Three months from today, Vancouver and Whistler will welcome the international community with great fanfare. Since IgoUgo teems with fans of the two British Columbia hot spots, we’ve rounded up those travelers’ tips for the trip, whether you’re headed up for the big event or just before for the pre-show buzz.
Where to stay: Vancouver’s small spaces are getting big accolades: IgoUgo’s top three Vancouver hotels are boutique gems that reflect the city’s laid-back yet cosmopolitan vibe and international influences. The Metropolitan Hotel is our top-rated and comes with an endorsement from Re Carroll: “This hotel, located in the downtown core, was built according to feng shui. The feng shui is ancient, but the hotel itself is very modern.”
What to do: IgoUgo members consistently recommend six Vancouver highlights:
- Stroll the “envy-inducing” Stanley Park; in fact, bike it if the weather holds, as “whoever designed the bike trails in Vancouver was a perfectionist.”
- Go to Granville Island and shop its “if I weren’t on Atkins...” Public Market.
- Take a day trip to the "glorious" Capilano Suspension Bridge.
- Ogle cruise ships and architecture at Canada Place.
- Visit Vancouver’s Chinatown, Canada’s largest--if you’re in town for the Games, you’ll also be there for Lunar New Year celebrations on February 14.
- If you’re not in town for the Games, pick up a Smartvisit card. Composthp swears by its power to save you money; her 3-day card entitled her to “free entry to 50 attractions, a day tour to Whistler, a half-day orca-sighting tour, and a harbor cruise in the Burrard Inlet.”
Where to eat: For Chinese cuisine, both the Main St. and Richmond locations of Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant get high marks. “Best Chinese restaurant in Vancouver,” says WLai. “My Chinese family and the local English press agree on this.” For a quick, “reasonably priced” meal, try Tsunami Sushi or a “piping hot” Japa Dog. And for a “special night out,” destination restaurants Lumière, Tojo’s, and Blue Water Café are highly recommended.
How to get around: While strolling and cycling are favorite Vancouver pastimes, TransLink runs a “reliable” network of rapid transit, rail, bus, and ferry services; during the Games, special unlimited passes will be available. In addition, many travelers say that crossing False Creek on an Aquabus Ferry is an attraction unto itself. Finally, if you happen to have a car, hit the Sea to Sky Highway to spot “islands, bays, glaciers, waterfalls, and bald eagles” and to get to your next destination, which is...
Where to stay: Leading IgoUgo’s Whistler hotels, the area’s two Pan Pacific properties--Village Centre and Mountainside--get highest marks for great locations, nicely appointed rooms, and staffs that are “warmly attentive without being in the way.”
What to do:
, of course--“some of the best skiing on the planet” on two “epic mountains.” To relax, Whistler-style, hop on a snowmobile
, a horse-drawn sleigh
, or a helicopter
--you are in adventure country, after all. And consider heading north for New Year’s Eve, as bebebloom
contends that Whistler is “the most perfect spot” for a memorable one.
Where to eat: The fish at Sushi Village is as fresh as it gets, arriving from Vancouver in the hands of the restaurant’s owner. The result? “SV is the Fritos of the sushi universe--you can't have just one...or two...or three...,” says mickeydavis. Other Whistler institutions are Araxi and Rimrock Café, but be sure to reserve early. And often: “If I’d known how good Araxi was, I'd have saved up my pennies and eaten there every night,” says Truly Malin. Can’t decide where to dine? Then you’re a prime candidate for a Whistler Tasting Tour.
How to get around: Whistler village is “pedestrian-friendly,” and walking around is “so much of the Whistler experience.” Indeed, “there is little need for a car” with “everything within walking distance of the village.” If you want to save your energy for the slopes, “consistent” free buses serve Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. If you do have a rental car from that drive from Vancouver, expect it to “stay in the parking garage the whole time.”
After your trip, don't forget to share your own Vancouver and Whistler tips!
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