Extended Travel Guide for the Ultimate Wanderer Series: Winter in Downtown Vancouver

Over the holidays, I felt blasé as hell. Literally. I overcame that phase through learning how to knit, and driving to every corner of the city. What’s better to do than capturing the colors of a beautiful parrot that also freaks you out because there’s a possibility that it might attack you? Or, getting into New Years with not-so-wild crowd of kids and parents in the heart of the city? Well, it was a time. As I enter into my last week in Vancouver, I finally finished crossing out my bucket list of places to visit (minus Capilano. I still need to make it on the thrilling suspension bridge). It’s time to say goodbye to Vancouver for a bit of a time, and runaway from another possibly large snowfall. I shall return soon.

Here are my “Top 3 Places to See in the Heart of Vancouver”

(Comment if you want to read about it more- I am happy to continue with a part two of this post!)

  1. Stanley Park

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Excuse yourself if you haven’t started whining about how you can’t book your tickets for next year, like, right now. The event called “Bright Nights in Stanley Park” included three million lights according to the City of Vancouver information website. As I recall from the event, it was facilitated through the contributions of BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund and 800 firefighters worked like Santa’s elves to light up the whole area. The event has been ongoing every holiday season for 20 years, and was it ever spectacular! I have been to the big event of 2017 “Enchant”, smaller events like the “Lights Festival at the Bear Creek Park”, in Surrey and many more. I am fed up with seeing lights everywhere I look by now, but Bright Nights in Stanley Park was the best out of all that I have seen. There are live performers around, decent hot chocolate (cheap for once!), Santa’s workshop, lights, cardboards, lights, cardboards, lights and more lights. All of this is free. If you would like to take the train ride with exclusive lights, it is 15$ for adults. For 10 minutes, I suggest let your kids take it because it will be magical to them. Like I said, I am fed up with lights, so that part was ‘meh’ for me. You can still catch a ride in the event until January 6th, or wait for the next seasonal one (which will probably be a different train ride for Easter. See more info at: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx)

In nicer weather, Stanley Park is amazing to take a walk by the sea side, admire the amazing view, and ease your mind. If you don’t mind the rain, in all weathers, it is the best location to a rent a bike (please carry a map with you, you’ll thank me later), or go for a run. Hint: Justin Trudeau was spotted running in Stanley Park earlier last year!

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  1. Queen Elizabeth Park

A little bit of sun helps makes this place look full of life, and fall is probably the best time to see the shades that every tree brings in the picture. However, we have been getting sunny weather now and then too, I assure you that it is a good idea to make your way to the Queen Elizabeth Park. The park is the home to a quarry garden, a rose garden and Canada’s first arboretum with plantings done in 1949. According to the city of Vancouver, there are approximately 1500 species of Canadian trees.

On the highest point of Queen Elizabeth Park, visitors see the iconic domed roof of Bloedel Conservatory. It is a 5$ entrance for adults to observe more than 200 free-flying birds as well as seeing different plants from the desert zone, tropical and subtropical habitats. There are many words to describe the colors of this place, but I’ll let the pictures help you with the rest…

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  1. Vancouver Art Gallery

In the heart of downtown Vancouver, this majestic building is located. As I made my way out the Pacific Centre, I walked along historic hotels and delicate buildings, but when I saw this one, I stopped and stared, like every other person would. In front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, you are much likely to see ballerina’s twirling, filmmakers with their gigantic cameras and a lot of people like me, admiring.

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I had the privilege to see one of the largest collections under the roof of Vancouver Art Gallery, “Portrait of The Artist: An Exhibition from the Royal Collection” which captures the painters painting themselves (as Michelangelo would say), and one of my favourite artists Gordon Smith’s “The Black Paintings”. I adore Smith for his way of expressing his emotions of the wartime memories so touchingly. Both exhibitions are still open to viewers until February 4, 2018, accompanied by many newer exhibitions in the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Adult rates are 20$, and students with valid ID can enter for $18. Arts students can get a yearly membership for 5$, whereas adult memberships are $48 (See website for more info: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/visit_the_gallery/plan_your_visit.html).

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Until next time,

Hazal

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