Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide

Vancouver City Guide + What To Pack

06.25.18

Hello again! I’m glad to be back home after spending the months of February, March, April and May in Vancouver with my husband Dave and our pup Dobby. Dave had a special opportunity to renovate a family member’s home and backyard so we decided to pack up and head out west for the season. We drove just under 4500 kms across the country, which I don’t recommend during the winter or under a time constraint (both of which were the case for us) but I’m still so glad we did!

Vancouver is a city we’d always thought about living in so it was really special to be able to spend a good amount of time there. We got to know the different neighbourhoods, established some local haunts (ie: ate all the sushi), checked out some wonderful shops and explored the fabulous parks, trails and beaches. Vancouver has an energy all its own and HOLY CRAP are the blossoms ever amazing. The city’s natural splendour and outdoor charm more than won us over. The real estate prices, not so much, but that’s okay.

We already know we’ll be back again at some point and I can’t recommend it enough as a place to visit if you have the opportunity. Vancouver has a lot to offer, which can definitely be overwhelming, so to help anyone planning a visit I’ve put together this city guide of all my favourite places to explore, eat and shop. Even though I didn’t make it all the way through my Vancouver bucket list I’ve included some spots I’m hoping to get to next time. Click the links to see the Google map location for each place noted and hopefully this guide will point you towards some good options during your travels!

So let’s dig into the Vancouver City Guide!

Here’s a shortcut menu if you’d prefer to jump to a certain topic:


EXPLORE | COFFEE | BRUNCH | LUNCH | DINNER  | BREWERIES | BEYOND VAN | SHOP | WHAT TO PACK

Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide

EXPLORE


There are so many sights to see, beaches to bask on, blossoms to swoon over, parks to play in and special spots to check out in the city of Vancouver. These are some of the ones I enjoyed most. Being a nature enthusiast, many of them are parks and gardens, which always provide such a holistic, stress and anxiety alleviating experience, something I’m often seeking when on holidays.


Granville Island – A favourite of tourists and locals alike, Granville Island is a must if you love a good market for food, arts and beer. Go early on for the best market experience (ie: room to move!) and pick up supplies for a picnic on the beach or in the park. There are endless options of fresh veggies, fruit and local meats, cheeses, sauces, dips, baked goods and way more!

The Stanley Park Seawall – Rent a bike or wear some comfy shoes to tour around this 10km coastal walkway that guides you around Stanley Park and overlooks Vancouver Harbour. It’s a great way to enjoy the day, get some exercise and get a glimpse of the North and West Vancouver neighbourhoods.


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Stanley ParkYou’ll soon forget you’re in a bustling city when you tuck into the walking paths scattered throughout this massive park space. Great for runners and centrally located!

Pacific Spirit Park TrailThis park is on the south-west side of the city (where we were staying) but worth the bus ride from downtown to wander through the trails towards the UBC Campus. From there you can access all kinds of great places (noted below) and wander back out past the Spanish Banks and Jericho beaches towards Kitsilano. It was both mine and Dobby’s favourite trail to wander. 


Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide

Museum of AnthropologyThe MoA was recommended to me by so many people and it really was spectacular. The collection of First Nation’s artifacts is unlike anything I’ve seen, the exhibits are brilliantly produced and the guided tour was free and incredibly insightful. If the weather forecast looks wet definitely plan to spend some time in here. 


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Nitobe Memorial GardenThis place is a quick visit but really beautiful and inspiring. Nitobe Garden is considered to be the one of the most authentic Japanese gardens in North America and among the top five Japanese gardens outside of Japan. 


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UBC Botanical GardenGet the dual garden pass (for Nitobe + UBC) and walk through the university campus to the botanical gardens. It was under some renovation when we went but still had lots to see. The plants and trees are meticulously labelled so there are lots to learn about and explore.


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VanDusen GardensYou probably know that I LOVE a good garden and my favourite botanical oasis of them all was VanDusen. I could have wandered through here once a week and seen new plants blossoming every time. It’s brilliantly planned and meticulously cared for. I was so sad to miss the Rose Garden! Spring and summer are the best times to go but they also have a spectacular winter light show if you’re visiting over the holidays. Check the bloom calendar here.


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Queen Elizabeth ParkWander through the park and head to the picnic area with a blanket, some wine and a few tasty goodies to watch the birds wade in the water and the dogs bound through the grassy fields. 


Kitsilano (neighbourhood) – This is probably the best neighbourhood to see cherry blossoms (and other blossoming trees) at their finest during the months of April and May. There is also great access to beaches and restaurants too. 


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Mt. Pleasant (neighbourhood) – This was my personal favourite area to explore. With Main Street running right through and tons of great eateries and shops scattered around there was never a shortage of things to see. See all the shops I loved below.

Gastown (neighbourhood) – If you’ve got a hankering to shop some of the best boutiques in the city, this area is your best bet. It’s also a lovely place to wander, window shop and grab a bite or a drink on a patio. The brick streets are winding and narrow and there is endless people watching to be done! See all the shops I loved below.

BEACHES (From west to east) – All the beaches in Vancouver have their own vibe. Some are bustling with people hanging out, dogs playing, volleyball games going, rollerbladers whizzing by while others are more relaxed and tranquil. If the weather is good when you go be sure to find a beach near you to catch a sunset and/or sprawl out on a blanket with a good book.

North Vancouver (neighbourhood) Sadly, we didn’t make our way up to North Van during our stay but I heard lots of great things about the area and how it’s been changing and filling in.

Access: I believe all of these spots are all accessible via transit, as are the restaurants noted above. Buses and the sky train are by far your best bet as the taxi service in Vancouver is abysmal and there is no Uber. 

To Note: Vancouver changes a lot when you begin to head east. Downtown East Hastings is a well-known area for homelessness and drug addiction and this will likely become quite apparent when you head in that direction. There are still lots of cool things happening on Commercial Drive and in the surrounding areas but keep your wits about you if you plan to head towards the east side of the city. I definitely got used to it as I spent more time in Chinatown and on Commercial Drive and while I never felt I was in any danger it may be a bit unnerving to someone not expecting the stark change from other areas. If you go outside of the downtown area towards Hastings-Sunrise you’ll find an up and coming area with cute restaurants, homes and a more family friendly atmosphere. 


COFFEE


Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide

There is a wonderful coffee and cafe culture in Vancouver and as a result there are cute little coffee shops in every neighbourhood throughout the city. Sadly, I didn’t get to see as many as I would have liked but the ones I made it to were pretty great. If you’re trying to go dairy free (like me) you’ll be glad to know most (if not all) of the places I went to offered milk alternatives like almond, oat or soy. Most also offer lots of tasty food options too!

Word to the wise: If you’re planning to work from a café don’t assume there will be much room after 10 am on a weekday. Also, don’t assume people will be civilized and not take up a 4 seater when it’s just them and their laptop. I’ve got to admit, that was a pet peeve of mine. But once you get a good spot you’re set!


Here is a list of my favourite coffee shops and a few I would have liked to make it to:

  • Trafiq (Main Street – Unpretentious and full of great treats in an ideal location for working and/or people watching on Main St.)
  • 49th Parallel (W 4th/Kitsilano – Great coffee, outdoor workspaces + Lucky’s Donuts)
  • Elysian Coffee Roasters (3 Locations – Beautiful interior and excellent beans.)
  • Honolulu (3 Locations – Fun, tropical decor, great coffee and a nice working atmosphere.)
  • Matchstick (Main Street)
  • Coco et Olive (Main Street – Super cute with a great pastry selection.)
  • Liberty Cafe & Bakery (Main Street – Across the road from Coco et Olive and just as delightful.)
  • Aperture (Main Street – Good for Matcha)
  • Federal Store (Mt Pleasant – Such a cute spot for avocado toast + groceries too.)
  • Nemesis(Gastown)
  • Prado* (Gastown)
  • Agro(East Hastings)
  • Olive + Ruby* (Kitsilano – Great breakfast bowls!)

* I didn’t make it to these but they were on my list and highly recommended.


BRUNCH


Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide

Of course, we had to treat ourselves to a few brunches during our time in Vancouver and they rarely disappointed.

Word to the wise: The brunch crowd in Vancouver are earlier risers than in Toronto. Plan to be there by 10:00 am to guarantee yourself a spot.


  • Acorn (Main St. – Quaint spot with amazing veg and vegan options with seasonal ingredients and unexpectedly tasty flavour profiles. This was my personal favourite.)
  • Nomad (Main St. – Cool, open space with contemporary takes on traditional items like a Benny. Also good for dinner!)
  • Oakwood (Kitsilano/4th Ave – Gourmet comfort food that’s definitely rich and indulgent but we all need that now and again! Also great for dinner.)
  • Farmer’s Apprentice (South Granville – Farm to table refined. If it’s in season you’ll find it here. Also great for dinner and be sure to walk along the Arbutus greenway path afterwards!)
  • Aphrodite’s Organic Cafe*(West 4th/Kitsilano – Pies, Local, Organic, Market, Delicious, need I go on?)
  • The Bird’s Nest*(South Granville – Such a cool concept, you actually go to the chef’s home. Looks ridiculously charming and tasty but you’ll need to book in advance.)
  • Cafe Medina* (Downtown – Cute spot with lots of tasty takes on classics. If we’d been downtown more I’d have definitely tried this one.)
  • Twisted Fork Bistro* (Downtown- Long wait times but should be worth the wait, plus you can check online to see what you’re getting into.)

*I didn’t make it to these but they were on my list and highly recommended.


LUNCH


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My lunches out were usually for meetings or spent on the go but I managed to tick off quite a few gems while I was zipping around town.

Word to the wise: Aim for an off-peek hour lunch and either get in before the rush or after because this city loves a good 12 o’clock lunch! 


  • Le Marche St. George (King Edward + St. George – My personal favourite spot, recommended by many and so delightful in every way. The space, the food, the staff and the neighbourhood all deserve to be part of a novel.)
  • Nelson the Seagull (Gastown – Airy, quaint coffeehouse & bake shop for breakfast, breads, pastries, sandwiches & picnic boards. This was my favourite lunch spot near downtown.)
  • Nuba (Kitsilano/Gastown/Yaletown/Mt. Pleasant – Lebanese eatery with many vegetarian & vegan options. Flavourful, fresh and great for sharing. I went here more than a few times and always got the Najib’s Special.)
  • Meet on Main (Main St/Gastown/Yaletown – A Vancouverite favourite full of fresh, veg + vegan options in a funky spaces with friendly staff. We loved the Main Street location for people/dog watching.)

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  • Fish Counter (Main St. – One of our favourites for picking up fresh seafood for the grill or a quick fish taco treat.)
  • La Taqueria (Downtown/Gastown/Cambie/Main St. – Quick, authentic, fresh Mexican classics like Baja Fish, Al Pastor, Guacamole and lots of bursting burritos. Perfect if you’re in a hurry.)

Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide
  • Go Fish (Island Park Walk on the way to Granville from Kits – A local favourite with charm and great wharf views. Best visited on a sunny day and get there early or you’re looking at a long time in line.)
  • Tacofino (7 Locations – A BC staple originating in the surf town of Tofino on Vancouver Island.)
  • Turf* (4th Ave/Kitsilano – A medley of healthful things like a studio space for classes, wholesome menu and easy takeaway options. I would have loved to check this one out.)
  • Aleph Eatery* (Hastings-Sunrise – Fresh, local contemporary Middle-Eastern fare.)

*I didn’t make it to these but they were on my list and highly recommended.


DINNER


Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide

One of my personal favourite indulgences and ways to experience a city is through dinners out. We love Guelph for lots of reasons but culinary breadth is not one of them, so having countless options to choose from was a major perk of being in Vancouver. Of course, sushi and fresh seafood was high on our list but we also found the locavore community to be vibrant, resulting in lots of farm to table options. Sadly we didn’t make it to every spot I was hoping to but I’ve included them in the list in case one catches your eye!

Word to the wise: Make a reservation as early as possible if you can. Lots of these places book up fast. 


  • La Quercia (West 4th/Kitsilano – So this place is was a personal favourite and a total gem. The wine bar next store is a great place to met a friend for a drink and snack but the restaurant is just as quaint and the food is downright delicious. Made in fresh pasta, friendly staff, cozy atmosphere and a great wine selection.)
  • Fable Kitchen (4th/Kitsilano – This place is a gem for date night or a tasty brunch.)
  • Oddfish (1st/Kitsilano – Another personal favourite of ours was this quirky gem specializing in fresh af seafood. We loved the food but the open kitchen, welcoming staff and vibrant atmosphere is what brought us back a few times.)
  • Lucky Taco (Kitsilano – This was one of the places we had the most fun. After a long walk and some beach-side beers we would head up here for great cocktails, epic tacos and the cutest atmosphere and a killer playlist.)
  • La Catrina (Denman St. off English Bay Beach – A perfect spot for a quick taco interlude. Cheap, authentic, fast!)
  • Blue Water (Yaletown – We celebrated my birthday here and it was fabulous. The seafood was incredible, halibut season had just started and the staff was so down to earth and knowledgeable. You’re looking at a hefty price tag but it’s a great experience and ideal for people watching.)
  • Pigin(Gastown – French and Aisian cuisine isn’t a common mash-up but I’m so intrigued by it!)
  • The Black Lodge (Kingsway + Fraser – We’re Twin Peaks nerds and while we were waiting on our table at Les Faux Bourgois we can here for a cocktail. It was as kitschy and fun as expected and the drinks were on theme and tasty.) 
  • Les Faux Bourgois (Kingsway + Fraser – If you’re craving authentic French fare this is a great spot!)
  • Osteria Salvio Volpe(Kingsway + Fraser – I am crushed that we never made it here but it was always booked when we were available. Please go for me!)
  • Crowbar* (Kingsway + Fraser – Looked like a great spot for cocktails and maybe a girls dinner.)

Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide
  • Fable Diner (Mt Pleasant – This is a great option for a diner experience without the greasy spoon aspect.)
  • Ajisai (Kerrisdale – Our favourite for the freshest sushi, nigiri and Japanese fare. We lost track of how many times we ate here. Also great for lunch.)
  • Kishimoto (Commercial Drive – My best friend lives down the street from this gem and it was one of the first places we tried. It was AMAZING. Go, GO!)
  • La Mezcaleria(Commercial Drive – Another hot spot for Mexican inspired goodness.)
  • Ask For Luigi* (Downtown East – So sad we didn’t get here but next time for sure. Love me some classic Italian fare any day!)

*I didn’t make it to these but they were on my list and highly recommended.


FOR THE SWEET TOOTH


Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide
  • Lucky’s Donuts (Main/4th – Get the crueller if it’s the last thing you do!)
  • Lee’s Donuts (Granville Island – A Granville market staple, so many classics made right behind the counter. Betcha can’t choose just one!)
  • Cartem’s Donuts (Broadway/Kitsilano – Hand crafted with love and there are lots of vegan and gluten-free options too!)
  • Earnest Ice Cream (4 locations – Super cute ice cream shop with a sustainable twist as they sell their ice cream in reusable glass jars. Made in small batches with lots of vegan flavour options, that aren’t just sorbet!) 
  • The Pie Shoppe – (Powell/Victoria – Run two sisters, The Pie Shoppe is where Pacific Northwest ingredients are celebrated in some traditional and not so common pie recipes. If you’re into pies this place could be well worth a visit!)

BREWERIES


Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide
  • 33 Acres (7th/Ontario – This was our favourite for sure. The beer is wonderful, the branding is inspired and the food is great! The space is also lovely and open but make sure you get there in good time because it’s a hot spot.)
  • Granville Island Brewing (Granville Island – This is a great brewery too and a nice spot to take a break after a morning or afternoon of island exploring.)

Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide

*I didn’t make it to these but they were on my radar.


BEYOND VANCOUVER


Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide

If you’ve got time and you’re game for some outer city adventure definitely go for it! There is so much to explore outside of Vancouver and throughout the gorgeous province of British Columbia.

WhistlerOf course it’s a great place to ski or snowboard in the winter but there are also lots of hiking and mountain biking trails for summer adventures too. One of two times we went up I was not feeling well enough to snowboard so I spent the day wandering the trails and village with Dobby and it was great! 

SquamishI would have LOVED to have spent a couple of nights in Squamish, a smaller city about 1 hr north of Van on the way to Whistler. There is tons of hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking, paddle boarding and lots great restaurants and breweries. Even if you’re not an avid outdoors person there is still lots to see and do. If you’re driving to and from Vancouver aim to head back at golden our (just before sunset) and pull into one of the highway lookouts for some epic views. 

Sea to Sky GondolaThis is one of the most highly recommended attractions in Squamish. Definitely on the bucket list for next time! 

Stawamus ChiefWe climbed the Chief during our first visit many years ago and it has always remained a favourite memory of mine. Towering nearly 2,000 feet above Squamish, the Stawamus Chief is the second largest piece of freestanding granite in the world. There are three peaks so even if hiking/climbing isn’t your jam it’s still a great way to get to some of the best views in western Canada.

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge – Not too far outside of North Van this little bridge is a great day or even half day trip. The views, trails, waterfalls, pools and suspension bridge are said to be beautiful!

Bowen IslandA quick ferry ride from Vancouver will deliver you to Bowen Island. We didn’t get over there but I’d really love to go some time. Rent a scooter to zip around the island, stop into local shops and restaurants or slip into a kayak for a shoreline tour from the water. It all sounds pretty damn good to me!

Salt Spring IslandOne of the most recommended spots to check out was Salt Spring Island. Known for its local maker and farmer’s markets, cottage B&Bs, beaches, wellness retreats and hikes. Again, we didn’t get there (we focused time on Vancouver Island instead) but it’s another one that’s on the bucket list. I’d love to stay at Bloom Organic B&B.

Vancouver Island – I’ve got so much to share about Vancouver Island, in particular Victoria, which, confession time, was actually our favourite city. That being the case I’ve decided to create a dedicated Victoria City Guide, which will be up soon! We loved Point-No-Point (which you can read about here) and Tofino is a world renowned surfing destination all on it’s own!

Access: You might consider renting a car or taking the ferry (you may not have a choice on that one!) to get to these areas but there should be bus and shuttle options available as well. 


SHOP


Vancouver is a great city for responsible style, shopping from independent brands and finding great thrifted and vintage pieces. I did my best to make it to all the shops and spots I’d had on my list before we arrived and I managed to visit A LOT of them, while at the same time discovering some awesome new ones! Here’s a breakdown based on the two key shopping zones I spent time i and you can read about my initial shop hop here.


MAIN STREET


Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide

There are also LOTS of other thrift and vintage stores along Main Street, so if you’ve got time to peruse, definitely go fo it!


GASTOWN


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  • Charlie & Lee (Clothing, accessories and apothecary. Technically in Chinatown.)
  • Erin Templeton (Accessories made in house and vintage)
  • Lynn Steven (Beauty and skincare)
  • One of A Few (Clothing and accessories from top tier independent designers)
  • Nettle’s Tale (Swimwear and activewear made in Vancouver)
  • ARC Apparel (Charming boutique carrying socially conscious brands)
  • Community Vintage (Vintage and thrift)
  • Hey Jude (Vintage and thrift for the home and closet with some apothecary thrown in)
  • M0851 (Made in Quebec outerwear and accessories developed for harsh climates)
  • MOSH (Frames designed and made by women – 1 of only 3 in the world)
  • Parliament & Kermodi (Home goods, furniture and a plant shop)
  • Neighbour Woman (Ultra high end designers like Mansur Gavriel and Acne Studios)
  • Old Faithful (Home goods and gifts)
  • LLOYD (Studio open by appointment only.)

SPAS + PERSONAL CARE


  • Joy Ride – (4th/Burrard – Natural + Non-toxical nail and spa treatments.)
  • Harlow Atelier (Fraser/E 15th – Simple products made from complex plants + parts. Born out of a personal need for thoughtfully + aesthetically designed, whole ingredient self-care goods.)
  • Bioethique – (4th/Dunbar – Natural, organic, non-toxic skincare and holistic treatments)
  • Glow – (1st/Burrard – Holistic whole body approach to achieving vibrant glowing skin through dermal therapy)

WHAT TO PACK


Depending on what time of year you’re visiting you’ll want to pack accordingly. During our 3.5 months we experienced everything from a major snowfall (by west coast standards anyway :P) to gloomy, drizzly, cool stretches to blazing heat without a cloud in the sky. With those vast changes in mind I’ve put together two sets of packing essentials depending on the time of year. Of course, you’ll want to check the forecast and add more items but these will give you a good base to work from.

The good news about Vancouver is that it’s a very casual city. You’ll see the odd person dressed up here and there but for the most part if you’re in decent jeans and a fresh shirt, you’re set. Vancouver is an active city and most of the main attractions involve being outdoors and lots of walking, biking and/or hiking so these essentials reflect just that.

First up, Spring + Summer!


WHAT TO PACK FOR VANCOUVER IN SPRING + SUMMER


Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide - What to Pack Spring/Summer

1 | DENIM JACKET | I realized how much I needed a denim jacket while we were out west because it’s just the perfect layer for the constantly changing temps and that occasional nip in the air. A denim jacket is also more casual than a blazer, which is what I wore a lot. I love my new one from Everlane, but any light jacket will do!

2 | SNEAKERS | I wore my Veja Sneakers a lot but I would recommend something lighter if you plan to do lots of trails or hikes. (I love my AKU Hiking Boots for more intense activities). These Allbirds tree pulp sneakers are on my workout wish list right now!

3 | EASY DRESSES | A couple of comfy cotton dresses will be perfect for the late Spring and Summer weather in Vancouver. Easy to layer under a light jacket and dress up or down between Birks and a dressier sandal.

4 | HAT | If you’re going to be outdoors a lot, bring a hat because that sun is unforgiving and so are the seagulls (if you get my meaning). Full disclosure: I haven’t worn a baseball cap in over a decade but there are some very chic options popping up right now.

5 | SWIMSUIT | Ok, this might be super obvious but if you’ve got access to all the beaches in Vancouver you had might as well be ready for a dip at any moment. I also love wearing a one-piece as a bodysuit under shorts or a skirt. This one from Mara Hoffman has 50 SPF built right in too (also comes in black)!

6 | BEACH TOTE | Make your personal carry on item count with a canvas or straw beach tote! Then pack it full of your favourite goodies from the Granville Market for a park picnic or a beach sunset. I love my tote from Joshu + Vela.

7 | SIMPLE SETS | Towards the end of our stay I was missing my Petra Crops so much and wishing I had them handy to pair with my Florence pants/shorts and other high-waist bottoms.

8 | BEACH TOWEL | Depending on where you stay you might not need this (most Vancouverites are well stocked) but if you’re set on some quality beach or park time a blanket will make a big difference. I love Turkish towels for easy packability and lightness. Plus, you can use it as a table cloth when you get home!

9 | WALKING SANDALS | AKA. Birkenstocks. You’ll be hard-pressed to walk down a street in Vancouver without seeing a pair of these this Summer. I actually had my Dad bring mine out when he visited in April because I missed them. Of course any sandal you can walk in all day will do!



WHAT TO PACK FOR VANCOUVER IN FALL + WINTER



1 | RAINCOAT | Of course a raincoat is key for the Fall and Winter in Vancouver.  It’s usually mild enough to get away with a couple of layers or a warm sweater underneath. I find layers are key because it’s a damp cold more than a bitter cold like we get in the East.

2 | LONG SLEEVE LAYERS | These are definitely key for the cooler months (and into Spring too)! A fitted base layer really helps cut the damp air chills and is easy to build on as needed.

3 | BLACK DENIM | Of course, any denim wash will do but black is best when travelling and potentially encountering some wet, muddy, slushy, messy situations if you’re out in the wilderness or trekking through trails and parks. I’ve linked to my favourite pair of black skinnies that are a mid to high-rise and insanely flattering.

4 | WARM SWEATERS | A cozy turtleneck or other knitted sweater will be your best bud if you’re visiting Vancouver in the colder months. Chances are you’ll only need that and a raincoat or light puffer since it’s fairly temperate.

5 | RAIN BOOT | There’s a reason these were my most worn footwear during our time out west. Wear them on the plane to save room in your suitcase.

6 | PUFFER COAT | I wore my Raincoat and Puffer coat fairly interchangeably during the later winter months (Feb/March) but my Puffer really helped to keep me cozy on early morning walks and during any particularly chilly spells. If you don’t have room or don’t want to wear it on the plane, go for the rain coat and add an extra sweater or two.

7 | BEANIE | I wore one of mine literally every morning and evening through March and April. They make a HUGE difference if you’re trying to stay warm without a big coat. My favourites from Everlane are sold out but they release them every winter so keep an eye out.

8 | COMFY SWEATSHIRT | One of these will go a long way and it’s the perfect layer over a long sleeve tee and under a raincoat with a beanie, skinnies and rain boots.

9 | BACKPACK | Keep yourself a little more streamlined with a cute backpack so your hands are free to take photos!



Style Bee - Vancouver City Guide


WELL FRIENDS, THAT’S ALL FOR THE VANCOUVER CITY GUIDE!

I’m sure I missed a few gems so if you’ve got a favourite spot that’s not on the list please feel free to share it in the comments. 

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the Victoria City Guide coming soon! 


This post is not sponsored or produced in partnership with any of the aforementioned brands but it contains affiliate links. When you shop using the links above I may make a small portion of the sale. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Style Bee.

22 comments
06.25.18
Travel

Leave me a comment here!

  1. Megan says:

    As a note, the area of East Hastings you are speaking of is known as the Downtown East Side, around Main and Hastings. If you go further East you can find the Hastings Sunrise area, which is more of an up-and-coming area with restaurants, young families etc.

  2. Great guide! It’s interesting to see where tourists go in my city.
    I wonder if you went east of Van at all? New Westminster is a really cute place (where I live!) and so tiny it’s doable in an afternoon. It’s a small river-side city, and one of BC’s oldest!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks Elizabeth! We did visit New Westminster actually. We were only there for an evening but we walked around the downtown and got a feel for it. Such a cute area! We had a great dinner at El Santo too. Thanks for checking out the post! xo

  3. Natalia says:

    Holy crap! This is a great guide!
    You sure have made great effort to see and get up know as much of Vancouver as possible on your trip! I’ve lived in Vancouver for over a decade now and I still need to make my way to some of the places you have already visited!
    I’m glad you enjoyed Kishimoto and Soap Dispensary! Nomad is one of my favourite places so I’m glad it was on your list!
    Some additional suggestions for your future visits, if you ever run out of things to visit/see (based on my opinion):
    – check out Deep Cove in North Van in the summer months and rent a single or double kayak there. It makes for a wonderful day on the water – hopping from islands to different shorelines and hanging out with sea creatures! North Van has so many great off leash dog friendly hikes too! Your pup would love it!
    – if you are looking for interesting flavours, check out Heirloom on Granville (wonderful vegetarian food) or East is East and The Eatery (both on West Broadway). And Bandidas on Commercial Dr at 12th Ave has interesting dishes!
    – My favourite Mexican place is Los Cuervos right by le faux bourgeois. YUM!!!!
    – Best pizza and meatballs (with tastiest salad) is off of commercial drive on Victoria drive and William St called Via Tevere Pizzeria.
    – one of my favourite spots to visit for a warm drink and a delicious snack is Coco et Olive on Main, right across from Soap Dispensary.
    – there are a number of GREAT tasting breweries on Clark, South of east Hastings.
    – East Hastings is actually quite “happening” west of Clark with many interesting shops, delis and bakeries. There are a number of awesome breakfast/brunch places along there. It’s a bit of a hidden gem at the moment!
    – another great spot to visit outside of Vancouver is Steveston in South Richmond.
    Thanks again for this great post! I’ll definitely reference it to remind me to explore new places around here!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Haha! Thanks SO MUCH for all these additional suggestions Natalia. They all sound fabulous and I’m thrilled to have so many great new spots on my list 🙂 We allllmost ate at Los Cuervos, it looks awesome and Heirloom was one that I heard mentioned a lot but totally forgot to mention. Enjoy your summer in Van! xo

  4. Katherine Dennison says:

    Thanks for this detailed look at Vancouver. I lived there over a decade ago during my university days and it’s changed so much since then. Fun to read about all the current hot spots and old gems. I’m now back home in Victoria and delighted to hear that it’s your favourite West Coast town. It’s an amazing place to live! Can’t wait to read your Victoria City Guide. Cheers, Katherine

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks for taking a look Katherine 🙂 Victoria totally stole our hearts. It’s more our speed and just felt really friendly and approachable. My guide will be up tomorrow so I hope you’ll share any of your favourite spots that I miss! xo

  5. Mey says:

    Thank you, thank you, for putting together this awesome list! We are heading there on vacation in a couple of weeks and this is just what I needed. I look forward to visiting all the parks and gardens.

  6. Harriet says:

    My husband and I are driving up from Oregon in July. We are spending three nights at Point No Point and three nights in Vancouver. Thanks for the timely suggestions.

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Oh that’s so exciting! You will have such a great time in Point-No-Point, it’s one of my all-time favourite places. Thanks for reading Harriet! xo

  7. Lottie says:

    Thank you! Great read and super timely as I am planning an early fall trip over there! Any suggestions for places and/or neighborhoods to stay in if ones not planning to rent a car? xx lottie

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Vancouver will be so beautiful in the Fall! I would definitely look into AirBnb options in Kitsilano off of 4th or Broadway towards Burrard or in Mt. Pleasant around 12th and Main. Those were my favourite neighbourhoods and areas to explore on foot. You can also hop on a bus easily to get downtown or over to Stanley Park. The sky train should get you pretty close from the airport too. I hope that helps!

    • Andie says:

      Vancouver has a good transit system and you’ll probably be fine wherever you stay but for convenience there are express busses that go down both Broadway and 4th Ave. but the one on Broadway is much more consistent. I live on the border between the Kitsilano and Fairview neighbourhoods and being near to Granville St. makes getting to the downtown core and Granville island super convenient as well!

    • Lee the Bee says:

      Thanks for the transit tips Andie!

  8. Alice says:

    What a fun read! We went to Vancouver in 2017 for the HUGE annual Society for American Archaeology conference, which was being held there that year. The day we went to the UBC Museum of Anthropology it was absolutely packed full of archaeologists! It’s extremely well done. Having all of their artifacts on display, none held back, makes it both fun to explore by opening up mysterious drawers full of more items, and also somewhat overwhelming! If I lived nearby I think I’d go there regularly to work my way through everything. So cool.

    • Lee the Bee says:

      I’m so glad you got to spend some time in the MoA! It’s definitely a lot to take in isn’t it? The artifacts are so beautiful too. Thanks for reading Alice! xo

  9. For anyone visiting Vancouver for any length of time I’d highly recommend they take the new catamaran ferry over to Victoria for the day. It leaves downtown Van and arrives in downtown Victoria within a couple of hours and there is so much to see and do in Victoria for a day or 2 🙂

  10. Jodie Thomas says:

    What an amazing travel guide Lee!
    I visited Vancouver forever ago when I was 12, and it’s beauty still holds a place in my heart so much that I always talk about going back!
    Glad you guys had a great experience.
    Looking forward to more blog posts!

    Have a great week! Xo!