Vancouver-Commercial Drive-Canada Place-Granville Island-Gastown

View from False Creek Ferry

Granville Island is a must-do when visiting Vancouver. Your time can be spent sampling beer in its very own brewery and strolling around the public market that sells anything from fresh produce to exotic pâté. Before visiting Granville Island, we stopped by Commercial Drive for some fresh sushi and wandered around Canada Place in the rain like true Vancouverites. We ended our night in Gastown, which has tons of bars and restaurants.

See & Do

  • Commercial Drive: Known as “The Drive” to locals, this street is filled with lots of small shops, restaurants, and cafes. If the weather is good (good luck with that in Vancouver!), it’s nice to take a stroll down and check out what’s for sale. It’s very easily accessible by the Skytrain (Commercial Drive stop). Rating: 4/5
  • Canada Place: A bit of a tourist hotspot, it’s still worth a visit for the amazing views of the mountains and the free tour of Canadian history. For example, did you know that hockey is not the only national sport of Canada? It shares that title with lacrosse, the official summer sport of Canada. It’s nice how they cover the pressing issues that face Canada. The convention center has some cool funky architecture and is worth a quick look. Rating: 5/5

Canada Place

  • Granville Island: It’s not really an island as you’ll discover when you get there and see a ton of cars driving around. Take the tiny little ferry from the city (or drive) to get here–watch your head when you try to sit down. The public market is a great place to get some food and fresh produce, and the Granville Island Brewery absolutely can’t be missed. There is also apparently an artisan sake maker on this island but we couldn’t make it in time before he closed down for the day–something to save for next time. Rating: 5/5

False Creek Ferries

  • Gastown: A historical part of the town with cobblestone streets and a pretty cool clock that runs off steam. There are a bunch of fun bars in the area, and stay late enough and there will be tons of people smoking weed outside the bars like it’s cigarettes. The west coast is pretty cool. This place is also a bit touristy and photogenic, and a good place to grab a few souvenirs if you’re here during the day. Walk a few blocks the wrong way and you’ll end up in the only truly shady area of Vancouver where you might see somebody shooting heroin or doing meth openly on the street–people here are mostly harmless compared to the US but still, be careful. Rating: 4/5

Eat & Drink

  • Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen: You can’t go to Vancouver without trying out Asian food–in fact, that’s pretty much all we tried while over here. This place had some of the best sushi we have tasted outside Japan without costing an arm and a leg like decent sushi in NYC. Very reasonably priced for lunch–we shared the sushi and sashimi lunch set, the udon lunch set, and a set of 5 assorted types of sashimi (there were 3 of us, we’re not complete pigs!). Rating: 5/5

Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen

  • Granville Island Public Market: Always a good time at a public market if you’re looking for fresh produce and/or meat. We grabbed some foccacia bread from a place that sells homemade pasta, and then ate a Nanaimo bar, a local BC specialty made of chocolate, icing, and wafer crumbs. Rating: 5/5
  • Granville Island Brewery: You’ll find Granville beer everywhere in Vancouver, so why not come straight to the source and try all the different varieties out? Due to some random BC law, they are only allowed to serve 12 ounces of beer per person, so you’ll only be able to try 3 of 8 different varieties at a time. We happened to have one non-beer drinker in our group of three, so we were able to secretly break the law and over-consume some delicious beer. There’s something for every beer drinker here as their offerings cover many of the major beer groups. Rating: 5/5

Grandville Island Brewery

  • Suika(Japanese Izakaya): More Japanese food! Only a few minutes walk from Granville Island in the rain (see, I told you it wasn’t really an island), enjoy some Japanese tapas at Suika while pounding down some Granville Island sake. Rating: 3/5

Suika Vancouver

  • Guilt & Co: Last time we came here it seemed to be focused more on board games and local music, but this time it seemed decidedly more upscale with people dressed up ordering fancy cocktails and such. But maybe that’s because it was a Saturday night instead of a weeknight. Rating: 4/5

Stay

  • Airbnb near Commercial Drive: So far another great experience with AirBNB. We decided not to stay in downtown and stayed near the Nanaimo Skytrain station–a very residential and quiet area, but we were able to get a slightly larger place that felt more like home. We had tons of fun with the arcade cabinets in the apartment! Rating: 4/5

Transportation

  • Ferry to Granville Island: So we took a bus to get to the ferry and ended up getting off at the wrong place (we’re train people…) so we hopped on the ferry from the Maritime Museum and transferred to the Granville Island ferry at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. Not Center, Centre–why? Who knows, they pronounce Z as Zed instead of Zee over here in bizarro-land. Total cost to us ignorant Americans was $4.50, though it is probably $4 or less if you start from the Aquatic Centre. Rating: 4/5
  • Skytrain: $2.75 per trip. It’s extremely convenient to get to downtown, but pretty useless for getting around downtown. Rating: 5/5

Visit Date

  • 03/08/2014

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