4 Days in Vancouver, BC: What to do, see, & eat.
I took this trip in January as part of a work conference, and it was supposed to be the first of many adventures in 2020. We all know what happened next, but that being said, for likely my only trip out of country this year, I feel so lucky for the opportunity I was given to both further my education in incentive travel, and explore a city that has been on my bucket list for quite some time.
I arrived during a torrential downpour that essentially didn’t stop the entire time I was there (see my fashion forward poncho below). If I didn’t live in San Diego, I would have probably been upset that the weather was less than ideal, but in this scenario, I was very willing to embrace it.
I took an early flight the day before the conference kicked off and raced to the hotel (after grabbing some Pho to warm me up) in order to make the 12 o’clock city tour. I was a bit apprehensive to commit to 4 hours on a packed bus, I feel like city tours can be hit or miss, but this turned out to be a highlight of my time there and I learned so much.
The first stop was Stanley park, where we stopped at BC’s most visited tourist attraction, the nine totem poles. The park itself was lush and gorgeous, and steps away from the water and city view (where the picture above was snapped)
Next up was Granville Island, which (I’ve been told) is a must do when in Vancouver. It reminded me of Seattle’s Pike Place market but obviously with it’s own spin. The tour guide made a “scavenger hunt” out of this stop, so we had coupons to take around to various stands in the market for samples of different local delicacies. I started off with a Chai latte at Granville Island Tea Co., and quickly made my way to Lee’s Donuts for the last lemon curd donut on the shelf. Amazing.
With a major sugar high, we headed to the final destination, a classic Chinese Garden in Chinatown. We enjoyed a history lesson while walking the grounds, and the sunshine finally decided to make an appearance.
The next day we had the morning free so I signed up for yet another tour. I am usually a set out on foot and explore by myself type of gal, but these were specifically set up for attendees so I had to take advantage. I had the choice between a mountain snowshoe adventure or a visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. I chose the suspension bridge and was crossing my fingers it wouldn’t just be a quick cross and get back on the bus situation. I was proven wrong immediately as we stepped into what I can only describe as the enchanted forest, were told we had the park to ourselves, and to meet back at the lodge in 2 hours for hot cocoa. It was also the last day of the Christmas lights in the forest display, so dreamy!
The following two days were packed full of conference sessions and super creative dinner parties (I mean we are event planners after all!), but there was one more chance to go on a “Cultural Immersion” tour to earn some credits while seeing another part of the city. I was pretty over buses at this point, so I chose the arenas tour of BC Place and Rogers Arena, which was on foot and right next to my hotel. I wasn’t sure if I would be all that entertained, but I will likely never have the opportunity to go into empty locker rooms, stadiums/arenas, and watch a private hockey practice ever again. It ended up being a unique experience I’ll never forget.
I ended the trip with a rainy walk to some nearby shopping, and a stop at Japadog for a chicken karaage dog (another Vancouver staple!). I crammed a lot into the few days I was there, but still didn’t get to see every site, like Whistler, which will have to wait until next time.