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Surrounded by the blue waters of the Strait of Georgia and backed by the mile-high peaks of the Coast Range, the most mundane of Vancouver moments elicits a gasp at the view — on public transit crossing one of many bridges or from the window of a hotel room, snow-capped peaks tower over the skyline with rainforest adventure and urban escape a short drive away. Overflowing with romance, the enchanting activities during a romantic getaway to Hollywood of the North are endless. Here’s our Forbes Travel Guide editors' list of the best things to do during your romantic trip to Vancouver:
1. Drive up to Whistler. Those beautiful mountains that you can’t help but ogle at are some of the best in the region, not to mention all of North America. While there is plenty to do in the city itself, we think a drive out to the world-famous ski resort of Whistler will sweep you off your feet. As you wind around those gorgeous mountains with the water flowing on one side and the earth rising on the other, you’ll have to pinch yourself to be sure you aren’t dreaming. Whether there’s snow on the ground or the roads are gobbled up by lush greenery, a trip to Whistler is worth it.
2. Kayak into the wind. To get the full impact of Vancouver’s magnificently romantic setting on the coast, troll the waterways under paddle power with a kayak from Ecomarine. The outfitter rents both single and double kayaks at its Granville Island headquarters and at two other outposts at Jericho Beach and English Bay. Tours are available, and first-timers can take a three-hour lesson before getting started. Navigate from placid False Creek to more rugged inlets up the shore.
3. Picnic in Stanley Park. One thousand acres of unspoiled British Columbia in the heart of the city, Stanley Park, the largest city park in Canada, is a green haven with few peers. Towering forests of cedar, hemlock and fir spill onto sandy beaches, immersing visitors and residents alike in the wild just minutes from the civilized. Pack your favorite goodies and set off to find the perfect spot — we’re suckers for the rose garden.
4. Venture to Grouse Mountain. For skiing in winter, hiking in summer and sightseeing year-round, Grouse Mountain draws flocks of visitors to Vancouver’s North Shore. The area’s first ski mountain is still its most convenient, with ski and snowboard runs that overlook the metropolis, as well as a skating rink and sleigh rides. Rain or shine, snow or sun, hop aboard the Skyride Gondola for an unrivaled view of the City of Glass.
A dining idea…
Tucked gently on the side of a mountain, Fraîche Restaurant is renowned as one of West Vancouver's most celebrated dining experiences. Combined with Fraîche's steadfast service and inspiring panoramic views, discover why this stylish, relaxed restaurant quickly became a local institution. Enjoy your mimosas and the famous Green Eggs and Ham dish as you enjoy a view that will last a lifetime. Dressed up or down, Fraîche is a warm welcoming place where the cuisine, service and view will always impress, and will be a truly memorable experience! Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 14:30. Fraîche is a simple twenty minute taxi journey from my hotel and is a scenic drive to experience.
For a nice day stroll on Main Street…
Explore the independent fashions in SOMA (South of Main District) between 19th and 26th Avenues on Main Street. SOMA has recently been branded the city’s fashion district with new boutiques arriving almost daily. For the wife… be sure to journey into the Barefoot Contessa, The Lip Lounge and Lüt Boutique for fashion forward clothing. For a casual lunch, I recommend Legendary Noodle or for one of the best burgers in town, go to Crave on Main Street and 23rd Avenue.
Daytrip with nature…
A day trip driving along the sea-to-sky corridor is always a great way to spend the afternoon. There are many exotic places to explore such as Shannon Falls, Porteau Cove, and a relaxing lunch at Furry Creek Golf Course. Or Try Bald Eagle viewing at Brackendale (fall and winter only) and local favourite, Brandy Wine Falls (just 20 minutes outside of Whistler).
A journey into Lynn Valley…
Approximately 20 minutes from downtown is a great place to get in touch with nature and get away from the sounds of the city. Lynn Canyon Park officially opened to the public in 1912 and has been a popular destination among tourists and local residents ever since. Lynn Canyon Park is a great location for a family picnic, a leisurely hike, or a refreshing swim in one of the many popular swimming holes. The trails aren’t challenging hikes and there many trails that you can explore as it also tends to be less touristy and the bonus is that it’s free!