Located on Canada’s rugged West Coast, Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities—thanks to its vibrant outdoors culture, low crime rate and efficient urban infrastructure. The one-time logging outpost is now a multicultural metropolis of 2.3 million, with a temperate climate that makes it hospitable year-round. Just remember to pack an umbrella. Note: the Canadian dollar is nearly equivalent to the U.S. dollar.
1. Experience Vancouver’s wild side. Stanley Park offers 1,000 acres of natural beauty in the heart of the city. Bike by the seawall, hike among giant Douglas firs, or greet the beluga whales at the Vancouver Aquarium (C$21).
2. Learn about Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. The architecturally stunning Museum of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia’s campus boasts a world-renowned collection of totem poles, canoes and other artifacts crafted by British Columbia’s First Nations (C$16.75).
3. Hail a water taxi. For a unique way to see the city, take an “aquabus’ or water taxi from one of the city docks and head to the public market at Granville Island, where you can shop for art, boutique clothes and specialty foods. Terra Breads and Oyama serve up some of Vancouver’s best bread and charcuterie.
4. Raise your glass. Gastown, a National Historic Site and Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood, is a nightlife hub for Vancouverites. Sample British Columbian wines and local cheeses at Salt (45 Blood Alley Square) and then dance the night away at Fortune Sound Club, which features some of the city’s best DJs.
5. Celebrate the Year of the Snake. Since the 1890s, Chinatown has been the heart of Vancouver’s largest ethnic minority. In the summer, visit the night market, where hundreds of vendors gather to sell crafts and tempt passersby with a delicious array of snacks.
6. Work up a sweat. Follow local fitness buffs up the Grouse Grind, an 850-meter (2,789-foot) trail up Grouse Mountain, affectionately termed “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster,” for an unparalleled view of the city, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf Islands, and the surrounding peaks. Want the view but not the work? Take the Skyride tram from the bottom.
7. Dazzle your eyes . On select nights in July and August, Vancouver hosts the Celebration of Light, the world’s largest offshore fireworks competition. In 2012, Italy took home highest honors.
8. Root fo r the home team. Head to R ogers Arena to watch the Canucks, Vancouver’s professional hockey team, compete in Canada’s national sport. Vancouver is also home to the Whitecaps FC, a Major League Soccer team, which plays at BC Place, the main stadium of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
9. Gorge on ramen. Vancouv er’s culinary delights reflect its cultural diversity. Sample the elegant Indian food at Vij’s (1480 W. 11th Ave.), slurp chewy, handmade ramen noodles at Kintaro (788 Denman St.), or sample some of the city’s favorite sushi at Miku, in Coal Harbour. For the best of the Pacific Northwest, head to Hawksworth, in the historic Hotel Georgia (801 W. Georgia St.).
10. Feel the sand between your toes.
Vancouverites joke that their city is the Los Angeles of Canada—and it has the beaches to prove it. Suit up and head down to Kits Beach to check out a volleyball game or to watch the tide come in.
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