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1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

Dallas, Texas
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1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

Hello, Could you help me with must see & things to do on our trip?

My BF & I (28&33yrs) will be visiting Vancouver for the first time (never been to Canada either) on Sept 23(arrive at 11am) – 27(depart at 2pm). We are staying at the L'Hermitage on Richards Street. We will rely on walking & public transit.

We love to explore & try new things, we love music, museums, food, hitting up clubs/music venues (small/big) & meeting new people. Ohh & I think he may propose in Vancouver, eeeeks I’m so excited, did I just jinx myself!?!

This is a list of things that I know we must do but have questions about, I know its long but I would truly appreciate your advice & time:

SkyTrain – Should we use this from the airport to our hotel? We will have at least 2 medium/big suitcases. Take the Canada Line instead – where can I purchase tickets?

Granville Island – What is the best way to get here? Has anyone used http://tourguys.ca/vancouver-tours/ I know they work for tips…

Vancouver Boat Tours – can I access this from Granville Island? Since there is only 2 of us, is there a different boat tour that would be more economical?

Granville Island Brewing – My BF loves beer, so a little something just for him – Yes/No?

Yaletown – is it near Granville Island? I heard it was an expensive side of town & I don’t plan to buy anything expensive… Is it worth the trip? Just to go see what its about?

After Granville, what areas nearby or what sightseeing can we schedule?

Vancouver Urban Adventures -(vancouverurbanadventures.com/gastown_chinato…) – is this about the same as the Tour Guys? Usefull to use to visit Gastown & Chinatown? Or we can do this on our own?

Stanley Park – Thinking of using Vancouver Urban Adventures, so that we can learn a little something instead of just walking around aimlessly…

Vancouver Viewpoint – Where is this? Good way to see the city?

Which Museums are a must see?

Restaurants – Which are must eat breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner locations? My BF loves loves eating in different cities so any type of food from food carts to sitdown places will work. & at least one very nice place for dinner (I don’t eat any seafood, but he does)…?

Dancing & Music – Where can we go each night for a couple of drinks & listen/dance to music? We love all types of music; jazz, rock, indie, local artists performing(these are the best!)

Are prices on menus in restaurants typically INCLUDE tax? Tax is 12%? What about other prices on clothing, alcohol?

Any other areas or must see or festivals going on?

Thank you for your time & information!

-Sonia

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1. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

Let me address some of your questions:

Using Canada Line (yes it's a skytrain, but we call the other two lines skytrain. Our new pride and joy from the airport is Canada Line.) is easy. You purchase tickets with Cdn coins or credit card right at the platform. It's a weekday before 6:30 pm so you will each pay $8.75. Vancouver City Centre Station is about 3 blocks (5 min walk) from your hotel.

To get to Granville Island you can take the #50 bus from Granville and Robson, just along from your hotel. You can also get to the foot of Thurlow to take the harbour ferry across False Creek. You might allow 1-2 hours at GI. There is a lot more to it than just the public market. http://granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/

Yaletown is definitely an upscale neighbourhood, very nice, expensive, close to the seawall around False Creek. IMO, keep it to the end of your time and if you have any further need of seawall walks and any time left over, add it on.

I have no personal experience with Vancouver Urban Adventures (I DO live here!) but there is one enthusiastic and high positive review on TA about them from just last month. So that might be worth doing. For Stanley Park as well, although wandering and surprising yourself with SP's delights is also worth considering. Perhaps the tour first and then revisit some of the places on your own?

Vancouver Viewpoint is a puzzle. There are many viewpoints in Vancouver. Here is a brief overview of some of them: hellobc.com/en-CA/…Vancouver.htm

Museums: At the top right of the Vancouver Forum you will see Top Questions. Open this and find the listing for museums in and around Vancouver.

Restaurants: there are too many too mention. Have a look on TA Vancouver Forum for the restaurant reviews. As well, search Vancouver Restaurants or some similar combination of words and you will see hundreds of threads about this topic.

Vancouver Boat Tour is a private company running tours for couples in a 25 foot boat. Definitely something off the beaten path.

99% of purchases here will have a line item after the goods/service total for the HST. Yes it is 12%. Taxes are included in gas and alcohol.

Others will pitch in with other ideas.

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2. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

Someone's going to fine tune what I wrote about the HST.

In restaurants, food and alcohol are subject to 12% HST and that amount is a line item after the subtotal of the food and drink.

In Government Liquor stores the taxes are embedded in the ticket price, so included.

I don't know how the HST works in private liquor stores.

So gas and alcohol taxes are the 1% where the tax is embedded. All other purchases for goods and services show the HST as as line item on the bill/receipt.

And what irritates me enormously is the recycle fee for certain drinks/juice/tetra box containers is subject to HST, but when you return the empty you're out the HST amount! In 12 months, someone around here is going to be rolling around in so much money that we'll be able to fund health care for the whole world. (but I digress.) Still the HST is only 1 month old and we're still getting surprises.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

For your beer-loving BF try http://www.bcbeer.ca/newsarchive.aspx for info on B.C. beers. For other Canadian beers just ask at a gov't liquor store. There are many good ones from all over Canada that just won't be at the Granville Island Brewing Co. http://www.unibroue.com/ a company from Quebec has some great beers that are available in those stores. http://www.bcliquorstores.com/ will give you locations etc.

One suggestion is if you are in Yaletown or Granville Island you can take one of the small ferries to both areas. So if in Yaletown just head to the foot of Davie at the marina. It will take you right to Granville Island and vice versa. http://www.granvilleislandferries.bc.ca/ and http://www.theaquabus.com/

For great views of the city...there are so, so many. One of my fav's is looking from Kitsilano Beach towards the city all the way along to Spanish Banks. If the weather is pleasant rent a bike and do the whole seawall...extends much further than just Stanley Park..but to Yaletown, Olympic Village and Granville Island.

As said food options are endless but perhaps mention what type of food you like to narrow it down a bit.

If you are into cheeses there are certain cheeses available in Canada that you can't get in the U.S. due to import restrictions. These I believe are un-pasturized cheese younger than 60 days....so mainly soft cheeses. Urban Fare in Yaletown (other locations as well ) and Granville Island may be the best places to get these.

Edited: 06 August 2010, 01:39
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4. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

Hi Sonia,

I never realized there was such a thing as a walking tour in Vancouver until MSNBC did a segment on things to do after the Olympics.

The 2nd time I saw the name Urban Adventures was on this blog:

insidevancouver.ca/2010/…

If you do use Urban Adventures, do give us a feedback as we would know whether to recommend it to future TA visitors.

As for beers, I would recommend a brewpub like Steamworks in Gastown in addition to Granville Island.

On food options, you may also want to consider the Granville Food tour for only $10.

www.foodietour.ca/index.php…

I've read fairly positive things about it and will do the tour soon.

We do have a plethora of Asian cuisine in Vancouver that would be different to Texas.

Sun Sui Wah for Dim Sum: http://www.sunsuiwah.com/en_dimsum.html or if you want to walk, Kirin on Alberni: www.kirinrestaurants.com/index.php5…

Japanese Izakaya :

Hapa Izakaya http://hapaizakaya.com/ on Robson or

Guu : http://www.guu-izakaya.com/robson.html

I'm sure others will chime in with suggestions.

Have fun and crossing my fingers that the proposal would make your trip extra special,

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5. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

You have so many questions, but I will takle the bits that I know best!

There are always REALLY great bands playing (local and otherwise) at VENUE on Granville St.

The Backstage Lounge on Granville Island is also a good bet.

NUBA on West Hastings has amazing food and great atmosphere, also sometimes has live music.

Calabash is a new caribean restaurant in Gastown they have "Thursty Thursdays" where they have amazing live music.

If you're heading to Yaletown check out Capones for live Jazz and great food

Also check out Chai www.eastiseast.ca on Broadway. Theyhave great food and sometimes do live music.

trees organic coffee house in downtown also offers local music nightly.

Check www.straight.com for music listings!

If your boyfriend likes beer the brewery will be great! Also check out the Irish Heather, they have this "Long Table Series" which features a really great set menu(need to reserve in advance) and a drink and it's reasonably priced. You sit at a LONG table with a bunch of other people and enjoy your meal! It's a great way to meet other people.

Try cafe Medina for brunch it's amazing!

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6. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

Just want to also recommend www.vancouverfoodtour.com AMAZING!

Dallas, Texas
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7. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

Thank you all for all of the information! I apologize for the week late response, I've been super busy at work & home this past week! :) I don't think I can respond to each post individually so I've combined my responses below:

@MuftiMixandmatch

Thank you for all your information and for clearing it up for me about the CanadaLine, we will definitely be using this! And of course the tax information! :)

That overview on the viewpoints is great, we’ll be checking at least one of them out, I may need to purchase a new camera for all these beautiful places we’re about to see!

It would be awesome to do that Vancouver Boat Tour, I’ll have to check a bit more into it, the price may be worth the pictures and views!

Do you think we could exchange US Dollars at the Airport or would you advise elsewhere?

Thank you for your time and information, I appreciate it!!

@Rustproof

My BF is excited about all the beers and information listed in your links, I’ll have to make sure he eats a solid meal before he starts trying out all these beers!

Spanish Banks sounds great, the reviews say its quiet and not super crowded, perfect for a stroll! And we will definitely check out the cheese locations, I’ve only recently started trying different gourmet cheese, I didn’t know what I was missing!

Thank you for your time and information and for adding to my BFs beer belly! I appreciate it!!

@Le0pards

Hi!

I think we are going to try out the Urban Adventures and then do as MuftiMixandmatch suggested – go back and revisit some of the places on our own. I will write a review about UrbanAdventures!

And its been decided we ARE checking out Steamworks in Gastown! I’m not a big drinker so I’ll be the people watcher and picture taker! :)

Thank goodness for all this walking that we plan to do while we’re up there! All this food! We love Asian food so we will definetly try out the restaurants that you listed!

And that Granville Food tour sounds great! It looks like the tour that is available while we are in town is on Saturday, Sept 25 in Richmond, How far is Richmond? Could we take cab/train?

Thank you for your time and information and the list of great Asian restaurants, I appreciate it!! And of course your crossed fingers for our engagement!!

@westenda

Wow sounds like you’re a music lover too! I’ve looked up some of these spots, can’t wait to actually be there in person! Irish Heather, great sounding place for beer drinking, I hope my BF is able to remember this trip after all those drinks! haha

Brunch is my favorite meal! Thank you for the recommending Medina!

Thank you for your time and putting together that list of great music spots, I appreciate it!!

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!

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Richmond
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8. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

Hi, I posted a new topic: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154943-i81-k38458…

about food, if any of you would like to offer your opinion and information, I would truely appreciate!

THANK YOU!

Sonia

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

The best place to change money is:

Vancouver Bullion and Currency Exchange @ 800 West Pender. M-F 9-5.

My own practice is to change $100-ish money through my bank before I leave home and get $30 or so in small bills. Then it's easy to tip, buy from a vending machine, get a coffee etc.

I was mistaken about Gov't Liquor stores embedding the HST. A recent purchase shows the HST as a separate line item.

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10. Re: 1st time visit Sept 23-27 Need advice & suggestions

Here are my cultural suggestions:

Check out the Vancouver Art Gallery for some interesting art from BC, Canada and from other areas of the word. The new Robert Adams photography show should be opening on September 25th, so catch it then. More information here: www.vanartgallery.bc.ca

Catch the last days of the Richard Jackson show at the privately owned Rennie Collection in Chinatown -- show closes September 25th. Photography is permitted for this show only, and the views from the roof garden are wonderful! It is a private gallery so you can't just drop in; you have to reserve a place. Book here at www.renniecollection.org. Then go across the street and see the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Information at www.vancouverchinesegarden.com

Here's my night time or rainy night suggestion: try a Vancouver Theatresports show at Granville Island. Theatre is near the entrance of Granville Island, and the shows can be very entertaining. My personal recommendations are to do a classic Theatresports show which is 90 minutes in length. More information here: www.vtsl.com

Many of these places are accessible using transit or by foot. Good luck with your research and planning!

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