One of Vancouverites’ best qualities is that they savor the best their city has to offer, even things you would consider to be more touristic. There are some things that you simply must try if you want to feel like a true local during your stay.
1. Commodore Bowling and Billiards
This place is an absolute icon in Vancouver. Connected to another city institution, the Commodore Ballroom, this place opened in 1930 and has operated ever since. It has a delightful, typically-Canadian atmosphere and is very proud to be at the forefront of the new age of Vancouver. Just be sure to get there early during the weekends, especially on a rainy day, because it gets crowded pretty quickly. Open from 11 am until the last guests leave (Saturday to Thursday), and 10 am until closing on Fridays.
ADVANCED LEVEL TIP: Join their Amateur Bowling League! You’ll meet residents, speak English, and even make new friends.
2. Thierry Patisserie
This popular Vancouver spot evokes classic Parisian cafes and has to die for sweets. From their mouth-watering macarons to their sinfully good liquid chocolate, it’s no wonder it was voted the best dessert place in the city. The place is quite small but that just adds to the charm. Opens from 7 am to midnight during weekdays and from 8 am until midnight on weekends.
3. Grouse Mountain
Vancouver residents adore this place, and you won’t have the full local experience before you hit Grouse Mountain. Enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city, sea, and surrounding mountain with a summit altitude of 4,100 feet. You can ski, do the skyride gondola, visit the wildlife refuge, brave mountain zip-lines – the options are endless.
4. Skiing in Whistler
Vancouverites love going to Whistler – it’s probably their favorite spot for skiing. The place is beautiful, especially during winter when it looks like something straight out a fairy tale; the people are friendly and it feels welcoming and cozy. Hotels and inns can be more expensive, although you can find good prices during low season. The best option is to take a bus and just spend the day there, since it’s only a two-hour trip. More information: http://www.hellobc.com/whistler/transportation-maps/bus-coach-shuttle.aspx.
5. Watch a Hockey Game in Rogers Arena
Forget about football, basketball, volleyball, or any other sport. Hockey is THE sport in Canada and there’s no better local experience than watching a game in Rogers Arena, home to the Vancouver Canucks of the National Hockey League and the 2010 Winter Olympics ice hockey events. It also serves as a venue for major concerts and shows in the city. But let’s face it; nothing will make you feel more local than to cheer for the Canucks. So grab a beer, eat a poutine, and enjoy the game.
6. Kayaking and Canoeing in False Creek
False Creek is a short inlet in the heart of Vancouver, separating downtown from the rest of the city. It is probably the resident’s favorite place to do many different activities but the most popular ones are definitely canoeing and kayaking. You can have tons of fun while enjoying the most beautiful views.
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