Village Museum
“A place where history comes to life.” Visitors can step back in time at Burnaby Village Museum, in the Greater Vancouver Area, and experience what it was like to visit a 1920s tram-stop community. Townsfolk dress in period costumes, and the blacksmith, general store, and print shop, all located on the historic street, are must-sees. There’s also a restored Interurban #1223 tram and an operational carousel from 1912.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Jimi Hendrix Shrine
Yes, there is a shrine to Jimi Hendrix in Vancouver. Most people don’t know that Jimi spent a lot of time in the city growing up, and he even attended school here for a short period. His grandparents lived in Vancouver, and his grandmother worked as a cook at Vie’s Chicken and Steak House—performers like Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong dined at Vie’s following performances in the city. The shrine used to be where this restaurant once stood, but it now stands in downtown Vancouver. It’s open every summer and features photos and memorabilia.
Movies in the Morgue
Held inside the Vancouver Police Museum, Movies in the Morgue includes watching a movie right where the old Vancouver city morgue used to be. Films may be dramas, classic comedies or action movies, which you watch “surrounded by the ghosts and gadgets of Vancouver’s past.” While the museum provides folding chairs, they encourage guests to bring pillows and blankets to “make yourself at home in our morgue.”
A Night in the Wild
For a unique experience involving animals, you have to visit the Greater Vancouver Zoo. They have a Night in the Wild option, where you can take an interpretative guided tour before setting up your tent in the zoo’s picnic area for the night. There are also opportunities to go on the miniature safari train and to experience an animal encounter. Fall asleep under the stars and beside the animals.
Let The Aquabus ferry you around False Creek. The small commuter ferries operate between Granville Island, Hornby Street in downtown Vancouver, Yaletown, and Olympic Village. There is an option to just go from one stop to another, or you can do a 25-minute round-trip around popular False Creek, which can start from any dock. It’s a different way to see some of the city’s best sights.
Visit a secret bar
Vancouver does have many hipster neighborhoods, which means it also has some cool secret bars to discover. The Narrow Lounge sits on Main Street, and there’s no signage, so the only way you know it’s open is by the glowing red light above the door. In summer, it opens its small tiki-style patio as well. In Yaletown, Hello Goodbye is a new cocktail bar without a glitzy front door, but if people go down an industrial staircase, they will find a gorgeous lounge.
The Maze at VanDusen Botanical Garden
The Elizabethan hedge maze at VanDusen Botanical Garden is one of only six in North America. It’s made up of “3,000 pyramidal cedars (Thuja occidentalis ‘Fastigiata’) planted in the autumn of 1981.” For less adventurous visitors, there’s also an observation deck where you can stand to view the maze. It’s perfect for children and big kids at heart.
Puzzled Pint is a social puzzle-solving event that occurs at bars across the world on the second Tuesday of every month. Even finding out the location is a puzzle in itself! Hints are posted on the official website the Friday before each happening, and the solution will lead you to a local pub, bar or restaurant in Vancouver. It’s a casual event and definitely a unique way to learn more about the city, from a puzzling perspective.
JAPADOG, established in Vancouver over 10 years ago, is a famous food stand. It serves Japanese-style hot dogs to locals, visitors, and many celebrities. The signature hot dog is Terimayo, which includes teriyaki sauce, mayo, and seaweed. Other unique combinations include crunchy shrimp tempura on rice in a roll; turkey sausage with kimchi and black sesame; and avocado, cream cheese, mayo, and soy sauce. At the restaurant on Burrard Street, people can try their “shaked fries” too. Cooked fries are placed in a bag with seasoning and shook until they’re all coated.
The Space Centre
See a different side of Vancouver from the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. There are four key areas of discovery inside the center: Planetarium Star Theatre, GMS Observatory, Cosmic Courtyard Gallery, and Groundstation Canada Theatre. Lean back in your chair and “Surf the Solar System” inside the Planetarium. In the Cosmic Courtyard, you can place your hand on a rare moon rock, which is one of only five in the world that people can touch, and the Observatory allows you to observe Vancouver’s skies.
Wreck Beach is an internationally acclaimed 7.8-kilometer (4.8-mile) nudist beach. It was Canada’s first clothing-optional beach, and it’s North America’s largest. Its location within a beautiful wilderness park makes it a coveted naturist destination, and it’s definitely a unique experience to have in Vancouver! Wreck Beach is also known for its fantastic sunsets, due to its westerly position.
Sleepover at Vancouver Aquarium
Sleepovers aren’t just reserved for the zoo in Vancouver. At the Vancouver Aquarium, guests can enjoy a behind-the-scenes look inside one of the laboratories, where they can touch local invertebrates. Then it’s time to go to sleep in front of a spectacular marine gallery. There are family, student, group and “hugs and fishes” sleepover options too.
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