SEA to VAN for OLY
February 23, 2010 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Tips for Seattleites' day trip to Vancouver Olympics?

My wife and I are taking the train to Vancouver this Friday for the Olympics. (Actually, we're driving to Bellingham, then taking the ~90 minute train ride across the border. It was cheaper/same time commitment.)

We'll be in Vancouver from noon until 7 PM. We're not attending any Olympic sporting events, and simply looking to enjoy the festivities themselves. (I did it in Torino in 2006 and had a blast.)

As of now our agenda involves visits to the two LiveCity locations, the souvenir shop, and cliché but necessary photo at the Olympic flame.

Curious if any of you Washingtonians or Seattleites have taken a similar trip over the past few days. If so, what'd you do, like, not like?
posted by bamassippi to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total)
Warning -- as a vancouverite who spent the weekend downtown, just meandering -- the lineups are *nuts*. Absolutely bonkers. It was a 2 hour wait just to get into the freakin' Bay! The Bay -- just to buy overpriced olympic swag! Lineups are measured in hours, even for the houses that are nothing more than a couple benches and a bar. (I'm looking at you, Saskatchewan House!) Skytrain and Canada Line each had hour+ lineups as well. Want a hot dog @ japadog? Get there before you're even hungry. Also, the only forms of payment accepted are Visa and cash. No interac, no Mastercard; nothing else (at least at any olympic-sanctioned event). There are ATMs around of course, but there are lineups for those too.

Around the flame was probably a good block's worth of people -- it's another lineup just to get close enough to get a good picture. I'd pick the top three things you're willing to wait for and just plan on that; 7 hours isn't really that long when 3+ of that is spent waiting in line.

Now, it might get better as the weather seems to be turning back to our usual rain from this glorious sunshine, but wear comfy shoes and something with a hood, and be prepared to wait. I don't think there's a mens hockey game Friday, so at least that's in your favour, crowd-wise. It'll be a fun day though - there are street performers and even the people watching is amazing. The atmosphere is very cool, and everybody is happy and helpful. But yeah, the lineups...
posted by cgg at 9:44 AM on February 23, 2010

I was going to say the same thing. If you're only there for 7 hours, you'd best hope the rain cuts down the crowds or choose only 1 or 2 venues to try for. Visit for reviews of the pavillions to help make your decisions.

You might be able to do some stuff without lineups - like skate at Robson or visit the CODE art sites - it's hard to say. Most people are just enjoying wandering about and soaking up the energy.

Lineups for restaurants along Robson and in Yaletown are crazy, you can try for reservations or head into the financial district - just a few blocks northwest of the art gallery - to get into places without a long wait.

Have fun!
posted by Salmonberry at 12:27 PM on February 23, 2010

What cgg said about the lineups is true - the lines are CRAZY. To be honest, I've been stood in lines for country houses and livecity venues in the pouring down rain - it doesn't really deter that many people from standing in line with you. I have a feeling that this coming weekend, starting Friday is going to be even worse than last weekend with regard to lines and crowds, merely for the fact that it's the LAST weekend, so everyone's going to try to crowd into downtown and see everything before it's gone.

To be honest, if you want to see a corporate commercial for Acer, Panasonic, Coca Cola, Samsung, RBC, or other Olympic Sponsors, pick one of the livecity venues (the one with the least popular band playing would be your best bet!) and stand in line for them. The ONLY thing that I think is worth waiting for for those venues would be the bands or the fireworks which set off at about 10:45 every night and last for 10 minutes. Of course, if it's a popular band, people will wait in line from 9 in the morning to get in (which is what happened last Friday at the Yaletown venue).

Personally I'd skip the livecity venue entirely - it's not worth the lineup to just get a commercial, especially if you're only there during the daytime to just "see" it. There's the German Fan Tent near Coal Harbor which I found entirely entertaining once the band started (at 10pm), and the irish house with the unending lines and hilariously not-sober guests. Russia House has some cool stuff, but I think it's not worth more than an hour in line, although it's one of the better places to see during the day. Casa Italia is blah and bland and boring, but you can buy some italian shoes for about $300 if you're up for it and it's probably also a good daytime venue.

The one upshot for daytime visit is that the lines for restaurants are not there during the day - they start building up at about 5 pm.

Having said all that, see the flame (don't bother waiting in line for the observation platform), walk around Yaletown (no lines to walk around the streets, some booths and great atmosphere!), check out the art displays on Robson, and honestly, I'd not even bother trying to get into any houses if all you want to do is soak up atmosphere. Wander around town and see who's out and what's going on. Robson Street, Granville Street and Yaletown seem to be most entertaining.
posted by kirstk at 1:55 PM on February 23, 2010

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