Vacation Getaway: Vancouver, Canada
When people think of a perfect vacation getaway, it’s easy for their minds to wander towards the imagery of glistening beaches in the Hawaiian Islands, the vibrant nightlife of cities such as Tokyo or Seoul, and perhaps even the refined architecture of London. Nowhere in that spectrum does a city such as Vancouver, Canada come up. It is a truly one of the hidden gems in the world.
Geographically, Vancouver is a port city that lies in the lower mainland region of British Columbia. It is the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada, and it is known for its ethnically and linguistically diverse population. What’s most enticing about the city itself is its harmonious blend of metropolitan city life and the nature that surrounds it.
North | West | South | East Vancouver
Vancouver is divided into four major regions known as West, North, South, and mainland Vancouver. Mainland Vancouver itself is sub-divided into the Chinatown, Gastown, and Yaletown subsections. Many tourists seem to gravitate towards the mainland region because of the diverse collection of attractions within the area; however, what people don’t seem to realize is that the other areas have a lot to offer as well.
Mainland Vancouver houses the different subsections Chinatown, Gastown, Yaletown, and Downtown. Downtown Vancouver offers a wide range of clothing stores and ethnically diverse food options, especially if you stroll down Robson Street. It contains major retail stores such as Forever 21, ZARA, and Zumiez, as well as vintage and secondhand clothing shops for those who love thrifting. Located in the heart of mainland Vancouver is Gastown which is known for being the oldest area in the city. However, tourists can also view it as the center of the nightlife culture in the town. Lots of bars and clubs in Gastown leaves the streets bustling with vibrant social activity after-hours.
(Photo source: http://dailyhive.com/vancouver/kickstarter-vancouver-office-gastown)
If you want to be closer to the coast of Vancouver, Yaletown is a good starting point because of its proximity to some of the scenic parks lining the edge of the region. David Lam Park for example, is particularly special it overlooks the Pacific Ocean and faces South Vancouver. People tend to go to this park if they want to engage in leisure activities like taking a lovely stroll or playing volleyball.
Although David Lam Park is beautiful and quaint, the major park in the city is Stanley Park. It spans for about 1,000 acres, and it borders downtown Vancouver. Within the park is the city’s major aquarium and different areas made for biking, hiking, swimming, and even just picnicking. People tend to spend hours in the park mainly because of its large size and stretch of forestation.
West and North Vancouver contain a majority of the city’s natural elements which gravitates the nature-lovers. If hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities interest you, you will be in love awe of the greenery! West Vancouver is home to one of the suspension bridges located in the city, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Tourists who are expecting to avoid long lines and overwhelming crowds of people tend to gravitate here. The more popular suspension bridge is the Capilano Suspension Bridge because it also contains an elevated playground that runs through the forest’s treetops. The bridge is 140 meters long and rests 70 meters above a river below the canyon. Approximately 800,000 people visit this attraction within a single year.
On the one hand, South Vancouver seems like more of a residential area because of its lack of tall corporate buildings and natural forestation. However, it is home to two botanical gardens and conservatories. One of them is the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park, which is on top of the city’s highest point. The conservatory contains 120 free-flying exotic birds and about 500 exotic plants and flowers within a temperature-controlled environment. Nearby the Bloedel Conservatory is the VanDusen Botanical Garden, which covers 55 acres of displays with plants from all over the world and even a hedged maze. Carved totem poles, large stone sculptures, and a Korean Pavilion also tend to catch the eyes of visitors. Overall, it is safe to assume that the city of Vancouver is a balance of nature meeting a metropolitan setting.
Vancouver might not be the most sought-after place that travelers would like to visit. It does however, hold its character in comparison to many other major cities in the world. Nature and greenery are an integral part of the city’s overall atmosphere. Not only is it beautiful, but the residents are quite pleasant and kind as well. The city and its friendly people guarantee an enjoyable trip that will have you appreciating all that Vancouver has to offer!