Skytrain in Vancouver.....

Old Jan 26th, 2007, 07:50 AM
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Skytrain in Vancouver.....

We'll be visitng Vancouver in June and tt looks like we'll be staying in Burnaby (Hilton Metrotown).

We'll have easy access to the Skytrain. I'm wondering which stops are good to get off at (things to see/do) and which ones should we skip? I don't want to get off at every stop only to find there's nothing to see there.

I'm also thinking it would be better to drive to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park? It looks like the Skytrain doesn't quite go there and a transfer onto a bus is needed for the park and a seabus and bus for the bridge. Would it be easier to just drive to those places?

Thanks for the guidance!
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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hdm
 
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We took the Skytrain to Commercial Avenue a couple of times. It was still about a 15 minute walk to the blocks that are loaded with restaurants but we were there in May and the weather was nice. The Skytrain was cool.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 11:22 AM
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The Hilton Metrotown's fantastic for Skytrain access - the Metrotown skytrain station is literally outside the front door!

I should mention that you can think of Vancouver's Skytrain like a subway, except it's elevated on rails above ground. Not every station will have things to see and do as several are merely stops for residential neighbourhoods.

hdm mentioned a great idea. If you get off at the Broadway station and walk north (towards to the mountains) along Commercial Drive, you'll walk from Broadway to E 8th, past E 7th, E 6th, etc... and once you get to about E 1st Avenue and north, you enter the heart of the "Commercial Drive" (aka: "The Drive") neighbourhood. An ecclectic neighbourhood unique to Vancouver with great cafes, restaurants, delis, and shops. It's the bohemian side to Vancouver.

As for your question regarding Capilano, you don't need to drive there. It's easily accessible by public transit. Essentially you just take the skytrain all the way westbound to the very last stop - Waterfront Station. The skytrain hooks up with the Seabus, which is a passenger ferry that crosses Burrard Inlet every 20 minutes.

The Seabus is a part of public transit,
so as long as you travel within 90 minutes, you can use your skytrain (3 zone) ticket to hop on the Seabus. Once you get to the other side of Burrard Inlet, you are technically in the city of North Vancouver at Lonsdale Quay. Right inside the Lonsdale Quay Seabus terminal is also a major bus loop where the bus going up to Capilano Suspension Bridge (and Grouse Mountain) is waiting. I seem to recall it's bus #236 and it will say "Grouse Mountain" at the front next to the number. The bus driver will generally announce the Capilano stop, but believe... it will be very obvious!

In regards to your question about downtown Vancouver, it's true that the skytrain doesn't cover downtown that much, but Stanley Park is essentially a 25 minute leisurely stroll along the seawall from the Waterfront skytrain station. Downtown Vancouver is really small, so practically everything there is within walking distance. The buses, otherwise, are excellent downtown, and you could easily just hop on a bus on Georgia Street (from the Burrard skytrain station) if you had no interest in walking. And once again, the skytrain ticket is also valid on buses (within 90 minutes of purchase, unless you purchase an $8 day pass, in which it would be good until midnight).

I should also mention, if you are planning to go to Capilano Suspension Bridge, it costs about $28 per person for entrance. You can purchase discount tickets from the Tourism Vancouver tourism info center which is conveniently located a block away from the Waterfront skytrain station at 200 Burrard Street (Burrard and Cordova). I think their discount is $2 on each admission.

Another idea is to go to the free Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. In this case, instead of hopping on bus #236 from Lonsdale Quay, you would hop on bus #228 or #229 - both stop just down the road from the entrance to Lynn Canyon.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 12:16 PM
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To add to the great info hdm and Carmanah have given you .......

I used TransLink's Trip Planner feature to find out how long it would take to get from Metrotown to Stanley Park. I found that even with the change from the Skytrain to the bus, it still would take only half an hour.

Also, as Carmanah pointed out, the distance from the Skytrain station to Stanley Park is very walkable. To give you an idea of how compact downtown Vancouver is, my husband and I (mid fifties, not especially fit) did the following walk in July 2006. We walked from our downtown hotel to False Creek, where the little ferries depart for Granville Island. We then walked along the False Creek / English Bay shoreline to Stanley Park. We turned north and walked up to Robson Street. Then we turned east and walked back to our hotel. So basically we did a circuit of much of downtown and the West End, and we considered it to be a leisurely walk.

Also, although many people like to rent bikes and ride around Stanley Park, you may be interested to know that in the summer time there is a FREE shuttle bus that takes people around Stanley Park.

I like Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, which Carmanah mentioned. It's situated in a beautiful temperate rainforest that has a charming stream (the Lynn River) running through it. It is a delightful forest to walk in. Also, as Carmanah mentioned, admission is FREE.

Although it is possible to get to the North Shore attractions by public transportation, as Carmanah described, I do like to have a car in North Vancouver. It gives you the flexibility to drive over to Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver and then, if the mood takes you, to do the hour-long drive along lovely Howe Sound to Squamish.

But, much as I like the North Shore of Vancouver, I really think your time is even better spent in doing a day trip to the mountain resort town of Whistler, which is one hour beyond Squamish, and so two hours from Vancouver.

Just before you reach Squamish, you can stop to see Shannon Falls. Just before you reach Whistler, you can stop to see Brandywine Falls. If you're willing to drive a half hour beyond Whistler, almost to the next town of Pemberton, you can see Nairn Falls.

My husband and I found that day trip enchanting.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 12:22 PM
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For the sake of accuracy, I also should admit that there is a bus to Horseshoe Bay. But the North Shore covers a fairly large area, and it does give you added flexibility if you can tour around at will. If your rented car is languishing in the parking lot at Metrotown, and if parking at Lynn Canyon is free, why not use the car?

The car versus public transportation equation is a bit different in downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park, where you have to pay for parking and where the one-way streets make navigation a bit more nerve racking.

Hope that helps.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 03:14 PM
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Carmanah, Judy, and hdm.....WOW, thanks so much for the info! You've been so helpful!

I hope you check back in because I do have more questions....especially re: Lynn Canyon suspension bridge!! It's FREE????? Wow! Is it just as good as Capilano? I remember going to the Capilano bridge as a little girl but when I heard $27 per adult I was shocked! If Lynn Canyon is just as breathtaking then I will definitely go there.

About how far is Lynn canyon bridge from the Capilano bridge?

I really appreciate the tips....I look so forward to the stroll along the seawall to Stanley Park...sounds wonderful!

Thanks again...and any other "must sees" that you can think of would be so appreciated!
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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I meant to post this 3 months ago and just forgot. It is some tips I garnered from using transit to get around Vancouver.

Basically I spent two days wandering
around Vancouver on the local
transit system – Translink.

My overall experience was quite
positive. The system is extensive
and not hard to use. Bus drivers
were very helpful and courteous.

Day 1: Getting from Lougheed Town Centre
to Downtown and Stanley Park.
I caught the Skytrain at the Loughheed Town Centre
Station. I purchased a “Day Pass” from one of the machines
(At $8 for the whole day, all transit zones – this is a
great bargain.). I tried to use my credit card
in the machine but I could not seem to get that
to work. Cash worked fine – I received the correct
change for my $20 bill. After getting slightly
confused (I did not realize I had to change trains at
Commercial/Broadway.) I ended up at Burrard station.
I asked a friendly Translink employee where I could get the
Number 19 bus to Stanley Park. He correctly directed me to Pender Street.
After spending several hours in Stanley Park and at the aquarium, I was walked
out but wanted to see a bit of Chinatown – so instead of talking Bus number 19
back to downtown, I decided to take it as far as it went. I could have
got on the Skytrain at Main but chose to take the bus to the end of the line
- another Skytrain Station whose name escapes me. Got on the Skytrain
and took the long way back to Loughhead Town Centre.

I have only 2 complaints (very minor).
Difficulty in obtaining a complete
system map. Luckily I had printed a
downtown area transit map and a Skytrain
map from the website. There is a complete
system map on the website but it is hard to
print large enough to read. I had hoped to
find a complete map available at the Skytrain
stations but not luck.
Also since Skytrain stations are unmanned,
it would have been useful to have some posted
explanations of how to get Downtown including
where one has to switch trains and where one can switch lines.
On my first day, I found myself at VCC-Clarke,
wondering where I should have switched trains to get downtown.
However for the most part by studying the Skytrain map carefully,
I was pretty much able to figure out how to get
from A to B on the Skytrain. On my third day,
I was meeting friends and had get from the Millenium
Line to the Expo line to do so – by then I had
no problems figuring out where to switch lines.

I highly recommend getting a "Day Pass" - it pays for itself pretty quickly. I also recommend the ferry to North Vancouver.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 04:12 PM
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Translink's website - it was very useful to me:
http://www.translink.bc.ca/
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 04:27 PM
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PS Best restaurant we went to on Commercial Avenue was Havana -- we went there twice. Worst? Mephis Blues BBQ.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 08:38 AM
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I posted this in your other thread, but I figured I'd repeat it here -

I'd highly recommend finding a hotel closer to downtown as opposed to staying at the Metrotown Hilton. I live pretty close to there, and while it's a safe area (relatively speaking), is very quiet with not a lot going on, especially in the evenings.

The Skytrain is convenient to get around, but would be a major pain to use as a tourist during rush hour (ie heading downtown for your day's sightseeing) - I commute on it every day and it gets *really* crowded.

On the other hand, if $$$ is a big concern, it probably is cheaper than any thing downtown...
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 10:35 AM
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Thanks, BikerScott. Please see my question to you in my other post "Best Western Sands Hotel".
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 11:34 AM
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HOTEL

I looked up the Best Western Sands at TripAdvisor. It got lots of points for location, but otherwise the reviews were not all that enthusiastic.

Tprsrs6, have you thought of using Priceline? You probably could get a 4-star hotel in the downtown core or the West End (either location would do) for US$90 a night.

The only risk with Priceline is that, since you pay up front, you lose the payment if you have to postpone or cancel your trip for some reason.

Another approach to take might be to stay in a suite hotel. I’m thinking of the fact that you mentioned in another thread, namely, that there will be 8 people in your travel party. You said that the 8 people would require 2 rooms. I take it from that that you plan to have 4 people in a room. In a suite hotel you might get 2 bedrooms, or at least a living room in which 2 people can sleep and a separate bedroom in which another 2 people can sleep.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO

In an earlier post you asked about things to do in Vancouver. The Destinations section of the Fodor’s website has excellent itineraries for Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle. The link to the Destinations section of the site is near the top left hand corner of the Fodor’s screen.

In addition to that, feel free to look at the Vancouver page of my website:

http://tinyurl.com/2cvee7

TRANSPORTATION

This is one of those instances that illustrate the importance of context. I had no idea when I responded to you previously that there were 8 people in your travel party. The number of people makes a difference.

Public transportation definitely is cheaper when there is one person getting around the city, and it may even be cheaper if there are two people sight seeing together. If there are 4 people sharing a car, it changes the equation. This is all the more true if you are going to rent the car regardless, and if the car will languish in the hotel’s parking garage if you don’t use it.

If you’re going to use public transportation for sight seeing, your best option probably is an all-day pass, which costs $8 per adult. Suppose there are 4 people sharing a car. Their combined transit passes would cost $32 / day. You can buy a lot of car parking for $32. Some places, like Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, where Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is located, do not even charge for parking.

Hope that helps.
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