City break (noun): a short break spent in a city, such as when on a business trip.
Before going to the fun, there’s a city break – a short period of leisure time that gives you access to the cultural and culinary benefits that big cities have to offer. In this series from TripIt, we explore some of the best cities in the world for planning a quick trip or extending a business trip.
Here are our tips for making the most of your city break in Vancouver.
Where to fly
Located approximately 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is the main departure airport for domestic and international flights.
Once in the world, you have many options when it comes to your hotel or vacation rental. Taking a bus or taxi is probably the fastest and most convenient way to get to your destination.
The train stations are on Level 2 when you leave the station. Note that buses use a zoned rate and the price will vary depending on your destination.
Uber is available (but only now) from the airport.
Alternatively, the SkyTrain’s Canada Line offers high-speed rail service between the airport and downtown Vancouver. Trains leave YVR station approximately every seven minutes. It’s a 26-minute drive to downtown Vancouver, with stops in downtown Vancouver at Yaletown, Vancouver City Center and the Waterfront.
For maps, timetables and more information, visit the TransLink website.
Where to stay during the city break
It’s hard to resist booking a room with a view in Vancouver—and why wouldn’t you? Hotels like The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver and Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel offer views of the harbor and North Shore mountains.
If you’re attending an event at the Vancouver Convention Center, you can’t beat the comfort of the Fairmont Waterfront. The hotel and convention center are connected by a covered walkway, so you can easily hop between the two regardless of the weather.
If a hotel in a prime Vancouver location is what you’re looking for, look no further than the Delta Hotels Vancouver Downtown Suites. The hotel is just a few minutes’ drive from the convention center, with convenient access to Gastown, Vancouver’s original city. During the day, Gastown is a great home base for exploring the city, accessing many things to see and do. And at night? Gastown is electric, welcoming you with its old street lights, steam clock (pictured above), and decorated trees.
Need a place for an event? The Hyatt Regency Vancouver offers 45,000 square feet of meeting and event space.
Vacation rentals, like those booked through Airbnb, are available in Vancouver.
How to get around
Travelers have various options for getting around the city. If you prefer public transportation, take the SkyTrain, Vancouver’s light rail system. There are three lines that provide service to downtown Vancouver and the Metro Vancouver suburbs—the Expo Line, the Canada Line, and the Millennium Line.
You can get around the city by car; many buses stop near SkyTrain stations to make connections between things easy and efficient.
Curious about your micromobility options in Vancouver? Now, public transport sharing app Mobi by Shaw Go is your go-to. In addition, the city has announced plans to launch a scooter sharing program in 2023.
Hiring a taxi or Uber to get to town is also an option.
Tips: Use TripIt’s Navigator feature to explore the transportation options available to you. It will show you the estimated costs and travel times for each option, so you can decide which one works best for you. For example, if you add a restaurant reservation to your trip (more on where to eat, below), Navigator also helps you find the best transportation options for getting to your table. You can find Navigator within the specific screens of your plan.
Where to eat
If you only have time for one great meal in Vancouver, make a reservation at L’Abattoir. Ask to stay in the solarium if you are planning a romantic night; Choose an upper seat if you are a large group. The dish is seafood stew with a French twist. The hand-crafted cocktails are beautiful, the wine is divine, and best of all, the service is outstanding.
To try unique sushi, the Aburi style (which means flame) head to Minami Restaurant in Yaletown. These deliciously packed rolls will have you savoring every taste in every bite.
For Old World pasta in modern digs, head to Di Beppe in Gastown. Or, if you’re in the mood for a burger and locally brewed beer, head to Alibi Room, a gastropub in Gastown.
Want to try some local wine? Visit Vancouver Urban Winery in the Railtown district. Here you can try a variety of Canadian wines – from reds to sweet and bold – in a beautiful tasting room to book. VUW shares space with Settlement Brewing and Belgard Kitchen, which means there’s something for everyone in your party—even if you’re a partygoer.
Last but not least, save room for dessert at BETA5 Chocolates. Known for their artisan truffles and chocolate bars, BETA5 lovers also go there for their unlimited selection of ice cream sandwiches and cream puffs.
What to do on your city break
Want to find some cool photos on a city break? It’s the same! Start your day with a self-guided tour of Vancouver’s mural art. Grab a map, put on your comfy shoes, and explore the public art on foot. Visiting Vancouver in August? You can catch the annual Vancouver Mural Festival—and its many murals—in action.
Do you like your artwork in a smaller format? Head to Pacific Ocean—Vancouver’s 2,500-square-foot art gallery filled with art, jewelry, and crafts made by local artists. Alternatively, visit the Museum of Anthropology which displays artworks by indigenous peoples from Canada and around the world.
If you’re visiting Vancouver during hockey season, be sure to catch a Canucks (National Hockey League) or Giants (Canadian Hockey League) game. More of a soccer player? Vancouver Whitecaps FC plays at BC Stadium—the third largest stadium in Canada by number of seats. You may be able to catch a BC Lions (Canadian Football League) or Vancouver Canadians (minor league baseball) game, depending on the time of year you visit.
Luckily, Vancouverites embrace the great outdoors year-round — and so should you. Planning a trip in the winter? Head to Grouse Mountain for snowshoeing and snowshoeing. In the warmer months, head to the city’s beautiful Stanley Park for a walk or bike ride along its waterfront. Or, if you want a bit of nature outside of the city, head to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Try and get there early in the morning before the crowds—you’ll have less editing to do on your Insta photos.
Note: As travel destinations around the world reopen, please consult and adhere to all travel guidelines and restrictions, as they vary and are subject to change. One way to stay on top of changing leaders is to ask the COVID-19 travel guide Check the TripIt app for detailed travel information, including testing and medication requirements, current infection rates, quarantine rules upon arrival, and other information you may need. must know before visiting the place.