Spring brightens up Vancouver’s streets with thousands of cherry blossom buds and, hopefully, some sunshine amongst the April showers. Whether you’re discovering the city’s blooms or escaping the raindrops with some time inside, there are plenty of fun places to enjoy a spring fling in Vancouver. Join the locals hitting the seawall, check out Chinatown’s secret garden, and spend the afternoon exploring some of the city’s quirkier museums. If you want to make the most of the new season, here are our recommendations for spending a spring weekend in Vancouver.
Smell the roses in Stanley Park
Borrow one of The Burrard’s own cruiser bikes for free and head to the seawall for a leisurely ride around the 10 km path that winds around Stanley Park. Snap some shots of downtown, the snow-sprinkled North Shore mountains and the iconic Lions Gate Bridge. Got little ones in tow? Make a stop at the Vancouver Aquarium to meet the sea creatures, from stingrays and sea stars to sharks and sea lions. Spring brings the fragrant Rose Garden to life, so be sure to stop and smell the flowers along the way.
Grab some grub on Granville Island
Ride around the seawall to Howe Street to take the Aquabus to Granville Island. The changing season brings fresh produce like asparagus, radishes and rhubarb to the colourful Granville Island Public Market and there are plenty of pit stops to fill up at after a morning cycle. Try one of the vendors in the food court or make your own picnic with a fresh sourdough baguette from Terra Breads, dill pickles from Hobbs and local fromage from Benton Brothers Fine Cheese.
Take a trip to outer space
Continue your ride to Vanier Park, or leave your bike locked up at Granville Island and either stroll or take a small False Creek Ferry for a more scenic route. You’ll find vintage boats in the heritage harbour at the fascinating Maritime Museum, which tells the nautical history of Vancouver. If spring showers hit, you can spend the afternoon exploring the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre planetarium star theatre, or visit the Museum of Vancouver to see the 1950s style village and the museum’s impressive collection of neon signs.
Discover Chinatown’s secret garden
Check out the cherry blossoms in bloom at Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (578 Carrall Street) – this walled garden was the first authentic Chinese ‘scholar’ garden ever built outside of China when it opened in the mid-1980s. You might recognize it from the big screen where its traditional style house, pond and trees have appeared in many movies as ‘somewhere in China.’ The modest entrance fee is worth it to learn more about the garden’s Feng Shui and Taoist principles.
Hit the spring sales
Gastown’s cobbled streets are home to some of Vancouver’s trendiest stores. Check out sustainable clothing boutique One of a Few, denim specialists Dutil, Vancouver-based Herschel Supply Co. and Kit & Ace. Head to eccentric Canadian shoe designer John Fluevog’s studio to pick up some Art Deco inspired footwear, and then wander back along Water Street to see more of Vancouver’s historic quarter.
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Main Image: Martin Tessler
Stanley Park Rose Garden: Destination Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic
Granville Island Public Market: Destination Vancouver/Nelson Mouellic
H.R. MacMillan Space Centre Exterior: Destination Vancouver/Vision Event Photography Inc.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden: Destination BC/Tanya Goehring
Fluevog store in Gastown: Destination Vancouver/Rishad Daroowala