So I’m a bit late on posting this Canada day trip, but I didn’t forget the mini travel post I wanted to do on lovely Vancouver! I put together some tips on exploring a new city, as well as what to see and do specifically in Vancouver if you only have a day. I hope you enjoy. x
Here in Seattle we are set very close to the border to Canada, which I think is often overlooked. The drive to the border was about 2 hours, and from there about 45 minutes to downtown Vancouver. If you think about it, it’s less than that to Portland, and about the same in distance as outdoorsy destination spots like Lake Crescent, which is more of a 3 hour drive. Ideally you would have two days to take in Vancouver and various parts of the city and surround lookouts, however, a full day is quite the accomplishment with the right attitude.
My tips for exploring a new city:
❤ ALWAYS ask a local about where to go and what to see. You don’t have to do everything they suggest, in fact you should make customized adjustments to what you and your travel buddies want to do and see most. But asking locals is crucial to avoiding unwanted wandering or tourist mistakes. Plus, lots of people love to give their advice.
❤ Don’t watch the clock like a hawk, but do pay attention to how much time you potentially have in the city, factoring in travel time back home. This makes for just the right amount of organization to ensure you won’t feel rushed, but so much of an itinerary that you won’t be enjoying yourself in the moment.
❤ Venture away from chain restaurants or establishments. When you’re in a new city, especially in a different country like we were, experience what’s good and awesome to that place specifically. You can always hit Starbucks and the Old Spaghetti Factory back home (if Starbucks is your jam, it isn’t for me).
❤ Wear good walking shoes. I think this could be common sense, but wearing shoes you have to constantly adjust or ones you can’t walk all day in won’t be ideal for adventuring a city for the first time. By all means be fashionable, but functionally so.
❤ Do get a souvenir. I don’t care how typical it is to walk into a gift shop to buy a keychain or a t-shirt with proof you went on the trip. I bought a stuffed animal moose decked out in Vancouver gear and I could not be more pleased with it. I even showed the attendant at the border coming back to the U.S; sadly he didn’t find it that funny when I held it up to declare.
❤ Zero in on your experience for content. If you’re using your trip for your blog or photography, people will want to know what you liked about the place, not the same spots and reviews as another piece already done. If you were destined to find the best tacos in that city, you should include that. Anything you want to share for content!
❤ Bring a phone charger. Depending on if you have an international plan, it’s not ideal for your phone to die at 11 pm at night out of country. I do not have an international plan, but when my friend’s phone died we were driving blind when trying to find our way out of the city. Yes it was of course figured out, but definitely plan ahead regardless with electronics.
❤ Pack very light. I should’ve put this on the top of the list, however, sometimes you realize halfway through your day trip that you left your car with your extra clothes and stuff anyway, so there really wasn’t any need for it. Tip for fellow bloggers: Wear neautral pants or bottoms to pair with up to two tops or so, then throw in a jacket, and you have at least 3 looks to shoot. This way you don’t have to carry too much around without missing out on variety with your outfit posts (blogger problems).
Now onto what I loved about Vancouver:
We started the adventure at VanDusen Botanical Garden, and there was a MAZE.Yes,a maze. And we got lost in it. But it was so satisfying when we found our way through it before other groups that went in before us. The garden is so interesting with its plant life and flowers from different regions, and the rose garden was beautiful. Here’s a snap of them.
We found this alleyway that was covered in designs of purple, yellow and orange tones. Very strange, but it would make for a great music video. We snapped some shots and hung out in the alleyway (a sentence I’ve never typed by the way) before walking to
I’ve never had a flight of cider before, and we found the coolest bar and restaurant called the Alibi Room in Gastown, and if you sit at the actual bar you can watch the trains go past. We went to the lower basement floor, and every time the trains would pass they would block the stain glass windows, and it was the most interesting touch.
Gastown was the highlight of the trip, and we only went because a waitress told us about how cool it was for a day trip, not to mention pictures. The waitress worked at Uva wine and Cocktail bar, where I got my espresso martini fix at the beginning of the day.
Gastown had great cobblestone alleyways and cute shops to browse, as well as the waterfront right next door. It is a must see in my opinion, and also has good pubs for fish and chips, just saying.
We went to the gift shop and then spent some time on the waterfront before grabbing dinner, and it was already 10 pm when we realized we needed to start driving back to the border. It was indeed a late night and I did get a cup of coffee at the gas station to not doze off, but it was 100% worth it. Vancouver was awesome, and I can’t wait to go again.
I hope you all enjoyed the latest mini travel piece. If you don’t have time or resources to go on a longer trip, it’s incredible how much you can get done in a day. I highly recommend trying to make day trips more a regular thing, they’re fun and manageable.
As always, thank you for reading and I’m stoked to share upcoming summer projects and trips.