Dana Lynch is a writer, traveller, long-time local and lover of all things Pacific Northwest, especially Vancouver. Read all about her adventures (of the girly and not-so-girly sorts) in Vancouver on her blog posts at insidevancouver.ca and about.com.
Where would we be without our girlfriends? It’s so important to make time for the special women in our lives, whether that means celebrating life’s milestones, taking a break from hectic schedules or simply being together, sharing an activity we love. Vancouver is the perfect place for a girls’ getaway, because there’s so much to do.
1. Shop ’Til You Drop
Shopping with like-minded girlfriends is one of life’s great pleasures, and this is the place to do it! There are the internationally famous fashion brands on Robson Street, the high-end designers at Holt Renfrew, and the unique, stylish boutiques of Yaletown and Gastown. Rather shop for the home than the body? Try South Granville for housewares and art, and Chinatown for antiques and imports.
2. Indulge at a Spa
Vancouver’s day spas aren’t just a way to relax and pamper yourself, they’re also a luxurious way to spend time with your girlfriends. One of the best stagettes I ever attended skipped the late-night drinking in favour of a spa trip -- with massages and facials for all. Spa days are perfect for birthdays and gifts for new moms, too. For total-body indulgence, head to the Absolute Spa at the Century, nourish your skin at Spruce Body Lab, or get a deep-tissue massage at the decadent, Roman-themed Spa Utopia.
3. FUSE at Vancouver Art Gallery
On the last Friday of every month, the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) hosts one of the city’s most unique events: the adults-only FUSE. Opening the gallery at night, FUSE attracts big crowds, from twenty-something hipsters to elegant forty-somethings in jackets and little black dresses. Meet and mingle among the current art exhibitions and special live performances, or while sipping wine at the outdoor Gallery Café.
4. Hit the Slopes
Whether you and your girlfriends love skiing or snowboarding, downhill or cross-country, you’ll find the perfect powder just outside Vancouver. Spend your days on the slopes and your evenings dining on gourmet cuisine, sipping hot cocoa by the fire, or relaxing together at the Grouse Mountain Resort, Mount Seymour Resort or one of the luxury hotels at the internationally renowned Whistler.
5. Dance the Night Away
Sometimes girls just want to have fun. And cocktails. And be part of an ultra-hip club scene that makes you feel like a VIP just walking in the door. Whether you’re treating your best friend to her stagette -- tiara and all -- or just want to party with beautiful young things, downtown’s Granville Street is the place to be. Warm up with a ginger martini at the retro-glam ginger sixty two, bar hop to the trendy, London-style club Republic or get in line for the celebrity hot spot Roxy.
6. Smell the Roses
When my in-laws came for a visit, my mother-in-law and I had our own girls’ getaway touring Vancouver’s gorgeous gardens. Fresh, fragrant and alive with colour, our gardens are a perfect places for strolling and chatting, sitting and sharing. Start your tour with the Stanley Park Rose Gardens, move to the quarry gardens at Queen Elizabeth Park and finish at my favourite, the VanDusen Botanical Gardens.
7. Taste the Wine
B.C.’s wineries are some of the best in the country, and many of them are here in Vancouver and nearby Fraser Valley. Take your gal pals for a road-trip wine tour, stopping to taste the luscious vino along the way, or stay close to downtown with wine tastings at Salt Tasting Room, where the wine is paired with artisanal cheeses and local delicacies, or the Brix Wine Bar, where they serve over 60 wines by the glass.
8. See and Be Seen
They call Vancouver “Hollywood North” for a reason: So many films and TV shows are filmed here that spotting celebrities is no big deal for locals. Still, it can be fun to splurge on dinner and drinks at a known celebrity hot spot -- just in case your favourite celeb happens to walk in the door. Bonus: Celebrity hot spots like Blue Water Café, Glowbal and the Opus Hotel offer the finest dining in the city, so whatever happens, you and your girlfriends are guaranteed one of the best meals of your life!
9. Kayak at Deep Cove
Any Vancouverite will tell you that one of the most beautiful places in all of B.C. is just north of downtown Vancouver: the majestic Deep Cove. This ocean inlet is a picture-perfect world of mountains, sky and water, teeming with wildlife. It’s not uncommon to see eagles, sea lions and seals. Here you can bond with the girls over the beauty of nature -- and a little adventure. Deep Cove Canoe & Kayak Centre has kayaks and paddle boats for all skill levels, so don’t worry if you’re new to the sport.
10. Take in a Show
If you live on the West Coast you know that sometimes you just want to get dressed up! Vancouver has the best excuse to put on your high heels and hit the town with all your girls in tow: a thriving theatre scene. From the crowd-pleasers at the Arts Club Theatre Company to the glamour and drama of the Vancouver Opera, there’s always a show for every taste.
By Dana Lynch, insidevancouver.ca