February 7, 2009
VANCOUVER, BC, Feb. 7, 2010/ Bon Voyage / 2010/ — Vancouver is one of the prettiest and friendliest cities on the west coast of North America.
The Gastown district is where we’ve stayed when we visited Vancouver. It’s where the city first started, and it still has cobble stone streets and many buildings left from the late 1800s. There is a steam clock you shouldn’t miss. It “pops off” with hoots and whistles every fifteen minutes, much to the delight of the crowds that will be gathered with you.
Gastown is geared for tourists, and it used to be that locals stayed awaybut, these days, it seems to be a pretty popular area with tourists and locals alike. It’s loaded with tons of souvenir shops where you can buy fantastic native art, but there are also plenty of places to sit outside for coffee or drinks to watch the crowds go by. There are plenty of restaurants and clubs too.
Stanley Park a must see
Stanley Park is one of the must sees of the city. You’ll be treated to gardens, city views, and great spots to stop and take pictures. You’ll also find one of the world’s largest aquariums here in the park.
Perhaps the most famous attraction within the park is its collection of totem poles. The Stanley Park First Nations Totem Poles are located at Brockton Point. Don’t miss a drive or walk along the five mile long (8 km) seawall. There are also tennis courts, a cricket club, restaurants and a miniature railroad.
Science World Vancouver is a great hit with kids It was originally one of the pavilions of the World Fair Expo in 1986, but now it houses interactive science exhibits that are hits with all ages.
We liked the Museum of Vancouver and the Museum of Anthropology. I should mention that we love native and primitive art, so that may color our judgement. They both have fantastic collections of Pacific Northwest Coast First Nations masks and artifacts, and their explanations about the history of First Nations people arereally terrific.
Just outside of the city you shouldn’t miss the Capilano Suspension Bridge . It’s only about ten minutes from Vancouver, through Stanley Park, over the Lion Gate, and up the road. This 450 foot long (137 m) suspension bridge is 230 feet (70 m) above the ground and sways back and forth as you walk above the river and into the evergreen rainforest.
Good city transit
You have choices for transportation. There are public buses to get around the city, and the Sky Train, which is a mostly above ground light rapid transit system. The Sea Bus also goes back and forth across the harbor. We had a rental car and drove around. There seemed to be plenty of public parking. You can also see the city from the water by taking a ferry ride.
You can visit anytime of the year. Winter is best for skiers, summer is great for hiking and water sports, and of course, you can visit museums and shop all year long. To get there you can fly to the international airport or drive from Seattle or other parts of Canada. You can even cruise in. Cruise ships dock at Canada Place within walking distance of many of the major sights. There is also always the ferry from Seattle or Victoria.
Vancouver and its environs are getting a lot of press right now because of the 2010 Winter Olympics, but this great west coast Canadian city is worth a visit at any time.
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