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Vancouver for 4 1/2 days with no car... Gastown, West End or would it matter?

Vancouver for 4 1/2 days with no car... Gastown, West End or would it matter?

Apr 23rd, 2005, 09:18 AM
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Vancouver for 4 1/2 days with no car... Gastown, West End or would it matter?


I've never been to Canada's 3rd largest city; in fact never been west of Toronto in Canada. I was planning on visiting Vancouver without renting a car in the proximal future, so I'd like to stay in a district with good access to public transit. I tend to enjoy being close to vibrant districts that allow to me to take walks that give me an idea of the pulse of a city; I will also want to experience some nightlife (preferably of the Gay-friendly variety).

I was looking at 3 hotels that seem to jibe with my price range... 2 are in the West End close to Stanley Park (Hotel Sylvia, Buchan) and one is in Gastown (the Dominion). Any thoughts on which area you think I might like?

For the 4 1/2 days I'm there, I will want to explore Stanley Park (slow, leisurely hikes), Gastown, some of the beaches (Wreck, Kitsilano, English Bay), Granville Island, Robson/Davie Sts. Given my relatively short time frame, I thought I'd concentrate on sights within the city limits for my visit (maybe hit a museum such as Vancouver Art Gallery or Canadian Craft Muesum), unless some of you think a day trip of sorts would be advisable since who knows when I'll make it back to this part of Canada.

Any thoughts welcome. Cheers. DAN
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2005, 11:08 AM
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The West End is definately where you should be not just because it's Gay Friendly but because it's near the park and Downtown Beaches. the Sylvia is full of character but definately old. Can't tell you much about the Buchanan but there is also the English Bay Hotel - about a 2 star and the Coast Denman Place - a high rise 3 star a little more costly. Also the Sands Motor Hotel is a good West End location.

You may find you need a car if you want to go to Wreck Beach or the North Shore Mountains though they can be done with public transit. All the other sights you mention are very easily accesable from the West End.

It's about time you came west Daniel.
GaryA is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2005, 04:38 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts GaryA

Yeah, I suppose it's about time I made it out West LOL. If it's any consolation, I've never made it to PEI, Newfoundland or Cape Breton either, to name three biggies in Eastern Canada I've not seen. There are even still parts of Quebec I've yet to explore and would like to. That's one of the beauties about living in North America; even though I've seen a lot, there's still a ton more to see!

Cheers from Montreal! DAN
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Apr 23rd, 2005, 05:55 PM
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Of course, GaryA has it well covered but I thought I'd add a couple of thoughts...

Gastown isn't in a very nice part of town (and I think filled with a lot of tacky tourist shops); the West End is less touristy so it will give you a better feel of the city.

As you probably know the West End is the prominent gay community of Vancouver, and correspondingly has a good, lively nightlife. To find out what acts and entertainment are happening when you're in town pick up one of the local rags from the free drop boxes everywhere.

When I lived in the West End (a few years ago now), the Sylvia Hotel had a wonderful restaurant for a lovely lunch.

To get to the Granville Island from the West End, you might want to take the False Creek Ferry - a little communter ferry - it's pictureque and a fun way to get across.

For some of the other places (Wreck Beach or Grouse Mountain in North Van) you can easily take transit from the West End with just one transfer. If you decide to go to the Grouse Mtn, you might want to take the Seabus from downtown. Again, it's a good, cheap way to see the skyline from the water, and it takes you right to Lonsdale Mkt...good for some browsing and market shopping. I usually have a treat from one of the bakeries.

The Seabus terminates at a major bus loop so you can catch a direct bus if you wanted to go up to Grouse Mountain, Lynn Valley suspension bridge, etc. You might want to do this only on a sunny day as with the mtns, clouds and fog will put a damper on your views.

You can get complete bus and Seabus schedules (fare info, etc) from http://www.translink.bc.ca/Transport...es/default.asp. Its Trip Planning feature is quite good as you tell it where you are starting from & going to, and it will give you route options based on when you want to leave or when you need to arrive.

As for your visit to Wreck Beach, you might want to wear something more substantial on your feet than flip-flops as it is a bit of a walk down to the beach. Things might have changed since my time there (long ago, before I was even living in the W/End!), but given the topography of the area, I don't think it would change much.

If you'd like getting in with the locals, you might want to try Chinatown on Saturday or Sunday for a couple of hours...some interesting shops and foodstuffs, and I am usually amused when I am jostled out of the way by hunched-over grandmothers intent on completing their grocery shopping!

Since you'll have lots of time to explore the city you might want to check out Yaletown and Queen Elizabeth Park too.

Dan, I've benefitted from many a good tip from you (both replies & lurked) so I hope it's a wonderful trip out west...enjoy-la!
klam_chowder is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 08:25 AM
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Wow! Klam_Chowder!

Thanks for your detailed ideas. Lonsdale Mkt., Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge, Yaletown, QE Park sound like ideal additions to include in my itinerary. I notice QE Park is close to India Town on my map; I'm thinking that may be worth a look-see as well? I especially appreciated your public transit suggestions on getting to sites as that is my preferred modus operandi.

Thanks again & all the best DAN
Daniel_Williams is online now  
Apr 25th, 2005, 02:39 AM
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Hi Dan,

yw (= ...yes, the Punjabi Mkt area is quite close to one side of the QE, but I'd hop on a bus to save my legs. It's worth a visit too, it's fun to window shop the craftsmanship of the jewellery, and if you are into fabrics you will be in heaven.

If you like lite hiking you can be there however long you want at the LV Susp. Bridge; I think it's a gorgeous area to spend time in.

If you want a hearty hike, try the Grouse Grind (@ Grouse Mtn)...you hike staight up to the top rather than take the gondola!

One musuem that I intended to mention was the Museum of Anthropology - incredible breadth of displays, bldg is in a fabulous setting...definitely "West Coast" and worth a visit. It's @ UBC so you could go on the day you hit Wreck Beach; be sure to leave yourself enough time tho.

klam_chowder is offline  
Apr 25th, 2005, 01:43 PM
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The advice you've already received is great, and spot-on. I also live here and advise any of my visiting friends to skip Gastown -- it's really a tourist trap, and just on the cusp of quite a bit of street drug activity (to put it mildly). The West End is beautiful, lively and fun. The views from the Sylvia can't be beat. Definitely take the Aquabus to Granville Island, visit Yaletown (if you're a good walker, you can walk down Davie Street from the West End), and visit Grouse Mountain for great views if the skies are clear.
xandohead09 is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 06:54 AM
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Vancouver has a hop-on, hop-off tourist "bus" that circles the most important tourist spots. You might want to sample the town on first arrival and this is a wonderful do-it-yourself way to get to know the town and then make plans to visit other parts in greater detail.
easytraveler is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 07:07 AM
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Klam_chowder, xandohead

Thanks for all your thoughts. Klam, I'm glad you mention something like the Museum of Anthropology; I recently very much enjoyed Mexico City's equivalent Museo de Antropología and think I'd enjoy learning about BC coast Native American history, particularly in the context of what I learned about the civilizations further south. I need things just like that for a rainy day.

Xando, thanks for the heads up about Gastown; I think I'll probably check it out anyway given its central location and general curiosity about it because of architecture, but am convinced enough that I'll try the Sylvia in the West End first.

Thanks again one and all DAN

Daniel_Williams is online now  
Apr 26th, 2005, 01:57 PM
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I too would recommend the Sylvia Hotel in the West End. If you can't get in there (it's very popular), then the Buchan Hotel should be fine. I live within walking distance of both hotels and am quite familiar with them.

Not all rooms in the Buchan have an en-suite bathroom, so be sure to ask for one if that's important for you.
Vorkuta is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 05:26 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts easytraveler and Vorkuta.

A hop-on hop-off bus sounds good and good heads-up on the West End hotels.

Best wishes, DAN

Daniel_Williams is online now  
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