Rich in cultural, culinary, and creative diversity, Vancouver gets right what many other cities only aspire to. Whether you’re headed to Vancouver for work, fun, or a little bit of both, here are our tips for making the most of your time there.
Where to fly in
Located about 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the main airport travelers fly into for domestic and international trips alike. YVR is consistently ranked as one of the best airports in North America. And with the announcement of WestJet’s new domestic routes, flights between multiple Canadian cities and Vancouver are seeing a dip in year-over-year pricing. Meaning, if you’ve been hoping to stretch your business travel budget to plan a trip to Vancouver, 2019 is likely the year to do it.
Once on the ground, you have a number of options for getting to your hotel or vacation rental. A taxi is likely the quickest and easiest way to get to your destination. Taxi stands are located on Level 2 once you exit the terminal. Note that taxis use a zoned rate fare and the cost will vary based on your destination.
Unlike many major cities, ride shares like Uber are not available in Vancouver. Alternatively, SkyTrain’s Canada Line provides rapid rail service between the airport and downtown Vancouver. Trains depart the YVR station approximately every seven minutes. The trip to downtown Vancouver takes about 26 minutes, stopping in downtown Vancouver at Yaletown, Vancouver City Centre and Waterfront. The one-way journey costs a two-zone fare of $4.20, plus a $5.00 Canada Line YVR AddFare. For maps, schedules and additional fare information, visit the TransLink website.
Where to stay
It’s hard to resist booking a room with a view in Vancouver—and why should you? Hotels like The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver and the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel offer views of the harbor as well as the North Shore Mountains. Fortunately, many of the business travel-minded hotels are located on the water, too—so even if you’re spending most of your trip inside, you can still enjoy the view.
Here are our picks for the best hotels to stay in during your next business trip:
- If you’re attending an event at the Vancouver Convention Centre, you can’t beat the convenience of the Fairmont Waterfront. The hotel and convention center are connected by a covered walkway, so you can easily bounce between the two without a second thought about the weather.
- If a hotel in a prime Vancouver location is what you’re after, look no further than the Delta Hotels Vancouver Downtown Suites. The hotel is just a few minutes walk from the convention center, with convenient access to Gastown, Vancouver’s original downtown. By day, Gastown is a great home base for exploring the city, accessing many of the must-see and must-do’s. And by night? Gastown twinkles, romancing you with its old-timey street lamps and light-adorned trees.
- Need space for an event? The Hyatt Regency Vancouver offers 45,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Plus, Concur Hipmunk users receive exclusive discounts when staying at a Hyatt property.
How to get around
As noted above, ride shares are not available in Vancouver. However, travelers have a variety of other options for getting around the city. If you prefer public transportation, take the SkyTrain, Vancouver’s light rapid transit system. There are three lines offering service to downtown Vancouver as well as Metro Vancouver’s suburbs—the Expo Line, the Canada Line, and the Millennium Line. Travelers can also get around town via bus; many bus stops are located near SkyTrain stations to make connections between the two easy and efficient. Of course, hailing a taxi to traverse the city is an option, too.
Pro tip: Use TripIt’s Navigator feature to search transportation options available to you. It will show you the estimated costs and travel times for each option, so you can decide which works best. You can find Navigator within your flight, hotel and rental car details screens. Plus, if you add a restaurant reservation to your itinerary (more on where to eat below), Navigator also helps you find the best transportation options for getting to your table.
Where to eat
Start your day at Jam Cafe, an all-day breakfast place known for its comfort foods (think housemade biscuits and gravy) and decadent twists on classics (red velvet pancakes!). Heads-up that the wait will be long. Our advice? Grab a coffee before you leave your hotel and bring it with you to help bide your wait. Then, order an oversized mimosa as soon as you sit down.
For a fancy dinner, book a reservation at L’Abattoir—request to sit in the solarium if you’re planning a romantic date night; opt for the upstairs seating if you’re a bigger group. The cuisine is primarily seafood dishes with a French twist. The handcrafted cocktails are fantastic, the wine is divine, and best of all, the service is outstanding.
To sample unique, Aburi-style (AKA flame-seared) sushi, head to Minami Restaurant in Yaletown. These delectable, layered ‘rolls’ ensure you taste each flavor in every bite. Oishī! You’ll never want to eat sushi any other way again.
For Old World pasta in modern digs, head to Di Beppe in Gastown. Or, if you’re in the mood for a locally-sourced burger and a locally-brewed beer, make your way to Alibi Room, a funky-fun gastropub also located in Gastown.
Last but not least, save room for dessert at BETA5 Chocolates. Known for their artful truffles and chocolate bars, BETA5-lovers also flock there for their limited-release selection of ice cream sandwiches and cream puffs.
What to do
After all that food, burn some calories with a self-guided tour of Vancouver’s mural scene. Download the map, strap on your comfortable shoes, and explore the many works of public art on foot. Headed to Vancouver in August? Lucky you! You can catch the annual Vancouver Mural Festival in action.
If you’re visiting Vancouver during hockey season, be sure to catch a Canucks game at Rogers Arena. More of a soccer fan? The Vancouver Whitecaps FC play at BC Stadium—the third largest stadium in Canada by seating capacity.
If your family tagged along on your business trip, there are plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Vancouver. To start, head to Stanley Park to walk or bike along its seawall. Or, if you want a dose of nature outside the city, head to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Try and get there early in the morning before the crowds—the kids will have more room to explore and you’ll have way less editing to do on your Insta shots.
Adults-only? Pay a visit to Vancouver Urban Winery in the Railtown district. Here you can sample a wide variety of Canadian wines—from sparkling to sweet to bold—and in a gorgeous tasting room, to boot. Plus, VUW shares its space with Postmark Brewing and Belgard Kitchen, meaning there’s truly something for everyone in your party—even if you’re a party of one.
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