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10 Coolest Things to Do in Vancouver

Gorgeous national parks, killer eats, and affordable exchange rates are just a few reasons why we’re packing our bags for Canada. Here are the top 10 things to do in Vancouver.

Medina Cafe

In the morning a Tim Hortons coffee isn’t going to cut it. Find this Library District brunch spot by following the scent of the Belgian waffles. The Mediterranean-style cafe turned uber-popular brunch spot happens to have the city’s best waffles thanks to chef Adam Perrier. To kick it up a notch, top the dish with Milk Chocolate Lavender or Pistachio Rosewater.

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Photos by Barry Calhoun

Edible Canada

No trip to Canada is complete without tasting poutine. Enter: Edible Canada. This Granville Island bistro is dedicated to Canadian cuisine, showcasing some of the region’s best produce. The farm-to-table menu features healthy, inventive dishes, including Northern Alberta elk tartare and wild caught Arctic char. But the real jaw-dropper is the 14-hour Beef Shin poutine, which sits on a bed of french fries with Quebec cheese curd, smashed sunchokes and root vegetable gravy.

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Courtesy of Edible Canada

Tacofino Gastown

Tacofino is a contemporary, casual Mexican restaurant in Vancouver’s Gastown district that is big on flavor. The interior pays homage to 70s SoCal with a surf shop vibe and a killer playlist of 90s remixes and new-age pop. For starters, there are seven dips to choose from (we love the cashew salsa). But make sure to leave room for their taco repertoire, especially the spicy squash and cauliflower tostada.

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Photos by Laura McGuire; Amy Ho

Yolks

Yolks has mastered the savory side of brunch in East Vancouver. Just one look at their mouth-watering insta-feed, and you’ll see that these egg dishes put any omelette to shame. You can even build your own egg tower with double smoked bacon or wild BC sockeye salmon, then swap the usual hollandaise sauce with aged cheddar. Wash it all down with The Caesar, Canada’s twist on the traditional Bloody Mary.

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Stanley Park

Though the city has striking views from every corner, Stanley Park is easily the most scenic spot, overlooking the North Shore Mountains, the harbor and the downtown skyline. Join the locals on a stroll around the nine-mile perimeter to snap ‘gram-worthy shots of the water, mountains, and wildlife along the seawall. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Vancouver.

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Courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission

Vancouver Aquarium

While in Stanley Park, make a stop at the Vancouver Aquarium. As Canada’s largest aquarium, it houses more than 50,000 animals from around the world, including the friendly beluga whale. JS tip: get up close and personal with some of your favorite marine creatures by signing up for a face-to-face experience.

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Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

Head 30 minutes north of the city for one of its top attractions: suspension bridges. While tourists crowd the 230-foot Capilano bridge (which has a pricey $40 entry fee), we recommend visiting the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge for free. Aside from an awesome photo opp, this 165-foot high bridge offers panoramas of the raging waters, deep pools and waterfalls in the ravine below. Bonus: there’s a number of scenic trails to hike at the end of the bridge.

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Photo by Adrian Morris

Shopping in Gastown

Make sure to take advantage of the wallet-friendly exchange rate (Americans, you’re getting 25 percent off!) by going on a shopping spree. Gastown is a hotbed of boutiques—Frank + Oak is known for trendy menswear (there’s even a resident barber for a cut to complete the look) or OAK + FORT, which specializes in minimalist unisex fashions. There’s also Old Faithful Shop for kitchenware and artisanal goods, Orling & Wu for Canadian-made crafts, Community Thrift & Vintage for retro threads and vintage favorites, and Roden Gray for sleek streetwear.

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Left to right: Kamil Bialous; Canadian Tourism Commission

Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Sleep in the center of the city at the sophisticated Rosewood Hotel Georgia. This swank landmark pays homage to the past with the largest private collection of Canadian art in the country. The Art Deco-inspired rooms are adorned with vintage touches like pearlized leather lounges, quilted headboards, and brass clocks. When hunger strikes, head to the culinary hotspot, Hawksworth, or mingle with the locals at the buzzy rooftop bar and restaurant, Reflections.

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Pan Pacific Vancouver

If you’re looking for a room with a view, the Pan Pacific Vancouver delivers in spades. Built on a pier over the harbour, the hotel has sweeping vistas of the waterfront. Plus, every guestroom features floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the picturesque Pacific Ocean, the mountain range, and city skyline. There’s even a heated outdoor saltwater pool, hot tub and sundeck that overlooks Vancouver’s towering peaks and windswept coastline.

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