Hot time; summer in the city: Vancouver is in the thick of cruise ship season with an anticipated 895,000 cruise passengers from 241 vessel visits this year! If you’re taking an Alaskan cruise out of Vancouver this summer, have a relaxing pre or post cruise stay at The Auberge Vancouver, a quiet boutique hotel at the Terminal City Tower, conveniently located just a short block away from the cruise ship terminal at Canada Place.
Thinking about exploring the city prior to or after your cruise? Here are the top quintessential picks from our concierge team for must see, do, try and buy whether you’re here for a couple of days, a single day or just a few hours: just inquire with our friendly and knowledgeable Front Desk staff and they would be happy to map out a tailor made tour to suit your schedule and needs.
Even if you only have a few hours to spend prior to or after your Alaskan cruise, there is one place that simply cannot be missed: head straight to the world famous Stanley Park, 1000 acres of lush green forested park right in the middle of the city and touted as one of the best parks in the world. You could get there either by taxi, by public transit or even by rented bike. Once there, your visit would not be complete without taking a selfie in front of the iconic totem poles as well as by Prospect Point with a nearby view of the Lions Gate Bridge. Got a bit more time? A quick tour of the spectacular Vancouver Aquarium, home to over 58,000 animals would be worth the visit, especially if you have kids in tow.
Lunch and Afternoon:
From here, head over to Granville Island, where there’s a busy indoor public market chock-a-block full of produce, food from around the world made fresh daily as well as wares from local artisans and craft beer, too: stop to have a bit of lunch at one of the public market food stalls or at one of the many restaurants situated on the island. Fill up on interesting and unique purchases from sublime stationery boutique Paper-Ya, local chocolates from ChocolaTas, handcrafted Harry Potter-esque broomsticks from Granville Island Broom or a whimsical locally-designed custom tee shirts from MAKE Vancouver. Before heading back downtown via Aquabus water ferry for a scenic little ride, take a tour at Granville Island Brewing before settling in to sample a flight of 10 craft beer for a mere $18.00; cheers!
Late Afternoon/Early Evening:
Back downtown, your next destination is Gastown, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Vancouver. What was once a backwater single tavern town is now an über cool hipster hangout filled with indie boutiques, cutting edge restaurants & a thriving bar scene where you can get some killer craft cocktails. Concierge picks: obligatory selfie pic at the iconic Steam Clock at the exact moment when it chimes & whistles, and directly across the street, there’s Water St Cafe for half price appetizers at Happy Hour, then for dinner, there’s award-winning cuisines at either St Lawrence or L’Abbatoir, two of the best restaurants in Canada according to Canada’s 100 Best. And if you’re wanting a scenic evening stroll that’ll highlight the summer sunset mere steps away from the Auberge, saunter over to the seawall around Coal Harbour featuring several public art pieces including The Drop, Digital Orca and the Olympic Torch, the latter created for the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver. Got a bit more time? If you feel more energetic, extend your walk or bike ride (or take a taxi) to English Bay to capture the final minutes of sunset at the beach. Be sure to get a selfie with the public art sculpture Amazing Laughter, better known as the group of laughing men statues; they’ll definitely put a smile on your face!
Ready for some nightlife? Vancouver’s on point cocktail scene for a nightcap (or two) is a must: score a seat at the bar at Lift Bar & Grill in Coal Harbour and sip on one of their signature cocktails while enjoying the spectacular view of the water & the North Shore Mountains. Or for something a bit more casual, try Tap & Barrel’s outdoor patio (at Jack Poole Plaza by Vancouver Convention Centre) for a pint of one of their 36 craft beer, or a glass of BC wine on tap. Perched on a ringside seat overlooking Coal Harbour to watch the sky fade is the perfect ending to a truly captivating day in Vancouver!