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Vancouver is a west coast wonder, a perfect blend of cityscape and nature, sandwiched between the magnificent Coast Mountains and the glorious Pacific Ocean. The majestic city is home to around 2.5 million people and is as laid back as can be. Watch skaters and hipsters chill in the evening sunshine and enjoy the night time scenes when the city lights make the harbour glisten. Sit in a pub with a local craft beer, stroll around one of the many parks, find a bargain at a local shop or enjoy one of the fantastic restaurants in a city that revels in its cosmopolitan culture.
City Centre — The heart of Vancouver is the best place to find entertainment in the city, around Granville Island and the cruise ship terminal of Canada Place. Some of Vancouver’s most eye-catching landmarks are here, including the futuristic Science World museum, the great views from the Vancouver Lookout and the high lines of the art deco Burrard Street Bridge.
East Vancouver — East Vancouver, also known as the East End, has traditionally been the city’s most diverse district, with most of the immigrants coming from non-British backgrounds since the late-19th Century. Check out the shops on Kingsway and Main Street, such as SoMo and the Punjabi Market, as well as “Little Italy” in Commercial Drive.
Westside — The western half of Vancouver has traditionally been the upmarket, trendy place to live in the city, and is famous for its great beaches, sea views and bike trails. With the Pacific Spirit Park being the biggest of the area’s many green, open spaces, western Vancouver is the place to escape the crowds. You can also find some excellent upmarket restaurants here.
The Seawall is a great way to enjoy the views over the Pacific. It’s a high path running along the water’s edge and is a highlight of Stanley Park, an enormous 1,000 acre haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll also find an aquarium here and don’t miss the Brockton Point totem pole collection. Granville Island has been transformed from an industrial area into a popular night spot with cafes, shops and restaurants looking onto the harbour underneath Granville Bridge. For a taste of the orient head to Gastown-Chinatown, one of the largest Chinatowns in the world and full of scents and colour.
Vancouver is nicknamed Hollywood North due to its film industry and it’s often possible to find a movie being shot in the city, or even find a role as an extra. You’ll find plenty to do outside, with sea kayaking, sailing or riding on the Grouse Mountain Skyride cable car. But Vancouver isn’t just about the outdoors. You can also find Vancouver Opera and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and some great theatrical shows. Experience a bit of counter-culture in the “Vansterdam” area at the Herb Museum or enjoy some fine foods, with sushi, oysters or a spot of afternoon tea at a traditional hotel on offer. Yaletown has some of the best bars in the city, and some of the trendiest nightclubs. There’s enough to do in Vancouver to last a lifetime.