Vancouver is a sparkling city of glass and steel surrounded by snowcapped mountains and scenic coastline, offering the very best of both the urban and natural worlds. For decades, the rest of Canada has endured Vancouverites constantly brag about the ability to sit on the beach by morning, go for a jog in the forest by afternoon and ski in the mountains by night – a sentiment that few places in the world can boast. The rugged outdoor beauty typical of the Pacific Northwest seamlessly blends with the sophistication and refined living found in the cutting-edge gastronomic scene, boutique shopping and engaging entertainment options. What’s more is that the bustling seaport is the largest city in Western Canada and embodies the spirit of the region: diverse, cultured and wholesome. Whether you find yourself indoors or outdoors, Vancouver is a thrill-seeking destination immersed in natural beauty.
Where to Stay
Located just a block away from the waterfront downtown, the deluxe Fairmont Pacific Rim takes luxury comfort to new levels completely. The hotel takes advantage of the surrounding topography with captivating views of the mountains and water, while all 367 guest rooms and 47 suites play off this feeling of outdoor beauty using naturally-inspired materials and earthy accents. Equipped with spacious spa-like marble bathrooms, luxury linens and a media connectivity panel, the elegant accommodations were meticulously thought out from top-to-bottom.
Housed in a shimmering 47-story skyscraper with spectacular panoramic views of Coal Harbor, Stanley Park and the North Shore Mountains, the Fairmont Pacific Rim has all the trappings of outdoor luxury in a convenient downtown location. The on-site Willow Stream Spa is an urban oasis where you can unwind with the aid of jacuzzis, infrared saunas, meditation spas or the 24-hour fitness center. Open around the year, the spectacular outdoor terrace boasts private cabanas, heated pools, hot tubs and a sleek poolside bar.
Our Vancouver Destination Guide also includes a comprehensive Hotel Guide with our picks across the city.
Where to Dine
A stalwart of the bustling Robson Street, the marvelous Cin Cin Ristorante + Bar has been recognized for its contemporary, Italian-inspired gourmet offerings and award-winning wine cellar for more than 25 years. The establishment itself is decorated in timeless furnishings that only bring out the overall vibrant yet alluring atmosphere with the warmth of Tuscany and the high-energy profile of Rome. The elegant marble bar is a central feature that’s framed by stone walls with original artworks, while the striking heated terrace makes for a pleasant experience all-year-round.
Not only does the private wine cellar display the cosmopolitan collection that includes rare vintages, boutique finds and an extensive half-bottle collection, but it’s also available for rent in what’s sure to be a magical gathering of sorts. Led by executive chef Andrew Richardson, Cin Cin puts forth a sophisticated palette of clean, smart and utterly delicious dishes that each reflect the ideals of simplicity and balance. The plentiful flavors and captivating aromas of an Italian cookbook are brought to life using the bountiful regional ingredients.
Our Vancouver Destination Guide also includes a Restaurant Guide with the top culinary experiences in the city.
What to Do
When it comes to immersing yourself in nature, you don’t have to travel very far. Located right next to downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park and the Seawall is an absolute must-see. Along the 8.8 km Seawall lie scattered beaches, Native American monuments and picture-perfect views of English Bay that can be seen on foot or bicycle. Head into the 1,000-acre green area and you’ll understand why it’s recognized as one of the world’s great urban parks. Granville Island is another enclosed oasis in the heart of the city where you’ll find local artisans, galleries and restaurants, as well as the world-famous Granville Island Brewing Company. W
Landmarked by a whistling Steam Clock and Victorian buildings, Gastown is filled with trendy eats, charming cafes and indie art galleries. On the other hand, the main attraction of Kitsilano is its lively city beach framed by views of the downtown skyline and pushed against the mountains giving it a bohemian vibe. When you need to blow off some steam, you can do no better than at CHI, The Spa. This luxurious sanctuary at the Shangri-La Vancouver Hotel offers a wealth of holistic treatments using centuries-old relaxation techniques.
Nearby the city lie several national parks, hiking trails and day trips, while Cypress Mountain and Grouse Mountain are some of the top ski resorts and hiking areas that offer year-round outdoor fun. Consider both Whistler and Victoria for a wonderful getaway with an alternate vibe to the bustling city. Even if you’re not looking to get into any thrill-seeking adventures, the constant immersion in nature is easy to appreciate, while there is more than enough culture to dive deep into.
What to Wear
If you’re wondering if it will rain during your winter stay in Vancouver, the answer is yes. While the winters can be gray, the rain is more of a consistent drizzle than a torrential downpour. This means that ensuring you’re properly prepared for the damp weather means you can still enjoy Vancouver to the fullest. The only way the rain could possibly ruin your stay is if you’re not prepared for it. It’s really just part of the experience.
This Columbia Norwester II Jacket is a great all-purpose jacket to tackle Vancouver weather by the winter. Not only does it boast wonderful waterproof and thermal properties that will keep you dry during the day and warm by night, but it provides the very best in urban style. The in-between seasons also mean that most days it’s warm enough to wear long leggings, so opt for this Lululemon Fast & Free 7/8 Tight to guarantee maximum comfort and freedom as you move from district to district during the day.