By Sarah Ripplinger
Photography: Ben Johnson
WHERE TO STAY
The West End Guest House
1362 Haro Street, 604-681-2889
Bikes are available for free! At this bed and breakfast located in a quiet downtown neighborhood.
The Buchan Hotel
1906 Haro Street, 604-685-5354
Situated in the heart of the West End in downtown Vancouver, the hotel offers secure bike storage.
The Sylvia Hotel
1154 Gilford Street, 604-681-9321
A heritage building on Vancouver’s scenic English Bay, The Sylvia Hotel is close to bike trails along the seawall and offers secure indoor bike storage.
Granville Island Hotel
1253 Johnston Street, 604-683-7373
Located beside the seawall on Granville Island, the hotel has indoor bike parking available.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Your best bet for a great experience in Vancouver is to bike along the seawall and along the trails in Stanley Park and Pacific Spirit Park. The Central Valley Greenway is a fantastic day ride that runs some 24 kilometers from Science World to New Westminster. The beaches are particularly welcoming in the summer, and are beautiful places to contemplate the scenery year-round – check out Kitsilano, Third Beach and Spanish Banks. If you’re in Vancouver for the last Friday of the month, you may want to join in for a Critical Mass, which meets at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Georgia Street side), in downtown Vancouver, at 5:30pm and departs at 6pm.
WHERE TO GO/EAT
Along the seawall
Taste the latest catch from the West Coast at Go Fish Ocean Emporium (1505 1st Avenue West); nestled in the bustling False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf near Granville Island, Go Fish is the best place to get fish and chips – and fish tacos! after a morning riding the seawall around Stanley Park, coast along to Denman Street (in the downtown peninsula) for a snack or coffee in the West End.
Spend your day walking around the tourist attractions on Granville Island, which include a public market, a kids' market, the Arts Club Theatre, playgrounds for kids – a water park and water slide during the summer months – and various artisans and activities for the whole family, and then head down to The Galley Patio & Grill (1300 Discovery Street). With a panoramic view of Jericho Beach, The Galley, located on the second floor of the Jericho Sailing Centre, overlooks the best patio sunset in the city.
Main street and Commercial Drive
The perfect places to immerse yourself in the local color of Vancouver: Commercial Drive has a multitude of ethnic restaurants and coffee shops and Main Street is home to a large collection of independent fashion boutiques. Note to the caffeine-dependent: you will rarely be more than a block away from a coffee joint in Vancouver.
If it’s a sit-down meal of locally-grown, organic vegetarian food that you crave, go to the Radha Yoga & Eatery (728 Main Street), a non-profit organization that runs yoga classes and serves food from Wednesday to Saturday, 6-10 pm. The restaurant also offers vegan and raw foods. As a bonus, they encourage bike parking in their building, which is upstairs from the Brickhouse Bar, a cozy, late night hipster hangout.