Vancouver is a great place to visit. It's a big city with lots to do, and relatively easy to traverse. Take full advantage of the SkyTrain and the city bus, and rent a bike. It was no problem to get all around Vancouver via public transit. Driving isn't too difficult, but there's no reason to use a car unless you plan to go hiking deep in the country. The nearby nature parks have transit connections, like Lynn Valley in North Vancouver. The best thing to do is to wander around downtown, because there's so many parks, shops and restaurants to explore. Walk around the seawall for good views and picture taking. The Asian restaurants are phenomenal, and I'd highly recommend going to one of the summer night markets for food and souvenirs.
Let's be really honest about Vancouver ... it's a city where there is still chance to get a job because it's not so crowded. When in the future there will be a long queue of unemployed skilled or not skilled people applying for every single job, then everybody will see Vancouver for what it is honestly. Canada enjoys a good economy in this moment because it is not a nice country and it is not a crowded country -- it is so big compared to European and Asian countries, with a small population, so obviously there must be more jobs, but the Canadians will try to convince you that the reason for this is that the Canadian economy is strong and modern and developed and efficient and hardworking. The reality is just that in some time Vancouver will be an ugly, northern, rainy, gray city that has nothing more to offer than every other west coast city but with worse weather.
Before coming to Vancouver I have read every year in the newspaper that it's one of the best places to live on earth thanks to its mild climate and high quality of life and scenery and so on, so I moved here to see with my eyes this wonderful place and I found it without culture and without history, weather is like in London, grey sky and very often raining. Its people seem to me the coldest you can find across Canada -- no architecture, it's more like a big shopping mall and it's not a happy place. It looks like a downtown made of skyscrapers (and lot of homeless people) surrounded by an everlasting, flat, anonymous suburb that feels dangerous after dark in most of it. Is that the best you can find in the world? I don't think so. Probably the reasons why so many people talk good about Vancouver are "cold" reasons --if you get a highly skilled job, you are paid well, I guess. The air is not polluted for a city. The view in waterfront area is ok (nothing special but better than seeing dirty factories). The crime rate is lower than U.S. cities. You are close to national parks (where by the way you don't feel safe to walk around because of bears). Apart from this, it's a poor city without soul and without character compared to east coast cities and to all the cities of the world in general (that usually are made of different neighborhoods with different character each). Finally I've heard that a old wooden house in suburbs can cost easily 1 million canadian dollars -- lovely place, isn't it?
It is beautiful, but the beauty is only surface deep. There's an unusually high amount of street people, and you just expect more from a first world country that apparently has social security. Life isn't that easy there -- there's beautiful mansions in waterfront areas and breathtaking beauty, but at the same time an underlying sense of depression.
Vancouver is where the Canadian dream has gone to die. It is a dignified and peaceful sort of hospice, with nice views and good air, this much is true. It does not change the essential character of the place though -- depressing and too cool for school. There are moments of absolute end-of-the-line poverty punctuated by confusing ultra-wealth everywhere. Shallow beauty is the other theme. You would be a liar to deny the beauty, but it is the same sort of beauty a well-made assault rifle has.
Vancouver has got to be one of the best cities on earth. Too many people stop here for just a few days on the way to other places -- give yourself a little longer here and you won't want to leave. The best thing I did here was a speedboat trip up Indian Arm from Deep Cove on the North Shore -- get six other people interested and it works out at only $25 to $30 each including bus fare for three hours rental of a seven-man boat, plenty of time to get to the top and back with stops to look at stuff. Also make sure you climb up Grouse mountain, the views from the top are incredible and you can get a bus right to the bottom of the trail. It's quite a climb but I've seen everyone from five year old kids to grandparents climb up, and you can get the cable car back down for $5.
Vancouver is a backpacker's paradise: large city, small carbon footprint, ocean access, a couple dozen hostels, and plenty of things to do! And there are plenty of Vancouver hostels as well. You’re bound to meet plenty of people in a city with a population of about 600,000. Although it’s already one of the “greenest” cities in North America, Vancouver is working hard with a goal is to be titled the “Greenest City” within the next few years.
There are many points of interest in Vancouver. You can see the site where the 2010 Winter Olympic Games were held. Vancouver is conveniently placed between the Pacific Ocean and the Coast Mountain Range, so you have the option to hike or spend a day at the beach. Vancouver is also affectionately nicknamed “Hollywood North” because so many movies and television shows are shot here, as well as the fact that so many theaters and film festivals take place. So whether you’re a film buff or a movie fanatic, you’re likely to find a theater or set that you’ll love to visit. Other attractions include the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. For nightlife, check out Granville Street and other places downtown.
Because it is a large city, Vancouver is an easy place for a backpacker to get around. Choose to travel by the Vancouver International Airport, SkyTrain, SeaBus (a ferry service), Amtrak, or Highway 1. No matter where you go in Vancouver, you’re guaranteed to find an excellent hostel nearby, especially in the downtown area.
Hi, I'm Jessica Lippe,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Vancouver hostels. Welcome.