While our first two days in Vancouver were busy and took us out of downtown Vancouver, the remaining two days were more relaxed. We stayed close to downtown and enjoyed more of the urban attractions of this vibrant city.
Granville Island: Granville Island was in a bit of a contrast to the green and picturesque Vancouver we had seen so far. It reminded me of smorgasbord markets in Brooklyn – edgy but very cool.
Granville island is separated from downtown Vancouver by False Creek. There are many ways to get to Granville island, but we chose to take the small ferry the runs trips throughout the day to and from Vancouver. After enjoying the city views from the ferry, including a view of the gleaming dome of the Science Center, we got off at Granville Island. Right now, I fondly remember the ease with which we navigated the crowds to reach our destination, the Toy Market!
Granville Island has an amazing, old school, warehouse-style toy emporium and we spent a good two hours looking at all the colorful toy shops and deliberating on which two toys Siena would select. We also grabbed a slices of pizza there and played some games at the arcade.
Our next stop was a huge water-play area behind the toy market. Siena got changed into her swimsuit and thoroughly enjoyed running around and playing in the different kinds of sprinklers. There was even a water slide where kids were sliding into a makeshift pool, but I gave it a pass as it did not look entirely safe.
We stopped inside the artisanal food market (I remember with COVID-induced nostalgia how crowded it was) and bought some sweets. Our last stop to have icecream and we were back on the ferry to downtown Vancouver.
Coal Harbor and Canada Place:
We spent the evening just enjoying the waterfront at Coal Harbor and Canada Place in downtown Vancouver. These are great spots to take in the beauty of Vancouver harbor, which is really quite pretty. There are benches, fountains, sculptures, green spaces to run around, and places to eat at Canada Place.
For a fun kid friendly restaurant, I would highly recommend White Spot. It has a number of locations but the one we tried was near Coal Harbor. The kids meal comes in a very cool paper pirate ship, pirate treasure (chocolate gold coin) and activities!
On our final day in Vancouver, we finally spent time in Stanley Park. Stanley Park, which is as massive and as significant as Central Park in New York, has so many landmarks and attractions that it’s impossible to even see the “highlights” in a day. Adjoining the Vancouver harbor and marking the edge of the Park is the Sea Wall, a wide path for pedestrians and cyclists in Stanley Park takes you all the way from Coal Harbor to actual beaches! Since we were very limited on time, we took a cab straight to the Tea House in Stanley Park. It is an elegant restaurant with lush green grounds and beautiful views of Vancouver bay.
The restaurant with its lovely bay windows would be the perfect setting for a special occasion meal, and not the ideal choice for feeding an excitable toddler. But we survived our brunch and then took the stairs near the restaurant down to the Sea Wall. We walked the length of the Sea Wall from the Tea House to the Siwash rock, which is sort of a landmark due to the unique way it juts into the water. We also stopped and played at the Third Beach.
There is so much to do in Stanley Park and I’m hoping we can enjoy it more on a future trip.
This was our last “stop” in Vancouver. After that, we picked up our bags, took a cab to the train station and boarded the train back to Seattle. The sunset that we were able to see from the train did not dissapoint!