Vancouverites: Get your Tourist on!

vancouver summer tourist pictures[trip style = staycation + sightseeing] {more pics below}

Sometimes it's fun to be a tourist in your own city. It provides the sense of getting away and getting lost in the beat of your own city without a road or plane trip. I get it, staycations seem lame, but they don't have to. If you want to make the experience seem all-the-more authentic, strap on a fanny pack, grab a map, showcase your camera, and sport some sunglasses, a hat and runners. With this in mind, I've compiled a list of summer activities that will re-invigorate your love for Vancouver.

[Note to actual Vancouver tourists: most Vancouverites don't escape from the city in the summer. Unless they head for the mountains, lakes or islands nearby, the city is too beautiful and too fun to leave when the weather heats up.]

Whether you're an actual tourist or a local, here are some neat things locals do in the summer:


  • Start your day off right at Granville Island. Drink freshly squeezed juice, sip a cappuccino, grab a croissant or doughnut and become part of the weekend-visit-to-Granville-Island ritual.
  • Vancouverites are known for embracing an outdoor lifestyle. That's why we live in a place with the ocean and mountains within 15 minutes of the city. Stanley Park's seawall is a big part of this. Take advantage of the park's 400 hectares and cycle or walk oceanside past marinas, lakes, totem poles, forest, boats and beaches. Muster-up a little extra energy and go past Stanley Park into Coal Harbour toward the new Vancouver Convention Centre to check out the green roof and gaze at the larger-than-life art pieces {see pics below}.
  • If you're an arty type, or just want to dip your toes into the city's blooming art scene, check out the Vancouver Art Gallery, gallery row on South Granville Street or real estate mogul Bob Rennie's personal art collection (free) in historic Chinatown.  Richard Jackson is the current featured artist showing until September 25, 2010 (you must sign up ahead online). Apparently, Rennie's collected enough art to host continual, unique 3-month shows for the next 20 years.  The gallery design alone will blow your socks off.
  • If all you want to do is relax, spend a day at the Vancouver's newest and most fabulous hotel spa at the Fairmont Pacific Rim.
  • After a long day of traipsing all over the city, chill out and catch a flick at the Scotiabank Theatre downtown, or indulge in a free outdoor movie experience on Fridays at the Hastings Race Track, where 80s blockbuster movies will be resurrected for the occasion.


  • Breakfast
    • The irrefutable local faves are brunch at Yaletown's oceanfront Provence or breakfast at Crosstown's Cafe Medina.
    • For something a little more casual, visit Thomas Haas in Kits or North Van.  Famous for his chocolates, this chef extraordinaire also makes the best pastries I've ever tasted. Channel your inner Parisian and sip a cappuccino and savor a flaky croissant, then walk it off....
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
    • Located in historic (and in Vancouver that means 120 years old) Gastown, Boneta offers an open, funky space and excellent fare.
  • Dessert
    • This is a bold statement, but potentially rivaling Italy's gelato, locals flock to Mondo Gelato (recently renamed "Gelarmony"... weird) for their dose of heaven - I mean gelato. You just must.

Pictures (pardon the cell phone pics!) vancouver convention centre walk way New Vancouver Convention Centre Walkway

vancouver convention centre art The Lego-like orca at the new Vancouver Convention Centre

rain drop at vancouver convention centre The slightly ironic rain drop at the new Vancouver Convention Centre

Richard Jackson Art Rennie Gallery The Richard Jackson art installation at the Rennie Gallery

richard jackson peeing bears rennie collection Another Richard Jackson installation at the Rennie Gallery

boneta restaurant vancouver Boneta Restaurant in Vancouver