Vancouver for the Weekend

Jun 10th, 2009, 11:41 AM
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Vancouver for the Weekend

Going to Vancouver this weekend for the first time. I'll be at the Sutton Place hotel 3 days before leaving on a cruise to Alaska. What's near there that's fun to do? No car, just public transport or cabs!

Also, a recent thread here spoke of the "rough neighborhood" East Hastings and someone even posted a map of that area. When reading "to do" lists of Vancouver, the shopping district "Gastown" seems to be in that same exact place... So is this an area to be avoided, or a nice place to shop and visit??

Does Canada Place have enough to see and do to keep one occupied for a while?
ryarger is offline  
Jun 10th, 2009, 01:37 PM
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this question as been answered a lot on Tripadvisor vancouver forum, maybe check there! As for Gastown, it is at the edge of the sketchy area. I is usually fine during the day, but IMHO there are nicer places to go, depending on what you like to do.
dar is offline  
Jun 10th, 2009, 01:58 PM
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Gastown is kinda tacky anyway - Robson Street is far better
for every kind of shopping imho and right by your hotel.

Canada Place won't keep you occupied for more than an hour.
Lovely waterfront walk from there to Stanley Park.
immimi is offline  
Jun 10th, 2009, 03:11 PM
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Yaletown is another shopping area I'd recommend over Gastown.

Granville Island and Stanley Park would be at the top of my to do lists.

Have a great time--the Sutton Place is one of my favorite hotels. If you like French food, Le Crocodile just a few steps from the hotel on Smithe is fabulous.
NWWanderer is offline  
Jun 10th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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Yeah, Gastown is sort of an old tourism standby created out of heritage buildings in the 70's back before Vancouver had any real sense of a tourism industry. It's not really the shining star of Vancouver's must see's, although it's always advertised as such. It can be interesting (lots of up and coming restaurants and expensive boutiques are opening up shop there), you don't really sense of Vancouver's virtues by being in Gastown - you get a taste of its urban grit and a side of Vancouver architecture from 1890-1910. You will see homeless people and begging drug addicts and people that appear to be mentally ill, but it's concentrated on Hastings. Again, it's a sad, depressing neighbourhood but no more or no less dangerous for tourists. If you are a drug addict, a sex worker, somebody who is vulnerable, mentally ill, homeless - yes - it's a dangerous place. If you're a tourist who happens to walk through the area, you're no more in danger there than you are walking outside your hotel on Burrard. Seriously.

Without a car, you're set to explore the majority of Vancouver's attractions on foot. You'll be within a 20 minute walking radius from everything, practically.

Must see's?

Stanley Park, especially the seawall that stretches from English Bay to Third Beach - be sure to walk the entirety of the perimeter.

Take a water taxi to Granville Island

Explore Gastown/Chinatown in an afternoon. Chinatown's a dead zone by evening and windowbrowsing through Gastown's Water Street takes all of 30 minutes, but the restasurants there are worthwhile - Kitanoya Guu with Otokomae, Chambar, Jules Bistro, Irish Heather (best Irish pub in the city), Greedy Pig, Boneta, etc.

Robson Street, a block outside your hotel, has lots of franchise retail outlets.

Yaletown is more "scene" with lounges and restaurants - the place comes alive at night but the boutiques are only open by day.

And personally, Canada Place doesn't have much other than a view. It's a beautifully-located convention centre, but other than that, it'll keep you occupied for 20 minutes.
Carmanah is offline  
Jun 10th, 2009, 05:24 PM
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Also fun - on a rainy day, the Museum of Anthropology out at UBC. Just take the 17 UBC or the 4 UBC bus and it'll drop you off at UBC campus. This is the best museum in Vancouver.

The Dutch exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery's supposed to be excellent, and it's on right now until September.

Take the skytrain to the Broadway skytrain statino and walk north along Commercial Drive for bohemian/ecclectic cafe culture.

Take the water taxi to Vanier Park and spend an afternoon strolling along Kits Beach, up Yew, and then down W 4th for a real non-touristy side of a cool Vancouver neighbourhood.

If you like botanical gardens, VanDusen Garden is quite beautiful - a 10 minute taxi ride away. And Queen Elizabeth Park provides a spectacular view (with an excellent special-occasion restaurant, Seasons in the Park).
Carmanah is offline  
Jun 10th, 2009, 05:27 PM
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Oh yes, and a perfect Vancouver summer evening means walking from your hotel south down Burrard to Davie Street. Take a right turn down Davie and west west until you get to English Bay beach. Have dinner at a restaurant on English Bay, and then walk up Denman Street for dessert. This is the ideal Vancouver summer evening experience - good food, beautiful scene and a feel-good vibe - can't be beat!
Carmanah is offline  
Jun 10th, 2009, 05:31 PM
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And finally, I should probably clarify.

Gastown often just refers to the touristy strip along Water Street. The Downtown Eastside (sketchy rough area) is located 2 blocks south along Hastings Street in the immediate few blocks. In Vancouver you often only have to travel 1 block to find yourself in a completely different neighbourhood.
Carmanah is offline  
Jun 11th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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Thanks very much for your help Carmanah, you're a lifesaver! If you ever need tour tips of the Detroit/Ann Arbor area, just ask!
ryarger is offline  
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