Carolyn B. Heller

Correspondent

  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Carolyn B. Heller is a Vancouver, BC-based correspondent who covers the city and Canadian travel for Forbes Travel Guide. She’s written two books, Moon Handbooks: Ontario (www.moon.com) and Living Abroad in Canada (www.livingabroadincanada.com), and contributed to more than 50 travel and restaurant guides for publishers including Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, and the Zagat Survey. Her articles about travel, food, and culture have appeared in LonelyPlanet.com, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, FamilyFun, Real Weddings, Hotel-Scoop, and Perceptive Travel, among others. She’s eaten her way across more than 40 countries on six continents, and when she’s not traveling, she enjoys theatre, beaches, and hanging out with her twin daughters.

  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    What is the weather like right now in Vancouver?

    April is springtime in Vancouver, when the winter rains abate and trees all over the city burst into colorful bloom. It’s still cool (temperatures average 13C/55F by day and 6C/43F overnight), and it’s always smart to carry an umbrella, but the days are getting longer and the sun is now making frequent appearances.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    What are the best bars in Vancouver?

    If you love an excellent cocktail, perch at the bar at The Pourhouse, in Gastown, where the masterful mixologists concoct distinctive drinks like the Cameron House (rye, lemon, maple syrup, bitters) or the Don't Go Near the Water (brandy, Cointreau, maraschino, sugar, lemon).

    The small but sophisticated Uva Wine Bar downtown stocks an excellent selection of wines by the glass, primarily from producers in British Columbia and Italy, that you can pair with tasty bar snacks.

    When the sun shines, one of Vancouver’s most spectacular patios is Dockside at the Granville Island Hotel, where you can sip a local lager and take in the downtown views.

    In newly trendy Chinatown, The Union is more restaurant than bar, serving up fine Asian-style share plates, like sambal green beans or Vietnamese “cha ca” fish. But their cool Filipino-inspired cocktails-in-a-jar called bangas are earning kudos, too. Try Banga #4, that mixes cardamom-infused cachaca, pineapple, cilantro, and chili water, or #5, a sparkling blend of sake, prosecco, bitters, and lemon thyme.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    What are the best restaurants in Vancouver?

    For fine dining, my top picks are Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star West and (soon to be rated) Hawksworth, which both offer innovative regional cuisine and first-rate service. Diva at the Met flies under the radar, but chef Hamid Salimian’s tasting menus are wildly creative.

    In Gastown, which has become Vancouver’s most interesting dining neighborhood, you’ll find excellent contemporary fare and cocktails at Boneta and L’Abbatoir.

    Expect to stand in line at Vij’s (they don’t take reservations, even from celebs or billionaires), but the innovative Indian fare and warm welcome from owner Vikram Vij are worth the hassle.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    Where is the best shopping in Vancouver?

    There’s plenty of shopping action downtown on Robson Street, the city’s main shopping district, where North American chains like the GAP, Lululemon, and Roots dominate.

    For more unique boutiques, head to other city neighborhoods. Gastown has become a center for new designers, with browse-worthy shops along Cordova, Water, Abbott, and Carrall Streets. Outside the downtown area, you’ll also find plenty of independent boutiques on Main Street.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    What are the best activities to do in Vancouver?

    Get Outdoors
    Vancouver is an outdoor-oriented city, and (as long as you dress for the weather), you can be active year-round. The city’s outdoor showplace is Stanley Park, on the tip of the downtown peninsula, which rivals New York’s Central Park in size. You can follow the waterfront seawall path all around Stanley Park, on both sides of the downtown, and out to the Kitsilano neighborhood on the city’s West Side. The seawall also takes you to many of the city’s beaches – and yes, Vancouver is a beach town; English Bay Beach, Kitsilano Beach, and Spanish Banks Beach are favorites. In winter, you can ski, snowboard, or snowshoe on three local mountains less than an hour’s drive from downtown: Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, and the smaller but family-friendly Mount Seymour.

    Experience Asian Food and Culture
    As a gateway to the Pacific Rim, Vancouver is a vibrant multicultural metropolis with a significant Asian population. In Vancouver proper, more than 25 percent of the population speaks Chinese as their first language; in the nearby suburb of Richmond, often considered the region’s “new Chinatown,” more than 65 percent of the population is of Asian descent. For an introduction to Vancouver’s Asian culture, tour the serene Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, take a food tour of Chinatown with Edible Canada, or sample one of the hundreds of Chinese restaurants in Richmond, a quick ride on the Canada Line from downtown.

    Explore Beyond Downtown
    While Vancouver’s downtown is undeniably beautiful – surrounded by water with mountains beyond – take some time to explore city neighborhoods beyond downtown. The most accessible is Kitsilano, with cute shops along West Fourth Avenue and a great people-watching beach. On funky Main Street, the blocks from 20th to 30th Avenues are lined with independent boutiques. And on the East Side, stop into one of the laid-back cafés or Italian delis along Commercial Drive.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    What are the best activities to do in Vancouver?

    Get Outdoors
    Vancouver is an outdoor-oriented city, and (as long as you dress for the weather), you can be active year-round. The city’s outdoor showplace is Stanley Park, on the tip of the downtown peninsula, which rivals New York’s Central Park in size. You can follow the waterfront seawall path all around the Stanley Park, on both sides of the downtown, and out to the Kitsilano neighborhood on the city’s West Side. The seawall also takes you to many of the city’s beaches – and yes, Vancouver is a beach town; English Bay Beach, Kitsilano Beach, and Spanish Banks Beach are favorites. In winter, you can ski, snowboard, or snowshoe on three local mountains less than an hour’s drive from downtown: Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, and the smaller family-friendly Mount Seymour.

    Experience Asian Food and Culture
    As a gateway to the Pacific Rim, Vancouver is a vibrant multicultural community with a significant Asian population. In Vancouver proper, more than 25 percent of the population speaks Chinese as their first language; in the nearby suburb of Richmond, often considered the region’s “new Chinatown,” more than 65 percent of the population is of Asian descent. For an introduction to Vancouver’s Asian culture, tour the serene Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, take a food tour of Chinatown with Edible Canada, or sample one of the hundreds of Chinese restaurants in Richmond, a quick ride on the Canada Line from downtown.

    Explore Beyond Downtown
    While Vancouver’s downtown is undeniably beautiful – surrounded by water with mountains beyond – take some time to explore city neighborhoods beyond downtown. The most accessible is Kitsilano, with cute shops along West Fourth Avenue and a great people-watching beach. On funky Main Street, the blocks from 20th to 30th Avenues are lined with independent boutiques. And on the East Side, stop into one of the laid-back cafés or Italian delis along Commercial Drive.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    What are the best activities to do in Vancouver?

    Get Outdoors
    Vancouver is an outdoor-oriented city, and (as long as you dress for the weather), you can be active year-round. The city’s outdoor showplace is Stanley Park, on the tip of the downtown peninsula, which rivals New York’s Central Park in size. You can follow the waterfront seawall path all around the Stanley Park, on both sides of the downtown, and out to the Kitsilano neighborhood on the city’s West Side. The seawall also takes you to many of the city’s beaches – and yes, Vancouver is a beach town; English Bay Beach, Kitsilano Beach, and Spanish Banks Beach are favorites. In winter, you can ski, snowboard, or snowshoe on three local mountains less than an hour’s drive from downtown: Grouse Mountain, Cypress Mountain, and the smaller Mount Seymour.

    Experience Asian Food and Culture
    As a gateway to the Pacific Rim, Vancouver is a vibrant multicultural community with a significant Asian population. In Vancouver proper, more than 25 percent of the population speaks Chinese as their first language; in the nearby suburb of Richmond, often considered the region’s “new Chinatown,” more than 65 percent of the population is of Asian descent. For an introduction to Vancouver’s Asian culture, tour the serene Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, take a food tour of Chinatown with Edible Canada, or sample one of the hundreds of Chinese restaurants in Richmond, a quick ride on the Canada Line from downtown.

    Explore Beyond Downtown
    While Vancouver’s downtown is undeniably beautiful – surrounded by water with mountains beyond – take some time to explore city neighborhoods beyond downtown. The most accessible is Kitsilano, with cute shops along West Fourth Avenue and a great people-watching beach. On funky Main Street, the blocks from 20th to 30th Avenues are lined with independent boutiques. And on the East Side, stop into one of the laid-back cafés or Italian delis along Commercial Drive.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    What new museum exhibits are in Vancouver?

    The Vancouver Art Gallery is showing the first retrospective exhibition of comic artist, Art Spiegelman, best known for his work, Maus. Called CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps, the Spiegelman exhibit runs through June 9, 2013.

    The Museum of Vancouver gets saucy with its latest exhibit, Sex Talk in the City. On view until September 2, 2013, this exhibition explores sexuality and culture and how ideas about sexuality have influenced life in Vancouver.

    In addition to its regular permanent galleries, including the totem pole-filled Great Hall, the Museum of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia campus exhibits Safar/Voyage: Contemporary Works by Arab, Iranian, and Turkish Artists, April 21 through September 15, 2013. It’s billed as Vancouver’s first major exhibition of contemporary art from these regions.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    What are the best attractions in Vancouver?

    My top five picks for don’t-miss attractions in Vancouver are:

    Granville Island
    Start in the Granville Island Public Market, where you can pick up a baguette, some local cheese, fruit, pastries, and more for a picnic overlooking the water. Visit the artist studios (and Vancouver’s only sake maker) along Railspur Alley. Check out the funky shops in the Net Loft. Then, for a different view of the island and the surrounding downtown area, rent a kayak and paddle around False Creek.

    Stanley Park
    On a sunny day, there’s no place better than Vancouver’s 400-hectare (990-acre) urban green space. Rent a bike and circle the seawall for great views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. If you’re interested in aboriginal culture, make sure to see the nine towering totem poles at Brockton Point, and check out the summer-only Klahowya Village, where you can experience First Nations storytelling, dance, and art.

    Museum of Anthropology
    For an in-depth look at British Columbia’s First Nations culture, visit this modern museum on the University of British Columbia campus. The totem pole hall is spectacular.

    Vancouver Art Gallery
    Along with frequently changing exhibits of classic and contemporary art, Vancouver’s small but well-curated art museum has an excellent collection of works by British Columbia artist Emily Carr; if you want to know what B.C.’s forest looks like on a foggy winter day, check out Carr’s paintings. Check out the gallery’s calendar of special events, too, from guided exhibition tours to the monthly FUSE art parties.

    Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden
    Fifty-two master craftsmen from China’s garden city of Suzhou constructed this serene cluster of walkways, ponds, courtyards, and traditional buildings on the edge of Chinatown. Take a tour (included in the admission price) to learn about the garden’s history and about Chinese garden design. In July and August, the garden hosts a Friday evening concert series; also look for special events in January or February to mark the Chinese New Year.
  • On March 27, 2013
    Carolyn B. Heller answered the question: Carolyn B. Heller

    What are the best attractions in Vancouver?

    My top five picks for don’t-miss attractions in Vancouver are:

    Granville Island

    Start in the Granville Island Public Market, where you can pick up a baguette, some local cheese, fruit, pastries, and more for a picnic overlooking the water. Visit the artist studios (and Vancouver’s only sake maker) along Railspur Alley. Check out the funky shops in the Net Loft. Then, for a different view of the island and the surrounding downtown area, rent a kayak and paddle around False Creek.

    Stanley Park

    On a sunny day, there’s no place better than Vancouver’s 400-hectare (990-acre) urban green space. Rent a bike and circle the seawall for great views of the surrounding mountains and ocean. If you’re interested in aboriginal culture, make sure to see the nine towering totem poles at Brockton Point, and check out the summer-only Klahowya Village, where you can experience First Nations storytelling, dance, and art.

    Museum of Anthropology

    For an in-depth look at British Columbia’s First Nations culture, visit this modern museum on the University of British Columbia campus. The totem pole hall is spectacular.

    Vancouver Art Gallery

    Along with frequently changing exhibits of classic and contemporary art, Vancouver’s small but well-curated art museum has an excellent collection of works by British Columbia artist Emily Carr; if you want to know what B.C.’s forest looks like on a foggy winter day, check out Carr’s paintings. Check out the gallery’s calendar of special events, too, from guided exhibition tours to the monthly FUSE art parties.

    Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

    Fifty-two master craftsmen from China’s garden city of Suzhou constructed this serene cluster of walkways, ponds, courtyards, and traditional buildings on the edge of Chinatown. Take a tour (included in the admission price) to learn about the garden’s history and about Chinese garden design. In July and August, the garden hosts a Friday evening concert series; also look for special events in January or February to mark the Chinese New Year.
  • On March 15, 2013
  • On March 12, 2013
    is now following Carolyn B. Heller
  • On March 12, 2013
    Shannan Finke is now following Carolyn B. Heller
  • On March 11, 2013
  • On March 6, 2013
    Sarah Gleim is now following Carolyn B. Heller