Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

When I Went: August 4-8, 2010

Was That the Best Time of Year to Go? Early August is a great time to visit Vancouver. The high temperatures were mostly in the 70s, and then it cooled down at night — a far cry from the boiling Dallas summer heat.

Why I Went There: After watching the 2010 Winter Olympics (and receiving a larger than expected tax return), I chose to make Vancouver my big travel splurge of the year.

Who Went With Me? I traveled by myself, and what an amazing adventure it was!

I Stayed Here: Century Plaza Hotel and Spa, a hotel, spa…and comedy club! All located in one central, conveniently located downtown hotel.

You Won’t Want to Miss: Did you know Vancouver has the third largest Chinatown in North America? I highly recommend visiting the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Not only is the garden beautiful and serene, but there also are great shops nearby. I took a ferry ride to Bowen Island, and I loved the experience. In order to get there, I took a (long) bus ride from downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay, where I then caught the next departure, which happened to be Bowen Island. North Vancouver is absolutely gorgeous, and the ferry rides (no matter where your destination is) have no comparison. There is so much to explore along the Pacific Coast. And, of course, the totem poles at Stanley Park are amazing.

Eat Here: The Granville Island Public Market has great fresh food, art, and entertainment. In fact, on the day I visited Granville Island, a group of tap dancing kids performed routines to American pop songs. Yes, it was adorable. And priceless. I spent half a day at Granville Island, and I easily could have stayed longer. Also, Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe in Kitsilano has pretty good brunch.

Play Here: Vancouver has a little bit of everything. If you’re in the mood to soak up some sun, head over to Kitsilano Beach. The Capilano Suspension Bridge, located in North Vancouver, is another great option if you are not afraid of heights and are looking for an adventure. For the avid shopper, Robson Street in downtown is the go-to place.

If I Went Again: I decided to pack light for this trip, and thus I did not take a laptop computer or a smartphone (just a basic, barely useable prepaid cell phone). At the time, I thought I would be OK just checking my email once or twice at a nearby internet cafe. Big mistake. All I could find was a public library where they allow you 15 minutes of free Internet. Lesson learned: Just bring what you know you need to bring in order to have a good trip.

How Did You Get There From Dallas? I flew non-stop from DFW Airport to Vancouver International Airport. Walk down the terminal, and you can take the Canada Line train all the way into downtown Vancouver for only a few dollars. After that, it only took a couple minutes of wandering around slightly lost in the middle of downtown before a very nice person asked if I needed help and pointed me to the direction of my hotel.

Other Tips For Fellow Travelers: The people in Vancouver were so nice — very friendly, helpful people. I really enjoyed the laidback vibe of the city. Also, parking is expensive and can be hard to find in Vancouver. Honestly, most of the must-see tourist attractions are easily accessible on foot, by bus, or by ferry.

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