insider tips on Vancouver
August 24, 2006 2:03 PM   Subscribe

I will be in Vancouver next week and would like recommendations for work and play.

I have been to Vancouver many times and have done most of the touristy stuff. I have also perused the many Vancouver threads already on Ask. However, I do have some specific requests for recommendations:

1) a good cafe where I can hang out and work on a laptop; bonus points if open until the wee hours

2) a relaxed public house with a wide selection of imported beverages; bonus points for local brews

3) good/unusual vantage points for photographing the city; bonus points for views of port operations, railyards, etc.

4) interesting neighbourhoods to walk around - something beyond the well-known usual suspects (Kits, the Drive, etc.) but still somewhat urban

5) is Bard on the Beach worth it?
posted by Urban Hermit to Travel & Transportation around Vancouver, BC (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
- go up to the top of the observation deck at Harbour Centre
- take the tram up Grouse Mountain

- Commercial drive (I assume you're mentioning this, but not sure)
- Yaletown
- Chinatown
- 4th avenue (and drop down to Fatzo's on Broadway for some good BBQ)
posted by Kickstart70 at 2:25 PM on August 24, 2006

1) TONS of these. Not sure "what" area in downtown that you're in, but if you want a chain that's open late, Blenz is fairly decent (better than Starbucks at least) and has free wifi. They're all over Vancouver proper. Another option that's more chique but not open late is Take 5 Cafes.

2) Malones, on Seymore and Pender
Doolins on Granville
Trap and Grill on Seymore
...and the most public place of all, The Cambie (on Cambie and Hastings). It's a crowded, young place, but very relaxed.

3) The obvious ones here are atop the revolving Harbour Center restaurant. If you get to the top, you have a view of the port and east side.

Alternatively, the top of Grouse Mountain (there's a gondola that goes to the top, or if you like hiking, it's a 45 minute trek).

4) It depends on what you mean by interesting. It's an experience to walk down Hastings - it's safer than people expect, and offers a unique vantage point.

Strathcona (the above mentioned edge of Chinatown and Commercial).

Walking up Point Gray along Spanish banks is beautiful at sunset, plus lots of neat homes to gawk at.

5) Yes. This year's production is very entertaining.
posted by Vantech at 2:57 PM on August 24, 2006

1) Check out:

My favourite 24 hour cafes:
Downtown - Bread Garden at Robson & Bute.
Kits - Calhoun's at Broadway & Balaclava
East-side - The Grind at Main & King Edward

3) Lonsdale Quay is fun to visit and offers great views of the port district.
posted by randomstriker at 4:34 PM on August 24, 2006

A "smoke friendly" café, for those interested.
posted by Monstrous Moonshine at 5:00 PM on August 24, 2006

1) I'll second the grind.
2) The Cambie is good if you're downtown. If you find yourself on Broadway in Kits Elwood's, Lou's, and the Fringe are places I liked when I lived there.

3) If it's clear the view from Main Mall on UBC Campus is beautiful, as is the view from wreck beach.

4) Cornwall street, which stretches from Burrard to Alma is pretty and, once you get west of Kits beach, has some little beaches you can walk down to. I'd second going for a walk along East Hastings - it is interesting. There's also little strips along 41st at arbutus and 10th near sasamat. South Main Street also seems to have a lot of interesting stuff popping up these days as well.
posted by kechi at 7:01 PM on August 24, 2006

(3) I got some nice shots while on the Lions Gate Bridge (walk it or bike it so you can lean over the sides and see). Also if you walk or bike along the trail beside Wall St. (which runs along the north shore of Vancouver), you can get to under the Ironworkers Memorial Second Crossing, and right above the exit side of the train tunnel. You may see the bridge rising/lowering. There are some big industrial buildings around there that are pretty under certain light, if you are into that type of scene.

Nature shots... obviously Stanley Park. Lighthouse Park (west end of West Van) is not-too-far but isolated and well-preserved enough, and transit accessible, if that is important to you.
posted by bread-eater at 7:03 PM on August 24, 2006

3. Suggest New Brighton Park for photos. It's right near the second narrows bridge. A nice park, on a beach (well, on Burrard Inlet), with a cool industrial backdrop. There aren't railyards (per se), but quite frequently trains stack up behind the park. Plus there are grain elevators.

If you are looking for a good view of the ports, try Portside park. (see pdf for location).

If you want to watch seaplanes take off and land, go to Canada Place downtown.
posted by crazycanuck at 7:24 PM on August 24, 2006

4. I just got back from Vancouver, and I enjoyed South Main. It's hipsterish, so of course there are decent thrift stores and coffee shops. I saw two movies or tv shows being shot, and that was interesting.
posted by lunalaguna at 4:32 PM on August 25, 2006

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