—by Andrew Brawley; last updated 11/05/2016 by 107ist Admin
Even during a hockey riot, Vancouver is a lovely city. (Proof right here.) I’ve been there a few times, and one of those is actually recent. I got the whirlwind tour from my hosts, and I learned that it will take multiple trips to accomplish everything worth doing there.
Side note: am I the only one who thinks of Ice-T’s rock band Body Count anytime someone refers to British Columbia as “BC?” Yeah, I thought so. Moving along….
We’ve got a local favorite to help guide us for this trip. Many TA will be making this journey, so having our own member/expert providing this level of so-called “abridged” guidance (his words, not mine) is awesome. So without any further ado, here's Shedbhoy's guide to Vancouver!
Top Beer Bars
Note: in BC you must have 2 pieces of ID, the drinking age is 19, last call is at 2am, and there are very few late licenses that serve until 4am.
BC Beers Not to Miss
Beer to Go
In BC, beer is sold in liquor stores, generally open 11am-11pm
The Skytrain is fast, efficient, and covers most of the city. The usual fare is $2.75. Buses are a good option but only take coins (no paper money). Cabs are cheaper than Portland and more plentiful, but it's still no East Coast or Midwest city.
Traffic in Vancouver is pretty bad, and their drinking and driving laws are pretty stringent. The legal limit is .05, rather than .08, and they have roadblocks at night where they stop every car and ask them "have you been drinking?" If you say yes or they smell alcohol you will have to blow.
Sights to See
- UBC Anthropology Museum: out at the University, but definitely work the trip. Amazing NW Coast art collection.
- Granville Island: Imagine Saturday Market and Seattle's Pike Place market rolled into one and open every day.
- Stanley Park: Massive on a scale to rival Forest Park, includes everything from Cricket and Rugby grounds to a world class aquarium.
- Shopping opportunities: from "put a bird on it" locally designed hipsterwear to western wear. Main from Broadway north is a great shopping district. West 4th, a little more upscale. Think NW 23rd. Yaletown: The model for the Pearl District.
- Eating: Commercial Drive is like Vancouver's version of Hawthorne St., and is lined with great ethnic restaurants from Ethopian to Russian to Belgian Frites to Caribbean. For hipster breakfast try Cafe Deux Soleils.
- Food carts and cheap eats: Though not as common as in Portland, Vancouver has a blossoming food cart scene. Japadog is a must have. Vancouver also boasts many donair kebab, poutine, and 99-cent-per-slice pizza places.
- Bookshops: MacLeod's is a fantastic used bookstore.
- Record Stores: Zulu on W 4th. Redcat on Main.
- Clubbing: Granville Street is a pedestrian only zone and is lined with clubs.
- The beach: Vancouver has a number of great beaches right in the city. I recommend Jericho Beach. For the adventurous, Wreck Beach is a clothing optional beach near the UBC campus.
- Chinatown: E Pender St. 1/3 of Metro Vancouver's population speaks Mandarin or Cantonese. The best dim sum is located in suburbs such as Richmond, but Pender St. near Main boasts a thriving old Chinatown
Vancouver Equivalents to Portland:
- Hastings = Burnside, lots of homeless people, a long street that gets you out of town.
- Surrey = Gresham, supposedly a nice little suburb, but watch your car stereo here.
- Kingsway = Sandy, complete with car deals and Pho.
- Commercial = Hawthorne, hippy paradise
- East Van = Southeast
- West End = West Hills
- Van = PDX (slang for the city, the airport code is YVR)
- LDB = OLCC
- Peeler = Stripper
- Jug = Pitcher
- Washroom = Bathroom