VANCOUVER (Reuters Life!) - With its mild temperatures, not too hot in summer or too cold in winter, and its location on Canada’s Pacific coast, Vancouver has won accolades as one of the world’s most livable cities.
Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors make the most of a weekend visit.
6:30 p.m. - On arrival at the Vancouver International airport, or “YVR” as most people call it, take a moment to glance at Bill Reid’s sculpture “The Jade Canoe” which shows why the late Haida artist’s works are so cherished.
8 p.m. - After settling into your hotel there are plenty of options for dinner in downtown Vancouver. Joe Fortes Seafood and Chophouse has a regional flare. For something more up market try Boneta Restaurant in the hip Gastown area on the eastern edge of the downtown core.
Grab a copy of the Georgia Straight newspaper to see what music acts are rolling into town. Shows at the Commodore Ballroom are always fun or stroll down Robson Street, a popular retail area in the central core area.
9 a.m. - After breakfast at your hotel, head to the waterfront and the Olympic cauldron. The nearly 10-meter high structure next to the convention center has its flame lit for special occasions, and is impressive with the water and North Shore mountains as a backdrop.
10 a.m. - Wander over to Stanley Park. It’s one of the largest urban parks in North America. It has woodlands, gardens and totem poles and even an aquarium. Walk or bike the seawall which circumnavigates the park with views of Burrard inlet that you cannot get from any car. Give yourself two hours if you are going to walk all the way around. You will get a taste of why the environmental group Greenpeace was founded in Vancouver.
Noon - Grab some lunch in the park or in the nearby West End neighborhood. Try the Fish House in Stanley Park or the Teahouse restaurant, which looks out over English Bay.
1:30 - Check out some of the competition venues for the recent winter Olympics. Curling was held at the Vancouver Olympic Center, a short walk from the Canada Line’s King Edward Station. It is also not far from the Queen Elizabeth Park and VanDuesen Botanical Garden.
4:30 p.m. - Visit Granville Island with its small stores, galleries, marinas and a public market in central Vancouver. The railway tracks in the street are a clue to its former industrial life. Head west just a bit to Vanier Park. During the summer it has a variety of events on the beach. A fun way to get back to downtown is riding across the water on one of the small False Creek ferries.
6:30 p.m. - Steamworks Brewing Co, the Alibi Room and Railway Club are possibilities for a pre-dinner beer and they are near Gastown with its plethora of food and beverage choices. Inspiration can also be found at The Irish Heather GastroPub and its Shebeen Whiskey House.
For those who still have some energy after dinner and a day of walking, slip into a lounge at one of the trendy hotels to see which celebrities are in town — or pretend you are one. Vancouver is a major film production center sometimes called “Hollywood North.”
8 a.m. - Alpine skiing, sliding and Nordic competitions in the Olympics took place in the mountain resort village of Whistler. It’s about a two-hour drive from Vancouver on the scenic Sea to Sky highway, so you will want to get an early start if you want to take a look.
9 a.m. - If you want to stay closer to Vancouver head to the Cypress venue used for freestyle skiing and snowboarding. It is about a 20-minute drive from downtown and one of three North Shore ski facilities with summer hiking options. Also popular in that area are the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain Skyride. No car? Cross the harbor to the north shore on the SeaBus ferry.
Remember you are on the edge of a wilderness area, so if you do go hiking during a summer visit keep an eye open for bears and stay on the trails so you don’t get lost. In the winter snow in the out of bounds areas may look alluring but it can be very dangerous.
12:30 p.m. - Vancouver has deep links to Asia and the downtown Chinatown market area traces its roots to Vancouver’s role as a railway hub in the late 1800s. It is also home to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden.
2:30 p.m. - Archeological evidence indicates people have lived in the area since 500 BC. Visit the Museum of Anthropology, an architecturally stunning facility at the University of British Columbia.
Reporting Allan Dowd, Editing by Patricia Reaney