You know that one friend we all have who's good at freaking everything? Insanely beautiful, has perfect brows, hangs out at all the coolest spots, and somehow seems to always be on an unreal adventure! Even if you don’t know her personally, you can’t help but like her and envy her laid back style.
Well, if Canada was a #squad, that ultra desirable friend (we all secretly wish we could be)… would be Vancouver. The beautiful scenery, amazing people, and kick&$$ coffee are just a few reason why Vancouver is the best effing city in the world.
1. It’s GORGEOUS.
We may as well start with the obvious one…Van’s sheer and simple natural beauty. I mean, is there anything that compares to a walk along the seawall during a gorgeous sunset? Seeing the boats anchored in the ocean with a backdrop behind the mountains that changes from night to night? I still remember my first drive down Cambie street after moving here from Toronto. Heading over the bridge into downtown, it took all of my strength not to open the sunroof and stand up, like a girl in a limo on prom night, just to catch a better view of the surreal mountainous scene that would play backdrop to my new home.
2. We have the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge.
The first time you cross the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge, it is an EXPERIENCE. Once you’ve put that initial fear of falling aside and take a second to enjoy the site of the waterfalls below you, often sporting daring 20-somethings sliding down them into the water. If you haven’t been there, drop what you’re doing now and just go. It’s worth it.
3. We have an amazing west coast coffee culture.
I don’t know about you but coffee is sort of what fuels my entire existence. Lucky for me, there is a coffee shop on almost every corner. Whether you are a loyal Starbucks drinker or you’re looking for something a little more independent, Vancouver allows you to stay caffeinated with tons of options. From Revolver, Propaganda and Aubade (A few of my personal faves) to Forty Ninth Parallel — it’s easy to stay up and at 'em, in Vancouver.
4. People from the West Coast have a bad rep but are low-key AWESOME.
Before moving to Vancouver I was told I may never make a SINGLE friend here. The city has a bad reputation for being cliquey they said. Well, they couldn’t have been more wrong. It did take a little bit of time for people to open up, but once they did, I met some of the most amazing people ever. Kind, creative, generous souls who have made living in Vancouver inspiring and full of fun times.
5. We get to live right by the ocean.
There really is nothing like living right by the ocean, it’s got something magical about it. When you get off a flight all the way in Richmond, after not being in Vancouver for a little bit, the smell of the ocean reaches all the way to the airport and if you ask me, there is nothing like the smell of salt in the air.
I mean, I have seen an Orca…. need I say more?
7. Vancouver is thrifting made easy.
Vancouver makes it very easy for me to appear way cooler than I am. There are so many fantastic places to go for a good vintage find in our fair city. One of the best parts about it is they are all spread out, so no matter what area you live in, there will be a few good ones nested near you. From Main Street’s Front and Company and C’est La Vie to Gastown’s Community and Duchess, there is no shortage of spots for you to get your thrift on. Sidenote: the East Side Flea is bi-weekly flea market that you must hit up… they sell booze which can be dangerous to the bank account but also a blast.
8. We have got a cocktail culture like no other.
Vancouver sports an eclectic list (better than most places I have been) of phenomenal places to get a killer cocktail. I am talking cocktails to write home about that are as beautiful to look at as they are tasty. I tend to gravitate toward smaller independent places, and Vancouver has no shortage. From the absolutely flawless Old Fashion at the Diamond in Gastown, to the sexy rotating cocktail list at the Mackenzie Room the list of places is endless and thus so are your options.
9. Vancouver’s proximity to Adventure is unparalleled.
In other cities, getting over a hangover usually consists of a lazy combo of Netflix and Mcdonald’s but what I’ve found with Vancouver is, that is just simply not the case. With Vancouver’s close proximity to mind-blowing adventures, many people beat the old hangover with a gorgeous hike, a quick jump into the ocean, or visiting a stunning waterfall and trust me… these adventures beat a Big Mac 100% of the time. It’s also a great way to get a little athletic, or if you’re anything like me, appear to be getting a little athletic #activelytryingtobeactive.
10. Gastown is a thing we have
Walking through Gastown often makes me feel like I’ve gone on a little mini-vacay. The cobblestone streets, the beautiful lampposts and the incredibly well-dressed patrons walking the sidewalks. Gastown folks just always dress well, I’m pretty sure that’s a proven fact. Any season of the year Gastown is a place that always looks perfect. So whether the leaves are turning colours and starting to fall off the trees or snow is falling between the stunning street lights, Gastown is always pretty magical.
11. The seawall just doesn’t get boring
What I really love about the seawall is it gives people something cute to do right here in the city. You can bike around it, you can walk it, you can watch the sunset, and all of it costs you absolutely nothing. It’s a great (sans alcohol) date option and a fun way to shock friends from out of town.
12. That mild Vancity weather
Any Canadian city that doesn’t guarantee a snowy winter (other than on the mountains so we can snowboard, or if you’re anything like me, skip the boarding and just enjoy the après-ski) is a city I can get down with. I am a Capricorn, making me a January baby and so most years, I’ve spent my birthday in a snowsuit. The year I moved to Vancouver it was 5 degrees celsius on my birthday so needless to say I pretty much more wore my bikini to the bar.
13. Queen Elizabeth Park allows you to stand on top of the city
A park that allows you to see the entire city below you!? I mean stop! It’s 157-metres above sea level and is the highest point in Vancouver. Not to mention the park itself is absolutely stunning and allows you to tour a tropical garden at the top which is just earthy and chic.
14. Granville Island
Granville Island is not only a fantastic afternoon destination, it’s also completely filled with local vendors. I am a big supporter of buying locally and Granville Island makes it very easy. Not to mention you can take an adorable little rainbow boat across the ocean and even though it only takes 45 seconds to get there, boats are just fun.
15. The endless number of killer brunch spots
Brunch is BIG here! I mean bigger than big. Have you seen the line-up outside of Jam Cafe on Beatty Street recently? It's excessive! It’s very clear that Vancouverites love their brunch and it’s a good thing too because there are an incredible number of unreal spots to eat it in this city. Every time I try a new brunch spot, it seems to be better than the last.
16. The endless number of killer sushi spots.
I could eat sushi until I’m blue in the face so it’s a good thing there are about 95 spots to eat it on every Vancouver street. I also love how inexpensive sushi is. You can pretty much have a chic gourmet dinner on the equivalent of a student budget!
17. You don’t need to go to Europe to visit a nude beach. We’ve got Wreck!
Whether you keep your suit on or bare it all, no one can deny the beauty and excitement that lives on wreck beach. Blankets being sold, snacks and drinks to be had, it’s one of those happy places in Vancouver that keeps people making that trek again and again.
Side note: getting up the Wreck Beach stairs after a long day of sun and sneaky sangria seems like it may kill you, but you will make it, scouts honour.
18. Shopping on Robson Street
Robson Street is the best way to experience a nice day while getting in some good shopping (or if you’re like me, getting your weeks worth of cardio). It allows you to hit those big name stores without ever having to step foot in a mall, which is a blessing if you ask me!
19. Stanley Park
Not much compares to Stanley Park! It plays host to summer movies in the park, a stunning rose garden which is pretty romantic, and even a music venue. There are also remarkable paths and trails that you can follow if you’re looking for a mini-adventure right here in the city.
20. Commercial Drive
There’s nothing like a good ol’ walk down the drive. It’s always buzzing with tons of different types of people and there is never a dull moment.
21. Our Proximity to Whistler makes for an easy weekend getaway.
Whether you’re a snowboarder, skier, or just enjoy the après-ski life, Whistler will always be a great idea. It’s such a magical little place that everyone should have a chance to experience. The amazing runs, mixed with the cool spots to eat and drink make it the perfect weekend destination. The best apart about it, is that it’s only an hour and a half drive (in good traffic) from Vancouver.
22. The sea to sky highway is like nothing you have ever seen before
Being in Whistler is great but actually getting to Whistler is almost just as good if you ask me. The 1.5-hour drive is an absolutely stunning mix of mountains and ocean that will have you completely mesmerized. For safety reasons, you should definitely sit shotgun the first time you make the trek, #safetyfirst.
23. English Bay
Nothing screams Vancouver life like an evening at English Bay. Crowds gather to enjoy the sounds of people playing music and to watch the sun set over the ocean, nightly. It is one of my favourite parts of this city and one that I could never get sick of.
This list truly could go on and on but in an attempt to save a bit of time I will leave you with this, coming from a girl who claimed to be the ultimate metropolitan city princess, never wanting to stray from the hustle and bustle, I can officially say that Vancouver now rocks my world. It changed everything I thought I knew about happiness. Now a life sans-mountains and salty ocean hair just seems unfathomable to me. It truly is a place that is easy to fall in love with and that my friends, is ultimately why Vancouver is the best effing city in the world.