The last stop on my Pacific Northwest Excursion was Vancouver, British Columbia. I’d heard so many good things from people I met in Portland and Seattle, so I was definitely excited to be visiting. Being in a different country for a few days also meant unplugging for the most part. Life without a modern cellphone is pretty much the only way to actually time travel. Writing down directions and addresses, and actually memorizing your way around. It’s definitely exciting and keeps you present in the moment of the place you’re visiting.
We stayed in the perfect townhome in the West End that was walking distance to Stanley Park and Davie Street. Most of the things I researched for Vancouver were in this area and we didn’t venture out of the West End/Downtown areas. Obviously I need to make a trip back and see the rest of the city.
Vancouver’s food scene was probably the most impressive to me on our PNW excursion.
Our first night in, we headed to Forage, a farm-to-table restaurant that serves up modern Canadian cuisine. As you may expect, the menu features shareable plates organized as snacks, land, soil, sea, and sweets. For a party of two, our waiter recommended 2-3 plates. This was definitely my favorite meal in the city.
For lunch, you’ll absolutely need to stop into Meat and Bread, a sandwich spot that takes the most classic meal to another level. Not only are these some of the most delicious sandwiches you’ll ever eat, the beauty of the chain is in their simplicity with each location offering a couple of items and a daily special. Plus, their design aesthetic is on point and perfect for Instagram.
For low priced breakfast staples, hit up The Templeton, an adorable vintage diner complete with jukeboxes. Grab a seat at the bar and chow down.
Sushi Itoga offers great sushi in a casual setting. The diner is cozy with communal seating and features an interesting design with white shipping pallets covering the walls and a few Japanese masks on display.
At this point in our trip we were losing steam in our quest for libations. But we did stop into Gas Town’s Six Acres for a happy hour and were not disappointed. It’s a cozy old building with exposed brick walls and an excellent selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.
If you’re looking to grab a drink with the family, head on down to Davie Street. Although, you must be warned that most places will have a line to wait in regardless of how full or empty they may be. Our first stop was 1181. This bar is essentially a hallway and probably best to hit up early for a drink. It wasn’t busy during our visit but I imagine it can be a tight squeeze with a crowd. Junction is allegedly the spot for twinks while Numbers has a few areas for pool and dancing (and a cast member from Queer as Folk allegedly tends bar). Score on Davie gives gay sports enthusiasts a place to watch the game and nosh on bar food. XY seemed a little more alternative, greeting us with a bear doorman in a jockstrap and an interesting drag show inside. During our visit, the leather bar Pumpjack Pub had the biggest crowd and gave us quite the shower show.
One of my favorite things about the city was the abundance of boutiques and shops.
If only I had more room in my luggage and dollars in my bank account. The menswear shop Nifty Do sells plenty of lumbersexual apparel, fine leather goods, and selvedge denim. It’s exactly what I want my closet to look like.
If you want the home to go with that, you’ll find the wares at the general provisions store Old Faithful Shop. Their goods will have your place looking like a photo spread in Cereal or Kinfolk magazine in no time.
If you know me at all, you know I’m always trying to make thrift shopping work for me. Community Thrift and Vintage is a well curated shop and I picked up a couple of handkerchiefs that I’m trying to incorporate into my outfits as much as possible.
Meadow is an adorable gift shop that caters mostly to women, but of course that doesn’t keep the gays away. Richard and I picked up matching dainty waxed linen bracelets as souvenirs of our trip.
We were lucky to be staying so close to the beach and Stanley Park. We spent an entire day strolling through the park, checking out the rose garden and totem poles. Running along the sea wall made for an amazing morning work out.
There’s also some great art on display throughout the city. Be sure to check out Digital Orca and A-maze-ing Laughter, a collection of 14 bronze statues featuring the artist in different phases of hysterical laughter.
Vancouver is such an amazing city filled with art and outdoor activities. It was the perfect way to end the big trip. The next time I visit, I’ll definitely need to get out of the city and go hiking. Until next time, Van!