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Vancouver Off the Beaten Path

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There is so much more to experience in Vancouver beyond the main tourist stops concentrated around downtown. I'll fill you in on where to go if you fancy exploring the arts scene, sampling authentic ethnic cuisine, experiencing the best of nature, or want to discover great free versions of overpriced tourist attractions.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

10 Places

3 City Tips

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10 Places

Commercial Drive

Neighbourhoods

Third Beach

Beaches

Naam Restaurant

Restaurants

Vancouver Flea Market

Flea & Street Markets

Lighthouse Park

Lighthouses, Parks

Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge

Bridges

Cafe Deux Soleils

Restaurants

East is East

Restaurants

Dirty Apron

Restaurants

Vanier Park

Parks

Mel C's City Tips

  • You can get around the city by SkyTrain, bicycle, bus, or SeaBus. If you're going out for the day, it will be cheaper to buy a day-pass.
  • Head downtown to try the various street food carts which have opened in recent years.
  • When you're eating out at a restaurant, it's customary to tip 15% to 20%, depending on how good you felt the service was.
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    Commercial Drive
    Neighbourhoods
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    Mel C Says:

    If you want to get away from the mainstream stops, then head down to Commercial Drive — or 'The Drive' as locals call it — where you can find a variety of organic products, ethnic restaurants, fair trade products, quality local cafes, and an extremely diverse community (it being the place where people can express themselves however they wish). This Drive is also the Little Italy of Vancouver, so you can find quality Italian food among the authentic Belgium fries and local coffee shops.

    Good for
    • LGBT
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you’re in town on a Friday or Saturday, you can join the two and a half hour walking tour of the Drive’s Little Italy cafés, delis, and bakeries.
    • In addition to selling fairly traded coffee, Continental Cafe has the best hot chocolate I've had in Vancouver - served with chocolate whipping cream!
    • Stop by Ten Thousand Villages, a store with several locations around Vancouver. It sells fair trade handicrafts that support the livelihoods of people around the world.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #68 of 348 things to do in Vancouver
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Vibrant 22/07/2015
    • Best people-watching in Vancouver 20/07/2015
    • Commercial Drive
    Address:
    Between Broadway and Venables streets
    Vancouver V5L 4X4
    Canada
    Other:
  • Save
    Third Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Mel C Says:

    Get away from the over-crowded English Bay and cycle around the seawall until you hit Third Beach. Here, it's less crowded, the water is cleaner, and during the summer you can catch a beautiful late sunset. In the summer months, every sunny Tuesday there is an open drum circle, and it's one of my favorite places to hang out in Vancouver. People come and bring their own instruments and dance until sundown as a way of creating community and inclusiveness. (I personally think some of the best things to do in Vancouver are free like the seawall and drum circles!)

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • You can rent bikes on Denman Street, Davie Street, or around downtown.
    • Bring bike lights or a headlamp if you plan to stay at the beach after sunset; this way you can continue cycling along the seawall safely to head back to town.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #76 of 348 things to do in Vancouver
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Must see 29/07/2015
    • A beach with a view! 06/07/2015
    • Third Beach
  • Save
    Naam Restaurant
    Restaurants (Organic, Vegetarian, Vegan)
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    Mel C Says:

    As an experienced food connoisseur, Naam satisfies my cravings for delicious and fresh food at fair prices. While Naam, a 100% vegetarian restaurant, is situated a little outside of downtown, it's well worth the trip for the generous portions of food and great flavors. Naam's food awards are well-deserved: it has been serving amazing vegetarian and vegan dishes for over 40 years, and uses only the freshest of ingredients, which makes all the difference.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • There's live music every day from 7pm to 10pm.
    • This restaurant is open 24 hours and it's not uncommon to see people enjoying a meal at 3am.
    • The Naam Dragon Bowl is a popular choice among regulars.
    • Grab a taxi from downtown, and it's just a ten-minute ride to the restaurant across the bridge.
    • While the service may be slow sometimes, the meal will be worth the wait.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #435 of 2,283 restaurants in Vancouver
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Comfort Vegetarian Food 28/07/2015
    • great vegetarian food 21/07/2015
    • Naam Restaurant
    Address:
    2724 4th Ave W
    Vancouver V6K 1R1
    Canada
    Phone:
    +1 604-738-7151
    Price range:
    $6 - $12
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    0:00 - 12:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Vancouver Flea Market
    Flea & Street Markets
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    Mel C Says:

    If you're looking for unique collectibles, vintage items, or random items that you didn't even know you wanted, then the Vancouver Flea Market is worth a trip. They have everything from jewelry to instruments to electronic, so if you have the patience to dig through a lot of unwanted things, you could find exactly the treasures you are looking for. Plus, it's never too early to start your Halloween shopping!

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • The market is just a five-minute walk from the Main Street SkyTrain Station.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #161 of 348 things to do in Vancouver
    • Getting better not so junky 23/06/2015
    • A great place to spend a few hours hunting for bargains. 24/05/2015
    • Vancouver Flea Market
    Address:
    703 Terminal Ave.
    Vancouver V6A 2M2
    Canada
    Phone:
    604.685.0666
    Other:
  • Save
    Lighthouse Park
    Lighthouses, Parks
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    Mel C Says:

    Vancouver is famous for its infinite number of trails, so if the weather is decent, why not head to Lighthouse Park to enjoy a picnic and a scenic walk. The 75-hectare (185 acre) park is covered with virgin rainforest set right on the water, and has easy to moderate trails that are good for all ages and abilities. Even many local 'Vancourites' have never made the trip to see Lighthouse Park, so take advantage to get truly off the beaten path while you can.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Locals love the Valley of the Giants and the Beacon Lane trails.
    • Take bus #250 from downtown and continue across the Lions Gate Bridge and through Dundarave Village. The bus stop for Lighthouse Park is just past Beacon Lane on Marine Drive.
    • The Beacon Lane Trail will take you straight to the lighthouse viewpoint. (The sea views from these trails are among the most beautiful sights to see in Vancouver.)
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 25 things to do in West Vancouver
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lots of little trails. Nice view of ocean and Downtown. 25/07/2015
    • Fantastic park 24/07/2015
    • Lighthouse Park
    Address:
    Beacon Lane
    V7W 1K5
    Canada
    Phone:
    604-925-7275
    Other:
  • Save
    Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
    Bridges
    See more photos
    Mel C Says:

    Most tourists don't know about this free version of the overpriced Capilano Suspension Bridge, which is, funnily enough, less than a 15-minute drive away. While it is a shorter bridge and only 50 meters (164 feet) high, the views are no less stunning, and though it may shake and swing a little from side to side, it is just as safe as the other tourist bridge too. Plus, once you finish your courageous walk across to the other side, you can enjoy the beautiful hiking trails that lead to a popular natural pool and waterfalls.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The best times to go to is in the summer between May and September.
    • From downtown, take the SeaBus to the Lonsdale Quay. From there take bus #228 to Lynn Valley Center, which is a 15-minute walk from Lynn Canyon Park's main entrance.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 52 things to do in North Vancouver
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Vancouver on a Budget 28/07/2015
    • Loved this Bridge 27/07/2015
    • Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
    Address:
    3663 Park Road
    North Vancouver
    Canada
    Phone:
    604-990-3755
    Other:
  • Save
    Cafe Deux Soleils
    Restaurants (Vegetarian)
    Mel C Says:

    If you're into arts, music, or just simply like some quirky fun, then you'll definitely find your kind of crowd at Cafe Deux Soleils on Commercial Drive. This is one of the few places in Vancouver that has regular arts events at affordable prices, like the weekly Vancouver Poetry Slam, fictional comedy shows, and open mic nights. The restaurant provides a great space for experienced and new artists alike to share their talent and express themselves freely.

    Good for
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • There is a small entrance fee for special events, and the money goes to the top performers.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #946 of 2,283 restaurants in Vancouver
    • Perfect 01/06/2015
    • Family Friendly 02/02/2015
    • Cafe Deux Soleils
    Address:
    2096 Commercial Drive
    Vancouver, BC
    Vancouver V5N 4B2
    Canada
    Hours:
    Sun - Wed
    8:00 - 11:00
    Thu - Sat
    8:00 - 12:00
    Other:
  • Save
    East is East
    Restaurants (Indian, Afghani)
    See more photos
    Mel C Says:

    I'm always trying out new restaurants around Vancouver, but East is East remains consistently in my top three favorite places to dine. My top food picks are always based on flavor, but this restaurant also scores highly for its quality service and price point. The founders escaped from Afghanistan during the soviet war and first relocated to India - immersing themselves in the country’s language, art and cuisine - which serves as the inspiration here. Their passion is to create something unique that stands out from other ethnic restaurants, and their commitment to a sustainable lifestyle is reflected in the restaurant’s design, traditional music, and vibrant flavors. The owners integrate local organic ingredients and use sustainable materials to decorate the restaurant. Come and soak in the vibrant atmosphere and flavors while listening to one of the many world-class musicians play for your pleasure.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • The restaurant has two locations.
    • East is East is vegetarian and vegan friendly. Their vegan soup is one of the best soup’s I’ve tried in Vancouver.
    • Contact the restaurant to find out which nights they have belly dancers performing.
    • You can't come to a restaurant like this without trying one of the chai teas. Plus, they offer free samples!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #76 of 2,283 restaurants in Vancouver
    Certificate of Excellence 2014Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Not the real thing for real 28/07/2015
    • Excellent for take away 27/07/2015
    • East is East
    Address:
    3243 West Broadway
    Vancouver
    Canada
    Phone:
    604 734 5881
    Price range:
    $10 - $15
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 - 10:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Dirty Apron
    Restaurants (Delicatessen)
    See more photos
    Mel C Says:

    Vancouver is heaven for foodies as we are spoiled with food from around the world, including Ethiopia, Japan, Greece and Afghanistan. Why not learn to make some of these fine cuisines yourself so you can leave the city with some quality culinary skills of your own? The Dirty Apron Cooking School offers classes with high-quality chefs and trainers, so whether you're a beginner or a seasoned cook, you'll learn how to make a meal that's sure to satisfy you foodie side. You can choose from a range of classes that focus on food from a variety of countries too, from French to contemporary Persian cuisine.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    Tips
    • Register on the website to save your spot - many classes fill up quickly.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #117 of 2,283 restaurants in Vancouver
    • Thhe perfect Birthday present for someone who enjoys cooking 14/06/2015
    • One of the things I miss about Vancouver 09/06/2015
    • Dirty Apron
    Address:
    540 Beatty Street
    Vancouver V6B 2L3
    Canada
    Phone:
    1 604 879 8588
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    10:30 - 6:00
    Sat - Sun
    10:30 - 5:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Vanier Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Mel C Says:

    While Vanier Park is close to the heart of downtown near English Bay, many visitors don't make time to stop here. Yet this small park is well worth a look, with three museums to explore in addition to a spectacular view by the water. If you have kids, the HR MacMillion Space Center would be a great place to bring them, where they can enjoy live science demonstrations, games in the Cosmic Courtyard, and shows about astronomy in the Planetarium Star Theater. For history buffs, the Vancouver Museum, Vancouver Maritime Museum, and the City of Vancouver Archives are all good choices.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • History Buff
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • From downtown at the Granville and Georgia intersection, take the #004 or #007 bus across the Granville Bridge to get to Vanier Park.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #101 of 348 things to do in Vancouver
    • Awesome park to play and relax and more 28/06/2015
    • Kite flying wonder 15/06/2015
    • Vanier Park
    Address:
    1100 Chestnut St.
    Vancouver V6J 3J9
    Canada
    Other:
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