There's a lot to love about living in Vancouver.
While we can all bemoan the cost of living, the omnipresent rain and the, well — whatever else it is that Vancouverites are always complaining about — when it comes right down to it, this city is a pretty neat place to call home.
That's why taking part in the Bench Canada #PolaroidProject was such a treat for me. It forced me to take a moment to pin down my favourite neighborhoods, eateries, shopping spots — and a few secret(!!) destinations too — which allowed me to experience my city as a tourist might.
I had so much fun that it actually took me two days to shoot it — and more than a few days to plan.
So, without further ado, here are a few of my favourite Vancouver haunts that consistently play a part in my #24hourlife. Consider it a mini city guide ... by ME! :P
Known for it's tourist-attracting steam clock (pictured above) and it's many eateries and bars, Gastown is an entertainment hub that offers a lot to its visitors — day or night.
My office isn't too far from this downtown locale, so I often pop over to the historic district for coffee, lunch or dinner meetings with my fellow fashionistas. Basically any chance I can find to check out the cafes and restaurants that are packed into this neighbourhood — I take it.
For coffee, I love to grab a soy cappuccino at Buro Espresso Bar. Not only are the cuppas pretty darn good, I love the modern decor ... and, OK, I will admit it, the bright windows make for instant Instagram bait.
A few other food spots to check out that are my fave in this district are Jules Bistro (amazing steak frites — better than anything I've had in Paris! #truth), Creme de la Crumb for their delicious crispy cookies, Tacofino for their scrumptious, share-worthy nachos, Water Street Cafe for prosecco and pasta and Steamworks Brew Pub or Salt Tasting Room for a quick first-time PoF or Tinder date.'
Whew, can you tell I eat, drink and be merry in Gastown a lot? Geez.
But Gastown isn't only a place to imbibe. It's also a great destination for shopping.
Oak + Fort is a Vancouver-based brand that has pretty much gone viral. Known for their paired-down, modern styles, it's the kind of store that you want to stop in to about once a week "just to look". Believe me when I say: it's a dangerous, dangerous place to visit if you're trying not to shop.
A few other favourite fashion haunts for me include LYNNsteven, Litchfield (they have an alpaca-blend blanket scarf that I'm dying over!) and One of a Few.
In short, if you're a foodie or a fashion fan, Gastown is not to be missed.
Chinatown is an up-and-coming neighbourhood that has grown exponentially in recent years.
From new housing projects and art spaces to foodie havens such as Bao Bei, Torafuku and Pizza Farina (the best pizza in the city, I swear!) in adjacent Strathcona, it's a place that's full of activity and excitement.
Sure, some people are turned off by this district's proximity to Vancouver's notorious Downtown Eastside, but I think its merits far outweigh its possible negatives.
I love to explore Chinatown and the neighbouring Strathcona area on the weekends when it's all abuzz with shoppers weaving through the markets and shops.
There's never a dull moment — and there's always something new to check out.
You don't have to be a huge fan of art to enjoy the Vancouver Art Gallery — as the stunning building (and it's stark white interior) present more than a few perfect photo ops.
But, truth be told, my favourite experiences have often had to do with the gallery's adjoining cafe.
Steep concrete steps lead up to a plant-packed veranda where visitors can access the cafe. A bottle of crisp prosecco is only $30, and in the summer, the marble-topped tables and umbrella-shaded seating areas are packed with locals and tourists, alike.
It's a perfect place to bring visitors to the city as it offers a grandiose view of the bustling Robson Square below — but still feels private and secluded.
It's one spot in the city I think is often overlooked, which means that in the offseason, it's often blissfully empty.
Granville Island is one location that I hold near and dear. There's just something about it that makes me feel like I'm exploring it for the first time — every time I visit.
To get there, and to get an unreal view of False Creek, I often hop on a water taxi from Yaletown for a quick sail.
Once there, I usually walk through the Granville Island Public Market searching out fine cheeses, fruits ... and my favourite thing of all — flowers.
Granville Island Florists is one of my favourite florists in the city. From simple, single-stem flowers to unreal, over-the-top arrangements, their offerings are always worth stopping in for.
Just beware, this spot can get crazy busy, so I like to go early or on weekday and give myself at least a few hours to explore.
Finally, last but not least, is Coal Harbour.
A gateway neighborhood to Stanley Park and the Sea Wall, this area is one I would love to one day live in.
It doesn't have a ton of tourist attractions in it, but rather is made up of many of Vancouver's skyline-making glass condo tours, so during the evenings and weekends, it's blissfully uncrowded.
I often walk down to Coal Harbour from my work in order to clear my head. There's something about the view of the North Shore mountains, Stanley Park and a few good yachts that help me relax and renew. #lifegoals
But, really, the view alone make this area a must-see.
And a few other spots ...
Hop on the 84 bus from Granville Island (public transit is the only way to travel in Vancouver!) and get off at Ontario Street for one of the city's most buzzworthy ice creameries — Earnest Ice Cream.
It's one of those rare cases where the destination actually lives up to the hype. At least in my opinion.
My fave flavour? Classic cookies and cream!
And then, work off a few of the aforementioned ice cream calories with a brisk walk along the False Creek sea wall and stop in to Science World or catch a game a BC Place. If only I could do this all day, every day.
That's all! I hope you enjoyed my mini city guide to Vancouver.
And make sure, if you're in the city, to hit me up so we can go exploring! :P
Post sponsored by Bench Canada