Visiting Vancouver {Dining, Grand City Tour, Salmon Hatchery, Grouse Mountain & Capilano Suspension Bridge}

We had three nights and two full days in Vancouver and fell in love with the city! Everything was so neat, clean and green. Here’s how we spent our time.

Visiting Vancouver & A 49th State Alaska Adventure

Vancouver Grand City Tour

We started bright and early on our first day with the 5-hour Grand City Tour of Vancouver. We were picked up at our hotel in a Mercedes Sprinter Van. The max number for this intimate tour is 11, but we had just our 6 on our tour. The tour guide, Michael, is the owner and he is a long time Vancouver resident, extremely knowledgeable about the city and Pacific Northwest, and kept ALL of us, including the boys, rapt with attention throughout the duration of the tour.

Our first stop was Canada Place and Coal Harbor where we learned about the Olympic Cauldron and saw sea planes taking off and landing. We also got our first insight into the architectural and building standards of Vancouver. It was fascinating to learn how green the city is, how no skyscraper can cover more than 50% of another, how green and blue glass are required, and how mandatory rooftop gardens, art pieces and plantings keep the city so bright, light and welcoming.

Next we were off to Stanley Park, the largest urban park in North America. Michael was adept at picking up on our personal interests and was sure to take us to the rose garden, which Mother and Daddy-O absolutely adored. We loved seeing the stunning varieties of roses and were blown away by how delightful many of them smelled.

We loved the First Nation totem poles and learning about their carvings and cultural importance. Michael explained many of the trees and surrounding geology as we explored the park.

We headed over the Lion’s Gate Bridge towards the Capilano Salmon Hatchery. Michael’s knowledge of salmon and their unique life cycle was fascinating!

After a lunch break at Go Fish, our next stop was Granville Island. After giving us an overview of Granville, Michael dropped us off to explore the Public Market for about an hour. John chose cheese, Honey pickles and Whit fudge. Yum!!

After the market, we were on our way to explore through Gastown, Yaletown and Chinatown.

Our last stop was a special treat for the boys, per Michael, but I can assure you the adults enjoyed it just as much. La Casa gelato was SO fantastic and, again, a place we never would have gone without a local guide.

I cannot recommend this tour enough and am so glad that we did it. We learned more, saw more and experienced more than we ever could have on our own and with something like a hop on / hop off tour. Michael was a delight and thought of everything – even umbrellas for our use during the tour, bubbly waters, and clementines and chocolates to snack on. The day started out drizzly but cleared up beautifully by afternoon.

Read more about Grand City Tour of Vancouver 2019 and book your tour here through my travel agent link: https://travelagents.viator.com/tours/Vancouver/Grand-City-Tour-of-Vancouver/d616-41458P2?mcid=56757

Grouse Mountain & Capilano Suspension Bridge

While my parents explored Vancouver on their own our second full day, my family headed out on a Vancouver North Shore Day Trip. We were picked up right at our hotel and the day’s plans included the Capilano Salmon Hatchery, Grouse Mountain and Capilano Suspension Bridge.

We were a little bummed when we realized that both of our planned tours included the Salmon Hatchery. However, our guide this day, Mikey, gave us a tip to head down the trails and do a little hiking since we had already seen the hatchery with Michael. Well, it turned out wonderfully and we were so glad that we had the chance to see both parts of this area!

Our next stop was Grouse Mountain, and this ended up being a highlight for all of us. It was quite drizzly but our guide said that helped keep the crowds at bay. We took a scenic gondola to the top and had a couple of hours to explore on our own.

Most people on our tour headed straight for the bird show, but we were starving and grabbed lunch in the food court. It was fine, nothing great at all. But, with our bellies full and too late to catch the bird show, we moseyed over to the bear habitat. Oh.My.Gosh. this was for sure one of the best parts of our entire trip! These two grizzly bears, Grinder and Coola, were separately orphaned by their mothers 18 years ago. Unable to live without their mother’s at this age, Grouse agreed to build them a habitat up on their mountain. They were so incredibly playful and precious and were, ironically, the only bears we saw in the entire trip!

Since we skipped the bird show, we had plenty of time to see the Lumberjack Show. We were all glad to do this since we knew we were not doing the very popular one in Ketchikan, Alaska later on in the trip. The show was funny and engaging and we really enjoyed it. At the end of the vacation, Whit put it in a pretty high spot overall. It is the same production company as the one in Alaska and was a great free alternative if you’re visiting both!

Our final stop was the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Our tour included “front of the line” access, which was fabulous on a busy afternoon. The weather had cleared up by this time of day and the people came out of nowhere! Mikey escorted our group to the suspension bridge first and then gave us a couple of free hours to explore the rest on our own. Can you believe the number of people up here?!

The views were beautiful, you know, while you swayed in the air with all those strangers. Ha!

Once on the other side, we did the Treetop Adventure with seven suspension bridges. There were a variety of other experiences and lookouts to explore as well.

We finished our adventure at Capilano on the Cliffwalk – a series of suspended walkways along sheer granite cliff faces. There were stunning canyon views along the way. Don’t look down if you don’t love heights!

With a bit of time left before meeting our group, we enjoyed a well earned glass of wine on the deck at the Cliff House Restaurant. :-)

Read more about the North Shore Vancouver Day Trip and book your tour here through my travel agent link: https://travelagents.viator.com/tours/Vancouver/Vancouver-North-Shore-Day-Trip-with-Capilano-Suspension-Bridge-and-Grouse-Mountain/d616-3914_2

Vancouver Dining

We love good food and thoroughly enjoyed the places we dined in Vancouver!

Jinya Ramen

We dined at Jinya on our arrival night. We didn’t have a set plan because we didn’t know what we would feel up for after a long day of travel. When the concierge at Hotel Georgia started running through a few recommendations, both boys jumped at ramen. Jinya was a short walk away and the concierge called ahead for our party of 6 to minimize any wait. This was definitely the highlight meal for the kids, but the adults thoroughly enjoyed it as well!

Go Fish

On our Grand City Tour, our guide recommended fish and chips at Go Fish and we were all game. There’s nothing like a local recommendation. This lunch blew us away and was something we never would have found on our own. We continued to rave about it for the next two weeks!

Cactus Club Cafe

Cactus Club Cafe was a short walk from Hotel Georgia and we loved our meal here. It was a very cosmopolitan place with a large menu. We absolutely loved the Modern Bowl and Tuna Poke Bowl. Portions were generous and service was great. Reservations are recommended and the concierge at Hotel Georgia assisted with this.

Hawksworth Restaurant

Hawksworth Restaurant was voted best in Vancouver and was conveniently located right in our resort, Hotel Georgia. With a $60+ breakfast credit each day through my Virtuoso amenities, we dined here two of our three mornings and completely enjoyed the experience. We also had a $100 resort credit and used that to go towards a marvelous adult dinner one evening. Reservations are necessary and, again, our resort concierge was instrumental in setting this up for us rather last minute.

I did a full review of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia in this post! Stay tuned as we set sail for Alaska tomorrow!

As a Virtuoso affiliated travel adviser, I have global connections with the best hotels, cruise lines, airlines and tour companies, and I secure exclusive amenities for my luxury clients.  I have recently refocused my travel business primarily on Disney destinations, but am always happy to book and consult on destinations I have personally visited, as well as other Virtuoso resorts and all major cruise lines. Contact me to learn more and start designing your dream vacation today!

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