Top Ten … Hidden Gems in Vancouver

There is nothing better than stumbling across a hidden gem whilst exploring a city. Whether you are a local or just visiting there is always something new to discover in this wonderful city. Below are a list of some of my favourite hidden gems in Vancouver, a few you can probably read about in travel guides but some aren’t quite as well publicized. I hope you go and explore and enjoy these places and experiences just as much as I do.

  1. Vancouver Art Gallery Cafe
    The cafe at the Art Gallery not only offers a huge selection of delicious food but also one of the nicest places to sit and relax in the summer with a glass of wine on the secluded patio. This oasis is my favourite summer lunchtime retreat.
  2. Vancity Theatre
    If you’re a fan of festival style films and documentaries, then this is the place for you. This is the hub of the Vancouver International Film Festival, but they run festival films all year round not just during the festival. They have some of the comfiest seats in town, plus you can take alcohol into the theatre with you, win win!
  3. Shipyards Night Markets
    Summer time in Vancouver means night markets. Most people head down to Richmond to check out one of the two options that are there. Those markets are great but a few years back I went to the Shipyards Night Market in North Vancouver and found that I liked it a whole load more than the Richmond markets. Plus as an added bonus you can take the seabus straight there and there are some stunning views of Downtown on offer too. Make sure you check for what dates it’s on before you head over.

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    Views from North Van.
  4. La Casa Gelato
    Located in Strathcona this place is an ice cream lovers dream. They have over 200 flavours to choose from in store and you can try them as you attempt to narrow it down and make a decision. Set aside a decent amount of time for the decision making process. I had Rice Krispie flavour last time and it was so yummy!
  5. Choklit Park
    This is one of my favourite views of the city. The park is so tiny it hardly classes as a park, more of a gap in between houses, but the views are simply stunning. Tucked away along 7th Avenue, it’s well worth the trip out of downtown and into Fairview Slopes to see the city from a different perspective.
  6. Main St. Murals
    Main St. is a pretty awesome place to visit, it’s full of cool shops and restaurants and is a great place to get some “local flavour” and now it is filled with awesome murals. Head there for some super Instagrammable spots.
  7. Queen Elizabeth Park
    Stanley Park is great and all but I personally prefer Queen Elizabeth Park, it’s located out of Downtown and up past Cambie Village but it’s well worth the trip. Head here to catch the sun setting over the mountains and the city. The views are absolutely incredible and you get such a cool perspective of the city against the backdrop of the mountains.
  8. Kit’s Pool
    Not so much of a secret or a hidden gem, but absolutely one of my favourite places to go in the summer. The views are incredible and I cannot help but get blindsided by the beauty of the blue of the pool against the blue of the ocean and the sky.
  9. Hot Chocolate Festival
    Whilst everyone gets excited in the New Year for Dine Out Vancouver, myself included, what I get really excited for is the Hot Chocolate Festival. Local coffee shops, bakeries and chocolate shops create signature hot chocolates which are always delicious. Check out their website for dates and participating venues.
  10. Cocktail Roulette
    Like cocktails? Like trying new things? Then the Revel Room is the place for you. Whilst you can have one of the many delicious drinks from the menu my favourite thing to do is play Cocktail Roulette. It’s pretty simple, you choose the spirit, style of cocktail and can request sweet or sour etc and then leave the rest up to the bar. They’ll whip you up something delightful and different, I’ve never had a bad experience!  The Revel Room is located in Gastown slightly tucked away along Abbott Street.

Do you have any favourite hidden gems in the city? What are they? Let me know in the comments below. Happy exploring!

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Upcoming Adventures – 2017 Edition

At the start of each year I like to start thinking about my travel plans for the rest of the year, places I know I’m definitely going to go, and places I’m dreaming about going. I’ve been meaning to write this post since New Years Day, but in classic last-minute Leah style I’ve procrastinated and now it’s February! This year I have a trip home to which is going to eat into most of my vacation time from work (damn you Canada and your stingy vacation allowance) but I’m hoping to squeeze a couple of weekends away into my travel plans for the year, and as always there are plenty of stat days coming up so if I’m strategic I can squeeze in a three day weekend or two for exploring.

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The Definities:
England
I have a trip home to look forward to at the end of May. It will be nearly 18 months since I’ve been back to England by the time this trip rolls around and I cannot wait to catch up with family and friends. I’m looking forward to spending some relaxing time at home as well as going to Gloucester, London and anywhere else I can squeeze in during this trip.

Spain
Whilst in England, I’ll be heading over to Spain, more specifically the Costa Blanca, to celebrate a friends wedding at the end of May. Myself and another friend are flying into Alicante and then heading down to the port town of Denia, where we will be based. I know we are both looking forward to seeing the ancient castle in the town and explore the surrounding area’s, as well as squeezing in a few trips to the beach and plenty of sangria.

Los Angeles
I’ve been to LA and many of the surrounding area’s before but this year I’m heading back for an extra special reason; my bestie’s bachelorette weekend. The process of planning is in full swing, and without giving too much away; we will be heading down to the LA area for a weekend, of sunshine, cocktails and laughter!

Pemberton/Whistler
The wedding of the aforementioned bestie is taking place in the beautiful area of Pemberton, British Columbia in August. I know I will be spending a weekend up in ‘Sea to Sky’ country for the wedding and taking in the beauty of Whistler and Pemberton in the summertime.

The Maybe’s:
Gulf Islands
I’ve been to Galiano Island and Bowen Island, but there are so many more Gulf Islands to explore right on my doorstep, top contenders include; Salt Spring and Pender. Watch this space …

Canada
I’ve said it before, and no doubt I will say it again, but I haven’t made the most of living in this beautiful country and I want to attempt to rectify that this year. Even if I just explore some more of British Columbia I will be happy.

Weekend’s Away
I know I will probably have a weekend away with two of my best friends at some point in the summer. We go away together every year, last year we went to Harrison Hot Springs which was lovely and relaxing, and I’m looking forward to seeing where we end up this year.

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Whilst I have lots of exciting stuff to look forward to this year, I don’t have any big epic trips coming up. I’m more focused on taking smaller weekend breaks and local days out, in a never ending effort to try and save money. We’ll see how it goes …
What are your travel plans for the year? Let me know in the comments, happy exploring!