From adventure-ready peaks to achingly cool streets, long and lazy beaches to sneaky subterranean booze holes, whatever you’re looking for in a city break, the active, creative, hippy all-rounder Vancouver’s got it. And that’s epic news until it comes to shortlisting exactly what to do during your short time there, and precisely how to pack for it (without checking in 12 giant bags). Let us whittle down the choices to the need-to-know and gotta-wear options, so you can style out Canada’s slickest city with ease…
STYLE AND CULTURE
STYLISH CITY: VANCOUVER
By Chris Sayer, 1 August 2019
To do Vancouver like a weekend local is to tear up the mountains after breakfast, hit the beach after lunch, and grab a bite at any one of its awesome indie eateries come sundown (with a few frosty ones to toast your hectic day). And with an itinerary so jam-packed, you’re going to have zero time to head back to your hotel to flip your ‘fit. Here’s your answer – a do-it-all look that not only works for ‘Couver’s outdoor and inner-city playgrounds but pulls on its rich hippie history, too. Keep to an earth-tone palette to show you mean business in the hills but know your trending hues in the streets, too – a bucket hat and extremely dadcore climbing shorts in green and grey will strike the sweet-spot perfectly. Going big and billowing up top – rather than reaching for a super technical tee – will add a welcome touch of ‘1960s mountain commune’ to your vibe, while a solid pair of runners like these adidas ZX 4000s will do the trick on both moderate hiking trails and concrete sidewalks. That flash of neon does a pretty ace job of bringing the whole outfit up to 2019, too.
Take the advice of literally every Vancouverite we spoke to and centre your Airbnb search around Kitsilano. It’s the city’s coolest district, happens to be right on the best beach (where the warm weather brings out the BBQ and volleyball crews), and offers some of the best views you could lay your eyes on. It's also to Vancouver what Haight-Ashbury is to San Francisco – the birthplace of hippy counterculture. Sure, you’re within easy walking or bussing (heads up: there’s no Uber in Vancouver) distance to Downtown, but don’t hit the hustle and bustle before taking a bite at the cult-favourite vegan institution The Naam, established in 1968 and serving the district’s best natural and veggie eats ever since.
Gastown is a gotta-do. Steeped in history and still watched over by its founding father ‘Gassy Jack’ in statue form, this district is dripping with the city’s best eats. There’s pizzas approved by the highest Italian order; gloriously filthy pulled pork subs; the most epic taco action this side of Mexico; Japanese karaage chicken courtesy of ‘Couver’s exploding Asian population and buckets more. But Vancouver is as much about escaping the city as it is getting stuck into it. Further afield and only an hour north, Squamish has been dubbed the country’s outdoor playground thanks to its climbing and hiking opportunities, and the outrageously epic Sunshine Coast is just a short and spectacular ferry ride away, where you’ll find Gibsons Landing, it’s Instagram-ready vista points, and its inspiringly creative scene, that includes the farm-fresh brew masters at Persephone Brewing.