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Visiting Vancouver

This Canadian City's High Walkability and Bikeability Scores Make it Easy to Explore on Foot

Maintaining a wellness routine while traveling isn't easy. But traveling somewhere that's extremely walkable and bike-friendly is an easy way to ensure you stay active during a trip without having to make the extra effort. Aside from the obvious reasons — it's a chock-full of attractions, home to award-winning restaurants and is featured on TIMES' "World's Greatest Places 2023" list — Vancouver is our pick for its high walkability and bikeability scores. 

What does this mean? The city's high scores in these two areas mean that it's easy to explore on foot or via bike. On scale from 0-100, Vancouver received a score of 81 for walkability, making it "very walkable." Similarly, the city scored 99 for bikeability, classifying it as a "biker's paradise." 

While the city's bike friendliness and walkability fosters a healthy vacation, it also means the city is easy to explore. I recently had the chance to visit this buzzing city, and here's everything I recommend so you can make the most out of your urban adventure.

Do

The city of Vancouver is home to countless activities — both leisurely and adventuresome. Although it's been coined by some as "The City of Glass" for its sleek and modern architecture, Vancouver is also a hotspot for nature-lovers, as it boasts close proximity to rainforests, beaches and mountains.

If exploration of the area's biodiversity is on your list (if it's not, it should be), Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a must. The park — located 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver — combines nature, history and culture for an experience among the treetops. The scenery is utterly breathtaking and this experience was easily one of my favorites. 

Stanley Park, the city's 1,000-acre natural reserve, is also must-visit. It's home to more than 16 miles of trails, multiple beaches, playgrounds, tennis courts, picnic areas and a paved walking and biking bath called the Seawall. Also, the Vancouver Aquarium is located at Stanley Park. If you head there for a visit, don't miss the jellyfish and the Stellar's Bay exhibits.

One of the city's most popular destinations, Granville Island, is the perfect place to explore some of the city's artisan vendors and small businesses. While you're there, walk amongst locals and visitors alike at the Public Market and stroll through the Artisan District, all while taking in beautiful city views.

Finally, no trip to Vancouver is complete without walking around some of the city's trendy neighborhoods. Be sure to visit Yaletown, West End and, my personal favorite, Gastown — home to the famous Gastown Steam Clock, charming cobblestone streets and trendy boutiques.

Eat

Vancouver is home to some of the best culinary opportunities in the world — including multiple restaurants with Michelin stars like Kissa Tanto and Masayoshi. But what's great about Vancouver's culinary scene, is that you don't necessarily need to go to a Michelin-starred restaurant for impeccable cuisine, service and ambiance. 

Glowbal Restaurant Group has various concepts around the city that boast a variety of delicious cuisines. We enjoyed visiting the GLOWBAL, Coast and Black + Blue for dinner, and Italian Kitchen for lunch. Some of my favorite bites included the blackened king salmon, scallops and mushroom risotto from GLOWBAL; the calamari, smoked salmon flatbread, and lobster and prawn carbonara from Coast; the jumbo shrimp cocktail and Japanese Kobe Beef tenderloin from Black + Blue; and the black squid ink seafood pasta, Caprese salad and tiramisu from Italian Kitchen.

For dessert or a little midday pick-me-up, you can't miss Uno Gelato. The gelateria has several locations across the city that boast house-made flavors like Madagascar vanilla, salted caramel, roasted hazelnut, mango, and passionfruit. What's more, is that Uno Gelato even offers gelato making classes, where you can sample 10 different gelato flavors, make gelato with an expert and take home a pint of your creation. 

Stay

There is no shortage of premier lodging options in this British Columbia city. But if you want to stay in the heart of it all, there are two hotels in particular that stand out: Loden Hotel and the Hilton Downtown Vancouver (formerly The Westin Grand).

Loden Hotel is an award-winning boutique hotel that offers luxury services and amenities, 77 guest rooms and an award-winning French restaurant. The Michelin-recommended hotel is centrally located in Vancouver's Coal Harbor neighborhood and boasts five different types of modern guest rooms as well as a two-bedroom penthouse that comes complete with a kitchen, dining room and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views. 

During my stay at Loden Hotel, I had the pleasure of lodging in a garden terrace room — an urban garden escape that featured a private patio on the hotel's second floor nature sanctuary. My favorite services and amenities were Loden Hotel's luxury pillow menu, chic fitness studio and complimentary bike cruisers. 

I was also lucky enough to enjoy a stay at the Hilton Downtown Vancouver, a swanky hotel with modern accommodations and amenities. Located on the edge of the Yaletown neighborhood, the Hilton is walking distance to the Vancouver Art Gallery, Library Square and several bars and restaurants, including the afore mentioned Glowbal, Coast, Black + Blue and Italian Kitchen.

Are you interested in learning more about Vancouver and it's award-winning attractions? Visit DestinationVancouver.com for free travel itineraries, activity guides, and other resources.

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