Need Vancouver tips for week-long, but mobility-impaired visit
February 22, 2019 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm spending next week in Vancouver, including three days off work on my own. Great, but due to a knee injury I can't stand up, walk or cycle for extended periods. Any recommendations for getting around and keeping myself entertained in the city?

It's my first time in Canada and I'll have Thursday-Saturday off work. I'm into art, history, science, bookshops and outdoorsy things. Usually I'd love to go on a hike or rent a bicycle, but I can only move for about an hour at a time before needing a rest.

I'd appreciate any tips for worthwhile sights/museums/shops near public transportation and caf├ęs that will allow me to hang out for a few hours.

(PS: No driving license.)
posted by wavelette to Travel & Transportation around Vancouver, BC (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Our lack of Uber is going to hurt you, bad. Taxi service is also horrid. Be prepared.
posted by Cosine at 12:50 PM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

When we were there we found the Vancouver city buses remarkably easy to use and that they had pretty good coverage in the neighborhoods you'd be interested in. Perhaps you could piece together bus tours by just taking one of the city buses out a ways (I'm thinking in Kitsilano and closer to downtown) and then riding the bus back in the other direction?

The Vancouver Art Gallery was lovely and is wheelchair accessible (and near transit).
posted by ldthomps at 12:58 PM on February 22, 2019

What about renting a scooter to help you get around better?
posted by hydra77 at 1:08 PM on February 22, 2019

Best answer: If you're into science and here next week with Thursday off, the 28th is the monthly Adult Night at Science World (usually a school field trip sort of place).
posted by Beardman at 1:49 PM on February 22, 2019

Last time I was there (which was last month), I had a very enjoyable dinner at Peaceful Restaurant, which serves Szechuan food. It's right by a SkyTrain stop, and on West Broadway, there's numerous little bars and coffee houses to check out as well.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:55 PM on February 22, 2019

You can take public transit to Grouse Mountain and then take the gondola to the top. There is a pub up the top with a nice view. Do this on a day where the mountain tops are not obscured by cloud.
posted by crazycanuck at 4:39 PM on February 22, 2019

Best answer: Organized by neighbourhood:

MacLeod's bookstore is lovely, and some nearby cafes you might enjoy are Finch's or Meat and Bread. The Cinematheque is an independent theatre screening interesting films every day. You can check in advance if something you're interested in will be playing. While you are downtown, you could visit the cat cafe near Stadium Chinatown station. Cafe Medina is near Stadium Chinatown and has the best brunch I have ever had. I also recommend the Sun Yat-sen Garden for a chill place to hang out, within walking distance of the cat cafe. It often has museum type art, history, and architecture exhibits.

Downtown Eastside:
Phnomh Penh is a fantastic sort of hole-in-the-wall type hidden gem (although somewhat conspicuous because there's usually a lineup). Dosanko is a great Japanese comfort food place, in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, which many tourist guides will tell you to avoid due to crime related to the opioid epidemic. The area is somewhat gritty, certainly, but I spend a lot of time there and have never been the target of any violence or crime. I think the risk is more for the folks who actually live in the neighbourhood and are vulnerable for other reasons (poverty, substance dependence). If you like to sauna privately, Hastings Steam and Sauna is kind of a magical place, and just down the road from Dosanko.

You could explore the Botanical Garden at UBC as well as the Museum of Anthropology or Museum of Natural History, and find a cafe on campus to rest between them. In general, you are never far from a place to lounge at UBC, be it in the library or a cafe. The 99 B-Line bus will take you there from Cambie or Broadway/Commercial Stations. Favourite dinner spots nearby are Fable (farm to table) and Raisu (Japanese). There's a mystery bookstore down this way as well, and Banyan books, a new age and self-help bookstore which has a lovely atmosphere even if you are not really into new age or self-help books. It is also next door to Aphrodite's Pie, which I cannot recommend highly enough if you like pie.

Commercial Drive:
Spartacus Books is an anarchist bookstore with titles from many genres at low prices and a decent selection of zines. People's Co-op Bookstore is also worth a visit. Stormcrow is a self-proclaimed "nerd bar" on the Drive. They have events like trivia night, and you can roll a twenty-sided die to find out what toppings you'll get on your burger.

If you are into chocolate/pastry, I highly recommend Thierry on Robson (has a cafe where you can chill) and Beta 5 (near Main Street / Science World Station), which has less room to chill, but is easy walking distance from the skytrain and several cafes of a sitting and chilling variety.

Hastings Sunrise/Burnaby:
SFU is neat if you're into brutalist architecture or Battlestar Galactica. You can take the 135 bus all the way up there, or a Skytrain headed east and then the 145. Lots of cafes and a pub up there. There are also some short walks in nature with totem poles and things; it's connected to the Trans-Canada Trail. Red Wagon Cafe is on the way to SFU and it has the best pancakes I've ever had. People rave about Tacofino, which is nearby, and has great tacos as well as the best caesars around.

False Creek/Granville Island:
You can visit the Maritime Museum if you're interested in old boats and maritime history, and then take a tiny little open air boat over to Granville Island Market, go for a stroll, and eat something delicious. Lots of cafes and public spaces for resting. Get a fancy pastry for cheap at Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts.
posted by unstrungharp at 5:21 PM on February 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I live near Mount Pleasant - there's lots of things to do on Main St. You can skytrain to Main St/Science World, and take the number 3 bus all the way up Main St, and see:

* 21st ave: Liberty Cafe / Coco et Olive - great little cafe's - nice places to get a snack and read a book on a rainy day.
* 23rd ave: Regional Assembly Of Text - a quirky store of text-related cards and art and t-shirt and gifts.
* Between 23rd and 24th ave: Lucky's Comics - a great little indie bookstore.

If you have a visa card, you can tap-in and out on the bus and skytrain, and you'll only be charged once per 90 minutes. There's stops all the way up and down Main St to get to/from the skytrain station.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:32 PM on February 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

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