We booked our second Disney cruise on the West Coast and went a few days to early to check out the city we would be leaving from: Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver is a beautiful city framed by mountains and intersected by the English Bay and inlets. Even as a bustling seaport with a plethora of activities, it never felt crowded and was a pleasant place to spend a couple of days pre-cruise.
Upon arrival at the Vancouver Airport (YVR), we took the SkyTrain's line into downtown Vancouver. A fairly inexpensive fare (under$10) and quick ride (under 30 mins) made this a convenient way to get downtown (check out more info and even a video HERE). We then took the SeaBus - a passenger water ferry that runs every 15 minutes - to get to the North Shore area and that was a highlight for our daughter!
For lodging, we opted to stay on the North Shore and scored a great deal at the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier. This hotel had lots of great perks but the best was the beautiful view of Burrard Inlet, with a backdrop of downtown Vancouver.
Other great features of this hotel included it's vicinity to the Lonsdale Quay Market and Wallace Shipyards. Wallace Shipyards hosts lively Night Markets on Friday nights (May-September) and we were lucky enough to catch the last one of the season. Food trucks, vendors and live music make it a vibrant and lively hotspot on Friday nights!
The Lonsdale Quay Market is a charming but hip market boasting tons of fresh & local produce, local artisans' crafts, food counters, restaurants, retailers and more! We ate breakfast and lunch there during our stay and it was our go-to spot when we just needed to hang out or grab a snack. It was very kid-friendly, had live music and even had a special area with life-size board games!
The next day, we took the bus line to Stanley Park- a definite must-see! An urban park surrounded by water, Stanley Park provides relief from the concrete jungle with sparkling waters, cool Pacific breezes and magnificent views of the city. With an abundant offering of activities - biking, putt-putt, train rides, beach area and even an aquarium - this is the perfect place to spend an afternoon! We really enjoyed seeing the First Nations' totem poles. There is a gift shop featuring Native American art and gifts close by that we picked up some beautiful prints from.
We also trekked to the town's Chinatown but that was slightly disappointing. Reviews online said it was a vibrant cultural hub but it paled in comparison to other Chinatowns I've visited. Rayna did get a chance to see a massive paifang (Chinese arched gateway) and we did enjoy some authentic Chinese food before heading back to the hotel.
<<Trip Tip>> Make sure to pack an umbrella and rain jacket. We were lucky to experience beautiful weather in late September but anywhere that has umbrella vending machines must see frequent and spontaneous rain!
Our Disney cruise left from Canada Place, one of two cruise terminals in Vancouver. It is very easy to access where ever you may be coming from in Vancouver. The SkyTrain runs directly to the Waterfront Station next to Canada Place as does the SeaBus. Taxi or shuttles are also an option if you can't access the port by the two prior methods.
We only had a day and half to enjoy Vancouver but if we ever return, I would plan to spend more time at the quirky Gastown and pack better gear to explore the North Shore outdoors. If you've visited Vancouver before and have a tip to share, comment below!