© Meaghan Way / Culture Trip

The Insider Guide to Vancouver

With water on all sides and a stunning mountain backdrop, this laidback, young city on the west coast of Canada is often voted the best place to live in the world. And when you come here, you’ll understand why. It’s clean, spacious and modern, and there’s nature wherever you look.

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Let’s Go! The Main Attractions

Vancouver is all about quality of life. The bars are fun, the food options off the scale, and all of it blended with a good amount of time spent in the great outdoors. And there’s certainly a lot of that. Grouse Mountain, a 25-minute bus ride from Downtown, is where you can ski or board in winter, while Central Park and Queen Elizabeth Park offer more central outdoor options. Meanwhile Stanley Park, famed for its First Nations totem poles, is where you’ll find the joggers early morning. For beach activities, why not head to Kitsilano, once Vancouver’s hippy hangout, or Third beach, the city’s most popular by far. And you don’t have to go far for proper wilderness: Indian Arm is a glacial fjord that’s only a short drive away, or take a boat trip from Downtown – water and mountains don’t come any more pristine. Back in Downtown, Vancouver Aquarium and Science World make for a fun day out. And if you think you’ve seen Main Street and Gastown before, you probably have – on screen. Also known as Hollywood North, Vancouver is a hub of creative arts, with Vancouver FIlm School, Van Arts and others readying the next-gen crew for Rambo (filmed just up the road). For dining options – and an alternative to that great Canadian specialty, poutine – Granville Island, over the bridge from Downtown, is buzzing day and night. You can walk here, or catch the tug ferry. There’s a terrific farmer’s market in the former sawmills, along with theatres, craft studios and distilleries (bring your own glass). You can also enjoy the First Nations and Indigenous art on display that makes for memorable souvenirs.

Neighborhoods in Vancouver