HALF MOON BAY, Calif., September 25, 2012 —Vancouver is more than just a spectacular North American city. It’s an ideal place to enjoy both the outdoors and the fresh food flavors from land and sea. While it’s difficult to limit yourself to just a few adventures and bites, here are some top picks to choose from.
Stanley Park, one of the most beautiful urban parks in the world, has a variety of options for getting outside. Take a leisurely stroll or bike along the seawall, or go off the paved route and pick any of a handful of trails through the park’s center.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is located just 10 minutes from downtown Vancouver, and it’s one of the top attractions in town. Venture across the Capilano Suspension Bridge, follow a granite precipice on the Cliffwalk or scramble across seven suspension bridges in the Treetops Adventure. If you want to skip the crowds, go for a hike along a 1.6-mile trail in Capilano Canyon, where you’ll be treated to stunning mountain vistas.
If you’re looking to get some serious exercise, enough to allow you to justify a great night out, head to Grouse Mountain to try the Grouse Grind. It may be only a 1.8-mile trail, but it’s got an average grade of 30 degrees and a 2,799-foot elevation gain, and climbing the trail has been compared to a Stairmaster workout. The course record is 25:01, so see if you’ve got what it takes to beat it.
When it comes time for eating, why not keep up the exercise with one of the Vancouver Foodie Tours, educational walking excursions that allow you to taste and hoof it through city streets. I picked the World’s Best Street Eats Tour, which covers the hottest Vancouver food carts from Japanese-style hot dogs to luscious naan bread to porky products.
For casual dining, grab a bite (and coffee or a glass of wine) at Giovane, an Italian café and wine bar in the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Better yet, enjoy Executive Chef Darren Brown’s incredible dishes from the Pacific Northwest at ORU, the hotel’s swanky dining room, which has the largest sake cellar in the city.
Stroll though the Public Market on Granville Island for a look at what’s fresh in the region and then get a bite to eat at the Edible Canada Bistro, right across from the market. Perfect for people watching, it’s also a good spot to treat your taste buds.
Where to Stay
One of the most memorable sights in Vancouver is the city’s wealth of waterfront. Take advantage of the opportunity to be near the water with a stay at the Fairmont Pacific Rim and you’ll get a chance to relax in style as well. Located in the heart of Vancouver’s historic port and financial district, the luxury hotel fronts one of the city’s most celebrated streetscapes with unobstructed views of the North Shore Mountains, Stanley Park and Coal Harbour.
Just two years old, the hotel’s 377 guest rooms range from a standard Fairmont Room, to a Signature Room with views of the mountains and harbor, to suites and specialty rooms. All rooms feature Stearns & Foster luxury beds, twice-daily housekeeping services, 42-inch flat-screen TVs, LCD TVs with Bose sound system in bathrooms, alarm clocks with iPod connectivity, thick cotton bathrobes and Wi-Fi (complimentary for Fairmont President’s Club members). Rates start at $359 per night, and vary depending on time of year and type of room.
Jill K. Robinson is an award-winning journalist and adventure seeker. Follow her adventures on dangerjillrobinson.com and Twitter @dangerjr. Jill is an avid kayaker and owner of Half Moon Bay Kayak Company.
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