For our first Labor Day weekend in the Pacific Northwest we headed to Canada with my in-laws. There was no way I was fighting the Seattle traffic during Bumbershoot so it seemed best to head the opposite direction and across the border for a day in Vancouver.
We got up early, grabbed breakfast along the way and enjoyed an uneventful, though somewhat rainy, drive to the border.
Things got a little more exciting when the border patrol agent made us pull aside to dispose of our apple in the ‘international waste bin’ before continuing into the country. Who knew you couldn’t take apples into Canada? Luckily our orange was fine and made it across in one piece!
View the City from Vancouver Lookout Tower
We found fairly inexpensive parking downtown and walked over to our first stop, the Vancouver Lookout Tower.
Brian and I didn’t get to do much downtown the last time we were in Vancouver so we were excited to check out the aerial view of the city. The sun was occasionally breaking through the clouds so we enjoyed some beautiful views of the city, the harbor and the mountains. It was also a great way to get a better idea of the city layout, seeing it from above.
Exploring Vancouver’s Gastown
After our visit we walked to Gastown to check out the Steam Clock and grab some lunch.
Although Brian and I ate in Gastown once we before we somehow managed to miss the clock! There were tons of people around but we got to read a little about the clock and take a few photos. Unfortunately we didn’t see any steaming–I guess we’ll have to try again next time!
We ate lunch at a little BBQ joint on the corner of a busy square full of restaurants and bars. They had some tasty local beers that we all ended up liking and we shared a few mixed plates of brisket, pulled pork, sausages and veggies. Yum!
We walked around but most shops were closed. We did get to see the statue of ‘Gassy Jack,’ the area’s namesake, before heading back to our car and on to Stanley Park.
An Afternoon in Stanley Park
There are any number of options for getting around Stanley Park– from car to motorcycle to bike to walking to horse-drawn carriage, which is still on my list! We drove through but paid to park so we could pull over and get out to walk around when we saw something we had to explore.
I loved the views looking back on downtown as well as out over the water to the northern bank. There were some low clouds, but the sun was still out and it was a beautiful afternoon.
We stopped at a small eatery in the park for ice cream and dry ribs, which my in-laws had never tried, and then wound our way back around to downtown.
Each visit to Vancouver has been different but enjoyable. I love that we live so close and can make a day-trip of our visit. I would love to see the city at night so we might have to make a weekend trip here as well.
Here are a few final photos from our afternoon in the park:
4 thoughts on “Day Trip to Vancouver: Downtown”
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All of that looks so familiar! Look at your second picture of the clock. It is blowing steam!! You must have not seen it, but I couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t have been working! Also, right across the street from the clock is a place called Water St. Cafe that was recommended to us by a local on our Alaskan cruise. He gave us a lot of good advice and tips but that was a very good restaurant. Did you walk much in Stanley Park? That is where the largest area of nesting Blue Herons is. It was absolutely amazing. These huge birds just filling the trees! And then the totems are also in Stanley Park. Very neat also. Dad and I walked a lot of it but just loved it. Have the same picture of the beautiful bridge! I would go back there again, also!