PHOTO: The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a must-see spot in Vancouver. (photo by Rosalind Cummings Yeates)
Surrounded by scenic landscapes and filled with sophisticated dining and culture, the beautiful seaport city of Vancouver offers something for every kind of traveler.
You can hike, climb, boat and bike on practically every inch of the island, and you can also eat your way through the bustling streets while taking in countless art galleries. And that's just the start.
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Explore First Nations Art at the Museum of Anthropology
From the moment you step into Vancouver International Airport, the city's First Nations heritage is on prominent display with totem poles and ceremonial masks.
The Museum of Anthropology at UBC showcases one of the most expansive collections of Northwest Coast First Nations art in the world. Set against a serene backdrop of mountains and the sea in a stunning abstract building, the museum displays more than 40,000 ethnographic pieces from all over the globe. With galleries boasting towering sculptures, ceramics, weave work, masks, paintings, Haida Houses and Musqueam house posts dotting the grounds, strolling through this museum is a singular event.
Don’t miss the cedar sculpture masterpiece: The Raven and the First Men, by legendary Haida artist Bill Reid.
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Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge
Vancouver boasts numerous striking landmarks, including the Seawall—the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path—and the dazzling Geodesic dome of Science World.
None are more exhilarating than the Capilano Suspension Bridge, however. Floating over the rainforest at 110 feet and swaying over the winding Capilano River, the bridge delivers an unforgettable perspective of the surrounding park.
As one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions, crowds pour into the park all day so it’s a good idea to come early if you want a semi-tranquil experience. No matter how many people are walking around, the natural beauty of the rainforest canopy will take your breath away.
If strolling across the swinging suspension bridge doesn’t get your heart pumping, check out the Cliffwalk. This chilling series of suspended bridges wraps around the cliff face above the river, with only glass to separate you from the canyon below. Top off your adventure with a visit to Kia’ palano, an area dedicated to First Nations totem poles, which tell the history of the indigenous people who lived on the grounds.
Brunch at Cafe Medina
Vancouverites take their brunch very, very, seriously. Early on Saturday and Sunday mornings, you’ll spot long lines of people winding down the streets, sometimes for up to two hours. That’s because weekends are traditionally started with leisurely feasts and drinks at a number of chic cafes and restaurants.
No place is more iconic than Cafe Medina, a Vancouver institution.
Reservations aren’t accepted so plan to arrive at opening around 9:00 a.m. if you don’t want to wait for a table. The quaint cafe serves up locally sourced and creative dishes like Tagine—a concoction of two poached eggs, spicy Merguez sausage, chickpeas, preserved lemon and black olives with grilled focaccia. The restaurant is also famous for its homemade Belgian waffles, which are fresh, saucer-sized and come with flavorful toppings like milk chocolate lavender.
If getting into Cafe Medina proves difficult, try Chambar, its sister restaurant next door. Snagging a seat at the bar is a little easier, and the food is just as delicious.
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Ride A Boat to Granville Island
The coastal beauty of Vancouver highlights hopping a five-minute ferry to the Granville Island peninsula. Sailing across the water with mountains and sleek architecture as the backdrop provides panoramas that you’ll always remember.
Once there, Granville Island hosts a public market that bursts with produce and artisans selling handcrafted goods. You’ll see locals shopping and sipping coffee but the market is also a great place to taste fresh pastries and sandwiches while listening to live musicians. Artsy boutiques are located in the Net Loft area, and buskers perform in the waterfront courtyard as boats sail back and forth.