Our first visit to Vancouver was about four years ago. The trip north of the border followed a wild 3 day birthday extravaganza in Seattle. We felt since we were on that side of the continent and so close, we needed to give Vancouver a chance (original post – Travel Thursday: Vancouver, Canada Tingles All Our Senses). This most recent visit to Vancouver was to be a time to get to know the city even more on its own pace.
Coming into the city after a beautiful and easy drive up from Seattle, the architecture of Vancouver presents itself as historical and grey with splashes of color and modern touches. The December weekend was to be rainy, but that was expected. It’s winter in the Northwest. We made our way across downtown and as we pulled up to our accommodations, the Fairmont Waterfront, great memories flooded back in and we realized that yes, this was the perfect location for this Vancouver exploration.
Harbour and prepared for the evening out. We didn’t want to sit down for a meal immediately, so we visited the hotel bar which supplied us with a chance to meet some locals and see some Canadian eye candy. We lost count of the happy hour drinks we went through, a good sign of a good time, and also learned from some locals great dining options for that night and following nights.
We sifted through all of the wonderful options and decided on Coquille Restaurant in Gastown. As it was raining, we were charioted off in the Fairmont Waterfront’s hotel vehicle, a BMW 7 series long body sedan, and was just in time to beat the rush. Our waiter, I want to say his name was Jacques, originally from Paris, France, was beautiful to look at, wonderful to listen to, and was perfect in his service and attentiveness. The locals were correct in recommending Coquille as it will be on my list to return to in the future.
We walked back to the Fairmont in the rain, using the umbrellas supplied by the hotel. One of us fell asleep while the other decided to venture out to Davie Street, the gayborhood, and one of my favorite bars in Canada, Pumpjack Pub. Last time we were there, construction was being done to expand/double the size of the venue. The addition was great as it added a spacious dance floor, a great sized pool area where private parties could be held, and another bar/service area. Oh and a platform/shower area that was raised up off the floor. Who knew they would have beary men disrobing and getting wet in the shower.
Out in a new city all by myself? Totally fine in Vancouver. I chatted with some great guys in the pool room, met a couple of dance partners, and several other guys being guys. The ride home after a falafel was no problem. Just be aware, it is the largest city in North America with no Uber and no Lyft. Look for those taxis, which all seem to be some generation of a Prius.
The next day was still a little wet out so we stuck to inside activities. First on the list was Fly Over Canada, which was still doing their winter/Santa themed video flight. I had been to the Soarin’ Around the World ride at Disney so I knew what to expect of the more northern version, and I was very entertained as it was a ride for all ages to enjoy. They have a variety of rides throughout the year so this will be another venue to return to on our next trip.
Does every city have a needle or observatory to overlook the landscape? A quick walk from the once again very convenient Fairmont Waterfront, the Vancouver Lookout, probably one of the more enjoyable observatories I have been to, provided a great venue for the sunset over the city. It was very well maintained and not only did it provide descriptions of what you were currently seeing, the educational plaques also described the history of the city which was helpful for this out-of-towner. I’m pretty sure I read them all.
A simple walk from the Vancouver Lookout and our hotel was a place called One Under. In the basement of this downtown building is the site of a fun time had by all.
Centrally set in Vancouver’s Financial District, One Under is a 5000 square foot urban golf club, eatery, and watering hole. The venue boasts six industry leading golf simulation bays, crafted cocktail bar, lounge, private party/meeting room and chef inspired menu.
There were no strike-outs here and selecting One Under as one of our rainy day venues was a home run. I know, wrong sport. We ended up having so much fun the drinks started flowing and food was ordered in the forms of a meat and cheese plate and some sliders. There were only two of us visiting and this venue and the rental of the simulator was a great activity, but we could have added more people and it would have been fine.
The rest of the time in Vancouver, we did a great amount of enjoying some of the shops in Gastown, sitting down at the hotel bar, eating at random spots, and going back out into the gayborhood and Pumpjack, but we left time at the end of our trip for when and if the weather cleared up to visit Capilano.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park had been on my list to visit for years before my first time to Vancouver. Across from our hotel, we picked up a free shuttle to get us to the park, roughly 20 -minutes away. We spent a great deal more time than that enjoying the Canyon Lights at night, all done with a winter festival theme. We were like kids walking around in this wintry wonderland. Here we are learning that one of the wooden walkways was designed to be an interactive/responsive installation.
They say that three’s a charm, but our first and second visits to Vancouver were both already memorable and charming. The walk of life and way of life seem rewarding, all happening at a nice simple pace, and in an environment that leaves you wanting for nothing. The third visit will have a lot to live up to. Maybe we shall return for Vancouver Pride at the beginning of August (Pride Parade on August 4)? And coming back during a summer month might be a great way to see if Vancouver would be a place to settle down in for a while for our first visit was in April and our second and most recent was at the end of December.
See you soon Vancouver! For more information on Vancouver, visit https://www.tourismvancouver.com/ as well as one of our other posts on Vancouver (Travel Thursday: Vancouver, Canada Tingles All Our Senses).
Here are some more pics of our journey in December.
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