Sharp's Vancouver Travel Guide

Vancouver is everything the rest of the world wishes it could be. Seaside. Mountainside. Bustling with beautiful people who love the place they call home. Warm.

You could compare it to LA, but you wouldn’t really be doing it justice. Los Angeles is a great city, but it’s also very spread out and hard to navigate. Vancouver’s downtown core is compact and picturesque with one happening neighbourhood blending into the next, which makes it the perfect place to get to know over a weekend. Lounge hop along the harbourfront and enjoy VanCity’s finest culinary treats while you take in a little shopping on the streets of Gastown.

You could do a lot worse than to spend your vacation days getting to know Canada’s darling. We went ahead and planned your trip for you: 


EAT/DRINK: Cibo Trittoria

A true risk taker, chef Faisal Kassam’s menu incorporates a variety of offal dishes to spice things up. Featured as an a la carte section of the menu (called ‘odd bits – the rest of the animal’) Kassam prepares unique plates, like roasted bone marrow, crispy ox tongue and grilled pig hearts. If you’re not in the mood for a little adventure, fear not. This restaurant also serves up some good ol’ rustic Italian cuisine.

Cibo Tittoria

EAT/DRINK: C Restaurant

Known as one of the first green seafood restaurants, this hot spot uses fresh, local, and organic ingredients. If you want a real Vancouver culinary experience, try the BC seafood salad.

C Restaurant

SHOP: Dutil Denim

These guys know how to talk denim. Carrying premium brands like Rag & Bone, Naked & Famous, Acne, and top Japanese denim like Momotario, look to this jean emporium for the perfect pair. If you’re in eastern Canada, you can also stop by Dutil’s Toronto location along Queen west.


EAT/DRINK: L’Abattoir

An interesting name for a restaurant if we ever saw one, Chef Lee Cooper’s up-scale restaurant is the historical site of Vancouver’s first jail. The exposed brick walls, industrial atmosphere and natural wood accents provide a warm and cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for Vancouver’s laid-back vibes. Despite the name, most mains are from the ocean, such as the cold dungeness crab appetizer and poached cod filet.


SHOP: Lark

With constant new arrivals, Lark promises to have ‘serious clothing for light-hearted people.’ Their combination of utilitarian and Japanese style mixes well with the laid-back, wearable, quality of brands like Barbour, Saint James and American Colors by Alex Lehr. To learn more, check out the Lark blog updated with local events, style advice, store updates and fashion tutorials.


SHOP: Leone

You name it and they have it- luxury retailer Leone is the place to find every premium brand you’re looking for, including Prada, Alexander McQueen, Cavalli and more. Established in 1987, Leon offers an ‘all-inclusive shopping experience’ with their well-equipped staff and services. Don’t forget to take a break at their Italian bistro café on the lower level.



Who doesn’t like Thai cuisine? The closest to authentic Thai food you’ll get on this side of the world, this modern eatery has all the beloved flavours associated with the cultural dishes – mint, cilantro, coconut, spice – but with an elegant twist.


SEE: Granville Island

Explore the small but thriving Granville Island culture with their local markets and art vendors. Other than activities like boat rides and festivals, the island offers multiple breweries, bars and cafés favoured by both locals and tourists that are must-hit spots. Be sure to check out Granville Island Brewery and Agro Café

Granville Island

SHOP: Roden Gray

After browsing through their carefully curated collection, it’s easy to see why Roden Gray was voted Monocle magazine’s second favourite retailer in the world. Providing a great mix of product for both men and women, the store offers a mix of great products, including Canadian favourite Wings + Horns. Stop by for their exclusive North American distribution of Uniform Experiment, Sophnet and nonnative.

Roden Gray

EAT/DRINK: Tojo’s Restaurant

Master chef Hidekazu Tojo has been cooking Japanese food in Vancouver since 1971, and this culinary expert is still on top of his game. Tojo’s Restaurant was featured in ‘1,000 Places to See Before You Die,’ but if that’s not reason enough to visit, come see the sushi legend himself and try his edible masterpieces.

Tojo’s Restaurant

SEE: Vancouver Aquarium

Whether you’re visiting in the warm or cold months, the aquarium is a nice retreat known for its diverse aquatic collections. Fact: the Vancouver Aquarium was Canada’s first public aquarium, which opened in 1956.

Vancouver Aquarium

SEE: Grouse Mountain

Take the skyride up Grouse Mountain all year round to view the beautiful BC terrain. Once you’re at the top, you’ll be greeted with a wide variety of activities, which include: shopping, eating, skiing, outdoor skating, hiking, zip lining, and watching some “wild” videos at the mountain-top theatre. Dine at Altitudes restaurant for the magnificent view before you head back down.

Grouse Mountain


Bao Bei isn’t your standard Chinese restaurant with family-style dishes. Instead, the modern menu that fuses chinese herbs with contemporary techniques consists of small gourmet sharing plates, like their savory braised beer tenderloin with apples and chardonnay vinegar.

Bao Bei

Photography: Hubert Kang

SHOP: Inventory Stockroom

Originally a magazine featuring rare, unknown, and new products, Inventory Stockroom was opened and filled with the very items that were published within their pages. The clean-cut, minimalist, white shop reflects their style in both editorial and retail fashion. Shop brands like Mark McNairy, Margaret Howell, Engineered Garments and Vancouver’s own Gastown F.C. Take a moment to browse their magazine, as well as their variety of hand-picked books.

Inventory Stockroom

SHOP: Neighbour

This menswear shop fits right into the upscale aura of Gastown’s shopping district, filled with a tight, edited collection of goods. Visit for the variety of accessories, including Han Kjobenhavn sunglasses, Mismo bags and a plethora of leather goods.


SEE: Olympic History

The Vancouver Convention Centre was the official media location during the 2010 winter Olympic games. Visit the harbourfront location to view the Olympic Cauldron that will continue burning as a permanent landmark and architectural legacy. Also on display are the official torches and medals.

Vancouver Convention Centre

SHOP: Robson Street and Main Street

The eclectic boutiques in Gastown aren’t Vancouver’s only spots for a little retail therapy. Robson street in VanCity’s downtown shopping core is lined with everything from department stores to luxury brands, and is constantly bustling with shoppers. From Granville to Jervis, there are more than 100 shops to browse.

Mid-Main street is another one of Vancouver’s premiere shopping districts, known for their fantastic finds. Stroll 20th to 22nd avenue for antiques, independent Canadian designer boutiques and popular commercial stores.

EAT/DRINK: Yaletown

Yaletown is the old heritage warehouse district of Vancouver, converted into a bustling nightlife scene lined with chic restaurants, alternative lounges, and relaxing pubs. Hop from Yaletown Brewery to The New Oxford and everything in between. You might also be inclined to try the rooftop patio at The Keg, which was voted one of Playboy magazine’s favourite patios in Canada.

Photography: The New Oxford

SEE: Stanley Park

Stanley Park is a Canadian National Historic site and the largest urban park in North America- even larger than Central Park. Escape the urban jungle and take a moment to relax with nature, stopping by for a moment of peace or walking along the world-famous seawall.

Stanley Park

EAT/DRINK: Chambar

This cozy eatery not only offers some must-try European cuisine, but also has a notable bar menu that needs to be explored. If you don’t have the time to chow down, choose from their lengthy Belgium beer list or wine selection.


EAT/DRINK: Hawksworth

Named after chef David Hawksworth, this fine-dining spot showcases the very best of Canadian fare (try the Korean Fried Cauliflower). It’s been a Vancouver staple for anyone looking for a good Canadian meal or a hard-to-find whisky since it opened. Indeed, their spirit list is among the largest and most impressive in the entire country—they’re the only establishment in Canada that carries Louis XIII’s 42.6 rare cask Cognac, for example. Their all-black décor, great downtown location and commitment to quality make this a great place to impress a date or business partner.

Hawksworth Restaurant

Stay: The Fairmont Pacific Rim

Looking out over the Olympic Torch and the Sea Wall, the Fairmont Pacific Rim is the spot to stay (and party) in downtown Van City. Get pampered at the Willow Stream Spa or head out for a bike ride around nearby Stanley Park on their complimentary BMW mountain bikes. Not only are the rooms top notch (think TVs in the bathroom mirrors and sweeping, city-and-ocean views) and the spa treatments world-class, but the ground-floor lounge is one of Van’s downtown go-to spots for a classic cocktail. Kick off your night with some live music and a drink at the lobby bar, and some of the city’s finest sushi (no kidding) at their Raw Bar.

For those extra-special occasions, book the Owner’s Suit. The private-elevator access and eight-foot-long Swarovski crystal chandelier punctuating the two stories and 2,250 square-feet of private luxury have a way of making one feel like a rock star, regardless of musical talent.

Fairmont Pacific Rim

EAT/DRINK: The Settlement Building

Vancouver’s Railtown District used to be, well, sketchy. But, as often happens in expanding cities, it’s growing out of its grungy youth and transforming into a well-put-together, if not downright charming neighbourhood. Promising shops, bars and restaurants are popping up on every corner. Case in point: the Settlement Building, a 7,700-square-foot heritage site that houses a handful of Van-central brands like Postmark Brewery, Belgard Kitchen and FreshTAP. Postmark offers four beers are brewed on site, and you can take some home in one of their growlers, if you find your match. If beer isn’t your thing, choose from among FreshTAP’s many BC wines, stored in stainless-steel kegs and poured from a tap. That’s right. It’s a thing. Pair either with the hearty, local fare of Belgard and you’ve got as BC a meal as you’re going to get.

The Settlement Building

EAT/DRINK: Wildebeest

Forget Vancouver, this is one of the best meals in the whole country. Right in the centre of the trendy Gastown district, this intimate, meat-forward restaurant offers the whole package: locally sourced, fresh ingredients; a carefully curated cocktail and wine list; sexy service in a classy, yet farmhouse-like setting and a menu to make any carnivore drool with anticipation. Chef Wesley Young’s penchant for “whole-animal cookery,” results in some of the most unique, most inspired dishes in the country.