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Old December 27th, 2009, 11:58 PM   #1
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Two Cool: You'll Never Be Bored In Whistler And Vancouver

Two Cool: You'll Never Be Bored In Whistler And Vancouver


A jogger gets a view of Coal Harbor and the city of Vancouver during a run along the seawall in Stanley Park. (MARK BOSTER / LOS ANGELES TIMES / February 20, 2007)

By HUGO MARTIN
Los Angeles Times


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - — After skiing down Whistler Mountain's 5,280 feet of vertical fun, I wondered why this massive peak had been rejected as a Winter Olympics host at least three times since the 1960s.

But wait ...

Once Whistler teamed up with Vancouver, 85 miles away, the International Olympic Committee gave the mountain and city the nod to host the 21st Winter Olympics and Paralympics from Feb. 12 to 28.

The quality of skiing and snowboarding on Whistler, a resort nearly every ski and snowboarding magazine in North America ranked among the world's best, is not an issue.

But you don't have to be a powder hound to delight in Whistler and Vancouver. This Canadian tag team can delight foodies, joggers, tree-huggers, shopaholics, animal lovers and clean freaks, who will find the streets of Vancouver, a city of 2 million, spotless.

One big drawback: You sense you're in Canada because of the authentic Cuban cigars and glut of televised hockey, but otherwise, it's not always clear, thanks to Starbucks, McDonald's, Eddie Bauer, overpriced souvenir shops and "Seinfeld" reruns. You don't even need an outlet converter.

But you will need a guide because Vancouver has much to offer. Here are some of the gems I gleaned on two visits this year.

You have to love that new-transit smell, which permeated the rail line I rode from Vancouver International Airport to downtown Vancouver. The new Canada Line was representative of public transit in Vancouver and Whistler: efficient, economical, easy to use.

No need for a rental car in Whistler or Vancouver. At Whistler, pedestrians easily can navigate the faux European village at the base of the mountain along a red brick walkway. Downtown Vancouver, meanwhile, is about 68 square miles and rich in transportation options.

From the rail line's waterfront station, I jumped on a "hop on, hop off" trolley ($35 for a day pass) to the southern tip of Stanley Park, where I rented a bicycle (about $20 for half a day). I followed the smooth, flat seawall bike path for several miles to the Hornby Street pier and caught a cute, multicolored aquabus ($3) across False Creek to Granville Island.

Bob Hunt, a gregarious trolley bus driver, told me where to get a great brewery tour (Granville Island Brewing) and where to spot the Olympic rings (on a barge in the middle of Coal Harbour) and see traditional First Nation totem poles (Brockton Point on the east end of Stanley Park).

To reach Whistler from Vancouver, you take the Sea-to-Sky Highway, a twisting, scenic, 85-mile stretch of road that was once known as the "death highway" before it was repaved and widened to accommodate Olympic traffic. It is still a harrowing drive. I recommend jumping on one of several charter buses so you can enjoy the views of Howe Sound, Anvil Island and the Stawamus Chief, the massive granite dome with the profile of an Indian chief, bordering the highway. During the Olympics, the road will be closed to everyone except fans with tickets and residents.

If you make the two-hour trek between Vancouver and Whistler, check out two of nature's most spectacular attractions. About 35 miles north of Vancouver, along Highway 99, visit the 1,100-foot white-water cascade of Shannon Falls, the fifth-highest waterfall in the world.

A few miles north of the falls, make another stop at Brackendale, a tiny community known as one of the largest gathering spots of eagles in North America. In 1994, the town set the world record for most eagles in one spot: 3,769.

Back in Vancouver, the display cases at the Granville Island public market pop with color. The copper of freshly baked bread. The greens of vegetables and fruits. The reds and silvers of seafood. The dark browns of coffee beans.

Getting on to Granville Island is half the fun. SUV-size aquabuses take visitors from the mainland to Granville Island.

If you are visiting with children, the market needs to be stop No. 1. Stock up on picnic food at the market, and take a bus to Stanley Park, the well-manicured 1,000-acre playground that's home to several flower gardens and a grove of totem poles.

While in Stanley Park, stop by the Vancouver Aquarium, where you'll see two young ghostly white beluga whales.

For education about the region's native people, check out the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia on the western tip of Vancouver. The accordion-shaped building is undergoing a $55.5-million upgrade that is expected to be completed in time for the Olympics. Step into the 122,000-square-foot building to examine towering totem poles, First Nation statues, colorful paintings and hand-woven rugs.

If I had to recommend a neighborhood for dining, it would be Yaletown, a former warehouse district remade as a haven for loft-dwelling yuppies and upscale eateries, like Blue Water Cafe, Bacchus at the Wedgewood Hotel and Goldfish Pacific Kitchen. But if you want to save money and dine with the locals, check out Hon's Wun-Tun House on Robson Street, where you can munch on a plate of pot stickers for about $4.

For night life, Granville Street from Nelson Street to Robson Street throbs every weekend night with young, rowdy partygoers. One of the longest lines on the street snaked out of the Tonic Nightclub, a three-story riot of pulsating music, strobe lights, disco balls and booze.

In Whistler, from early November to late May, the mountain receives an average of 33 feet of snow. It has more than 100 trails and 4,757 acres of skiable terrain. The recently added Peak2Peak gondola, the world's longest, now connects Whistler to the adjacent Blackcomb peak, adding to your ski menu 100 or so more trails plus 3,414 acres of skiable area, more than Vail, Colo., and Sun Valley, Idaho, combined.

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Old December 28th, 2009, 12:00 AM   #2
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hmm....


Vancouver glitters for the Games

There are all kinds of funky things to do, places to visit, things to try

December 24, 2009
Hugo Martin
The Hamilton Spectator


After skiing down Whistler Mountain's 1,610 metres of vertical fun, I glanced at the summit and wondered why this massive, snow-topped peak had been rejected as a Winter Olympics host at least three times since the 1960s.

Always a bridesmaid ... but wait.

Once Whistler teamed up with the city of Vancouver, 110 kilometres away, the International Olympic Committee gave the mountain and its neighbouring city the nod to host the 21st Winter Olympics and Paralympics from Feb. 12 to 28.

The quality of the skiing and snowboarding on Whistler, a resort that nearly every ski and snowboarding magazine in North America ranked among the world's best, is not an issue, and my schussing experience tells me those accolades are well deserved.

But you don't have to be a powder hound to delight in Whistler and Vancouver. Whether you watch the Games from your couch or visit British Columbia before, during or after the Olympics, this tag team can delight foodies, joggers, tree-huggers, shopaholics, animal lovers and clean freaks, who will find the streets of Vancouver, a city of 2 million, so spotless they'll think Mr. Clean is the mayor.

But you will need a guide because B.C. has much to offer. Here are some of the gems I gleaned on two visits this year (one winter, one fall) to Vancouver and Whistler.

You have to love that new-transit smell, which permeated the rail line I rode from Vancouver International Airport to downtown Vancouver, once a sawmilling settlement.

The new Canada Line that opened in August was representative of the public transit system in Vancouver and Whistler: efficient, economical and easy to use.

No need for a rental car in Whistler or Vancouver. At Whistler, pedestrians can easily navigate the faux European village at the base of the mountain along a red brick walkway.

Downtown Vancouver, meanwhile, is rich in transportation options. The transit choices were on display on my first day of sightseeing. From the rail line's waterfront station, I jumped on a "hop on, hop off" trolley ($35 for a day pass) to the southern tip of Stanley Park, where I rented a bicycle (about $20 for half a day). I followed the smooth, flat seawall bike path for several miles to the Hornby Street pier and caught a cute, multicoloured aquabus ($3) across False Creek to Granville Island.

By taking public transit, you can pick up local insight from your driver. Bob Hunt, a gregarious trolley bus driver, told me where to get a great brewery tour (Granville Island Brewing) and where to spot the Olympic rings (on a barge in the middle of Coal Harbour) and see traditional First Nation totem poles (Brockton Point on the east end of Stanley Park).

To reach Whistler from Vancouver, you take the Sea-to-Sky Highway, a twisting, scenic, 120-kilometre stretch of road that was once known as "Death Highway" before it was repaved and widened to accommodate Olympic traffic. It is still a harrowing drive.

I recommend jumping on one of several charter buses so you can enjoy the views of Howe Sound, Anvil Island and the Stawamus Chief, the massive granite dome with the profile of an Indian chief, bordering the highway. During the Olympics, the road will be closed to everyone except fans with tickets and residents.

The display cases at the Granville Island public market pop with colour, like a verdant rose garden. The copper of the freshly baked breads. The greens of the vegetables and fruits. The reds and silvers of the seafood. And of course, the dark browns of the coffee beans. (Caffeine addicts need not look far in Vancouver to find a coffee shop.)

Getting to Granville Island is half the fun. SUV-size aquabuses take visitors from the mainland to Granville Island, across False Creek.

If you are visiting with children, the market needs to be stop No. 1 on your visit. Stock up on picnic food at the market, and take a bus to Stanley Park, the huge well-manicured playground that's home to several flower gardens and a grove of totem poles, each with a different story to tell.

While in Stanley Park, stop by the Vancouver Aquarium, where you'll see two young ghostly white beluga whales that seem to float like spirits across the dark blue waters.

For an education about the region's native people, check out the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia on the western tip of Vancouver. Step into the 122,000-square-foot building to examine towering totems, First Nation statues, paintings and handwoven rugs.

On a soggy fall morning, I sat down to breakfast with Amber Sessions, a Tourism Vancouver representative, at a cosy eatery called Medina Cafe.

I took out my city map and asked her to recommend places to eat, party and shop. She marked so many places I could barely read the map.

"Good luck seeing it all in three days," she said.

If I had to recommend a neighbourhood for dining, it would be Yaletown, a former warehouse district that has been remade as a haven for loft-dwelling yuppies and upscale eateries, such as Blue Water Cafe, Bacchus at the Wedgewood Hotel and Goldfish Pacific Kitchen.

But if you want to save money and dine with the locals, check out Hon's Wun-Tun House on Robson Street, a noisy, crowded eatery where you can munch on a plate of pot stickers for $4.

For night life, Granville Street from Nelson to Robson throbs every weekend night with young, rowdy partygoers. One of the longest lines on the street snaked out of Tonic, a three-storey riot of pulsing music, strobe lights, disco balls and booze.

After eating pot stickers at Hon's Wun-Tun House, I tried to work off the calories on a bicycle ride along what locals call the seawall, a smooth, flat bike and jogging path that encircles most of downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park.

My ride was frequently interrupted by great photo opportunities: the towering Lions Gate Bridge, the statue of Girl in a Wetsuit along the shore of Vancouver Harbour and the inukshuk at English Bay Beach, the massive stone landmark that has been adopted as the symbol of the Olympics.

If you make the two-hour trek between Vancouver and Whistler, be sure to check out two of nature's most spectacular attractions. About 50 kilometres north of Vancouver, along Highway 99, visit the 400-metre whitewater cascade of Shannon Falls, the fifth-highest waterfall in the world. The view is worth the short hike along a dirt trail from a small parking lot to the base of the falls.

A few kilometres north, make another stop at Brackendale, a tiny community known as one of the largest gathering spots of eagles in North America. In 1994, the town set the world record for most eagles in one spot: 3,769. America's national symbols gather along the Squamish River to feast on spawning salmon between mid-November and mid-February.

In 1960, a group of Vancouver entrepreneurs created Garibaldi Olympic Development Association to pitch Whistler as a venue for the 1968 Winter Olympics.

But the 2,180-metre peak was still undeveloped, with few visitor accommodations. The only access to the mountain was a treacherous dirt and gravel road.

Olympic bids for the 1976 and 1980 Games were rejected for those same reasons.

Those early fans had reason to love Whistler. Conde Nast Traveler, Outside and Skiing magazines rank it among the best in North America for its humongous vertical drop (second in the world only to Revelstoke Mountain in British Columbia) and one of the longest ski seasons in North America.

From early November to late May, the mountain receives an average of 33 feet of snow.

More than 100 trails and thousands of hectares of skiable terrain cover Whistler. The recently added Peak2Peak gondola, the world's longest, connects Whistler to adjacent Blackcomb peak, adding to your ski menu 100 or so more trails plus a vast skiable area -- more than Vail, Colo., and Sun Valley, Idaho, combined.

Locals say the altitude and the proximity to the sea make the snow here extra fluffy -- although it felt cold and hard to me when I performed my usual face plants.

Once on my feet, I sliced down several runs that seemed to last 20 minutes or more, past stands of snow-frosted Douglas fir, western hemlock, red cedar and spruce.

In hopes of offsetting a drop in visits afterward, the resort has launched some great ski packages for post-Olympic visitors. Check out the ski-and-stay packages that start for $111 per night at whistlerblackcomb.com.

If you still haven't booked lodging during the Olympics, you may be able to rent a private home, a bed-and-breakfast or an RV site through 2010destinationplanner.com.)

And it's not all about skiing: Fitzsimmons Canyon, a scenic valley between Whistler and Blackcomb, is an ideal escape for snowshoers.

Los Angeles Times

On my recent visits to Vancouver and Whistler, I checked out several places to stay, although those rooms may be sold out for the Winter Games. I also added a couple of restaurants that I liked.

WHERE TO STAY

In Vancouver:

* Opus Hotel, 322 Davie St.; 604-642-6787, opushotel.com. O is for opulent. This stylish boutique hotel is a favourite of celebrities and business moguls. Doubles from $209.

* Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, 1110 Howe St.; 604-684-2151, holidayinn.com. This mid-priced hotel is centrally located and offers great amenities, including an indoor pool. Doubles from $81.

* Best Western Chateau Granville, 1100 Granville St.; 604-669-7070, chateaugranville.com. An economy hotel with all the basics. Avoid the courtyard building with its entrance from a scary alley. Doubles from $89 in the main tower.

In Whistler:

* Pan Pacific Whistler Village Centre, 4299 Blackcomb Way; 604-966-5500, panpacific.com. This luxury hotel with a year-round outdoor heated saltwater lap pool is within walking distance of the ski lifts. Doubles from $314, including breakfast.

* Westin Resort & Spa, 4090 Whistler Way; 604-905-5000, westinwhistler.com. Spacious, comfortable rooms less than a block from the lifts on Whistler Mountain. Doubles from $180.

* Whistler Village Inn & Suites; 4429 Sundial Place; 800-663-6418, whistlervillageinnandsuites.com. Moderately priced hotel in Whistler Village. Doubles from $123.

WHERE TO EAT

In Vancouver:

* Hon's Wun-Tun House, 1339 Robson St.; 604-685-0871, hons.ca. Authentic Chinese food in a lively atmosphere. Entrees from $9.

* Phat, 1055 Mainland St.; 604-684-6239, phatdeli.com. Breakfast and lunch deli offering great eggs Benedict. Entrees from $5.50.

In Whistler:

* Araxi, 4222 Village Square; 604-932-4540, araxi.com. Rated one of the best restaurants in Whistler. Basic American fare with a Canadian twist. Entrees from $28.50.

* Caramba, 12-4314 Main St. Town Plaza; 604-938-1879, caramba-restaurante.com. A colourful eatery that specializes in pasta and pizza. Entrees from $13.

* The Brewhouse, 4355 Blackcomb Way; 604-905-2739, drinkfreshbeer.com. A burger and pizza joint with a great selection of local beer. Entrees from $14.

TO LEARN MORE

Canadian Tourism Commission: canada.travel

If you are tight on time during your visit to Vancouver and neighbouring Whistler, here are a couple of tips on places you can skip and others you should not miss:

* Steam clock. In Gastown, tourists flock to the historic steam clock, a streetside clock that emits toots and blasts every hour on the hour. It's somewhat charming but not worth the trek.

* Eastside. For the most part, downtown Vancouver is a model of tidiness and order. But be careful you don't stumble into the Eastside neighbourhoods north of Chinatown and east of Gastown, where crime and gang violence are a growing problem.

* Zipline tour. The first leap off a wooden platform, perched more than 300 metres above a surging creek, can be daunting. But the ensuing rush is worth it. Take one of several zipline tours offered at the base of Whistler mountain and you will swoon at the views of the woods when you fly 100 km/h over Fitzsimmons Creek, suspended by a steel cable.

* Cloud 9. For another gorgeous view, above the noise and crowds of Vancouver, visit Cloud 9, the rotating restaurant on the 42nd floor of the Empire Landmark Hotel on Robson Street. It takes the restaurant about 80 minutes to rotate a full 360 degrees. The perfect amount of time to take in a glass of wine and soak in the glimmering city lights.

http://www.thespec.com/go/travel/article/696163
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Old December 28th, 2009, 12:02 AM   #3
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Vancouver: Beyond the Olympics coverage

By SPUD HILTON
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE TRAVEL EDITOR


VANCOUVER, B.C. -- The guy extracting a wood-fire pizza from an oven shaped like the Sun God doesn't know what's coming next. Neither does the Aussie guy who pours my Chianti, the skinny couple at Table 5 or, frankly, anyone on this avenue. They're all going to disappear.

I better eat quickly.

Vancouver has more than its share of lively, artsy, bohemian neighborhoods full of great restaurants and clubs side-by-side with everyday working Canadian culture. But when hundreds of millions of people tune in to watch the 2010 Winter Olympics here and in Whistler in February, these tasty enclaves will all but vanish for a few weeks.

Alas, television sports broadcasters are swell, but Arthur Frommer they are not.

(Olympics coverage tends to boil down hosting cities to a stadium and a cliched icon or two, like reducing San Francisco to Fisherman's Wharf, AT&T Park and cable cars, or reducing Baltimore to Camden Yards and, um, whatever else there is in Baltimore.)

I flew to Vancouver to verify there's more here than the cruise terminal, killer whales and the statue of "Gassy Jack," and to seek out those friendly, walkable neighborhoods and attractions beyond the tourist magnets - but that you probably won't see when the cameras start rolling.

Walkable town

Vancouver's most popular attractions deserve the attention they get. Gastown is a waterfront old town with as many chic boutiques and restaurants as touristy trinket vendors, Chinatown is the largest such ethnic community in North America and Granville Island is homespun fun (provided you're skilled at dodging yuppies with baby strollers apparently designed by the Pentagon).

Seriously, how many cities have a promenade that offers regular killer whale sightings?

Because the peninsula portion of Vancouver is easily walkable, I plan to work my way around the edges en route to the West End. From the hotel, I pass Canada Place and thread Gastown, before angling south and running into the side of BC Place, the marshmallow-topped stadium that is home to the BC Lions (Canadian Football League) and site of the opening and closing Olympic ceremonies.

After weaving through Yaletown (Vancouver's poster child for urban renewal) and stopping at waterfront Nu restaurant for a spicy Caesar (think Bloody Mary with Clamato juice), I turn inland to find Davie Village, the four-block stretch of Davie Street that since the 1980s has been the city's gay and lesbian heartbeat. (Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada since 2005.)

The cozy neighborhood (commonly, "gaybourhood") is full of independent boutiques, smoke shops, salons and a United Nations of smallish cafes.

I manage to squeeze into Stepho's Souvlaki Greek Taverna, a popular locals joint where most of the couples in line planned to share the generous entrees; being alone, I eat my fill and take the rest for the next homeless guy I see (pretty much a sure thing in parts of Vancouver).

The worldly vibe on Davie stretches beyond the village. I amble past falafel shops, Pumpjacks (said to be the best locals pub), pharmacies, about $6.93 worth of 99-cent stores and a Transylvanian bakery with the motto: "The Heaven of Desserts."

Following Davie, I plan to turn right at Denman Street and survey the West End's other main strip - but not before stopping for a breather at English Bay Beach where the two streets meet. English Bay is one of the city's most popular spots for sun and sand - but not so much when it's 55 degrees and rainy, as it is right now, so I move on.

Taking the Fourth

Walking across Vancouver, there are long moments that I could easily be in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco - all cousins related by geography, weather and age.

At the moment, however, I'm in rural Belgium, plowing into a hearty cassoulet - a cast-iron skillet heaped with fried eggs on baked beans, saucisson de Paris, double-smoked bacon and andouille sausage.

The micro-neighborhood of Crosstown was not on my original schedule, but some sage advice led me to breakfast at Cafe Medina, where the Belgian-Canadian fusion food is neither faux nor compromising. The owners also run the popular Chambar restaurant next door - and, it turns out, were behind giving the one-block "neighborhood" a name.

I treat it as a tasty, quirky start to the day before heading out to Fourth Avenue in the ultra-hip Kitsilano neighborhood on the other side of False Creek.

Kitsilano's hippy-to-hipster history is pretty common: Attracted by cheap rent, free spirits and counterculture folks moved in during the 1960s, laying the groundwork for today's laid-back, mostly residential neighborhood (with the most expensive property, of course). The major attractions for travelers are the Vancouver Museum and the nearby Vancouver Maritime Museum right on English Bay and, in summer, the popular Kitsilano Beach.

Under a steady drizzle, however, I'm more interested in Fourth Avenue, the main strip in Kitsilano for cozy coffee shops, boutiques, cafes and sporting goods. Shopping seems to be the focus during the day, although it's easy to while away an hour or so just people-watching from a window table.

At night, the tony and whimsical restaurants are the highlight, including ReFuel Restaurant (formerly Fuel Restaurant), where the meat-and-fish menu is seriously seasonal and regional; Sophie's Cosmic Cafe, an iconic diner and temple to comfort food; and the, um, unique Pinky's Steakhouse and Cocktail Lounge, billed as "a steakhouse for women." (I can't help but wonder if they serve a beef cake.)

The vibe seems decidedly different from Robson Street, Vancouver's version of Rodeo Drive, as I bop up one side of Fourth Avenue and down the other, stopping to survey quirky window fronts, camp out in a few of the half-dozen coffee shops and browse racks stocked with rain gear.

It starts to rain a little harder than really seems necessary, so I catch a cab back to downtown, quizzing my driver on the way.

"It's changed so much," Rich the Cabbie says about Fourth Avenue. "It was the big drug deal area in the '70s."

It seems as though Rich the Cabbie was a little too acquainted with where to score drugs in the 1970s, so I stop asking questions.

Cut to Commercial

From the Burrard station downtown, Commercial Drive is just four stops on the cheap and reliable Skytrain system. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the under-30 crowd on the train gets off at Broadway and Commercial.

The day before, a local musician I met had described Commercial Drive as "the bohemian district" (adding that a sausage sandwich at Falconetti's is non-negotiable). Walking up from the station, I begin to see Commercial is the closest thing in Vancouver to San Francisco's Haight Street - window after window of used record shops, culturally specific hair salons, restaurants covering cuisine from Ethiopia to Cuba to Beijing, a predictable number of smoke shops and at least a dozen coffee shops that aren't Starbucks.

I pop into Falconetti's, a murky shotgun bar with a makeshift stage for live music, bistro tables the size of a steering wheel and a tiny open kitchen in back - the only sources of bright light in the place.

On a Sunday night, customers are sparse, but I have no trouble visualizing the place swarming on Friday and Saturday. The leisurely service (appropriately bohemian) eventually produces a Thai chicken sausage sandwich piled high with caramelized onions. That and a couple of Guinness leave me feeling a little artsy myself.

It turns out Commercial Drive's bohemian and diverse spirit isn't exactly new, having been a catch-all for students, artists and immigrants of every flag for decades. The result is a funky neighborhood that's a required stop for serious foodies - even in a town chock-a-block with jaw-dropping restaurants.

Taking stock of the rest of Commercial up to Venables Street - hot spots Havana and Lime, and the dimly lit and raucous Libra Room - I'm suddenly mesmerized by a face in the window at Marcello Pizzeria and Ristorante. I enter and sit down at the pizza bar, facing the giant Sun God face built over the wood-fire oven. (It's the closest I've come to actual sunshine all day.)

When the molten pizza con salcicca arrives, I consider having to eat it all before the neighborhood disappears. Sure, I understand that, while these places and people won't be seen during Winter Olympics coverage, none of it will actually disappear.

But why chance it?

If you go


Where to stay

The Loden: 1177 Melville St. (Coal Harbor), (604) 669-5060, www.theloden.com. Modern, chic and moderately priced; decor and accessories very Zen; great restaurant and bar. Rates start at $166, not including tax and fees.

Shangri-La: 1128 W. Georgia St. (Coal Harbor), (604) 689-1120. High-end place known for impressive service; great location. Rates start at $233, not including tax and fees.

Where to eat

Marcello Pizzeria and Ristorante: 1404 Commercial Drive, (604) 215-7760, www.marcellopizzeria.com. Thoroughly Italian menu focused on wood-fire pizza and pasta. Entrees: $12-$17. Pizza: $12.50-$27.

Cafe Medina: 556 Beatty St. (Crosstown), (604) 879-3114, www.medinacafe.com. Belgian and Canadian breakfast, brunch and lunch. Entrees: $9.50-$14.25.

Stepho's Souvlaki Greek Taverna: 1124 Davie St. (Davie Village), (604) 683-2555. Traditional Greek cafe with huge portions. Entrees: $6-$12.

Coast Restaurant: 1054 Alberni St., (604) 685-5010, www.coastrestaurant.ca. All about the seafood (menu includes which boats caught the fish) and cocktails. Try the absurd-sounding Maple Mule cocktail, which has, ahem, maple syrup. Entrees: $16-$48 (subject to market price).

What to do

Commercial Drive (between 13th Avenue and Venables Street) www.thedrive.ca

Fourth Avenue in Kitsilano (between Burrard and Alma streets) www.kitsilano4thavenue.com.

Davie Street (between Burrard and Denman streets). Also, Denman, from Davie to West Georgia Street.

More information

Tourism Vancouver: www.tourismvancouver.com.

All prices in U.S. dollars.
Spud Hilton is the editor of Travel, writes the Bad Latitudes blog at SFGate.com and can be followed on Twitter: @SpudHilton. E-mail comments to [email protected].

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Old December 28th, 2009, 02:03 AM   #4
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More and more media attention in Vancouver, both good and bad. I sense a general positive tone from all the writers, but interestingly enough, locals here complain how boring it actually is. We are just too spoiled.
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Old December 28th, 2009, 07:21 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deasine View Post
More and more media attention in Vancouver, both good and bad. I sense a general positive tone from all the writers, but interestingly enough, locals here complain how boring it actually is. We are just too spoiled.
I guess it can be a little boring unless you like the outdoors (although I don't have much sympathy for people who don't like to be outside).
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