Best destinations in Vancouver (P2)

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More good destinations in Vancouver, Canada.

>> Best destinations in Vancouver (P1)

Vancouver Art Gallery

Vancouver Art Gallery @ Wikipedia

The VAG has dramatically transformed since 2000, becoming a vital part of the city’s cultural scene. Contemporary exhibitions – often showcasing Vancouver’s renowned photoconceptualists – are now combined with blockbuster international traveling shows. Check out FUSE, a quarterly late-night party where you can hang out with the city’s young arties over wine and live music.

The VAG has been inching towards building a brand new gallery for many years and, during our visit, the favored potential site was a few blocks away, near the public library.

Stanley Park Seawall

Built between 1917 and 1980, the 8.8km seawall trail is Vancouver’s favorite outdoor hangout. Encircling the entire park, it offers spectacular waterfront, mountain-fringed vistas on one side and dense forest canopy on the other. You can walk the whole thing in around three blister-triggering hours or rent a bike from Denman St near the park entrance to cover the route far faster.

Keep in mind that cyclists and rollerbladers must travel counterclockwise on the seawall, so there’s no going back once you start rolling. If you enjoy yourself, consider dipping into the 24km of trails that crisscross the park’s interior, including Siwash Rock Trail, Rawlings Trail and the popular Beaver Lake Trail (some trails are for jogging only).

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park @ Tourism Vancouver

As you walk gingerly onto one of the world’s longest (140m) and highest (70m) suspension bridges, swaying gently over the roiling Capilano Canyon, remember that its thick steel cables are embedded in concrete. That should steady your feet – unless there are teenagers stamping across. Added park attractions include a glass-bottomed cliffside walkway and an elevated canopy trail through the trees.

This is a hugely popular attraction (hence the summer tour buses); try to arrive early during peak months so you can check out the historic exhibits, totem poles and tree-shaded nature trails on the other side of the bridge in relative calm. On your way out, peruse what must be the city’s largest souvenir shop for First Nations artworks, ‘moose dropping’ choccies and a full range of T-shirts and ball caps. From May to September Capilano makes it very easy for you to get here from downtown by running a free shuttle from Canada Place and area hotels. There are also often discounts on summer admission after 5pm. Check the website for full details.

Grouse Mountain

The self-proclaimed ‘Peak of Vancouver,’ this mountain-top playground offers smashing views of downtown glittering in the water below. In summer, Skyride gondola tickets include access to lumberjack shows, alpine hiking, bird-of-prey displays and a grizzly bear refuge. Pay extra for zip-lining and Eye of the Wind, a 20-story, elevator-accessed turbine tower with a panoramic viewing pod that will have your camera itching for action.

There are also restaurants up here if you fancy dining: it’s an ideal sunset-viewing spot. You can reduce the gondola fee by hiking the ultra-steep Grouse Grind up the side of the mountain – it’s one-way only and it costs $10 to get back down on the Skyride. Grouse lures visitors from downtown from May to September by offering a free shuttle from Canada Place. And in winter, it’s all about skiing and snowboarding as Grouse become the locals’ fave powder-bound playground.

To be continued…

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