Travel Fizz - Visit Vancouver, BC

City: Vancouver 

Nickname: "Vancity"  

State/Province: British Columbia

Country: Canada

Population: Estimated 603,500 people as of 2011. The Greater Vancouver Area has roughly 2.4 million people. Making Vancouver the 3rd largest Canadian city. 

Crime Rate: On a scale of 1-10, Vancouver comes in at about a solid 4. The Greater Vancouver area is relatively safe, with a safe rating for daytime walking alone, and a moderate rating for walking alone in the night time. The areas I would recommend staying away from or being careful with, are East Hastings near Main street. Its sort of like a miniature Skid Row, although I have walked down there during the day time with no issues at all. However, it does look pretty scary. 

Median Age: According to Statistics Canada, Vancouver has a median age of 38.6, while the province of British Columbia comes in at about 40.8, and the national median age is 39.5. 

Official Language: English. Most signs are in English and French. 

Brief History:

  • 1791 – José María Narváez explores the Strait of Georgia.
  • 1792 – Captain George Vancouver spends one day on the site which, almost 100 years later, would bear his name. 
  • 1808 – Simon Fraser becomes the first European to reach the area overland, descending the river which bears his name.
  • 1858 – Colony of British Columbia established.
  • 1859 – New Westminster is named the capital of the Colony of British Columbia.
  • 1866 – The Colony of British Columbia and Colony of Vancouver Island are united as British Columbia, with the capital at Victoria.
  • 1867 – Gassy Jack opens the first saloon to provide drinks to workers from the Hastings Mill. Gastown then builds up around this popular saloon.
  • 1885 – The last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) from Montreal to Vancouver is driven at Craigellachie, BC.
  • 1886 – Vancouver Police Department formed.
  • 1888 – Stanley Park opens.
  • 1910 – Construction of the city's first skyscraper, Dominion Building at Hastings and Cambie.
  • 1925 – University of British Columbia (UBC) moves from Fairview to its permanent home in Point Grey.
  • 1938 – The Lions' Gate Bridge opens.
  • 1948 – The first television broadcast is received from Seattle.
  • 1953 – Vancouver's first TV station, CBUT, goes on the air.
  • 1967 – The Greater Vancouver Regional District was established.
  • 1970 – The Vancouver Canucks play its first game in the National Hockey League in the Pacific Coliseum.
  • 1983 – BC Place Stadium opens. The world's largest air-supported Dome (60,000 seats) is the home of the BC Lions football team as well as trade shows, large gatherings, and major star concerts.
  • 1985 – SkyTrain opens with much of its route being along that of the city's first public transit system, the 1891 interurban.
  • 2003 – Vancouver is selected as the Host City for 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
  • 2009 - Canada Line Opens connecting downtown to YVR and Richmond
  • 2010 – Winter Olympics.
  • 2011 - The Vancouver Canucks hockey team reach the Stanley Cup Finals for the third time in 40 years, only to lose out to the Boston Bruins. Fans riot in the streets of downtown Vancouver following the loss.

Known For: Entertainment, Film industry, Tourism, Lucrative Real Estate, Mild Winters, Skiing & Snowboarding, Cannabis. 

Best Time For TravelMarch > May & September > November (Best Weather). All other months are either a bit chilly or mildly hot, but in terms of getting good travel deals, you'll want to book in the winter. Of course some months are better than others. The winters in Vancouver are rainy, and I mean RAINY! The warm weather starts to kick in around April, with hot weather in the Summer, and rain again in the fall. There is not a lot of snow in Vancouver, for 2015 there was 1 snow day, and I believe it was only about 1 inch or less, and was gone the next day. Either way there is plenty to do all year round.

Airports: British Columbia - Vancouver International Airport (Richmond)(YVR). Ranked North Americas best airport for 7 consecutive years. Has Skytrain access from airport to downtown. 

Average Airline Cost: According to Cheapflights.com for 2015, Bellingham International Airport (BLI), and Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Both in Washington State saw an average of $382-395 in airfare. These are the two closest U.S airports to Vancouver. However, a 2014 report by Cheapflights.com showed an average of $539 ($CAD) airfare to Vancouver. Read how I got to Vancouver for just $5 from New York City Here

Average Hotel Cost: Approx. 169$  According to a 2015 HPI (hotel price index) by Hotels.com, Vancouver, and Victoria saw the highest increases in prices across Canada. However, you can find sweet deals on AirBnB. Read about my review here

Visitors: Approx. 9.4 Million (2015)

Public Transportation:

  • Translink Westcoast Express rail system
  • Translink Bus system
  • Translink SeaBus system
  • Translink Skytrain system
  • Taxis 
  • Carshare 

What To Do:

  • Shop 
  • Nightlife
  • Restaurants
  • Sightseeing 
  • Museums
  • Shows / Award shows
  • Major Events
  • Amusement Parks 
  • Gambling
  • Beaches 
  • Hiking
  • Skiing & Snowboarding
  • Biking  

Number Of Restaurants: Over 5,000 ( Full Service Restaurants )

Best Restaurants: This is constantly Changing but amongst my research these 3 have been consistently in the top lists on many sources. (2015/2016)

Number Of Bars/Clubs: Approx. Over 260  

Best Bars/Clubs: This is constantly Changing but amongst my research these 3 have been consistently in the top lists on many sources. (2015/2016)

Major Events

Neighboring Cities

  • Seattle (141 miles)
  • Portland (315 miles)
  • Victoria (70 miles)
  • Bellingham (52 miles)
  • Whistler (78 miles)
  • New Westminster (10 miles)

Personal Fizz:

"OHM YAH, VANGCOUVER"

Thats my impersonation of a Vancouver girl saying "Um Yeah Vancouver". Haha, I Love the accent. Below ill be sharing my personal experiences, and make some suggestions as well as give you a heads up on a few things. Hopefully this will make your stay here in Vancouver more pleasant or prepare you, or help your expectations out a bit. 

I have Bolded the keywords below to let you know what each paragraph or sentence pertains to, as it is quite a bit of information. 

- Before I moved to Vancouver in September of last year, I had never visited the Pacific Northwest. I heard many stories from people everywhere, In person, online, through friends of friends etc... It was always a different story with the same ending. "Vancouver is the best city I have ever visited in Canada". Although I still stand by my long time argument that Montreal is the best Canadian city, I could understand why most people say Vancouver holds that title. Upon my arrival, It only took a couple of days before I fell in Love with Vancouver, It is definitely a city that has a little bit of everything with plenty to do all year round. 

- That love can either be Dangerous, or a good thing. Many of the people I have met in Vancouver are not natives. They are mostly people that share a different story, with the same outcome. Similar to my first story above, Many of these people have told me "I came here on vacation, or to visit a friend, and I never wanted to leave". With that being said, another perfect example is one that happened very recently. A good friend of mine came to visit from Montreal a couple of weeks ago. She spent about 8-9 days with me, and after about 2-3 days she was already making plans to move here. She plans to Move here by summer of 2017. So, if you're planning on visiting, are you prepared to experience that, and potentially move here?

- Bring an umbrella! However fun, and beautiful Vancouver may sound, its not always fun to go through 2 weeks straight of non stop rain. Of course, that is mainly in the Fall and Winter, but it happens. However, on the bright side, that makes you enjoy the warm weather so much more. 

- Be prepared to hear, read, and see a lot of talk about the Vancouver real estate market. 😐. Im not going to lie, Vancouver is definitely one of the most, if not the most expensive real estate market in the world. With the average detached home in Metro Van going for upwards of 1.2 million dollars (CAD). It is ridiculous! and people will not stop talking about it. However, I am a strong believer that aside from the outrageous home prices, Vancouver, when compared to cities like New York, San Francisco, or most of Long Island, is either the same or a bit cheaper. 

- Beer Run? Need some Booze? Wine? Oh, its 12 midnight and all the beer was just used in a few games of beer pong. All the tequila is gone, and the one girl who only drinks white wine is threatening to go home if she doesn't have another glass. That sucks. Unfortunately, British Columbia is pretty strict when it comes to alcohol. No you cannot buy beer or wine at the corner store, 7/11, or gas station. Heck, you can't even get it at the super market. No, you'll need to find a liquor store for that, and most only stay open until 10pm or earlier. Good Luck. However, there are some after hours delivery services that I've witnessed while out at a party, but I'm not sure how that works, or if its legal. 

- Love to go out drinking & dancing? Do you love to fight? Short temper? You might want to keep that under control in Vancouver. The province of British Columbia participates in a program that is recognized nationally across Canada in most cities. The idea is that local bars and nightclubs will collect your information if you are believed to be a nuisance, known for fighting, or related to gang activity. Once you're in the system, either most or all bars and clubs in Vancouver, maybe even the province will ban you. Ive heard some stories where the bar watch can extend provincial lines and ban you from bars or clubs in other cities. Im not sure if that was true though, either way just try to avoid any problems. 

- Call me crazy for making this observation but I just have to share it. 1 napkin per person, in every restaurant. well, more like 9.8/10 restaurants will do this. Only give 1 napkin. Maybe its part of Vancouver's plan to become the "greenest" city by 2020. Im not sure, but its something I thought was worth sharing. 

- Stanley Park. Go there, Ride a bike on the Seawall. DO IT! You're welcome. 

- Wreck Beach is possibly the best beach in Vancouver. Its personally my favorite. I want to be upfront about this. Before I visited Wreck beach, I had no clue it was a nude beach, and when I was there, I saw no nudes. So that does not influence my decision as to which beach is my favorite. It is truly a beautiful beach, and the best place in the city to catch the sunset (personal opinion). Oh, and be prepared for the STAIRS.... English Bay is my second favorite. 

- Nightlife in Van is not the best that I have personally experienced. But, its not the worst. There are plenty of nice clubs, with good crowds. The music though, not the best, this area can definitely use some help. The electronic music scene is growing, and there is currently a strong emphasis on top 40. If you're looking for something specific, there are a few speciality clubs that focus on House music, or Latin music, either as dedicated or theme on a particular night. Amongst the clubs I've visited, Redroom on friday nights was probably the best. I felt like I was at a club in Brazil. It was packed with Brazilians, and Brazilian music playing, it was lots of fun. Granville st on the weekends is usually packed with people, as it is the entertainment district of downtown. Bars, clubs, and theaters everywhere. I highly recommend making your way there on the weekend. Ive been to a bunch of other clubs but I can't remember all the names. Republic was pretty cool, but the DJ was terrible. 

- Skytrain. I LOVE THE SKYTRAIN! I always recommend people to ride the Subway in New York. I am doing the same with the Skytrain. Despite the regular problems and delays 😒, it is a very efficient and fast way to get you to where you're going. It also offers scenic views of Metro Vancouver. Easy access from the airport takes you right to the heart of Downtown (Canada line). Millennium and Expo lines run east to west from Downtown to Surrey. 

- Its pronounced "KEY" not "KWAY"... You'll know what I'm talking about eventually. 

- Ride the Seabus. Waterfront station to Lonsdale Quay, it takes about 15min. Totally worth it. 

- Mountains. Both Cypress and Grouse Mountains are beautiful and well worth the short trip. Grouse offers a Beautiful view of Metro Vancouver from way up. You can also ski, and snowboard or take hikes. 

- Drive to Whistler. The view on the way up is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. The gondola up to backcomb, peak2peak, truly amazing! 

- Stay away from East Hastings & Main street. Its like a miniature skid row. Lots of homeless people. In fact you'll see a lot of Homeless people almost all over downtown. Especially on East hastings and Main street, and Granville st. 

- Strip Club? Orange No.5 is pretty good. Expensive. But good. Not the best I've been to. You may have seen it in the movie "Deadpool". 

- Granville Island is a beautiful place, as is False creek, Yaletown, and Gastown. Gastown is the oldest part of the city, and is home of the famous Steam Clock. Personally the steam clock is not a big deal to me, but it attracts a lot of people. 

- Robson st. & Granville are great shopping areas, with many high end designer stores and department stores, either at Pacific Center or in independent locations. 

- Sushi & Bubble Tea on every corner. Literally. Bubble tea 😎

- Japadog? Uhm, you'll probably only like it if you like seafood. I was disappointed.  

I think that covers almost everything I can think of. At the end of the day, Vancouver is truly an amazing city, British Columbia is a beautiful province with so much more to offer than what I mentioned here. Capitano Bridge, Victoria, Nanaimo are just a few other things I have yet to experience. I hope this helped answer any questions, and help with the planning of your trip. Comment below if i missed anything, if you have questions. Enjoy! and thanks for reading.