Tucked away under a quiet, almost magical bridge lays the entrance to Granville Island. However, this island isn’t your typical secluded island getaway. Filled with shops, distilleries, art centers, performances and offering some of the best oceanfront dining in Vancouver.
We recently spent a few days exploring this island and also a few nearby attractions that fit the bill. Here are some of our favorites:
The far point of Granville Island is home to the Granville Island Hotel. Boasting magnificent views, a luxury feel and rooms fit for a princess, the Granville Island Hotel is sure to tickle your fancy.
Upon entering the hotel you are greeted with a beautiful scenic backdrop looking out at the marina. To your right you’ll have the lobby, which is decorated with a contemporary vibe. Straight down the hall is the Dockside restaurant connected to the hotel.
We had the privilege of staying in the superior queen room, which had amazing views of the Vancouver skyline looking out towards to water.
The room featured a king bed with a couch, large television with cable, mini bar, and a very spacious bathroom with a large rainfall shower. (Read more here …)
The Dockside restaurant is located on the first floor of the Granville Island Hotel and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. On Sundays they offer a special Sunday brunch menu.
One of the packages the hotel offers is the bed and breakfast deal, which gives you a voucher to enjoy breakfast at a discounted rate during your stay. The restaurant follows a similar style as the hotel, and offers panoramic views of the city.
Through Dockside is connected to the hotel, it isn’t only for hotel guests. Often featuring special events like Dine Out Vancouver, where diners can enjoy their 3 course special menu honoring the event for only $35.
The Dockside is perfect for a romantic night out and has something for everyone. Parking is easily accessible outside the hotel and offers free 3 hour parking. (Read more here …)
Located not far from the Granville Island Hotel on Granville Island is the Vancouver TheatreSports. If you’re looking for a little entertainment or laughter in your life they’re worth checking out!
Theatresports produces 11 different shows per week, 52 weeks of the year at its own theatre, The Improv Centre. The Improv Centre is an intimate space, seating only 186 patrons in three types of seats – cabaret-style tables and chairs up front close to the stage, a banquette bench with bar rail and traditional theatre seats with cup holders.
Tucked at the back of The Improv Centre you will find the Neil Macrae Bar & Lounge which serves a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, including specialty cocktails themed to the current feature show. It opens one hour prior to show time on performance evenings.
Also located on popular Granville Island (see I told you there was lots to do and see!) is the wonderful Liberty Distillery. This distillery offers amazing cocktails featuring their handcrafted vodka, gin and whisky, made from 100% BC organic grain.
If you’re interested in seeing how things are made at the Liberty, they offer tours that pair with tastings on the weekends, for only $10 a person.
The venue is beautifully designed with a simple antique bar feel. It has large windows that look out to the alley, offering for natural light. There is a gold chandelier hanging in the middle of the bar which fits the decor perfectly. A large mirror with the words Liberty Distillery in gold lettering frames the bar and makes the perfect backdrop for the bartenders while shaking up a drink.
We headed in for a few tastings, first we tried a flight of whisky, followed by a flight of gin. All handcrafted right there and mmm..mazing. After our tastings we enjoyed one of their signature cocktails. I opted in for their featured cocktail, which was a refreshing ginger, vodka and cranberry blend. To clean the palate, they offer basic bar snacks, such as nuts, and a warmed pretzel with Dijon mustard.
Live music is usually something I take the opportunity to enjoy – especially if it’s free and I’m in a new location looking to explore some fun spots. That’s where the Railway comes in! Offering local-centric live music, comedy nights and Saturday jam sessions, it’s the perfect spot to unwind and take in the music.
Hidden in plain sight in downtown Vancouver, you’d be excused for walking right by and not noticing it was there! Tucked up on the second floor of its building, a narrow staircase leads you only one way, up and straight to the entrance of Railway.
Upon entering you see the stage, where musicians jam to their hearts consent. Black and white bohemian-style wallpaper lines the walls, and the wrap around bar leads you to a hidden back area that has a pool table, darts and another full bar!
The Railway offers a large variety of beer and ciders on tap and freshly pressed sandwiches to keep your tummy happy. Drink, eat, dance and just be merry. The Railway has got you covered!
Bundle up and grab your winter boots and skiing gear if you ski, and head on up to Squamish’s Sea to Sky Gondola for some vigorous hiking and steep ski slopes!
Check in at the base point where free parking and washrooms are provided, then enjoy a smooth gondola ride up to the summit lodge to feast your eyes on some spectacular views of the valley and mountains.
Have a dog? Dog owners can hike to the summit via the Sea to Summit Trail network and then download with their dog on the gondola. There are restrictions for pet owners, so if you decide this route be sure to look at the FAQ before showing up. Plus, a portion of each pass sale will go towards the Squamish SPCA.
There are dozens of hiking trails to choose from. Even if you don’t want to venture far, there are a couple of short, easy trails to amble along into the Sky Pilot Suspension bridge. Spanning 100 meters (328 feet) over a chasm and open year round, even if you disagree with the bitter cold, you don’t want to miss this! Enjoy the view and head back to basecamp for a warm drink before taking the gondola back down.
The suspension bridge in the Sea to Sky Gondola trip is pretty special, but it’s nothing compared to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Built in 1899 to allow park goers to cross the Capilano river, it spans 137 meters (450 feet) and is both a historical landmark, and a breathtaking example of the park’s nature and human engineering.
After making the trek across the bridge, the Treetops Adventure awaits you. There, you can walk over more suspension bridges held up at the treetop level where in the wintertime, holiday themed lights are strung all across the canopy.
If heights or stairs are an issue for you, there is a lovely boardwalk around the property where you can take in the view and the nature, as your family or little ones take on the daring treetop adventures. Lucky for pet owners, this is another pet friendly area! Bring your dog on a leash and he’ll get free admission into the park.
*Thanks to Tourism Vancouver, the Granville Island Hotel and Epicmedia for hosting us during our visit.