Commercial Drive

Gastown

Kitsilano

Kerrisdale

Point Grey

Yaletown

West End

 

 

Commercial Drive

 

These days you can get just about anything you want along Commercial Drive, thanks to a thriving and diverse culture. It is the longtime home of Italians—known as “Vancouver’s Little Italy” –-and one of Vancouver’s prominent Gay & Lesbian communities. Vegetarians and environmental activists, hipsters and hemp lovers also call these 21 blocks that comprise the Drive home, evidenced by its eclectic array of storefronts and restaurants, from Rasta shops to vintage furniture stores to old Italian coffee shops.

EAT

Coffee and culture come together on the Drive. Continental Coffee has been roasting its beans for more than 30 years (continental-coffee.ca), while more recent hipster newcomer Prado Café has been voted Best Café by java aficionados (pradocafevancouver.com). Cinnamon buns are almost as popular as the brew at Turk’s On the Drive (milanocoffee.ca).

A pizza pilgrimage has got to include Lombardo’s or Marcello, but don’t expect the greatest service—if you want fast there are plenty of storefronts serving ‘by the slice’. Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria offers classic and “new world” pies such as Moo Shu BBQ duck: you order at the counter and a server delivers to your table.

Rather swanky for the Drive, Merchants Oyster Bar (merchantsoysterbar.ca) has both terrific cuisine and staff and the oysters are screaming fresh, especially during “Happy Hour”. Be prepared to line up for some of the best sushi in town at Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen + Sushi Bar and if it’s that time of year, the pine mushroom soup is memorable. Not to be missed, The Havana Café has been a long-time local fave and bonus: it has an art gallery in the back room.

 

SHOP

Quidditas Health and Nutrition Supplements Store has installed a tarot card reader in its back room Tuesday through Sunday afternoons. Quirkiness abounds: the Licorice Parlour features 65 kinds of licorice along with hula hoops (like them on FaceBook). Riot Clothing staffers will help you choose the right gear from its vintage racks (riotclothing.ca) while the friendly staff at Barefoot Contessa will help you find a new look from vintage and pretty handmade goods. As for furnishings, Attic Treasures is retro-cool with its Danish teak and 60s kitchen ware (attictreasuresvancouver.com) and Dream Designs is the closest you’ll get to a department store on the Drive, albeit eco-friendly, from clothing to bedding to bath treatments. Looking for a unique kid’s gift? Dandelion Kids stocks trendy children’s clothes, cool toys and practical accessories—check out their ear muffs “to protect from harmful noise”.

Lastly, stock up on pasta salads and Panini at Tony’s Deli, and La Grotta Del Formaggio for, you guessed it, cheese.

 

EXPLORE

Strolling the Drive anytime is an adventure, but especially during one of its street festivals. Last year more than 300,000 revelers attended Italian Day (italianday.ca) and this June 8th expect lots of food and fashion, bocce ball, music and more food. Also in June is Car Free Day (carfreevancouver.org). On this year’s billboard is Roller disco, parading drummers, healing gardens, DJs spinning beats, and the locals hanging out.  In August, the Dyke March (vancouverdykemarch.com) ends with a family-friendly music fest. Another long-time annual event is the Parade of Lost Souls (publicdreams.org).

 

Just off the Drive…

Vancouver’s craft beer movement has solid roots at the north end of the Drive and a few breweries have sprung up in East Van’s old industrial part of town, all within walking distance. Start with one of 60-plus taps at St. Augustine’s or go for the taster: any

four beers on the menu for a measly $8.50 served on a cute taster “paddle”

(staugustinesvancouver.com). If it’s Wednesday, Storm Brewing is literally brewing: they will give you a tour if you call ahead (stormbrewing.org).  Next up, Parallel 49 Brewing Company on Triumph Street offers tipples in its tasting room (which is also dog-friendly) and finish your beer crawl at Powell Street Craft Brewery—the 2013 Canadian Beer of the Year award winner.

 

 

Gastown

 

For more than 150 years, Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhood has been reinventing itself. The tacky tourist trap of the 1980s is long gone and replaced by fashionable shops and exceptional eateries housed in heritage brick buildings.  Above all, Gastown is an experience, a cultural hub. Residents, retailers and restaurateurs are passionate about their community and it’s no wonder Gastown was recently voted one of the most stylish ‘hoods in the world.

 

EAT

Just along Carrall Street alone you could dine a different restaurant for a month. To fully experience the eating scene, enjoy a cocktail on Chill Winston’s patio or one of 50 craft beers on tap at the Alibi Room.

Next up, charcuterie and a glass of wine—they have an awesome selection at Salt in Blood Alley (salttastingroom.com). Move to L’Abbatoir (reservations recommended) for your entrée: the smoked duck breast is divine. Or share Lebanese dishes at Nuba in the historic Dominion Building. If you’re looking for fun and great value, check out the Irish Heather’s Long Table Summer Series and chances are, you’ll make some new friends (irishheather.com).

If you’d rather grab and go, pretty Cadeaux bakery is famous for its bacon Cinnamon swirl and thankfully for some waistlines, only available weekends (cadeauxbakery.com). For something more substantial, Meat and Bread is a wildly popular sandwich shop (meatandbread.ca) as is Rainier Provisions, where you can also stock up on Stumptown coffee, cheeses and charcuterie from the deli counter (rainierprovisions.com).

Why not end your evening at a nearby club? Guilt & Company is a live music venue featuring jazz, rock or burlesque performers every night (guiltandcompany.com), while Revel Room mainly showcases jazz weekends. And if nightclubs are your scene, check out Shine (shinenightclub.com).

 

 

SHOP

Until you drop—easy to do in Gastown’s boutiques, particularly for guys. Indie stores Roden Gray (rodengray.com), Haven and Inventory—just to name a few–stock superb quality menswear, from the avant-garde to mainstream. For his ‘n’ hers, pop into The Block and Dutil is the go-to place for jeans (dutildenim.com). Water and West Cordova Streets are peppered with slick Interior Design stores such as Inform Interiors and L’atelier Home and there’s no shortage of specialty shops for unique gifts. Rhinoceros Accessories carries “funk and funnies” and you can get lost amongst the treasures and trinkets in Salmagundi.

Of course no shopping excursion is complete without a visit to the iconic Fluevog Shoes—John Fluevog’s design studio is upstairs (fluevog.com). Don’t forget East Van Roasters—the first bean-to-bar chocolatier in Vancouver, and they also roast coffee.  Located on the first floor of the Rainier Hotel, they hire and train women who live in social housing on the floors above.

 

EXPLORE

Strolling Gastown’s cobbled streets is like walking through a living museum, mainly thanks to residents years ago who saved historic buildings from demolition. Mix entertainment with education: book a walking tour with talented local actors at Forbidden Vancouver (forbiddenvancouver.ca). How about quirky and a touch hokey? Vancouver Police Museum reveals the city’s crimes and crime-solving techniques over the years (vancouverpolicemuseum.ca). Another quirky spot is the Jimi Hendrix Shrine—the building used to be Vie’s Chicken and Steakhouse, where Jimi’s grandmother cooked and supposedly where famous musicians ate after concerts. It’s a perfect backdrop for your air-guitar performance.

More than 100 bands will converge on Water Street June 25th for the Make Music Vancouver Festival—it’s quite the party and all put together by volunteers, from the organizers to the musicians.  Speaking of parties, this Labour Day weekend the Chili and BBQ Festival on Carrall Street returns for the third year. It features a number of local restaurants, and promises to be a really fun event.

The Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix attracts professional riders and huge crowds on the evening of July 9—the 41st annual event and part of BC Superweek, one of the most prestigious pro-cycling events in North America (bcsuperweek.ca).

 

 

Kitsilano

 

Once Vancouver’s hippie haven, “Kits” is now one of the city’s liveliest neighbourhoods, where yoga moms take the kids for smoothies on West 4th before an afternoon at the city’s largest playground—Kitsilano Beach Park. Kits isn’t just for kids: people of all ages hang out at Kits or Jericho Beach and on sunny days some brave the ocean, but warmer waters are at Kits Pool, Canada’s longest pool. Even on grey days Kits is a treat: where else can you saunter along tree-lined 4th Avenue, poke around one-of-a-kind shops, lunch in a swanky French bistro or casual burger joint and then walk a few blocks to watch the sunset from a sandy beach with a cityscape and mountain backdrop?

 

EAT

If you want to soak up the sun there are plenty of take-out eateries and delis for a beach picnic, or lounge on a patio over dinner and drinks—Kitsilano’s answer to nightlife. Tuck into fish-and-chips washed back with a local brew and rub shoulders with the locals sunset-viewing at The Galley Patio & Grill, upstairs from the Jericho Sailing Club (thegalley.ca) Arrive early to nab a seat on The Local patio, billed as “you’re only a stranger here once” (localpubliceatery.com).

And there’s upscale. For more than two decades, Bishop’s commitment to the finest West Coast ingredients has attracted serious diners from afar (bishopsonline.com). John Bishop led the “local and seasonal” movement long before “locavore” was invented. Just every corner of the planet is well represented here: La Quercia has garnered several awards for its northern Italian cuisine and Maenam was voted Best Thai by Vancouver Magazine this year. And you’ll be instantly transported to Tokyo at Zakkushi, short on décor but long on yakitori sticks and the sake list (zakkushi.com).  And there’s Naam, a nod to Kitsilano’s hippie history that stays open late with live music. Well-heeled vegetarians and carnivores alike can line up for a table at peak times—good idea to keep in mind (thenaam.com).

 

SHOP

Kitsilano has two shopping strips: from Macdonald to Alma Streets on West Broadway and from Burrard to Balsam Streets on West 4th Avenue (be warned: the latter is also known as Millionaires’ Row). Downward Dog like a local at Lululemon Athletica—its original home is on 4th Ave (lululemon.com). One block west you can step out in the latest Converse, John Fluevog and other high-end his ‘n’ hers labels at Gravity Pope (Gravitypope.com). If you’re looking for “polished professional woman” garments that are elegant and timeless, Judith & Charles just opened its tenth Canadian location here, confirming that this once-hippie enclave is in the very distant past.  Foodies can barely tear themselves away from Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks, just a few blocks east of Burrard St on West 2nd. Check online for cooking demos and book-reading events (bookstocooks.com). And if you’re looking for a unique gift, Stepback on West Broadway has a collection of retro items for just about everyone (stepback.ca).

 

EXPLORE

Celebrate Kitsilano’s heritage and future this July 12th at the Khatsahlano Block Party—heehaw! Last year drew 118,000 revelers to Vancouver’s biggest street party. This year’s lineup includes 50 bands (some you’ll likely recognize), 40 food trucks and 100 merchants over 10 city blocks (khatsahlano.com).

Toned down a notch, Kitsilano is home to several museums, including the HR MacMillan Space Centre (popular with kids), the Vancouver Maritime Museum (says it all) and the Museum of Vancouver (MOV), which houses fascinating displays of 1950s pop culture and you just can’t get away from it: 1960s hippie counterculture. The MOV also boasts artifacts that have been accumulating for more than 100 years (museumofvancouver.ca).

A summer tradition, Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival attracts throngs of Vancouverites. This year celebrates its 25th anniversary with A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest and a host of special events and celebrations. Founding artistic director Christopher Gaze hopes to perform to 100,000 people, up from 6,000 in 1990 (bardonthebeach.org).

 

 

Kerrisdale

 

Kerrisdale bills itself as “Vancouver’s Most Charming Community” and rightly so. This family-oriented, sleepy neighbourhood that celebrated its 100th anniversary last year is like stepping into a Norman Rockwell painting—hard to believe it’s only 10 minutes from Vancouver’s downtown. Over 200 diverse shops and services, including many “mom and pop” operations, flank tree-lined streets along West 41st Avenue between Maple and Larch streets, and stretching in a north-south direction along West and East Boulevards. Kerrisdale truly is a self-sustained village.

 

EAT

You likely won’t find a denser coffee culture in Vancouver than Kerrisdale Village. Several cafes have lent an old-world charm to the Village. For a taste of Paris order a brioche or croissant at Faubourg’s Shop and Bistro and it’s almost impossible to resist the rainbow array of macarons. Sink into a comfy chair at MyCup Coffee & Tea with its free wi-fi and newspapers and extremely friendly baristas.

Kerrisdale is a perfect place for women to spend the afternoon shopping and sipping tea.

The Secret Garden Tea Company is charming. Spend a few hours over their delightful high tea served daily with authentic scones and Devon cream (reservations required).They also offer a tea party to go, apropos considering there are so many parks to picnic in Kerrisdale (secretgardentea.com).

There are almost as many sushi bars as there are coffee shops. Try the deep-fried spicy tuna and BBQ lamb ribs at Shota Sushi & Grill or the freshest salmon sashimi at Ajisai Sushi. And If you’re a fan of uni (it is an acquired taste), look no further.

The Red Onion has been serving gourmet burgers and European-style hot dogs for years, and the price hasn’t changed that much: you’d be hard-pressed to find a burger and fries for $12 (redonion.ca). Minerva’s is another classic: this family-owned eatery has been serving traditional Greek dishes since 1975, and some of the friendly staff have been here for almost as long (minervas.ca).

 

SHOP

There are some real gems to discover along West Boulevard and 41st Avenue. Hills of Kerrisdale opened its doors in the 1920s—a perfect example of retail done right. Another family-owned operation, it offers high-end and current fashion along with “must have” customer favourites (hillsofkerrisdale.com). Hager Books turns 40 this year—one of the last successful independent bookstores in Vancouver. Owner Andrea Davies attributes its success mainly to a supportive community. Nice to know.

 

Interspersed amongst fashion shops are many excellent specialty and decorating stores.

Kerrisdale Lumber (don’t be fooled by the name, they carry a great inventory of housewares and gifts) promises “If others don’t have it, we’ll get it for you” but they likely have it (kerrisdalelumber.ca).

Thomas Hobbs Florist is constantly voted the best florist in Vancouver. Browse the exotic displays for inspiration but be prepared to pay a few dollars more for your floral masterpiece (thomashobbsflorist.com).

Some Vancouverites will drive across town for the food. Benton Brothers is one of the best artisanal cheese stores in the city (bentonscheese.com) and MacFarlane’s Seafoods has been selling the freshest fish since 1921, spanning five generations of fishmongers. Come here for sashimi-grade Ahi tuna and whatever else is the daily catch. Find their competition a few blocks away on Arbutus Street. Finest at Sea offers many ready-to-eat items along with superb smoked, candied and fresh salmon (finestatsea.com)

And foodies love Call the Kettle Black: it boasts the largest selection of Fiestaware in Canada along with many other popular kitchen brands.

And some come for their canine. Simply Natural Raw Pet Food has a mind-boggling selection of raw food for the pickiest of pooches alongside pupcakes and airplane-approved dog carriers.

 

EXPLORE

There’s more to Kerrisdale besides eating and shopping. If you’re a golfer, McCleery Golf Course and its clubhouse is open to the public seven days a week. It features a newly renovated driving range and golf lessons for any level (playgolfbc.com).

Kerrisdale is extremely dog-friendly, with a number of off-leash parks, including Maple Grove and Fraserview Parks, the latter off-leash along the river.

Take a break from Saturday shopping  at West 41st and Yew Street North for “Music Under the Clock”, from July 1 – Aug. 31st (kerrisdaleinsider.com).

 

 

Point Grey

 

Affluent Point Grey is home to more than the University of British Columbia’s campus with its world-famous Museum of Anthropology and botanical garden. Pacific Spirit Park is almost double the size of Stanley Park with more than 48 kms (30 miles) of hiking, biking and horseback trails and a bounty of birdlife at Camosun Bog wetland.  Point Grey Village, on West 10th Avenue from Discovery to Tolmie Street, is also home to over 100 merchants offering some real gems in specialty and décor shops and stellar services in spas and salons.

 

EAT

Point Grey is a food haven. Jostle with the locals for coffee and pastries or terrific soups and sandwiches at Mix the Bakery. Take home artisan bread and preserves (using local fruits such as Okanagan peaches and Fraser Valley blueberries) made in-house (mixthebakery.com). Not to be outdone, the breads at Panne e Formaggio carries local products from sauces to pastries to gelato. Some packaging is almost too gorgeous to unwrap. Their deli case showcases a mouth-watering array of cakes, pastries and cheeses (pane-e-formaggio.com).

If you’re craving eggs benny head over to Enigma for a leisurely brunch (enigmavancouver.com). For great coffee and gluten-free options, snuggle into a leather couch at Bean Around the World. For great value, go for the chicken shawarma at MacFalafel The menu features 10 different entrees including Donair and other Middle Eastern specialties.

Bring a friend or three to afternoon tea at Provence, a terrific neighbourhood restaurant where a loyal clientele has been sipping tea and bubbly since 2004—be sure to make a reservation. Order a gourmet picnic and head to Spanish Banks and evenings, Mediterranean fare is terrific (provencevancouver.com).  La Quercia serves untraditional Italian fare with flare. It has received accolades and awards since opening in 2009.  Bring an appetite and your friends from afternoon tea for the seven-course tasting menu served family style. And the made-to-order pasta is divine (laquercia.ca).

 

 

SHOP

From the butcher who sources local and sustainably farmed meats (thebutcher.ca) to the bricklayer specializing in hand-made ceramic tiles (bullnosetile.com), residents never have to leave Point Grey Village. Step into Moricotta for giftware and you’re instantly transported to Europe, with its superb collection of pottery, linens and cookware (moricotta.com). Gild & Co. carries gorgeous antique and vintage furniture with small accent pieces peppered throughout the store (gildandco.com).

 

As for women’s fashion, look no further than Tenth and Proper, where elegance and luxury blend with contemporary and trendy (tenthandproper.com). Men, check out

Michael McBride for top-of-the-line menswear. The store has been around for a long time but it’s very fashion forward and carries many quality brands (michaelmcbride.ca).

 

 

EXPLORE

If you want to bare it all, head down to Wreck Beach—the largest of Canada’s two “legal” nude beaches. Don’t forget the sunscreen for those under-exposed spots. Located near the UBC Point Grey Campus, food and beverage hawkers trek the long forest trail down to the bottom of the cliffs and sell their wares to customers wearing only their wallets. Skinny dip day (and fundraiser) is July 12 and of course the Bare Buns Fun Run is here (wreckbeach.org).More modest? Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks are popular and two great beaches to picnic and enjoy the sunset and the twinkling city lights.

Golf attire is mandatory at the University Golf Club—a popular public course (universitygolf.ca) and the Pacific Spirit Park attracts bikers and hikers, many with their  canine companions.

Seems like the entire community shows up for the Annual Point Grey Fiesta, starting with a pancake breakfast, a parade, carnival and a whole lot more. This year it  takes place June 21 (pointgreyfiesta.org).In August West Point Grey Community Centre and the Point Grey Village BIA hosts Movie Night at Trimble Park and also in August and Siesta carnival-like event in the park and a parade down 10th including a pancake breakfast.

Most Vancouverites are familiar with the UBC Museum of Anthropology. This renowned museum houses a trove of First Nations artificats, including works from Bill Reid and a replica Haida village outside the building. Check out the summer exhibits: Without Masks and Claiming Space: Voices of Aboriginal Youth (moa.ubc.ca).

Lesser known but well worth visiting is the The Beaty Biodiversity Museum, which houses Canada’s largest blue whale skeleton amongst 20,000 square feet of exhibits including amazing wildlife photography(beatymuseum.ubc.ca) .You can easily spend hours at the UBC Botanical Garden; it houses an Asian Garden, Alpine Garden and Food Garden. Check out the forest floor from above on the Greenheart Canopy walkway and be sure not to miss the world-famous Nitobe Memorial Garden, considered one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside Japan (botanicalgarden.ubc.ca).

 

 

Yaletown

 

This former Warehouse district is more interesting now than ever before. From the 1980s through 1990s it was business-to-business only; most consumers only came here for Fashion Week sales at the Showmart. But residential demand changed that: The population grew from 50 residents to 20,000 in just eight years over eight city blocks–it grew vertically. And in the past ten years the number of businesses has doubled to almost 1,000, creating a vibrant and thriving community. Yaletown is so urban and fashion forward that visitors forget it’s a neighbourhood..

 

EAT

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to dining—there are 84 restaurants and counting. Here chefs compete against each other and that’s a good thing, it keeps their knives sharp. Start with a fancy cocktail at the opulent Opus Bar. If you’re in a celebratory mood, look no further than glowball grill—the volume goes up as the night goes on (glowbalgroup.com). At Prohibition Tasting Room the menu is dependent upon what’s available at the Yaletown Farmers Market; even cocktails are made from seasonal ingredients such as its rhubarb mojito. But most people come here for the beer: opt for a flight of their craft brews (prohibitionbrewingco.com).

 

Also a regular at the Farmers Market is the chef at Manami. Traditional Japanese cuisine—and an extensive sake list—is served with excellent service in a pretty little room (minamirestaurant.com).Rodney’s Oyster Bar is always lively and an all-time fave, even if you don’t like oysters. Go for the Caesar with horseradish and steamed clams. Another local hotspot is Blue Water Café and Raw Bar, where only the freshest fish, sushi and oysters are served. The scotch whisky list is extensive, with over 170 labels, as is their award-winning wine cellar (bluewatercafe.net).  Oh, and you must have a falefal at Nuba and an apple tart at Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie…

 

SHOP

Move over Robson Street, posh purchases aplenty are in store here. Goorin Bros. stocks the best hats in the province, from fedoras to fascinators, and bonus, they have theme parties with live music (goorin.com).Not only is the ‘hood chock a block full of hip clothing stores such as Marimekko and shoe store Rowan Sky: it’s also home to terrific home furnishing stores. The Cross Décor and Design fills 8,000 sq ft with furniture custom-made in Vancouver, trendy designs and great gift ideas (thecrossdesign.com). And it’s just done the road from swish Chintz and Co.

For the man who has everything you’re guaranteed to find something special at Revolucion (revolucionstyle.com). Women, plan to spend some time in BeautyMark with one of its top notch makeup artists; it’s filled head to toe with every beauty product imaginable (beautymark.ca). There’s old-world Farzad’s Barber Shop for a hot shave (and gift certificates for men) and Avant-Garde unisex hair salon where you can get a hair style that fits your clothing as well as you–very New York.

And for just about everyone, kids included, Fine Finds has delightful, whimsical gifts (finefindsboutique.com). Not to be forgotten is Vancouver’s first dog boutique.  Barking Babies is billed as “Lifestyles for the hip and canine” (barkingbabies.com). That just about sums up Yaletown.

 

EXPLORE

Generous Yaletown hosts the only Free Day (every other event is ticketed) for the Jazz Festival, where about 35,00 people converge on David Lam Park. And outdoor movies in August are also free. The Yaletown Community Farmers Market,is tucked away on Mainland Street between Davie and Helmcken at the Yaletown-Roundhouse Canada Line Stop. On Thursday afternoons about 5,000 people converge with producers selling wares from free-range eggs to hand-made jewelry to football sized meringues (yaletowninfo.com/events).

 

 

 

West End

 

Although Vancouver’s second oldest neighbourhood is home to many seniors and a large, mainly gay and lesbian community, the West End seems to balance everyone’s needs and interests. Davie Street, also known as Davie Village, is mainly young and gay while the area around Stanley Park and Denman is mostly home to the older generation and families. Savvy retailers and restaurants serve this diverse community well.  And it’s home to Vancouver’s crown jewel—Stanley Park.

 

EAT

There’s just one problem with eateries on Denman Street: too many restaurants—representing just about every nationality– to choose from. As well, there’s something for every budget, from cheap and cheerful to take-out (think picnic in the park) to fine dining.

Three Brits at the corner of Denman and Davie is a great watering hole featuring local craft beer and fun for people watching. More low key, sip a cocktail on the Sylvia Hotel’s patio with a killer view overlooking English Bay.

For cheap eats, a bowl of ramen can’t be beat and there’s no shortage of Korean food at lower Robson and Denman. Despite the lunch-time lineup at Kintaro most people spend only half an hour seated, just enough time to slurp a bowl with miso and BBQ pork and down a Kirin. Pop into Gyoza King on Robson for late-night bites—everything is homemade (gyokingroup.com).Buck Stop mainly attracts carnivores with just about everything, including the ketchup, made from scratch. Locals love the funky atmosphere (buckstop.ca) Exile Bistro is the new kid on the block (across the rainbow-road on Davie) that has west enders calling it their “hidden gem” but maybe not for long…

More upscale, Forage at the Listel Hotel offers exceptional sustainable and local cuisine, and it has received many accolades since opening almost two years ago (foragevancouver.com). RainCity Grill also leads the charge with ethical eating: it was the first restaurant to embrace the 100-mile diet, a commitment to locally sourced food. Try to snag a table on the patio or if you’re pressed for time, order fish ‘n chips to go at their outdoor counter. Another great patio that just opened is at 1789 Restaurant—most Vancouverites know it as the former Delilah’s (1789.ca).  And one more to choose from: Nook received “Best West End 2014” from Vancouver Magazine for its pasta, quality ingredients, great staff and atmosphere (nookrestaurant.ca).

 

SHOP

While Robson Street (AKA Vancouver’s Rodeo Drive North) is the main shopping district, retail gets more interesting and funky further down Robson toward Denman and along Davie Village. And your plastic will go further. Marquis Wines in Davie Village has a terrific cellar and offers wine tastings by knowledgeable staff (marquis-wines.com). Also in Davie Village you’ll find a number of adult stores and the famous Little Sisters bookstore (littlesisters.ca). Across the street is Room and Order, popular with West enders for its furnishings and accessories for small spaces (roominorder.com).

 

EXPLORE

Rent a bike and circumnavigate Stanley Park.  The 9 km (just over five miles) paved seawall is completely flat and easily done in an hour. Or spend the day by  stopping along the way at the Brockton Point Totem Poles, the Vancouver Aquarium or a picnic and swim at Third Beach. Ride around gorgeous Lost Lagoon.  And if it’s Tuesday, the Summer Cinema Series at Second Beach begins just after sunset.

Not to be missed is the wildly popular A-mazeing Laughter public art installation at English Bay. And the rainbow crosswalks at Bute Street plaza, also known as “The Heart of Davie Village” is worth visiting. Just off Bute Street you’ll find Mole Hill– a glimpse into the west end’s past complete with a city block of houses circa 1905 and gorgeous community gardens.

The West End almost bursts with visitors during two events that overlap: the Honda Celebration of Light (July 26 – Aug.2) and Pride Week (July 28 – Aug.4), culminating in the Pride Parade and Festival the last day and well into the night. Plan on getting to both events early and parking is almost impossible—public transport is the way to go.