An Innkeeper’s Guide to Vancouver

Travelers from all over the world venture to Vancouver, British Columbia for its mix of city and outdoors. Our Vancouver innkeepers have shared their city’s best kept secrets. When you stay at a Vancouver bed and breakfast, you get the local’s guide of the best there is to do. These tips from local innkeepers will help you make the most of your Canadian getaway.

Things to do

Vancouver Seawall

The weather in Vancouver is rarely either extreme of hot or cold, but instead ranges from the low-40s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit. The mild climate makes outdoor activities possible year-round. Bee & Thistle Guest House and Greystone B&B both recommended visiting Lynn Canyon. There you can take in the beautiful 617 acres of forest filled with hiking trails, walk across the 50-meter high suspension bridge, or take a dip in the 30 -foot swimming hole, the Twin Falls waterfall and pool, or Rice Lake.

For more outdoor activities, try kayaking on False Creek, or walking, jogging, biking or skating along the 9 km trail at/on the Seawall, favorites of Granville House B&B. If you're up for a trek that poses a bit more challenge, hiking the Grouse Grind trail up Grouse Mountain is Manor Guest House's suggestion. This 2.9 km of trail nicknamed "Mother Nature's Stairmaster" is waiting for you.

If you’re looking to enjoy nature in a less strenuous setting Greystone B&B recommends the VanDusen Botanical Garden where you can see 22 hectares of beautiful plants and landscapes, and the Blodedel Conservatory with exotic plants and flowers and more than 100 free-flying exotic birds.

Where to eat

Vancouver dining has it all: fresh seafood straight from the ocean, fine dining, and a menagerie of ethnic cuisines.
Vancouver restaurants

These restaurants have been suggested by multiple innkeepers:

  • White Spot: A Canadian standard for the last 85 years that satisfies any craving—morning, noon, or night. This local chain is only found in British Columbia and Alberta. They serve comfort food like a homemade buttermilk waffles with fresh berry topping, or a poutine bar with toppings ranging from the original cheese curds and gravy to classic baked potato fixings.

  • Bishop's: Since opening in 1985, Bishop’s has been one of the city’s top fine dining restaurants. It encompasses the essence of West Coast cuisine by showcasing the region's fresh seafood with entrees like Wild BC Salmon and BC Ling Cod.
  • Banana Leaf: Voted one of the best Asian restaurants time and time again. Serving Malaysian cuisine and a combination of the best flavors of Southeast Asia. With dishes like China’s Hainanese chicken rice and India’s roti canai, they’ll be sure to have fare everyone will enjoy.

Other restaurants suggested:

  • Baru Latino: Award-winning Latin-driven cuisine, where local foods and sustainability are important.
  • Jolly’s Indian Bistro: North and South Indian recipes made with freshly picked and ground spices.
  • Taste of Thai: Authentic Thai cuisine encompassing the five flavors of sour, hot, sweet, salty, and umami.

-Recommended by A Suite @ Kitsilano Cottage

  • BierCraft Tap and Tapas: Offering more than 120 beers and an array of tapas, as well as brunch, lunch, and dinner options.
  • Carthage Cafe: Combining classic French and inventive Tunisian cuisines to create a menu that will excite your taste buds.
  • Havana: Inspired by the Old Havana in Cuba, serving nuevo Latino cuisine and authentic Cuban cocktails.
  • Via Tevere: A home for true Neapolitan pizza, this restaurant is named for the street where the owners have their roots.

-Recommended by Bee & Thistle Guest House

Vancouver Indian Food
  • Seasons in the Park: Located in Queen Elizabeth Park, with amazing views from the highest point in Vancouver.
  • Viji’s: Designed to look like an Indian jewelry box by local artisans, the restaurant looks as good as the food tastes. Viji’s uses local meats and seafoods, but keeps the techniques and flavors Indian.
  • West: Contemporary regional cuisine with seasonal ingredients and a temperature-controlled wall of wine.

-Recommended by Granville House B&B

  • Gramercy Grill: A west-side restaurant with a downtown feel where they use fresh local and often organic ingredients to offer a seasonally inspired menu that updates weekly.
  • La Buca: Nestled in a residential neighborhood in Vancouver’s westside, La Buca is an intimate restaurant specializing in regional dishes from all of Italy.
  • Temaki Sushi: Where the mantra is “simple, handmade, perfection.” You’ll find fresh, quality Japanese food for reasonable prices.

-Recommended by Greystone B&B

  • The Fish House in Stanley Park: Set amongst the gardens and forests of Stanley Park, the scenic setting sets the mood for a dinner of fresh fish and seafood from the Pacific Northwest.

-Recommended by Manor Guest House

  • Cactus Club Cafe: The mission statement is for every customer to leave happy; a self-proclaimed house of yes, if they can do it, they will.

-Recommended by Windsor House B&B


Where to shop

Hiking Equipment

Whether you’re looking for gear for exploring all of Vancouver or just want to browse the local wares at your leisure, these local shops have you covered.

A few of our innkeepers have recommended a trip to Mountain Equipment Co-Op, also known as MEC, where you can grab gear for exploring Vancouver’s varied terrain. Though the brand has expanded to multiple locations, the Co-Op was founded in 1971 in Vancouver.



More recommended shopping:

  • Kidsbooks: A local children’s bookstore that will charm both kids and adults.
  • Parthenon Supermarket: Market and deli specializing in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food.
  • Ronson’s: Retailer, manufacturer, and designer of comfort shoes.

-Recommended by A Suite @ Kitsilano Cottage

  • Commercial Drive: A unique neighborhood and shopping district with an eclectic mix of over 400 businesses spanning 21 blocks.
  • The Gourmet Warehouse: Thousands of select import gourmet items, specialty housewares, gadgets, and tools for professional and amateur cooks.
  • The Source: Purveyor of heritage and vintage hardware since 1970.
  • Vancouver Farmer’s Markets (Trout Lake): Find local food and products, and meet the community of Vancouver’s local food movement.

-Recommended by Bee & Thistle Guest House

  • Hill’s of Kerrisdale: Beginning as a family retail business in 1914, it’s now a fashion destination for quality men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.
  • Leone: Over 25,000 square feet of exclusive fashions from the world’s top designers, coupled with their premier all-inclusive shopping experience: complimentary beverages, in-house tailoring, valet parking, and personalized service in over 15 languages.
  • Lululemon Lab: Visit the lab where they design, produce, and sell functional fashion all in-house. This location is different than other standalone stores, as there are people creating fashions on-site, and they showcase the latest designs.

-Recommended by Granville House B&B

Art Gallery

-Recommended by Greystone B&B

  • City Square Shopping Centre: Originally built in the early 1900s as school houses, the three-story granite and sandstone buildings are now home to over 50 shops and professional services.

-Recommended by Manor Guest House

Where to go for nightlife

Jazz club

To get the full scope of a city, you need to balance daytime activities and nightlife. Vancouver has nightlife covered with music, dancing, and entertainment.

Cellar Jazz, a top jazz venue since opening 13 years ago, comes highly recommended by A Suite @ Kitsilano Cottage and Greystone B&B.With a full menu and sets starting at 8pm and 9:30pm it’s easy to spend a whole night at Cellar Jazz and never get bored.



For more live music:

  • The Wolf & Hound: Enjoy a variety of Vancouver beers and homemade pub fare sourced from local ingredients, while listening to live music on the stage.

-Recommended by A Suite @ Kitsilano Cottage

  • Federico’s Supper Club: Authentic old-world Italian recipes with a contemporary twist, paired with live music and dancing five nights a week. Be sure to check out their calendar for cooking demos, comedy events, and more.

-Recommended by Bee & Thistle Guest House

  • Commodore Ballroom: Check the lineup of shows so you can plan on visiting this award-winning venue. Since opening 1929, the Commodore has been synonymous with Vancouver entertainment.
  • The Roxy: For a more rambunctious night, head to the Roxy for live bands, DJs, and a good time. Be sure to check out the Club Nights on their site for what’s happening each night.

-Recommended by Granville House B&B

  • The Biltmore Cabaret: For over 50 years the Biltmore has been a fixture as both a public house and a platform for ground-breaking musical performances.
  • Fairview Pub: With live jazz every Thursday and afternoon dance parties every Saturday, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
  • Kino Cafe: Where tapas and flamenco meet. Enjoy a variety of small plates while enjoying local artists looking to showcase their talents.

-Recommended by Windsor House B&B

More nightlife:

  • The Donnelly Group: If you can’t decide on what to do, check out the Donnelly Group for inspiration at an array of public houses, taverns, and nightclubs.
  • RiverRock Casino Resort: This massive casino has excitement and gaming for those nights you’re feeling lucky, and is also home to a 21,000 sq. ft. entertainment venue.

-Recommended by Granville House B&B

Chinatown Night Markets
  • Chinatown Night Market: On weekends during the summer, walk the streets of Chinatown to enjoy an eclectic mix of activities. Ranging from the standard food and local vendors to classic movie screenings and ping pong tournaments.

-Recommended by Greystone B&B

  • Vancouver TheatreSports: With over 30 years of providing the best in competitive comedy, you’re guaranteed to get world-class innovative improv.

-Recommended by Manor Guest House

  • Yuk Yuk’s Comedy Club: Home to budding Canadian comedians since the Spring of 1976. Get ready for a night of laughs.

-Recommended by Windsor House B&B

Events

Celebration of Light

Big cities are known for hosting big events. Check the dates on these events to make sure you don't miss the events you'll love or get stuck in a crowd if you'd rather not attend.

  • Celebration of Light: Vancouver's biggest event, it's the largest offshore fireworks competition in the world and attracts up to 400,000 spectators along English Bay. Expect this event: late summer.
  • Vancouver Folk Music Festival: Starting in the mid-70s, this annual outdoor music festival has become a city staple. Located on Jericho Beach Park with eight stages, it sets the perfect mood to listen to your favorite bands. Expect this event: the third weekend of July.
  • Early Music Festival: Historians and music lovers—don't miss the Early Music Vancouver festival. A celebration of traditional music and music history, this festival features themed performances and brings context to concerts. Expect this event: during the summer, with ongoing concerts throughout the year.

-Recommended by Manor Guest House

Where to go for day trips

Whistler, BC

Many of our innkeepers recommend going to Whistler, BC. Less than two hours north of Vancouver, it’s an easy drive on the Sea-to-Sky highway with breathtaking scenery along the ocean road. Two majestic snow-capped mountains perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking; hiking trails; and championship golf courses have earned this town a name as the number one mountain resort town in North America. If you’re looking for a more leisurely trip, there are an abundance of shops, restaurants, bars, and spas.

Bee & Thistle Guest House recommends a trip to Squamish, BC, the halfway point between Vancouver and Whistler. Where the ocean meets the mountains, Squamish is a captivating spot year-round. Dubbed the outdoor recreation capital of Canada, you’ll find adventure around every corner; it’s a world-class destination for windsurfing, rock climbing, and more! Boasting the second highest number of artist residents in Canada, you can also fill your day with arts and culture. Explore galleries, studios, or performances at the Howe Sound Performing Arts Association.

Granville House B&B and Windsor House B&B suggested a trip to Bowen Island for when you want to get away from the city. This quiet, forested island lives up to its slogan, “Within reach. Beyond Comparison.” Relax at the beach, or on the water, or enjoy shopping in Village Square, Artisan Square, and at the Marina on the Pier. Only about 15 miles northwest of Vancouver, Bowen Island can easily be reached by water taxi.

Manor Guest House recommends Lotus Land Tours. Including hotel pick-up, Lotus Land does all the planning for you. Just choose from a variety of day trips ranging from kayaking to taking seaplanes to Victoria.






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