Local Tips: Vancouver, BC

All blog posts related to Vancouver

I spent many years on and off in Vancouver. It is one of the many places I call ‘home’. Take a look at the places I enjoy!


Named after its British discoverer, Captain George Vancouver, who, in 1792, realised it had already been discovered by the Spaniards from 1592-1774. (Does it explain why there are Spanish & British names for our streets & sites?) Originally a town established in 1867, it eventually became a city in 1886 and was renamed “Vancouver”. Read more about Vancouver’s history here and here.

Calendar of Events

A: annual        N: nationwide

January: Dine out Vancouver A
January/February: Chinese New Year Parade – Chinatown A
February: Family Day A
March: Week-long CelticFest & St. Paddy’s Parade
April: 10K Sun Run A
May: Victoria Day (Monday before 24 May) A/N
June – September: Bard on the Beach – Vanier Park A
June – July:International Jazz Festival A
1 July: Canada Day A/N
July: Deighton Cup (Vancouver’s “Royal Ascot”) A
July/August:HSBC Celebration of Light – English Bay A
August: BC Day (1st Monday in August) A
August – September (Labour Day): PNE Fair A
September: Labour Day (1st Monday in September) A/N
September – October: Vancouver International Film Festival A
11 November: Remembrance Day service & parade (read about the parade in 2012 and 2013) A/N



Touristy Sites


Afternoon Tea

These ratings are based on tea/food quality and service.

  1. The Urban Tea Merchant (Downtown) – BEST afternoon tea (TWG tea) and BEST macarons. SUPERB service. Read my posts here and here.
  2. London Heritage Farm (Steveston) – Delicious lavender scones, charming heritage house. Read my review.
  3. Patisserie Für Elise (Downtown)- charming afternoon tea venue. Read my review.
  4. Faubourg (Kerrsidale) – Delicious souffle. There is another Faubourg across from the Vancouver Art Gallery.
  5. High Tea at the Castle (Fairmont Hotel Vancouver) – Once my favourite hotel (it looked like Vancouver’s castle), the interiors are now uber contemporary and not to my taste. Read my review.
  6. Neverland Tea Salon (Kitsilano) – Peter Pan-themed tea salon with charming interiors. A bit pricey. Read my review.
  7. La Petite Cuillere (Mount Pleasant) – Another budget-friendly afternoon tea salon with charming interiors and excellent service. Read my review.
  8. Rose House (Kerrisdale) – Read my review.
  9. Secret Garden (Kerrisdale) – Charming interior and exterior but service was not particularly friendly.
  10. Soffee Cafe – Read my review.
  11. Soirette – Read my review.
  12. Fairmont YVR Airport (Richmond) – Read my review here.

Places I have yet to visit:

  • Adonia (Kerrisdale) – $17-27 for afternoon tea
  • Adorabelle (Steveston) – Host your party there and there’s a box of hats and tiaras available for dress-up. 😉 $25 (W-Su).
  • Butter Baked Goods (Dunbar) – $14-28 for afternoon tea (W-Su).
  • Xi Shi Lounge at Shangri-La Hotel – Similarly priced as Urban Tea Merchant, which is a block away.


Fine Dining

These ratings are based on my experiences.

  1. Le Crocodile – Best service for French restaurant with no strict clothing code (but still formal).
  2. Market at Shangri-La – Excellent service, best lavatories
  3. Diva at the Met – Excellent service
  4. Joe Fortes – Best creme brûlée in Vancouver! Food is delicious, service goes down if no alcohol ordered.
  5. Hawksworth at Hotel Georgia – Generally busy, 2nd best lavatories
  6. Griffins Restaurant at Hotel Vancouver – Food not particularly exceptional, very nice lavatories (public access)
  7. The Boathouse – Beach-view dining
  • The Blarney Stone (Gastown) – Best shepherd’s pie in town! It’s one of my favourite pub/restaurants in Vancouver. I enjoyed their Celtic music nights but I’m not sure if they still have it.
  • Wings – Highly recommend Canadian Maple Bourbon wings.
  • Old Spaghetti Factory (Gastown) – Family-fun restaurant with historical artefacts around the restaurant. Affordable lunch and dinner menus.
  • Milestone’s – Mondays are girls’ night out: 4 drinks, 4 appies for $40 (before taxes and tips).
  • Alpen Club – Best German food in town, also hosts Oktoberfest in October and many other activities & events throughout the year. THE venue to cheer on German teams during World Cup and European Championship (Euros) and other German football (soccer) matches.
  • Earl’s – similar to Milestone’s
  • Elephant & Castle pub (Marine Building) – 2nd best shepherd’s pie in town with charming Art Deco interior
  • Red Robin’s – Family dining. Freckled strawberry lemonade comes with free refills!
  • Cactus Club – similar to Earl’s and Milestone’s
  • Joey’s – similar as above
  • Johnnie Fox’s Irish Snug – small charming Irish pub (but no longer has the cute exterior) with Celtic music
  • Irish Heather – Irish pub near Blarney’s with mixed Guinness drinks!
  • Doolin’s (Granville) – cute interiors and the male servers are nicer.


  • Caffe Artigiano – The best Chai Tea Latte in town.
  • Caffe Cittadella – A heritage house in a quiet neighbourhood, perfect place for having coffee/tea and homemade treats!
  • Blenz Coffee – The best hot chocolate made from real Belgian chocolate!
  • Tim Hortons – This is where I go for Timbits, cookies, and cheaper breakfast and lunch/dinner.


Further Education

  • Universities/colleges: offers continuing ed courses
  • Community Centres (through City of Vancouver site) – affordable/cheapest classes for all ages with gym, ice rink (some), and dance rooms. Language courses are cheaper. I used to take ballet classes here. There are loonie/toonie day skating days (check schedule).
  • VBS Continuing Ed – affordable classes for all ages held in various secondary schools. I take sewing classes here.


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