From Grouse Mountain to Granville Island, Vancouver has countless awe-inspiring attractions that are must-sees for visitors. But for those looking to venture outside of the guidebook – and do as the Vancouverites do - here are four ways to live like a local:
What it’s known for: A vibrant urban oasis, Granville Island’s claim to fame is the buzzing Public Market, with an array of vendors selling fresh produce and gourmet goods.
Hidden gem: Granville Island is also the home to the Vancouver TheatreSports League, a world-renowned professional theatre company recognized for exceptional improv-based work. Watch performers battle it out with razor-sharp wit at TheatreSports, or catch an Improv After Dark show for edgy, no-holds-barred comedy that will have you on the edge of your seat (writhing with laughter, natch).
What it’s known for: Bordered by golden sunsets at English Bay and the lush greenery of Stanley Park, the West End’s main thoroughfares include Davie Street, known for its glittering bars and clubs; Denman Street, lined with ethnic restaurants; and Robson street, home to trendy designer shops.
Hidden gem: Tucked away in a residential area smack-dab in the middle of the West End, Greenhorn Espresso Bar is a chic, hipster-esque café with deliciously rich coffee and tasty brunch and lunch bites like coconut black rice pudding and short rib beef dip baguette. The high ceilings and concrete floor give an industrial feel, yet vintage décor and indie music balance the space with a cozy vibe. Eat in or grab a coffee to go and explore the majestic heritage houses nearby.
What it’s known for: With its bustling pubs, iconic concert venues and hopping nightclubs, Granville Street is known as Vancouver’s entertainment district that comes alive after dark.
Hidden gem: Directly under the Commodore Ballroom lies Canada’s oldest bowling alley. Opened in 1930, Commodore Lanes is a 17,000-square-foot underground space complete with five-pin bowling lanes, pool tables, pinball machines, a licensed lounge, and a jukebox blaring retro tunes. Step back in time, share a pitcher with friends and throw a strike!
What it’s known for: Major attractions like Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park play to North Van’s reputation for rugged wilderness – and being recognized as a forerunner of freestyle mountain biking helps, too.
Hidden gem: On Friday nights, May 1 through September 25, don’t miss the Shipyards Night Market at Shipbuilder’s Square, a scenic 15-minute Seabus ride from downtown Vancouver. Shop for locally made, artisanal goodies; dance to live music; grab a pint at the outdoor beer garden; and choose from over 35 food trucks in “hot food alley”.