21 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Vancouver

City of Vancouver downtown

There are so many reasons to visit Vancouver from epic dates with Mother Nature to cocktail crawls that rival NYC. We’re a laid-back city with something for everyone. Here are a few things you should know before you visit to make the most of your experience:

21 We’re obsessed with ramen

From Northern Japanese style-ramen to hippie vegan bowls – you name it, we have it.  Our love for the noods goes beyond the cold months.  Here, ramen is enjoyed year-round, no matter the weather. For our guide to some of the best ramen bars in Vancouver, check out this list.

20 We’re all about athleisure fashion

Fashion – but make it comfortable.  Living in one of the most walkable and fitness-obsessed cities in the world, its not uncommon to see locals rocking Lululemons, sneakers, and a baseball cap to complete the quintessential Vancouver #ootd.

Vancouver athleisure fashion

19 Everyone’s single

And all the good ones are taken. At least it feels that way. Personal cynicism aside, if you are single and looking to meet someone, it can be as easy as making your way over to the local dog park, coffee shop, or hitting up Bumble. Oh, and don’t be afraid to make the first move. As a matter of fact, we encourage you to.

18  There’s public WI-FI throughout the city

 Enjoy free public Wi-Fi access on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop via #VANWiFi at over 600 locations throughout the city.

To connect to #VanWiFi:

  1. Select the #VanWiFi network name from your device’s Wi-Fi settings menu
  2. Open your browser and you will be automatically re-directed to the #Wi-Fi terms and conditions page. Read and then click the button to accept the terms and conditions.
  3. You will be re-directed to the #VanWiFi home page and the bam – you’re good to surf.

17 We’re dog-friendly

We love our furry friends and french bulldogs, Australian Shepherds and, Shiba Inus are among the most popular breeds you’ll see strolling along the Seawall or through dog-loving Yaletown on any given day.


16 We have tons of free attractions

Sure, Vancouver isn’t cheap, but you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy some of the best things this city has to offer.  One of our biggest draws is our natural beauty. Here’s a quick list of free sights and attractions:

  • Stroll through Stanley Park (World’s Best Park, baby)
  • Bike the Seawall
  • Visit Granville Island
  • Hit up one of our many beaches
  • Walk across the Lynn Canyon Bridge
  • Explore historic Chinatown
  • Go on a self-guided mural tour on Main Street

Art lover? The Vancouver Art Gallery is by donation every Tuesday from 5-9 pm.

15 Our cocktail scene is world-class

We’re constantly amazed by the level of creativity when it comes to cocktails in this city.  Not only are our cocktails delicious, they’re also made by the world’s best bartenders. Kaitlyn Stewart (Royal Dinette), Chris Enns (Lobby Lounge at the Fairmont Pacific Rim), Satoshi Yonemori (Grapes and Soda), and Katie Ingram (Elisa Steakhouse) are a few standouts.

Don’t forget to check in with us on IG every Thursday for our #ThirstyThursday series.

Pidgin cocktail

14 You can smoke weed in public (and not get arrested)

Puff, puff, pass. Just remember, you can’t bring weed aboard international flights.  Check out this guide to smoking pot in BC.

13 We live for ‘Happy Hour’

Because who doesn’t love a good deal, especially on food and booze.  Most restaurants and bars in the city offer some kind of happy hour promo ranging from $5 glasses of bubbly to half-off eats.

Where to eat and drink in Kerrisdale, Vancouver

12 We have a lot of options for vegetarians/vegans

No meat? No problem! According to a recent survey by Dalhousie University, British Columbia has the biggest population of plant-based eaters in Canada. Here’s our list of spots for soul-satisfying vegan comfort food in Vancouver.

11 We have an amazing LGBTQ2+ community

Vancouver is home to the largest LGBTQ2+ community in Western Canada and home to one of the biggest Pride parades in the world. Stroll down to Davie Village and snap a photo of the iconic rainbow crosswalks!

Davie Village

10  We consider sushi an essential food group

A West Coast staple, get your fill of the freshest sushi. Fun fact: the California Roll was invented by Vancouver sushi master Hidekazu Tojo. Tojo wanted to make sushi that everyone could enjoy, so he combined cooked crab and put seaweed on the inside.  You can try the original California Roll at Tojo’s Restaurant.

We like to torture ourselves by lining up for brunch

Planning on going for brunch? One piece of advice: get there early.  Also, patience is a virtue. Not one we possess, but a virtue nonetheless. Expect to wait anywhere from 1-3 hours to get into some of Vancouver’s most popular brunch spots like Cafe Medina and Jam Cafe.

People lining up for brunch outside of Jam Cafe
(Photo/Sherman’s Food Adventures)

8 Tipping is customary

In North America, we (unfortunately) have a tipping culture where the wages of our servers are offset by tips. So if you don’t do it, your nice sweet server may be going home, having paid for part of your meal. It’s customary to tip between 15-20%.

7 We walk everywhere

We walk because we can. Comfortable walking shoes are a must.

(Photo Vancouver.ca

6 The mountains are close, like real close

They’re literally at our doorstep. Vancouver is one of the few places in the world where you can complete a hike before you even head into work. Here’s a list of some seriously scenic hikes for all levels.

Things you should know before visiting Vancouver

5 We’re craft-beer obsessed

While Portland may lead the craft beer craze, we aren’t far behind.  A great way to explore Vancouver’s craft beer scene is on a brewery tour.

4 We’re also passionate about coffee

Similar to our demand for craft beer, we’re just as particular with our demand for quality coffee. In Vancouver coffee culture is real with endless options for caffeine enthusiasts in search of something other than Starbucks.


3 We don’t have Uber (ugghhh)

Yet. Hopefully we get out of the ice age soon but like we said earlier, this city is super walkable.  But if you can’t get around by foot, we have tons of options for getting around like car share programs, bike rental, and a skytrain.

cyclists on Mobi bikes in Vancouver
(Photo/Mobi Bikes)

2 Bring an umbrella

Got an umbrella? Good. Make sure you exercise proper (common sense) umbrella etiquette before heading out into the streets. Packing a waterproof jacket wouldn’t hurt either.

1  Once you’re here, you won’t want to leave

So stay. People make a city and the more awesome people, the better. Welcome to Vancouver!

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