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Vacation Ideas While Visiting Vancouver B.C.

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Vancouver B.C. is one of the few cities where urban attractions and breathtaking wilderness collide in spectacular fashion. One night, you can admire the skyline glittering over the water and browse shop windows in the historic Gastown neighborhood. The next day, you can find yourself eye-to-eye with a family of seals while kayaking in Deep Cove. Wondering what else to do in Vancouver? Here are a few ideas.

What to See

Sightsee, shop or ski? That's the tough question when figuring out what to do in Vancouver. Fortunately, it's not hard to do all three.

Beautiful Stanley Park is one of the must-see places to visit in Vancouver, with beaches, miles of trails and the Vancouver Aquarium. Vancouver's Chinatown is known for distinctive architecture and phenomenal food.

For shopping, Robson Street has big-name designers, while Gastown and West Fourth Avenue boast locally owned boutiques and gift shops.1 Foodies can't miss a trip to the Granville Island Public Market, where you'll find local delicacies like handmade chocolates and smoked salmon.

Two hours north of Vancouver, the world-renowned Whistler Blackcomb resort offers more than 200 trails on its two mountains, and an average snowfall of more than 38 feet. You can even ski on glaciers in the summertime.2 Just 15 to 30 minutes from the city, Cypress and Grouse mountains offer more winter sports options. Grouse is known for the astounding view from its Skyride aerial tram.

Where to Stay

When you stay at a hotel on the water in downtown Vancouver, you're paying for the view — and it's worth every cent. The Fairmont Pacific Rim overlooks the harbor and the North Shore Mountains, and includes a spacious spa with special treatments for weary skiers and hikers. Closer to downtown attractions, the boutique hotel L'Hermitage is known for impeccable service and thoughtful touches like free bike rentals, turndown chocolates and in-room Nespresso machines.

The Century Plaza Hotel has a central location, great views and a world-class spa. The vine-covered Sylvia Hotel, built on the English Bay beach in 1912, offers old-fashioned charm and is Vancouver's original pet-friendly hotel; be sure to say hi to "Mr. Got To Go," the famous resident cat.

Where to Eat

Vancouver's multiculturalism and proximity to the Pacific has created a food scene you can't find anywhere else. The main attraction is the local seafood, such as Dungeness crab, salmon, mussels and oysters. Vancouver's also heavily influenced by Japanese flavors, which you'll find in the city's many izakaya (Japanese tapas) hotspots, such as Kingyo, and at Japadog, known for teriyaki-seaweed hotdogs.

Often named the best restaurant in Vancouver, Hawksworth is the place to go for elegant, modern Canadian cuisine. Popular dishes include the pan roasted sablefish in black tea dashi broth and the whole rack of lamb (definitely a dish for sharing). If you'd rather graze than gorge, try Salt Tasting Room. Assemble your own tasting plate from the restaurant's ever-changing assortment of artisanal cheese, meats and condiments, then ask the knowledgeable staff to suggest some wine pairings.

Adventurous foodies will love Dark Table, a unique experience where food is served in an entirely lightless dining room by visually impaired servers. (No cheating by pulling out your cell phone!) Dark dining is intended to heighten diners' other senses, creating an intensely memorable meal.

Ready to pack your bags and hit the slopes? Allianz Global Assistance provides comprehensive travel insurance to protect you wherever you go.

After you return from your vacation in Vancouver, be sure to check out our huge list of travel guides for some interesting vacation ideas.

Jan 19, 2015