Thinking of a honeymoon or romantic getaway in Vancouver, Canada? Couples who enjoy the outdoors, fresh seafood, and ocean views can find a variety of activities to delight them in this spectacular West Coast city. If your Vancouver honeymoon is soon, be sure to check out the listings in Georgia Straight, a free paper that's also online. It'll clue you in to current entertainment in the city. You may also want to participate in these pursuits:
Although new hotels continually join the Vancouver skyline, choose a romantic one (rather than a place that bills itself as "family friendly"). I can provide recommendations for Vancouver's top romantic hotels where couples are particularly welcome; click on the link to locate one you'll love. Pictured: Penthouse suite at the Wedgewood Hotel.
Vancouver is known for delicious seafood plucked from nearby waters. Fresh fish — including salmon, oysters, and Dungeness crab — is an important part of the Pacific Northwest diet. This cuisine is also characterized by the use of locally grown and raised ingredients. If you enjoy wine, you can complement your romantic meals in Vancouver with the region's award-winning vintages. Pictured: Entrance to Brix Restaurant.
Take time to discover Vancouver's unique neighborhoods, where you'll find unique stores, restaurants, and attractions consistent with the surroundings. In addition to Vancouver's thriving Chinatown, you'll also want to check out Gastown (the original downtown area and home to the Vancouver International Jazz Festival) and yuppie Yaletown (a former industrial area turned trendy). But you'll have to head to the Robson Street retail district to experience Salmon Village, totally devoted to the glorious smoked fish and the only such purveyor in the city.
Many major North American cities have a Chinatown. But only Vancouver has the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden, named after the father of modern China. This greensward is an urban oasis that transports couples back in time to the 15th-century Ming Dynasty via its architecture and harmonious natural plantings that incorporates principles of feng shui. It's such a peaceful and beautiful retreat that some honeymoon couples also celebrate their wedding here.
Vancouver's supermarket, Granville Market is where residents come to buy fresh food and produce, dine out, and catch ferries to nearby islands. Here visitors also can enter artists' studios, check out fashion boutiques, browse book and crafts stores, catch a musical or theatrical performance, and even book a stay at the Granville Island Hotel on the waterfront.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is located downtown, between the Fairmont Vancouver and the Pacific Centre. It mounts exhibitions that span ages, from the masters to the modernists. Also check out the Bill Reid Art Gallery, where works by this acclaimed Haida master artist, sculptor, and goldsmith are on display.
Immerse yourselves in nature in Stanley Park, one thousand green acres at the edge of the city. Its 5.5 mile-long seawall hugs the shore, making it a popular place for walkers, bikers, inline skaters, sightseers, and romantics. Brockton Point's collection of totem poles is the most visited tourist attraction in the province. And if you come in summer, when the Rose Garden is in full bloom, you can practically inhale the glorious surroundings.
Featuring some 140 stores in the center of downtown Vancouver, the Pacific Centre is home to brands that include MaxMara, American Eagle Outfitters, Club Monaco, H&M, and the Gap. It is also the location of Vancouver's only Apple store, which has open wi-fi and permits shoppers to discreetly check email on its state-of-the-art computers.
Vancouver's expansive waterfront incorporates scenic islands and inlets. Kayakers can paddle close to the shore or into pristine waters to their hearts' content. The activity -- considered romantic by some, torture by others -- provides unique views of the city that you can't get on land. Rentals are available and popular push-off points include Granville Island, False Creek, Deep Cove, and Jericho Beach.
There's an easy way to get your bearings on a Vancouver honeymoon: Skiable Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour mountains -- which comprise the Coastal Mountain Range -- are always to the north. If you appreciate a panoramic city view and aren't afraid of heights, ride the gondola to the top of Grouse, where you can hike and ski in winter and eat outdoors in summer. At the top is a lodge with both formal and informal dining spots.
Vancouver is a major cruise port, especially for ships destined for Alaska. Some of the leading cruise lines that sail from Vancouver are Royal Caribbean, Holland America, NCL, Princess, and Carnival. Build in time on your honeymoon or romantic getaway to combine a visit to exciting Vancouver with a relaxing sail to points north.