For people on the West Coast, taking a trip out of the country for Labor Day weekend is fast, feasible, and worthwhile in the form of Vancouver, Canada. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and a cascading, tree-laden mountain range on Canada’s Pacific Northwest coast, Vancouver is a virtual paradise for the active outdoor adventurer and foodie alike, and it’s only a short, two-and-a-half-hour drive from Seattle. So pack up your hiking/eating shoes, and get ready to celebrate Labor Day weekend Canadian style.
WHERE TO STAY: OPUS Hotel Vancouver
This boutique hotel in the heart of Vancouver’s trendy Yaletown neighborhood is sleek, modern, and is surrounded by one of the city’s best food and bar scenes. Inside the intimate and stylishly decorated OPUS, you’ll find the award-winning Italian spot La Pentola della Quercia, and the buzzing Opus bar, where you can enjoy a specialty cocktail like “The Bramble.”
THINGS TO DO: Visit Stanley Park and Granville Island, and hit up a Victory Square block party.
It’s hard to decide what to do in Vancouver when you’re only in town for three days, but visiting Stanley Park, where you can bike along the scenic seawall, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, and even hike along its more than 1,000 acres of beaches and trails, is a can’t-miss. Next, hit up Granville Island, home to a diverse selection of artisan shops, glassblowing and metalwork studios, seaside restaurants and bars, and Vancouver’s best public market chock-full of local farmers’ produce, specialty ingredients, artisan meats, and an unbeatable food court. After that, hang out with locals at the Victory Square block party, Vancouver’s unofficial end of summer celebration where you can catch performances by local musicians, DJs, and chow down on some food truck bites. Best part? It’s all free.
WHERE TO EAT: La Quercia, Go Fish, Maenam, Hawksworth
Vancouver’s fresh produce and seafood help it stand out as one of the West Coast’s best dining scenes. For expertly prepared Italian fare, try Adam Pegg’s La Quercia, where you can enjoy an elegant tasting menu featuring classic and innovative northern Italian dishes, or order from the chalk board menu that changes daily; either way you won’t be disappointed. Tip: If you’re hungry, go for the unbeatable sous-vide steak Florentina for two, and thank us later. For lunch, locals flock to seaside shack Go Fish to enjoy some of the best fish and chips available in Vancouver. If you’re a fan of Thai food, Maenam is the place to check out, as it serves up modern and deeply flavorful takes on classic dishes, as well as Thai-inspired cocktails. Last but not least, we have Hawksworth, whose talented chef of the same name prepares unforgettable West Coast-inspired dishes in a luxurious fine dining setting.
Image: Creative Commons