I’ve already talking about my adventures in the glorious local ‘hood, West End where Century Plaza is but there are so many areas of Vancouver, ranging from ‘good for a visit,’ ‘worth investigating‘ to ‘want to live here‘.
Kitsiliano (want to live here)
My first visit in 2012 also meant the discovery of one of our faves 49th Street Parallel along with the ludicrously expensive Whole Foods. This was one of my NYC supermarkets so more nostalgia than anything – and they sell 49th St coffee beans. Kits is definitely up and coming (AKA expensive) but then what area of Vancouver isn’t know? We grabbed our ridiculously expensive box of noodles from the hot deli counter and walked away from the main street, sat on a quiet bench and toasted our fortune to have come here.
From Kits, we walked into Granville Island (good for a visit), deja vu for me as I’d gone there on my first day in Vancouver last year too. Apart from the gorgeous indoor public market that spills out to the amazing views, the place is an enclave for arts and crafts. I love the floating houses and long to live in one, if only I wasn’t scared of water.
Closer to home again is Yaletown (want to live here). The area full of boutique independent shops and services (a lot of waxing salons – for men and women!) is a mixed bag as there are also the chain pubs and coffee shops. The advantage/disadvantage is that it’s home to The Cross, one of my favourite shops to browse in. I would take any offers to move in.
Further down town is Gastown, (good for a visit) one of the most tourist-driven parts of the city, situated as it is on the northern-most coast of down town Vancouver. It’s become even more this way just in the last 12 months but the views up the coast of the stunning Vancouver Conference centre, modelled on Sydney Opera House, with a roof top garden.
I have driven through Stanley Park before, it’s the route to Grouse Mountain for one but this is the first time I’ve spent time in this glorious, vast park (bigger than Central Park).
when Vancouver Marathon was on. What wonderful views undertake a race in! Not that it tempts me but it tempted many, including quite a few seasoned runners that stayed in our hotel.
Just at the edge of the park is Coal Harbour (want to live here) again another new area that I hadn’t got round to visiting
before (both of these seemed so far away but it turns out they’re easily walkable!). Coal Harbour has beautiful views and we were entertained for quite some time by watching the sea planes taking of from the Harbour. This is where the yacht clubs are which is evident from the designer shops that lined the street from our West End neighbourhood to here.
East Vancouver (want to live here) has its Commercial Drive, known simply as the Drive. This is the area I warmed to last time because of its vintage shops, coffee houses and the fact that we’re only 10 minutes from down town Vancouver and into an old Italian community. Add to this yet another new coffee-house, the Italian tinged Renzo.
I get the impression this area is still up and coming and therefore still affordable but I imagine it will catch up with Kits by my next visit. Over the water, on the ferry to North Vancouver, (worth investigating) which is worth it for the views alone and makes it even more like going to New Jersey from Manhattan. Similarly, because of the views, lots of new high buildings are under construction (lots of new buildings being built everywhere in Vancouver but it’s being done very cleanly and neatly). These however, seem to be as expensive as down town possibly as the ferry over is about 10 minutes and of course the stunning views of down town and the Rockies. It feels a little bit ‘bankers wives’ to me. The area has a few vintage places and the Cafe of Contemporary Art plus Moodyvilles, the old school cafe for breakfast – all of which I also visited last time. I’m envisaging an explosion of coffee shops here next visit.