24 hours in Vancouver
What makes a place a home? Although I moved to Vancouver merely 4 years ago, the city feels very much like home to me. If I were to revisit Vancouver for a day, this is how I’d probably spend it:
I’d start my morning off with…a run
Vancouver is such a run-able city, I think the best way to see it is by foot. When I first arrived in the city, I was nervous — so nervous that I used the bus for the first time only 3 months later. This turned out to be good though — I was able to notice spaces and places I probably would’ve missed had I not walked everywhere. I developed a new found appreciation for travel by foot and soon started running.
This route brings you through 3 of the city’s iconic downtown neighbourhoods — Coal Harbour, Gastown and Yaletown while also giving you a sneak peek of the beautiful Stanley Park and a glimpse of the panoramic seawall! I started running seriously 4 years ago when I first moved to the city and it has given me a renewed perspective of the city.
Next stop: Granville Island
Not exactly an island — When I first arrived in the city, I had always assumed it was a mythical island that was really hard to get to. Well, not quite. Granville island is actually very accessible – right across the bridge from downtown Vancouver. Take bus #50 or walk across Granville bridge down to Granville island.
Granville island has an awesome vibe – fresh produce, awesome food and amazing baked goods! Don’t leave without getting some creme brûlée from Stuart’s bakery. Granville island also makes for an awesome lunch stopover – check out the little joints in the market, or head over to one of the seafood restaurants on the island (hard to go wrong). One of my personal favourites is Afghan Horsemen located at the entrance to Granville island.
Granville island is located on the edge of Kitsilano, a neighbourhood known for its beach, organic markets, chic cafes and cosy pubs. Depending on what you’re interested in and what the weather’s like, here are some of the places I’d recommend checking out:
Rain or shine is probably one of my favourite ice cream parlours in the city. All ice cream and cones are freshly made using local and natural ingredients. Expect a line up if the sun’s out!
Stop by 49th Parallel Coffee roasters for some awesome coffee and delicious Lucky’s doughnuts!
Definitely head down to the beach. On a warm summer day, it’s often vibrant with tons of people picnic-ing, playing volley ball, slack lining and simply basking in the sun!
Dinner options: Downtown, Cambie, Main St, Commercial Drive
It’s probably almost time for dinner and here are some of my favourite dining options within a half hour radius by bus from Kits beach:
2549 Cambie Street
The 1st taqueria I visited in the city and probably as authentic as it gets. If you head over on a Wednesday, request for the “Wednesday special” and you’ll get 6 tacos for the price of 4!
East is East $$
4433 Main St / 3243 W Broadway
A fusion of Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine, there’s nothing on this menu you can go wrong with. If you’re starving, I definitely recommend the Silk Road feast — you get an unlimited sampler of all the different curries accompanied with rice and stuffed roti. On Friday nights at the Main St location, immerse yourself in some flamenco while you eat!
Masala Cafe $$
3211 W Broadway
Probably the best South Indian restaurant in the city. Having been spoilt with awesome dosas and idlis growing up, this is one cuisine I probably missed the most when I left Singapore. Masala cafe offers a wide variety of dosas and curries.
1124 Davie Street/1359 Robson St
If you’re craving Greek cuisine, Stepho’s is the place to go to. There are 2 downtown locations, one along Davie street and another on Robson street — both offering the same menu and similar homely ambience. The best part about Stepho’s is the value for money — you get a huge portion for a fraction of the price!
The Parlour $$
Located in Yaletown, one of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods in the Downtown core, this restaurant serves some of the most sumptuous pizzas. My go-to is the Big Prawn— with a pesto base and topped with delicious sun dried tomatoes, prawns, lemon and parmesan, this pizza is heavenly. Prepare for long line ups on Friday and Saturday nights.
If you have more time in the city, I’d definitely recommend checking out Commercial drive and Mount Pleasant— both neighbourhoods offer a quirky side of town and are abundant with awesome cafes and restaurants. If you’re looking for a place to eat, I highly recommend downloading the Ferret App. This visual restaurant finder allows you to find restaurants within walking or driving distance and has saved me so much time in decision making every time I’m figuring out a place to eat in the city!
Vancouver is constantly changing and I subconsciously find myself growing with it. As I continue to explore new places and spaces here, I’m eager to find out how I’d want to spend 24hrs in the city if I were to leave and come back for a visit or if I were showing someone around. For now, here’s my perfect day in Vancouver.