A weekend in Vancouver
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What can I say about Vancouver that hasn’t been said already? A lot!!!
Vancouver may be the perfect foodie destination, combined with beautiful scenery plus a really cool downtown. Vancouver may be my newest crush and here’s why it should be yours too!
Here are the things you need to know to get ready for your own weekend in Vancouver.
Great Food in Vancouver
Let’s start with the food! OMG, the food! I have been to Vancouver before and was so excited to take my crew because they love Japanese, Korean, and Chinese food, and Vancouver is filled with Asian restaurants.
One of the reasons why Vancouver is a top foodie destination is because of its diverse culinary offerings. The city is home to a large number of residents with Chinese, Japanese, and Korean backgrounds, which is reflected in the abundance of Asian restaurants.
Here are the best things we ate in a long weekend of eating a lot.
If you are a fan of Xiao Long Bao (XLB), also known as soup dumplings, this should be your first stop. An XLB Dumpling is a dumpling filled with a pork and broth mixture that bursts with savory juices upon the first bite.
These little dumplings require expert skill and precision to create, with the perfect balance of dough thickness, filling consistency, and steaming time needed to achieve their signature texture and taste.
Jingle Bao in Vancouver truly excels in this craft, serving up some of the best XLBs I’ve ever tasted. You can find XLB throughout Vancouver, but you are missing out on amazing flavor if you go somewhere else.
Guu with Garlic
If you want an authentic Japanese experience that doesn’t revolve around ramen or sushi, do yourself a favor and head to Guu with Garlic. This unassuming restaurant was the single best meal we had in Vancouver. The standouts of the meal were:
The Mochi and Shrimp Gratin was a unique play on a Shrimp casserole, with the slight sweetness of mochi and the pull of cheese.
The Takoyaki (Fried Octopus Balls) are tender little morsels that are topped with a generous amount of bonito. If you are ready to dive into a new taste sensation, make it Guu with Garlic.
My family and I have an obsession with Bingsu.
If you don’t know what bingsu is, let me introduce you to this delightful Korean dessert. Bingsu, also known as patbingsu, is a shaved ice dessert typically topped with sweet red bean paste, mochi, fresh fruit, and condensed milk. However, many delicious variations are available, such as green tea bingsu or mango bingsu.
What makes bingsu stand out from other shaved ice desserts is its fine, powdery texture that melts in your mouth. The use of natural ingredients such as fresh fruit and red bean paste adds a sweetness that is not overpowering, balanced by the refreshing taste of shaved ice.
Well, we tried them all! Seriously, we drove all over the city of Vancouver looking for the best bingsu. Our favorite was at My Frosty where they served generous portions of sweetened mango over milky shaved ice. Served with a side of sweetened condensed milk, this is a treat you don’t want to miss.
If you love a pastry or a baked good, your eyes will pop out of your head when you walk into this bakery downtown. The worst part of this place is trying to decide how many treats you are going to get!
My personal favorites are the bacon, cheese and chive scone, the chocolate almond croissant, the apple tart, the almond cake, and the strawberry rhubarb donut. (I have also been there on a previous trip to Vancouver.)
Bring a group of people and you can share and try even more delicious bites.
Kook Korean BBQ
If you love the kind of Korean BBQ where you can grill your own meat at the table, you will love Kook. This unassuming restaurant in in a strip mall quite a bit out of downtown, but the line that is always out the door will tell you all you need to know about the food.
Do yourself a favor and order the assortment that gives you all the different meats, some fried dumplings and tons and tons of side dishes. Also, bring a big appetite, because you are going to need it!
Vancouver is a Beautiful City
The mountains in the near distance contrast with the ultra-modern downtown Vancouver, and the water reflects onto the glass buildings. This is something you won’t find anywhere else in Canada. Of course, Vancouver is even more beautiful than the downtown alone. Here are some of the most see spots.
Stanley Park is one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions, and it’s easy to see why. It offers spectacular views of both the mountains and the skyline. You can explore the park by walking or cycling along its seawall, giving you some truly amazing vistas.
Not only that, but there are also plenty of other activities, such as picnicking at one of many scenic spots within the park, taking part in volleyball or soccer on Second Beach, or exploring nature trails filled with lush greenery and wildlife!
If you have little ones who need a great spot to run around, this is your best bet!
Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is another must-see attraction when visiting Vancouver. This 137-meter-long bridge spans across a deep canyon filled with Douglas fir trees and streams below, offering visitors spectacular views during their walk across it.
The bridge is not the only of its kind in Vancouver.
Although the Capilano Suspension Bridge is gorgeous, the nearby Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is just as impressive and a bit less touristy. This bridge also allows visitors to take in spectacular views while walking across it, but the best part is that its free!
Van Dusen Botanical Gardens
Van Dusen Botanical Gardens has to be one of Vancouver’s most beautiful attractions. This 55 acre garden is home to more than 7,500 species of plants from around the world and includes a maze, butterfly garden, hedge maze, and much more.
Plenty of events take place throughout the year, such as outdoor theatrical performances, holiday lights displays, and concerts. If you’re looking for a fun day out with family or friends, this is definitely an experience you won’t want to miss!
Queen Elizabeth Park
Queen Elizabeth Park is another favorite spot for visitors to Vancouver. This 130-acre park is home to the famous Bloedel Floral Conservatory, a stunning glass dome housing hundreds of exotic plants and birds worldwide.
The park also has plenty of beautiful gardens and viewpoints to explore, along with tennis courts, an 18-hole pitch & putt golf course, and even a restaurant onsite. If you happen to be there in the spring, like we were, you will be surrounded by blossoms of every kind!
Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden
The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden is located in the heart of Chinatown and is a great way to experience Chinese culture without leaving Vancouver. In fact, it is the only authentic Classical Chinese Garden outside of China.
This tranquil garden consists of traditional Ming-style architecture, ponds, pavilions, and gardens filled with exotic plants from around the world.
It’s also one of the most visited attractions in Vancouver due to its perfect blend of tranquility and beauty. If you have some time to spare during your visit, this is definitely worth checking out. If you can catch a free tour, you are in for a wealth of knowledge about Chinese culture and history.
Last but not least is Downtown Vancouver. Here you can find a variety of activities ranging from shopping, sightseeing and dining to nightlife and entertainment. There are plenty of attractions to explore such as the Vancouver Lookout which gives you 360-degree views of the city, or take a tour through historic Gastown for some great photo opportunities.
The Vancouver Lookout
The Vancouver Lookout is also the perfect spot to learn about Vancouver’s history and see a 360-degree view of the city. It is similar in shape to the CN Tower in Toronto but much shorter.
The elevator ride up is not for people who are afraid of heights as it is glass, but once you arrive at the lookout, you are only looking out windows at waist height.
Gastown is another must-visit for anyone visiting Vancouver. This historic area is full of cobblestone streets, old-fashioned lampposts, and plenty of shops, restaurants, and pubs.
An iconic steam clock is the centerpiece of this neighborhood and chimes every hour and half hour with a little song.
Granville Island is another great spot to explore in Vancouver. This unique island has tons of colorful buildings that house factories, retails stores, and restaurants.
Of course, the best part of Granville Island is the Farmer’s Market. You can find fresh produce, baked goods, handicrafts, and flowers within one market. We even found some boutique pickles that we ate the entire time we were there.
Granville Island also has one of the best views of downtown from the nearby marina. The area is also great for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and other outdoor activities. And the best part is that it’s free! So make sure to add Granville Island to your list of must-visit attractions when in Vancouver.
If you have kids, Science World at TELUS World of Science is a great place to visit. It has interactive exhibits on many different subjects like physics, engineering, and technology.
Science World also features an Omnimax Theater, which shows educational films about science and nature in 3D. The theater also has regular live shows with demonstrations that are fun for the entire family.
Plus, it is housed in an iconic geodesic dome built for the 1986 World’s Fair.
So, even if you don’t go inside, it’s worth seeing from the outside.
In Conclusion, Vancouver is awesome! You could spend the entire weekend just planning where to eat next, or you could get out and see some truly spectacular sites and still get a lot of incredible food!
Vancouver is beautiful. Whether visiting for the first time or being a local, there is always something to do and see in this great city. Book your weekend in Vancouver and get out there and enjoy all that Vancouver has to offer!
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