Visiting Vancouver can be as diversified as you would like to make it. We are situated by the ocean and by the mountains, giving us a range of landscapes and offering a broad array of activities. Hemmed in by natural beauty, our greatest value is this proximity to the majesty of our surroundings. But of course, there are many things to consider, like any city, when visiting.
The following may be useful for your travel to Vancouver and stay at the West End Guest House. Please let us know if you have any questions.
From Vancouver International Airport you can take a cab for less than $35 CAD or you can take the CanadaLine Train and in approximately 22 minutes to be at our nearest stop, City Centre at Georgia and Granville Streets. We are 8 blocks from that stop. The West End Guest House is one block south on Haro. Another way to travel from the Airport is by Limousine, you will find limos just outside the doors from the International Arrivals area.
Car rentals are available from the airport and also from their offices in downtown Vancouver:
AmTrak has a train to and from Vancouver and it also has a bus service as well. Best to check their schedule if you would like to come by train, it’s more scenic than by bus but it only goes once a day in either direction. The Quick Shuttle also goes from Seattle (Sea-Tac) to Vancouver and back, their toll-free number is 888-665-2122.
Alaska Cruises leave from the Port of Vancouver. However, there are two terminals and you should check to see which terminal your ship arrives/departs to/from.
Canada Place is within walking distance from the West End Guest House and Ballantyne Pier is approximately 10 to 15 minutes by taxi. If you have luggage you will want to take a taxi or limo. These arrangements can be made by the West End Guest House.
The bus and other mass transit system in Vancouver is known as TransLink. If you usually travel by transit you might like to get a multi-day pass. Victoria is often a destination for visitors to Vancouver. BC Ferries is the way most people travel, especially if they are driving to Victoria or taking a tour but harbour to harbour seaplanes are also available. West Coast Air and Harbour Air are both within a 20-minute walking distance from the West End Guest House along Vancouver's famous Sea-Wall. Check out www.walkvancouver.com for this and other areas for walking tours. Remember we don’t recommend having a car; Vancouver is so accessible by other means.
Our weather is often precarious and being that we are part of a rain forest, the locals are always ready for rain. If you have lived in Vancouver a long time then you’ll know it’s not fun carrying around an umbrella, although the West End Guest House does provide them should you need them. If you can get around without an umbrella, perhaps with a hat or cap instead and some type of water repellent outer clothing—you’ll look as cool as the locals. Summer generally isn’t a wet time of year, but fall and winter and spring can be. You might like to have a pair of comfortable walking shoes or sneakers that are dryable for our wetter times. Check out the weather report to get an idea of temperature and conditions.
An easy start to visiting Vancouver is a walk along Robson Street. It’s only a block away from the West End Guest House and leads to many interesting shops, restaurants, and other activities such as the Vancouver Art Gallery—located on Robson Street at Hornby in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Another way to discover the city is by the various tour companies. LandSea Tours will pick you up directly from the front steps of the West End Guest House. Their tours are of Vancouver, North Shore, Victoria, Whistler, and most recently, the Okanagan. The Vancouver Trolley Company picks up on Robson Street within 2 blocks of the West End Guest House and offers hop-on-hop-off tours around the city highlights.
Some of the well-known sites visited by the Tour buses include the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden, in Chinatown. Granville Island is another stop along the way, where you might like to stop at the Granville Island Brewing Company for a tour and tasting or have lunch in the sun patio of Bridges Restaurant, or perhaps just a kiosk lunch from the appetite inspiring greengrocer market at Granville Island. Enjoy the buskers on the terrazzo and watch the boats and yachts sailing False Creek. You might even see a Dragon Boat race with crews out practicing for the annual Dragon Boat Festival. Another way to and from Granville Island is via the Granville Island Ferries. These little boats work all day long to bring locals and tourists to the island, which isn’t an island at all. In fact, it’s man-made and wasn’t even there a hundred years ago!
Vancouver has a world-famous museum and a must-see. The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia is located on the bluff overlooking the Straight of Georgia. World-famous Wreck Beach—Vancouver’s clothing optional (nude) beach is also located near the UBC Endowment Lands sandy bluff, but obviously at the bottom.
Vanier Park is home of the HR MacMillan Space Centre with its observatory, Planetarium, and Theatre. It’s also home to the Vancouver Maritime Museum and the Vancouver Museum. These operate all year round and in summer there are two special events at Vanier Park. In spring the Vancouver Children's Festival is housed in tents located on the Park, which is at the entrance to False Creek. And directly after the Children's Festival is over, Bard On the Beach begins. The Shakespeare theatre runs more than one production and has a variety of events such as the Vancouver Fireworks dinner and show.
If you're visiting in the summer, don't miss the Celebration of Light Fireworks Competition. Each summer, three countries compete in a spectacular Music and Fireworks Exhibition over 4 different nights at the end of July and beginning of August.
Another close to nature experience is Grouse Mountain. It is a place to go for both summer and winter activities and to learn about the First Nations People at the Hiwus Feasthouse and Cultural Centre. Along the way is world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Built in 1889, it reflects on yesterday through its guides' in period costume; however, it also focuses on natural history because of its location and through its First Nations Carving Centre.
Many of the Restaurants we recommend do not have their own website; because of this, we have a binder of current menus at the guesthouse from our favourite restaurants. Vancouver is a very cosmopolitan city with a diverse group of inhabitants. Practically any type of food is available, but the type getting the most press is our version of West Coast Fusion—a skillful mix of local food with international themes.
The well-known French restaurant Le Crocodile is located on Smythe Street, a continuation of Haro Street only 3 blocks away. Robson Street has a bevy of restaurants including CinCin, Zefferellis, and the very energetic Joe Fortes. Asian nations contribute much of Vancouver City’s dining tastes. Tojo’s is known for its exceptional Japanese cuisine. And Vij’s is the internationally renowned Indian fusion restaurant off South Granville Street. See http://dinehere.ca for more information on the Vancouver dining scene.
Vancouver is glorious during the day but at night it rocks. See www.clubzone.com for more info on Vancouver’s Night Life. Granville Street bars are located within 5 or 6 blocks from our home. Granville Street is also home to several Cinemas and Theatres including the Vogue, the Orpheum, the Centre for Performing Arts, and Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Playhouse.
We are thrilled to be partnered with LandSea Tours—a Canadian family owned and operated company that offers a variety of half-day and full-day sightseeing excursions around Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler, and Vancouver’s North Shore.
LandSea Tours is a boutique tour company in Vancouver that utilizes the flexibility of mini-coach touring to bring you a personalized sightseeing experience that a big motorcoach can't. Their tour guides take the time to take care of your personalized needs and answer your questions, accurately.
Let us know if we can book you an exceptional day trip to Victoria, or a city tour of Vancouver and the North Shore Mountains or a fabulous pre or post-cruise opportunity! We’re happy to help.
Call us at 604.681.2889 to book your experience!