In a city surrounded by water, snowcapped peaks, and farmland, Vancouver‘s environment and eats go hand in hand. With the Pacific Ocean at your feet, the coastal mountains in your gaze, and local crops on your plate, it’s no wonder Vancouver is one of Canada’s most celebrated food and lifestyle destinations.
As a born-and-bred local who uncovers style and substance around the world as a travel writer, I love returning home to the city’s incomparable combo of outdoor playground and metropolitan state of mind. With this, I give you the best of Vancouver distilled into a day.
Known for their Belgian waffles topped with on-trend sauces such as white chocolate pistachio rosewater and salted caramel, this industrial-chic brasserie is a mainstay of the Vancouver brunch scene. (Score! It’s open for breakfast seven days a week.) But, Chambar‘s expertly edited menu isn’t all sweets. Enter a shortlist of international breakfasts bests: Moroccan tagine, Spanish paella, and Scandi breakfast boards that reflect chef Nico Schuermans’ experience at Michelin-starred restaurants around the globe.
Local intel: Don’t visit without ordering a lavender latte, served in a glass tumbler.
Morning activity: Granville Island Market Tour
Once an island of industrial factories, Granville Island has shifted away from its manufacturing past to a gourmet-lover’s present. Brush shoulders with local chefs and off-duty food critics as you explore this epicurean escape in style, tasting the Public Market’s must-eats—handmade chocolates, locally-grown fruit, freshly caught fish, brick-oven bread—with a guide by your side. Wear stretchy pants for optimum enjoyment.
Local intel: Stop by Lee’s Donuts early in the day to munch on small-batch treats before the crowds flock to this market mainstay (feeding locals like moi for over 30 years).
Lunch: Go Fish
If your trousers aren’t too tight from your market meander, head to the mouth of Granville Island to Go Fish—not for a card game, but for fish and chips! This iconic seafood stand is positioned at the foot of the marina to receive the freshest haul.
Local intel: Since this itinerary involves A LOT of sustenance, I suggest sharing the daily catch fish tacos.
Viewfinder Tip: Dressing for your dusk-to-dawn explorations is easy in Vancouver, a city where casual and cosmopolitan commingle. Selecting a getup you can dress up or down with a coat or accessories means you won’t need to go back to your hotel to change.
Afternoon activity: Waterfront Sightseeing Adventure
Now that you’ve tasted what the Pacific has to offer, experience the ocean blue from a different point of view by boat exploring Vancouver’s cityscape. Famously surrounded by water on almost every side, my city-by-the-sea is often voted one of the most livable locales in the world due to its environment, infrastructure, lifestyle, and culture (to name a few markers). See why as you glide around town scoping out where the beach meets the street, and Stanley Park meets skyscrapers.
Local intel: Bring your camera—preferably in a waterproof case—to capture this unique view of Vancouver.
Dinner: Grapes & Soda
With a day full of people, places, things, and food, unwind at Grapes & Soda, a 25-seat natural wine bar and small plate eatery imagined by David Gunawan, a locavore leader and chef. Cooking whatever’s in season, the menu shines in its simplicity, letting field-ripened veggies and just-caught fish remind you why fresh is best.
Local intel: Visit between 5:00 and 6:30 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday, for happy hour steals on popular menu items.
Have you visited Vancouver, BC? What are your musts for a day in the city?