Vancouver Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- Bring comfy shoes Central Vancouver is ideal for walking. Forget the car and get to know this outdoorsy city on foot.
- Use an ATM The U.S. and Canadian dollars are roughly equivalent to one another, but money changers do charge a fee for exchanges. You can pocket that fee by simply withdrawing from an ATM instead.
- Keep an eye on your stuff Although Vancouver is relatively safe, crimes of opportunity do take place. Make sure to keep a close watch on your valuables.
Even by North American standards, Vancouver is a young city. But what it lacks in history it compensates for in scenery. Surrounded by mountains and beaches, Vancouver is both an urban and a natural playground: Its chic atmosphere, high-fashion boutiques and fondness for health-conscious eating have earned it the nickname "North Hollywood." Sitting about 1,300 miles north of its nickname namesake, Vancouver's breathtaking backdrop has been the setting for several popular television shows and major motion pictures, such as Battlestar Galactica and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, so don't be surprised if recognize landmarks from your favorite scenes.
But this mitten-shaped city on Canada's western edge draws in more than pop culture junkies. Hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, white-water rafting and skiing will beckon to your adventurous side. Looking for a little R&R? Then try lounging along the 11 miles of beaches or in one of the numerous parks. During the cold weather, you can duck inside one of top-notch museums, or swing your young kids by one of the family-friendly attractions. When you add excellent shopping, dining and nightlife scenes to the mix, you see why many praise Vancouver as a go-to getaway for the multi-faceted traveler.
How To Save Money in Vancouver
- Travel during the shoulder seasons Summer and winter are both popular times to visit. If you're hoping to find some deals on hotels, consider planning a trip for the spring or fall.
- Fly into Seattle International flights tend to be more expensive. You can save on airfare by flying into Seattle's SeaTac Airport and taking the Quick Shuttle into Downtown Vancouver.
- Leave the car behind Gas is priced by the liter in Canada (not by the gallon) and tends to be more expensive than what you’ll find in the United States. Forget the pump and rely on public transport instead.
Vancouver Culture & Customs
Vancouver is not much different from major American cities when it comes to culture. Vancouverites speak English, dress casually and generally tip around 15 percent at restaurants. The only major difference that American travelers will face is the use of the Canadian dollar, which is roughly equivalent to the American dollar in terms of the exchange rate, according to Xe.com. You can avoid high exchange fees by withdrawing Canadian money directly from an ATM in Vancouver.
Vancouver is definitely known for its seafood (we recommend dining in Downtown or West Vancouver). But with anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 restaurants, you're guaranteed to find something to satisfy your appetite. Vancouver is one of North America's top dining cities. Chinatown is home to dozens of top-notch Chinese restaurants, while East Vancouver features numerous types of fares, with Italian and Indian restaurants reigning supreme. For a trendier dining experience, find a table in Gastown or Yaletown, where restaurants offer menus featuring everything from European specialties to Southern barbecue. Travelers dining in Point Grey can expect a more upscale selection of eateries with fancier entrees and higher prices.