Need a fun weekend getaway? Somewhere international, but you don’t want to travel too far? Or maybe you want to scope out a new place to live if Trump happens to win the election? I have the answer, Vancouver, B.C! Here is my list of places to visit in Vancouver when you only have 48 hours.
Over the Memorial Day Weekend, I visited Vancouver, BC with my Godmother and Aunt. One perk of living in the Pacific Northwest is that cities like Portland, Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver B.C. are of driving distance from one another, making weekend trips like this possible. Whether it is a 2-week long trip or a weekend getaway, I love planning every detail from shops to places to eat.
Most of the trip was centralized in Downtown Vancouver, so everything was within walking distance or a short drive away.
Our first full day in Vancouver did not go as planned, it rained all day. Even though we’re from Portland, where we see rain all the time, we were not prepared for it at all, but that didn’t stop us from exploring the city.
Our first stop was Beaucoup Bakery for breakfast. This cute little bakery is located South of Downtown - a short 5-minute drive from our hotel. They are known to have the best croissants in Vancouver, and I can guarantee that it was! I had a chocolate almond croissant - it was light, flaky and buttery. They have the typical French bakery pastries like pommes, tarts, and scones. They also carried seasonal treats that include the Apple Pie Double Baked Croissant and the Brioche Loaf, which is only available by pre-order. The only downside to this bakery was that the space was too small for how popular it is. They do have outdoor seating, but because it was raining everyone wanted to stay warm inside. We were lucky enough to have snatched a table to enjoy our breakfast.
2. Vancouver Art Gallery
The Vancouver Art Gallery was the perfect place to get out of the rain for a couple of hours. I was really excited to visit the art museum because of their current exhibit, MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture. The exhibit hosted 372 art pieces from 156 artists and 30 curators, it was their biggest exhibition. All the artwork showcased was dated from 1912 to the present. The best part of the exhibit was that I was able to see pieces from my favorite artist, Andy Warhol. The last time I saw Warhol pieces was a few years ago in Virginia Beach, so it was a treat to be able to see it again.
3. Meat & Bread, Gastown
I’ve been craving sandwiches from Meat & Bread since my last visit to Victoria, BC last spring. Their hearty gourmet sandwiches were perfect after all the walking we did at the museum and through the rain. These are more than just your basic bologna sandwiches. I had the roast beef with mushroom gravy, garlic Dijon aioli and shaved asparagus. It was the most sophisticated roast beef sandwich I have ever had. It was a casual setting with community style seating, so be prepared to get comfortable with strangers! They just opened a new location in Seattle, which means it’s time for another weekend trip!
4. Old Faithful Shop
This cute shop sells gifts, housewares, accessories, personal items and stationery. I wanted everything, but there was nothing in my price range. It reminded me of a boutique for outdoorsy people. They carried products that would cater to high end hipsters. What I really like was that a lot of the things they sold were handmade or from local vendors.
If you know me, Aesop is one of my favorite skincare brands. Everything has a unique scent and I really enjoy the apothecary style packaging. Every Aesop location’s interior is different. And it’s my life goal to visit every Aesop! This location was filled with wood interiors and warm lighting, very reflective of the vintage feel of Gastown.
6. Oak & Fort
This was a gorgeous shop; minimal clothing galore with nothing but the neutral color palette. I would say the style of clothing is a mix of Yeezy, Everlane and A.P.C., simple, contemporary and minimal. The space has a cold feel, an open floor plan with concrete flooring and white walls, but the warm, soft and neutral colors balance it out. Oak & Fort is the place if you want the basics with a little more edge. They carry modern silhouettes from elongated tees to oversized trench coats
One of my lifelong dreams is to visit the Laduree in Paris, so when I found out there was one located in Vancouver, I knew my dream was going to be fulfilled (sort of). We were third in line to get in and it didn’t take long for the line to grow behind us. This place made me feel like a kid in a candy store. The French style interior was perfect, from the marble tables, gold molding, pastel and gold-rimmed china to the crystal chandeliers. With this being a rare occasion, we decided to sit down and have tea rather than just getting macaroons to go. This was a fun experience, I felt like we were in France, even it were for just a little bit!
8. Bao Down
What’s a fun combo? Hip-hop and bao! For lunch we went back to Gastown for some bao at a place that just opened a year ago. Bao Down serves bao, of course, along with sandwiches and noodles. What makes it modern and unique are the influences from different Asian cultures from the kimchi fries and Filipino stews. I had the pork belly bao and it was the best I have ever had. It was the size of my palm and was perfect for a quick afternoon lunch.
9. Roden Grey
Roden Grey was our last stop in Gastown, and it was pure Heaven!. It’s a men’s clothing and footwear boutique. They sold brands such as Adidas x Raf Simons, Common People and Monocle. They carried a variety of styles from minimal, urban to contemporary. What I loved the most about the store was their interior. The space was divided into two floors; the top floor contained metal fixtures and accents while downstairs looked liked an underground tunnel lined with mirrors. Even if you’re not looking for something in particular, it’s a fun place to stop by and experience the interior.
10. 720 Sweets
The sun finally came out during our last day in Vancouver, and that meant ice cream! Our last stop before driving over the border was 720 Sweets, a soft-served ice cream shop with a unique presentation. 720 Sweets is an Asian inspired dessert shop that served frozen yogurt with fun toppings like mocha, wafer sticks and sweet beans. They had yogurt flavors like matcha and black sesame. I had the Matcha Madness which was green tea matcha yogurt topped with mochi, red beans, rice krispies and condensed milk. It was the best matcha frozen yogurt I have ever had; it was silky and smooth. I’ve been craving the Matcha Madness ever since. Yet, the one thing that made 720 Sweets stand out from other frozen yogurt places is their presentation - they place the frozen yogurt over liquid nitrogen, giving it a smokey and antarctic feel.
We visited all these places over the span of two days, but imagine all the other things you can do in a week! There’s definitely more to do in Vancouver, especially in the nature department. But if you’re like my family and I this city guide will serve you well. So what are you waiting for? Plan your Vancouver BC trip and share any new spots your find!