Headin' out west...
June 20, 2012 5:57 AM   Subscribe

Mr. Torisaur and I are going to be in Vancouver, BC from the evening of Friday July 13th until Tuesday the 17th, and then Victoria, BC from the 17th - 20th. Recommend us your favourite things to do!

We are not so interested in going out drinking/partying, and we are on a budget (we won't be renting a car, for example). Other than that, we are pretty open. I'm especially interested in things I may not find in my Lonely Planet Guide.

Thanks in advance!
posted by torisaur to Travel & Transportation around British Columbia (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I grew up in Victoria. I loved the Galley Fish & Chips, 2559 Estevan Avenue in Oak Bay (accessible by bus). Willows beach is nearby, which is quite nice. But up at Mt. Douglas Park, or Arbutus Cove, you can take some very nice forest walks and head down to the water. It's already in the Lonely Planet, and it's expensive, but the Royal BC museum is absolutely fantastic.
posted by molecicco at 6:29 AM on June 20, 2012

I suspect you will probably have this on your list anyway but just to remind you the Museum of Anthropology.
posted by adamvasco at 6:41 AM on June 20, 2012

Stanley Park seawall, 3rd beach, 2nd beach, English Bay, False Creek seawall, Granville Island, Kits Beach, Jericho Beach, Spanish Banks, Tower Beach, Wreck Beach! Basically, the perimeter of the city's western flank. All of it is spectacular, but in different ways. 3rd Beach and Tower Beach have rugged/natural appeal. English Bay is cosmopolitan/urban, Kits Beach is muscle dudes and bikini girls, Jericho and Spanish Banks go on forever and are comfy and laid-back since there's more room to spread out. And Wreck is clothing optional with a counter-cultural carnival atmosphere on weekends, but also with the rugged natural aspect. Watch some sunsets.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:46 AM on June 20, 2012

Oh hey! Vancouver Folk Festival is that weekend. At Jericho Beach. It's one of the highlights of the summer. Almost everyone I know goes to this. And while the festival is expensive, there is always a festive atmosphere on the beach which is public and free to access, and you can see the main stage and hear a bit of the music from there in certain spots. Or just ignore it and go splash in the water (chilly though). Many of the vendors set up outside the festival fences for the general public.
posted by PercussivePaul at 6:59 AM on June 20, 2012

Visit the Chinese Cemetery in Victoria. It's gorgeously situated, peaceful, poignant, and you'll be the only people there. When I lived there, I'd go every week to sit and write. You can take a nice walk from Cook St. Village to Dallas Road, past Ross Bay Cemetery, and to the Chinese Cemetery, all along the coast.

Also in Victoria: after dark I recommend bringing a bottle of wine to this peninsula across a ritzy and unpatrolled golf course. There are benches set up and you can see the stars.)

Check out Cinecenta at UVic for cheap movies. Lots of buses go up there (#4 and #14 are some of the quickest).

For cheap eats in Victoria, go to the Lotus Pond vegan restaurant between 2:30 and 3:00 and their buffet is half price, so a huge plate of food (poststickers, chow mein, ginger broccoli, turnip cakes to die for, etc.) is like $6. Show up at 2:27, claim a table with your stuff, and linger near the buffet to beat the students.

More randomly-ordered restaurant/coffee recommendations: Noodle Box (9 levels of heat to choose from!) in Victoria and Vancouver, Sha Lin Noodle House in Vancouver (old school noodle maestros), Hernande'z in Victoria for homemade tacos, Habit or the Cook St. Moka House for coffee in Victoria, Continental Coffee in Vancouver, La Grotta Del Formaggio for a cheap Italian sandwich in Vancouver,

If you like dirt-cheap bowling, hit up Grandview effin' Lanes on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. Upstairs is glow-in-the-dark. Not gonna be in your Lonely Planet.

And you'd need a car, but if you have friends in Vancouver who drive, another less populated but exquisite beach is at Golden Ears.
posted by Beardman at 8:21 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Victoria: Paint-in in the square

Don't miss Victoria's historic Chinatown -- check out Chinatown night market Karaoke of the stars on the 18th!

Feed the seals at Oak Bay Marina (buy some fish for a few bucks in the marina shop) then walk about and check out the fancy boats. There is a cafe on the dock (and a posh restaurant where it is cheaper at seniors hr - 5pm- but still not so cheap). You can walk along the ocean from there to Willows beach and Estevan posted above. On Estevan I recommend the little breakfast/lunch spot -- eggs, salmon, hollandaise on latkes!

UVIC has a beautiful garden -- especially if you are a fan of rhododendrons.

Cheapest movies are at UVIC's cinecenta, and the Roxy Cinegog is a local fave.

Victoria has lots of coastline, so you can walk from Beacon Hill park down to to breakwater in James Bay (there is a cafeteria style cafe on the breakwater).

The chinese cemetary and Moss Bay cemetary are by the water and beautiful to walk through. There are also a variety of tours of the Cemetaries, including lantern lit night tours.

If you like cycling, a ride along the Lochside trail is a beautiful easy ride -- you can go all the way to Sidney and visit the great book shops -- but I'd say that is a full lazy day of riding from downtown and back. Most busses can take two bikes on the front, so a one way is possible.

Swan Lake Nature conservancy has a nice free (donation) nature house pluse a lovely 1 hr walk around the lake.

Walk up Mt Doug for the view (the 39 bus goes through the park from UVIC, and the 28 gets close).

James bay has lots of lovely old houses, including Emily Carr's old house.
posted by chapps at 8:22 AM on June 20, 2012

Oh yeah, and I should give a plug to my ex-employers, Russell Books in Victoria. It's probably the biggest used book store north of Powell's, and well-organized. Get an espresso from Street Level down the block and spend an hour browsing.
posted by Beardman at 8:27 AM on June 20, 2012

I've been fond of Bard on the Beach Shakespear performances in large tents at Vanier Park. Not terribly expensive.

Unfortunately, you won't be in town during the fireworks; the BotB location is great and they offer a bbq salmon dinner (or something) to go with the fireworks.
posted by porpoise at 10:03 AM on June 20, 2012

You could do worse than take a trip out to one of the two night markets in Richmond, it seems a shame to visit Vancouver and not see some of the great Chinese/Asian influence. Rent a bike and ride out to Spanish Banks via Granville Island, Kitsilano and Jericho Beach (what PercussivePaul said). Get out to Deep Cove and try kayaking. Go to a Friday concert in the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden (or just go to the garden without the music, it is worth it).
posted by N-stoff at 10:37 PM on June 20, 2012

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