Last-minute Vancouver-area sights
July 12, 2017 7:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm supposed to go on a hiking/camping trip to Alberta/BC next week, but I may have to skip out for two days of it due to a slight knee injury. What should I see in/around Vancouver BC instead?

The hike in question is to Garibaldi Lake/Panorama Ridge, which as a hike of 18 km/810 m elevation gain may (or may not) be too challenging for me in my current physical condition. So I'm trying to come up with backup travel plans for two days and nights by myself.

- I like food, craft beer, weird geographical quirks and historical sites, language-related things, maps, transportation of all sorts, and beautiful natural sights. I am not into fine arts or professional sports.
- I am a US citizen. (And in my late 20s.)
- I'm happy to rent a car/Zipcar. Physically assume I'm fine walking.
- I'll have been in Vancouver the previous two days, and have been once, and have seen the A-list sites already (Stanley Park, Granville Island, etc.). I will also have just come in from the Rockies prior to that.
- Since I'm likely going to make a last-minute call on this, it can't be anything that requires a permit or real advanced planning. I also need to be back in Vancouver on the third day.

Some ideas that have popped into mind are venturing down to Point Roberts (like I said, I'm into weird geographical quirks), visiting the Peace Arch park, or a short trip to Victoria.

As you can maybe tell, I'm mostly just looking for some alternate ideas that don't require a lot of advance planning and are maybe a little off-beat, since I figure I might as well make the most of this forced break from the trip. Thanks!
posted by andrewesque to Travel & Transportation around Vancouver, BC (6 answers total)
Point Roberts is a chill place to explore for the afternoon, and a bike will be a nice pace for getting around. You can bring one down on the bus, or rent one there. MeMail me for more info about the logistics.

Peace Arch park is a hassle to get to, and there isn't much there besides the arch.

You'll find a lot of craft beer in the gentrifying industrial area between Broadway, Main, and Cambie.

The (landscaped) rock quarry in Queen Elizabeth park is very pretty, but not tremendously large.

If you do Victoria, give it both days, because of the travel time involved. Bowen Island is better suited for a day trip.
posted by Banknote of the year at 8:26 AM on July 12, 2017

Do you like records? Zulu is one of my favorite record stores ever.

If your culinary inclinations go towards coffee, Aubade is pretty fantastic, and has some really interesting coffees roasted from all over. Revolver is also a multi-roaster shop, and does a fantastic job.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:37 AM on July 12, 2017

Ramen crawl.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:31 AM on July 12, 2017

The Chinese gardens are serene.
posted by praemunire at 10:42 AM on July 12, 2017

Hiking and weird geographical quirks... there's Iona Beach (Google Maps. Metro Vancouver site). It's flat, sandy, long beach grass. If you look at the link, you can walk along both of the long jettys extending out from the park. Note: it's REALLY windy. Every time I've been there, it's ranged from 'a little windy' to 'it's really hard to walk'. It'll be much cooler there than the rest of Vancouver, bring a hoodie/windbreaker. Also there's no food or water there, so bring your own.
There's Belcarra Park and across Indian Arm there's Deep Cove and Cove Forest. (Google Maps, BC Parks Site on Indian Arm). There's more to do in Deep Cove, and you can rent a kayak there if you really want the Canadian experience, and why wouldn't you? Belcarra's all trees and a small beach or two and some houses and probably bears.
There's the Museum of Anthropology at the University of BC. Amazing examples of art, culture, and of the First Nations on the West Coast of Canada. Quirky is down the road a bit... Wreck Beach if you don't mind nudity and ten minutes or so of climbing crazy steep stairs to get there... It's clothing-optional, very mellow and there's usually food and drink being sold there. Alcohol is illegal, so people sell it, they just don't put out signs that they do.
posted by Zack_Replica at 12:15 PM on July 12, 2017

For food, check out the Richmond Night Market (open Friday to Sunday and holidays), the biggest night market in North America. The Georgia Straight posted an article today of ten things to try that look amazing.

For beer, try "Ranking every* brewery in Metro Vancouver" for ideas, it also has tips on the best combo of good tasting rooms and good beer. Storm Brewing is particularly weird and fun, and samples are by donation. It's close to many others if you want to make a crawl out of it.

For somewhat unusual transportation, take the Sea Bus from Waterfront Station in Vancouver to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. Lonsdale Quay is not bad, has food and shops. The Sea Bus is roughly the cost of a normal bus ticket.

The UBC Botanical Gardens are lovely if you're in the area. I wouldn't make a trip to UBC just for it though.

The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a bit pricy (~30$ iirc) but really lovely in terms of natural sights. In addition to the bridge, they have a transparent floor cliff walk, and a tree walk as well. It's very busy though, so try to pick an off time. I think there is a free shuttle to get there, but driving may be easier.

If you're planning on driving, Squamish is cool and probably a bit cheaper and less overrun than Whistler. People talk about the Sea-to-Sky gondola, but I've never been so can't comment. There's food and walking trails at the top.
posted by lookoutbelow at 9:58 PM on July 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

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