Vancouver Travel Guide
The Monday after the Olympics is kind of bummer, and that’s especially the case for those who have been hooked on the sporting events—even with the tape delay—for the last couple of weeks. Thankfully ice hockey has some neat stuff to look forward to, as the National Hockey League is continuing their series of interesting events through the upcoming weekend.
For those that want to continue the celebration of Team Canada and their gold medal win in men’s ice hockey—and women’s ice hockey for that matter—the fun takes place on Sunday, March 2 in Vancouver. This is when the 2014 NHL Heritage Classic does its thing at BC Place, as the Ottawa Senators take on the Vancouver Canucks. The game is played in Vancouver at the home of the area’s Canadian Football League team. Things might even be played outdoors like some of the other league events this year, as the hockey road trip has already included games at Dodger Stadium and Yankee Stadium.
We are suckers for a good airline lounge, as after all nothing is more enjoyable than a few free drinks, a bite to eat, and somewhere decent to sit before our flight. Okay—there are probably better ways to spend our time than at an airline lounge, but we still do get a kick when we have the chance to check them out.
As you probably know access to these lairs of airport solitude are often limited to frequent flyers or those in the upper class cabins, so it’s hardly a warm welcome to one and all. Thankfully the latest lounge over in Vancouver is a little bit different, as the Plaza Premium Lounge at the Vancouver International Airport is open to one and all. However, that assumes that you’re willing to pay for the pleasure to visit.
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Vancouver’s Main Street feels like a microcosm of the entire world with its resident population spanning social groups and cultures. The street itself is lengthy, slowly unfolding from the night markets of Chinatown to the hip digs of a nouveau-retro tiki bar.
To begin, the area from Mount Pleasant down to Broadway is rife with indie coffee shops, one-off clothing stores, watering holes and, increasingly, craft breweries like the Main Street Brewing Company and the soon-to-be open Brassneck Brewing.
Keep moving south and you enter what feels like the main drag of a small town in the 1960s. There are antique and thrift stores galore, hip eateries and specialty bakeries. This Main Street area is way off the beaten path, so tourists and solo travelers would be best to venture here with a progressive dinner-type tour with Off the Eaten Track.
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You may not be able to order a kegger of wine from this Railtown working winery, although restaurants can, but what you can order is a tasting of some really good B.C. wine that’s on tap.
The Vancouver Urban Winery is, first and foremost, a commercial winery that manufactures, packages, imports and distributes wine for multiple brands (including their own Roaring Twenties label, which you can buy by the bottle from their on-site store). In addition, and this is where it gets interesting, the Winery takes in kegs of wine from B.C. wineries and packages it for distribution to restaurants and bars in big steel tanks and—ta dah!—this is how you get wine-on-tap.
But why should you, the visitor with a jam-packed schedule, take time out of your busy day to visit the winery? Well, first off, it’s a cool place to hang out. The owners and sommeliers are all around the 30-years-old mark and you can feel the unbridled enthusiasm yet laid-back vibe of the place. There are comfy chairs to chill in or you can set yourself up at the bar if you’d like some interaction with the hopping bartenders. When we were there, it was open mike night with some pretty good singers doing their thing.
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Ah, hotels. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re already a believer in the power of hotels for good. In them, a conversation can be started between strangers from opposite ends of the world; an idea can be sparked over breakfast and a changing streetscape; a restless soul can be momentarily at peace during a detoxifying herbal wrap; and more visceral needs can be sated with a special someone in the privacy of a room of one’s own.
Happily, we’re not the only ones who think this way. The Vancouver Art Gallery has opened their Grand Hotel: Redesigning Modern Life exhibition and you have until September 15 to check it out. It explores the hotel from the beginning –- when it was simply a utilitarian place to rest your head –- to what it is today: a center of design, a social hub and, sometimes, a destination unto itself.
The Grand Hotel exhibit is broken down into four themes: Travel, Social, Design, and Culture. Here’s our take on what these themes mean. It’s a bit esoteric but that’s art, right? (If you’d like to see how these themes play out in real life, check out our sister site HotelChatter.)
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When it comes to throwing an airport party, Vancouver International Airport has the right idea. For the last few years they’ve been running something they’re calling “Take-off Fridays,” which to us, kind of just sounds like an awesome airport version of Happy Hour.
For those who haven’t flown through YVR this summer—no problem—as the on-the-ground fun continues through the remainder of the August. On Fridays the airport becomes a little less stuffy and a little more fun, as DJs do their thing along side other live entertainment options. There’s free samples and snacks, balloon artists, face painting, and even chances to win a prize or too. Even the food court restaurants are getting in on the fun with $10 lunch specials fill you up for the long flight home.
If the Pacific Northwest foodie-ism of Portlandia has been stoking your appetite for locally-grown and harvested yumminess, put Vancouver's Granville Island Public Market on your to do list, stat.
The formerly industrial, now artsy neighborhood of Granville Island gets a lot of tourist traffic but it also draws locals shopping for anything pulled fresh from the ocean, the ground and the oven, thanks to the Public Market.
Of course, trawling through a market while traveling is one of life's greatest joys, even when you're not able to wrap up a whole salmon and shove it in your carry-on. We're not usually fans of guided tours but when a tour promises to introduce us to some of the best vendors of cheese, tea, bread, sausage and chocolate--and let us sample their wares--we're all over it.
Which is why we love the concept of Edible Canada's Granville Island Market Tour.
Things must be getting pretty serious between Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, considering he brought her to Vancouver to celebrate Christmas with his family.
The couple was spotted at the Original Cupcake Shop on Denman Street where they bought cupcakes and a small cake earlier this week. One of the store's employees told People, "They seemed like a really sweet couple."
Amy Adams attracted some unwanted attention while collecting her luggage at Vancouver International Airport. The actress proved she's a master multi-tasker as she scolded the paparazzi while pushing her own luggage cart through the terminal.
Amy is in town to continue work on Superman: Man of Steel, which has moved from Chicago, where they were filming this summer, to Vancouver Island.
Earlier this week Amy's co-stars, Russell Crowe and Henry Cavill, were spotted filming on Main St in Ucluelet, where the cast will continue filming through Friday.
world airport in 80 daysare you up for it? In a crazy move that kinda makes us wish we were Canadian, Vancouver Airport is looking for someone to live in the airport for 80 days from August 17-November 4, telling the airport's "story" through videos.
Have you ever read that small book on airport lifeA Week at the Airportby Alain de Botton? The author spent only a week at London-Heathrow's gleaming Terminal 5, interviewing behind-the-scenes staff, eavesdropping on farewell conversations, contemplating hotel service and physically sitting at a desk in the terminal, writing about it all. The Live@YVR 80-day project seems to be just like Alain's project, just way longer, done in video, and all by Canadians.
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Are you in Vancouver? Did you enjoy last year's Olympics? Does the idea of starting a huge, awesome fire appeal to you? Well, then tomorrow's your lucky day, as it's the one-year anniversary of the Vancouver Olympics Opening Day, and the slew of activities includes re-lighting the Olympic cauldron at Jack Poole Plaza.
Our Vancouver embed Tuija Seipell of The Cool Hunter was and still is on the scene in the city, reporting all through last year's events and now sharing that this weekend will be a huge party in town, with the cauldron lighting just one of the many events. Vancouver also happens to be celebrating the Lunar Fest, Arts and Winter Festivals as well, so despite the cold, right now is the time to head up to Van. But first, be sure to check out the full calendar of events here and relive the electric excitement of last year's Games with our excellent archive:
Katie Holmes has been keeping busy in Vancouver while Tom Cruise continues shooting Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. She's been spotted shopping, dining and seeing the sights with daughter Suri and step-daughter Isabella. Check out a few of their latest jaunts:
Yesterday Katie and Suri were joined by Tom for an afternoon of educational fun at the Vancouver's Science World. Suri was exhausted by the time they emerged from the museum, and she had to be carried back to the car by dad. Guess she must have had a good time!