City and Ski Break: Vancouver & Whistler
A blog from Emily...
Having spent two years living and working between Vancouver and Whistler I quickly came to understand why Vancouver is often voted one of the most desirable and liveable places in the world, and why it's an ideal destination for a "ski and city break". First worth mentioning is the snow-peaked mountain backdrop to the city, you’ll be in awe as you pull up to the high risers and notice that this highly modern city is mixed with lush green parks (Bigger than central Park New York) fascinating waterfront harbours, beaches and snowy mountain scenery, you’ll soon realise you’ve stepped into a city that’s like no other.
Vancouver airport is around a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, and then a further 2 hours onto Whistler. The transfer journey between Vancouver and Whistler is majestic, you will travel along the Sea to Sky highway and I cannot express the beauty that you will witness along this route, this region of Canada is known locally as ‘Beautiful British Columbia’ and its easy to see why. When the journey is as good as the destination you know your in for an overwhelming trip.
For a twin-centre ski trip I would recommend spending around 2 nights in Vancouver, there’s plenty to fill up your days and I have listed my top five activities to do in Vancouver below;
- First up and not to be missed would be a leisurely stroll around Stanley Park, the first and largest urban park in Vancouver. Multiple activities are on offer within the park from the natural West-coast rain-forests, fantastic flower gardens and wildlife, blissful biking/walking trails and Canada's largest aquarium resides here too! (It is winter remember, so hopping inside the aquarium might be nice for staying warm).
- Vancouver is made up of numerous neighbourhoods, the oldest, most charming and my personal favourite is Gastown. Gastown lies along the north of the downtown Vancouver peninsula, so just a 5- 10-minute walk from the centre of the city. Its full of Victorian architecture, and seamlessly combines the old with the new. Filled with impeccably curated boutiques, one-of-a-kind galleries and some of the best culinary fare in Vancouver, I would make sure to head here in the early evening while the picture-perfect collection of old buildings, cobblestones, the Steam Clock, and vintage lampposts filled with fairy lights glow up the neighbourhood.
- If you’re anything like me someone who loves the atmosphere at sporting events (even when I’m not 100% sure what’s going on!) with a hot dog and beer in hand, the Vancouver Canucks Ice hockey team always put on a great game at The Rogers Arena, a constant hit with locals as Ice hockey is a major sport in Canada but also an awesome chance for visitors from afar to witness this thrilling sport upfront and in the heart of the True North.
- Robson street boasts the most interesting shopping in the city, lined with designer boutiques, quirky vintage shops, international brand stores and a coffee shop every four shopfronts, you can hop in and out searching and exploring to find your own hidden gems. Keep wandering until you arrive at Robson Square where you will find the magical outdoor Ice-skating rink, its free to use just having to pay a small fee to rent Ice Skates.
- These next two attractions combined will ensure you really grasp and appreciate Vancouver’s awe-inspiring landscape from a different perspective. ‘FlyOver Canada’ is a virtual flight across the country, it’s a 4-D simulation ride complete with mist, wind and scents – it’s quite an exhilarating experience! And for something a little more relaxed, you should head up to the Vancouver Lookout, the views from here span 360-degrees across the city, suburbs, water and mountains. Your ticket is valid for the whole day, so you can always head back at sun set for an idyllic view.
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