VANCOUVER SUMMER & WINTER RECOMMENDATIONS

Hi everyone!

Long time no blog post. But I’m back (temporarily LOL) with a very highly requested post on what to do/eat/etc in one of the best cities in the world… Vancouver!! If you don’t already know, yours truly grew up in Vancouver and therefore knows all the ins and outs to that city (just kidding, I left when I was like 18 – but I do have friends that know the ins and outs to that city…) so together, these are my personal recommendations (and my really good friends Yannis & Eric’s recommendations).

Hopefully this blog post can help you plan your trip if you’re ever planning on visiting or this can help you plan WHEN to go. In general, I recommend going to Vancouver in the summer time (if you can only go one time in the year) because Vancouver rains about 2/3 of the year and most of that will be in the winter. Unless your purpose is to ski/snowboard, summer is definitely a better choice to visit the city itself.  But of course, if you can afford the time and $$$, I would definitely recommend both summer & winter. Either way, I’ve separated this list to Summer and Winter so you can plan your activities and food schedules accordingly.

Without further ado, here goes:

PS: Whatever is in bold is my FAVOURITE and things you should NOT miss!!!!

Vancouver/Nearby Activities

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Biking along seawall / Stanley Park – This is my FAVOURITE activity by far in the summer!!! This is where you should rent your bike (the other places are really expensive)
  • Fireworks – I love when it’s fireworks time in Vancouver!! I spend the whole day at English Bay (that’s where the fireworks will be) and hog my spot until the fireworks come around. Check around for their dates! This is also completely free (obviously because economics taught us this is a public good)
  • Richmond Night Market – usually on Friday & weekends, go for Asian street food & cheap goods! If you’re from Toronto – this is better than the ones that are being hosted!
  • Granville Island
  • Improve Theatre (never tried but my friend Eric recommends it!)
  • Vancouver Theatre Sports League (recommended by Eric as well!) These are cheap on late nights or Sunday nights

 Outdoor Activities

  • Hiking (hikes below)
  • Paddle boarding (check it out on Groupon for deals!)
  • Jet skiing  (check it out on Groupon for deals!)
  • Cultus Lake Waterpark
    • There’s also a lake there if you want to spend the day
    • You can also go camping in this area!
  • Beaches
    • Rec Beach (by UBC)
    • English Bay (and all the surrounding beaches: 1st beach, 2nd beach…)
  • ATV (Whistler)
  • Moped around the city (only $22 an hour at some places)
    • one of my favourite activities as well! Made me feel like Lizzie McQuire 😉
  • Take a picture at the Steam Clock in Gas Town!

 Over Night Trips (most of these you can also do in just 1 day)

  • Vancouver Island
    • Visit Victoria – the capital of BC!
  • Cultus Lake (for camping)
  • Tofino (very north of Vancouver Island) to go surfing & camping!
    • however, this is REEEEEEEALLLLLYYY far from Vancouver. If you don’t have time/if you’re not a fan of camping/surfing, then this might not be worth it for you.
  • Whistler – just because you’re there in the summer doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do!!!
    • Ziplining – home of the longest zipline in North America – I did it myself and it was one of the most thrilling experiences
    • Bungee Jumping
    • ATV

 Night Life

lol tbh I don’t go out anymore but my 19 year old self gives you the following recommendations:

  • Celebrities on Tuesdays (LOOL this was my favourite place to go when I was 19)
  • All the bars/clubs on Granville Strip including:
    • Venue
    • Republic

Not gonna lie this portion kinda sucks just because it could either be outdated or because I’m just a grandma now =)

Hikes

Some of my favourite must-do hikes for the summer!

  • Joffre Lake (moderate level) – PS this one is near Whistlerish
    • If I had to pick one hike in Vancouver this would be it
  • The Chief (moderate – more difficult) – this one is before you reach Whistler (in Squamish) but still quite a drive from downtown
  • Quarry Rock (easy) – this one has a great view and it’s situated near Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver so if you’re planning on being in this area I would recommend kayaking this day and visiting those other places as well!
  • Garibaldi (never done this one but heard it was difficult)
  • Grouse Grind (this isn’t really a hike – it’s basically just stairs and a direct route to the top of the mountain but it’s definitely a work out!)

 Breakfast/Brunch

  • Catch 122
  • Medina Café
  • The Oakwood
  • Jam Cafe
  • Yolks
  • Bells & Whistles
  • Water Street Cafe

 

 Happy Hour

  • JOE FORTES – $1 oysters and their lobster roll is to die for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fun fact: the HSM cast loves coming here
    • You better go here. this is the best place in the world
  • Ebisu – $1 oysters, Izakaya-type food, and their sushi is also amazing!
  • Nightingale
  • Steamworks
  • Coast
  • Fanny Bay Oyster

Rooftop Patios

  • Reflections
  • Pier 7
  • The Roof

 Sushi/Japanese

  • Momo sushi (downtown) (affordable & big sashimi pieces!)
  • Sushi California (several locations)
  • Miku (and other sushi restaurants owned by the same parent company). If you’ve been to Miku in Toronto, the Vancouver one is where it was first created. Also try their other sister restaurants such as
    • Minami
    • (that ramen place)
  • Victoria Sushi (far from Vancouver but worth the trek)
  • Green Leaf Sushi
  • Ora Sushi
  • Poke Time
  • Black Rice
  • Gami Sushi

Korean

Thanks Yannis for these recommendations!

  • House of Tofu
  • Big Chicken Town
  • Sura
  • Sooda

Other Asian Food

  • Phom Pen (Cambodian Food) –
    • they have “the best chicken wings in town” (but in my opinon I like this other place way better which is right below)
  • Truong Thanh
    • This 24 hour Viet restaurant is actually one of my favourites in Vancouver – their BBH is amazing and also their chicken wings are better (IMO)
  • Japadog – Japanese hot dog: try their BUTTER FRIES (I’m drooling as I’m thinking about it). Fun fact: there were line ups for at least 6 blocks during the 2010 Olympics)
  • The Asian Heritage Eatery
  • Boiling Point
  • Top Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant
  • Banana Leaf
    • One of my favourite Malaysian restaurants!

Dessert

  • Lucky Donuts
  • Cartem Donuts
  • Passion8 (loooove their mango shaved ice!)
  • Honey & Salt
  • Dragon Ball Tea House
  • Breka Bakery
  • Milk Cow

Other Food

  • Negebuayo
  • The Sand Bar
  • Rhinofish
  • Crab Park Chowdery
  • M Cafe
  • Steveston Pizza Company
    • This is where I got that crazy pizza on my Instagram. I got so many questions about it and this is where it’s from!

 

WINTER RECOMMENDATIONS

Activities

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge (they decorate it with Christmas lights during this time of year!)
  • Light Show (in the past there has been a couple: “Enchanted” and “Glow” – not sure which one, if any, will come back!)
  • Stanley Park (there is usually a light show here as well, really pretty and you can also ride a Christmas train)
  • Christmas Market (last time I went it wasn’t thaaaaaaaaaaaat great – if you’re from Toronto, the one in the Distillery is way better but if you’re running out of things to do or you want to do something Christmas-y, there you go)

 Winter Activities

  • Skiing/snowboarding in Whistler (I assume that’s why youre in Vancouver in the winter??)
  • If you cant make Whistler, go to Cypress or Grouse – they’re closer and will still be better than your mountains!!!!!!!!!

 

I hope this list was helpful!!! I will continue to come back and modify it. If you’re from Vancouver and you think there’s something worth putting on here that I’ve missed please let me know!

Most importantly… enjoy your trip!!!! ❤

Love,
Lisa

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Andrews’ Scenic Acres

To celebrate my 5 year friendaversary with Kristina, we decided to actually do something for the day rather than our usual pig out & drink out #IMadeThatUp #ImSoProud. I stumbled upon pictures of the flower field at Andrews’ Scenic Acres and decided that would be the perfect place to have our Sunday Funday. Anyway, after last week’s failed trip to a lavender farm and going to Scarborough Bluffs instead, I learned my lesson and decided to call ahead of time JUST TO MAKE SURE they’re opened and the flowers were still there. Unlike lavenders, these flowers are thankfully still in season (honestly how does anybody except some plant expert know what is in season and what is not?! LOL #NotMe) and the sun’s still holding up so I decided to drive us ALLLLLL THE WAY TO MILTON (reminds me of driving to Western which I should have done this weekend to go to HOCO… sigh…)

The farm also has a corn field which means you also have the option of picking corn. I wanted to do this SOOO BADLY (FYI I love corn I don’t know if you wanted to know that but I’m telling you anyway) but when we got there a lot of the corn were dead. You can tell that it’s been cooked by the sun :'(. I was also planning to buy it but it was soooo expensive like $1 each like honey, I usually buy mine for like 4 for $1 at Kingsfarm in Vancouver. Anyway, wow, this is turning into a corn rant. We didn’t walk out empty handed though because we took pictures instead 😉 #SeeWhatIDidThere.

After finishing up at the corn farm we walked back to the flower field to take pictures. We really wanted someone to take one of the two of us so (NO SHAME) we walked ALL THE WAY across the field literally hunting someone down just for a picture.

my beautiful bestie ❤

Hope you all had a nice weekend! Definitely check this farm out when you get the chance… it’s the perfect summer-fall transition activity 🙂

Love,
Lisa

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Day on the Coast

Drove to my friend Emily’s on Saturday night so we could all catch the ferry together to stay at Jon’s cottage and go jet skiing the next day (YAYYYYYY) #neverbeenjetskiingbefore. Of course me being stupid me left the car lights on when I left so I was feeling kinda bummed on the ferry #WhyAmILikeThis. Thankfully I had good company so that didn’t last very long because soon enough we were drinking my sorrows away #DramaQueenHour.

This past few weeks has really made me appreciate FRESH AIR. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about… there was smoke all over PNW because of wildfires so the air quality wasn’t the greatest – you couldn’t even see the clouds! 😦 Didn’t even want to go hiking because why in the world would I hike for hours and not see the view I came for?! #Waste #LetsBeReal.  Anyway, it was nice that it finally rained Saturday night because it finally cleared the air and it made Sunday so much more enjoyable being able to see the views of the coast.

I love you, blue skies

When we finally got to the jet skis I decided to borrow one of Jon’s wet suits because I’m slightly very afraid of the cold. It actually didn’t turn out too bad so if you’re ever thinking of going jet skiing you could also go without. I only know that it wasn’t too bad because eventually I had to pee so I got out of the wet suit and jumped in the ocean #TMI #Sorry.

me and my west coast lit police ❤
behind the scenes.

Don’t know what’s more fun about jet skiing – being the person in power and driving like a maniac or getting thrown off into the ocean. Either way I’m buying a jet ski one day :D.

On a totally separate note, I finally ate a burger – haven’t had one in YEARS #jk #probablyjustone #DQH. And let me tell you – that Big Mac sauce (available at a Costco near you!) is AH-MAZING. Could eat this all day.

And for those who care (even if you don’t I’m force feeding you information anyway), my car lights were still on when I finally got back to Emily’s house on Sunday. A full 24 hours and the car never ran out of battery. Moral of the story, buy a Honda Civic #1fannow #ImmuneToLisaFuckUps.

Thanks for reading! Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Love,
Lisa

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OUTFIT DETAILS
  • Shorts – Aritzia
  • Bathing suit – Oysho (the best store in the entire planet)

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MUST DO – SURFING IN PORTUGAL

Got a couple of questions after posting about surfing on Instagram so I thought I’d make a post! Granted, I was definitely not the person who discovered this (thank you Alex, Emily W, Emily C, and Callie for the suggestion and Monisha for booking for us!!!) so I’m just here to relay the message so that all humans on earth can enjoy approximately $20CAN (it’s actually 15 euros) worth of 2 hours of surf rentals and lessons!!! (If you know something better and you’re hiding it from the world – I hate you.)

PS. Surfing in Tofino (Canada) is about $100 for the exact same thing so yes, this is a big deal.

HOW AND WHERE TO BOOK

Click here to Cascais Surf School & Camp’s website to see their rates and follow their instructions (in other words simply send them an email and see when they’re available!). I also realized after visiting the page that we got our rates even cheaper because we were students on exchange (#Erasmus LOL) but it’s cheap nonetheless!!

Not to boost their ego but they also have a 5 star rating on tripadvisor so…

WHERE IT IS…

The beach itself is not in Lisbon exactly – you have to train your ass to the beach. I’ve even left a few instructions:

#1 – Get from wherever you are (Airbnb, Hostel, Hotel, the street, the bush, etc) to the station: Cais do Sodré 

tip: I would Uber there because Ubers in Lisbon are dirt cheap especially if you split with people. If not, WALK. It’s a nice scenery (not that I would know with all the Ubers but from what I’ve seen around and heard from other people…) and plus the city is not that big!

#2 – Buy a round-trip train ticket to Carcavelos (unless they’ve changed the destination, but this is where we were told to go)

From there, the beach is about a 5 minute walk!

OVERALL EXPERIENCE

Instructors were absolutely amazing (as you can see from their trip advisor review). They were extremely helpful and they don’t give up on you – EVEN IF YOU’RE GIVING UP ON YOURSELF LOL. They also learn your name within the first 5 minutes and they say it with their cute Portuguese accents (Liiiizaaaa!!!!). Which also means that if you screw up they yell your name in the middle of the ocean #NoLie #ButInACuteAndFunnyWay.

eg. *me trying to hop on my surfboard*
“NOOOO LIZZZAAAAAAA, THERE ARE PEOPLE IN FRONT OF YOU”

It was really fun (how basic can that statement be) – definitely lots of work but so worth it! 1000/1000 would recommend to friend. And non-friends.

post surfing sangria!! ❤
“Gourmet burger” with out the bread and an egg?? #portugesestyle LOL

FAQ (that I made up by myself so who knows)

ISN’T IT COLD?

Yes m’dear. The water is cold especially if you’re not going in the middle of summer in 30 degree weather. But have no fear, wet suits are here!! No lie, these wet suits will keep you so warm that you won’t even notice the coldness of the water.

ISN’T IT TIRING?

Also a yes. The three of us were sore for two days afterwards. One of us was sore all over, one of us was sore upper body, and the other one was sore just in the shoulders (not pointing at who is who ;D). So it really depends on who you are but don’t underestimate the work out that this gives you!

WHAT TO WEAR/BRING

Wear your bathing suit underneath already. Do not think to change into your bathing suit because the minute you get to that parking lot they already have wet suits and surfboards ready for you.

Bring:

  • flip flops
  • towel
  • SUNSCREEN
  • Hair tie (I was originally going to say for girls but with all the man-buns these days who knows)
  • GREAT ATTITUDE 😀 (I sound like a mother)

That’s about it, folks!

Hope y’all have a great time surfing in Portugal like we did!!!!

Love,

Lisa