Every month, the TripAdvisor blog checks in with one of the many outstanding volunteer Destination Experts from the TripAdvisor forums to get the inside scoop on amazing travel spots around the world. This month’s chat is with Vancouver Destination Expert AlegreVancouverBC.
When is the best time of year to visit?
Summer, especially August and early September. Vancouver is west coast temperate rainforest. It is not the volume of rain as much as days without sunshine. Shoulder seasons of Spring and Fall can be gloomy and damp. Winter is wet but saved by winter treats such as snow on ski hills. Summer months are the driest and Vancouver comes alive in the summer as Vancouverites rush to enjoy the sunshine.
Are there any special events your destination is known for? When do they occur and why should travelers be there to experience them?
Summer fireworks competitions are spread over a summer week and draw thousands to the beach to view them. In general, Vancouver is an outdoor city all summer and attracts hiking, biking and casual walks.
As an expert, what hotels would you recommend to a visitor?
Vancouver has fabulous hotels including the resort-like Westin Bayshore, the refurbished Rosewood, the always elegant Sutton, the waterfront Pan Pacific and three downtown upscale Fairmont hotels. There are boutiques like Opus, Loden and L’hermitage. If these are too pricey there are many less opulent choices.
What are your favorite places to eat and why?
Vancouver is a foodie town. There are food trucks all around. Yaletown and Gastown offer every cuisine. Denman is a street of small one-off restaurants. If you want white table cloths and an extensive wine list try Ciopinno’s. Trendy? Try any of the Alberni Street offerings from Glowbal. Steak? Gotham. Breakfast? Scoozi’s. View? A couple of the Cactus Club chains have the best spots.
If you could pick one overall top attraction in your destination, what would it be?
Grouse Mountain late on a clear warm day to watch the transition through dusk to dark.
What’s your top attraction for families?
Playland or the beach at Spanish Banks. Playland is an amusement park. There are rides of all sorts including a huge wooden roller coaster. There is an annual fair on the grounds each August. Spanish Banks is one of many city beaches. It is shallow and at low tides the tide recedes hundreds of yards or meters exposing vast sandbars for romping. Water trapped between the sandbars warms to bathtub temperatures. There are picnic areas, concession stands and changing rooms along the shore. Spanish Banks is a flat bike ride from downtown.
What’s your top attraction for romance?
Vancouver is not a city of small, intimate, romantic restaurants. It is a city of outdoor life. Romantic might be a picnic in Stanley Park followed by a seawall walk ending at the Lift Bar and Grill over the water.
What’s your top attraction for younger adults (twenty-somethings)?
The Granville Strip has numerous venues open late. Younger adults flock to “the strip” to explore the many venues offering drinks, food and music. Most are open into the early morning.
What’s your top attraction for older adults?
For travelers who want to “live like a local,” what tips would you give them to get the most from their experience?
Plan to do plenty of walking. Walk the old houses of the West End. Walk the seawalls. Walk the low tide beach at Spanish Banks.
What’s your destination’s best kept secret?
Easy car-free transportation.
What feedback do you get from travelers on how you helped them plan the perfect trip?
Thanks for specific answers for specific questions, especially about hotels.
What’s the most popular question travelers have in your destination’s travel forums, and what’s the answer?
One of the most controversial is what currency. Canadian currency, of course. The other controversial question is about tipping. There is lots of opinion for a question that never gets agreement for an answer.
Finally, briefly tell readers what makes your destination great, and why TripAdvisor travelers should choose it for their next trip.
Vancouver is scenic. Its mild temperature makes it an ideal escape from hot climates. It is an outdoor city that forces visitors to leave their air-conditioned hotels. Come and enjoy the outdoors!
To learn more about Vancouver, visit the TripAdvisor Vancouver destination page. Have a question? Check out the Vancouver travel forum topics where you can find answers from travelers all over the world, including Destination Expert AlegreVancouverBC.