With offices in New York and Toronto, we take just about any chance we can to escape from the East Coast grind and getaway to the West Coast—namely, one of our favourite Canadian (our home and native land!) destinations, Vancouver. From the freshest sushi, to fantastic shopping, breathtaking views and the most incredible home-away-from-home (Fairmont Pacific Rim!), there’s nothing like a few days of brunching, shopping, and gallery-going in Vancity to help us hit the reset button and come out on the other side with brand-spanking-new perspective.
We can think of no better activity to walk off a full belly of delicious Vancouver eats than a stroll through Secret Location, an ultra-cool concept shop on Water Street. Carrying only the most directional of international designer labels (think A.W.A.K.E., GCDS, and Paula Cademartori), plus under-the-radar beauty brands like USLU Airlines and Egyptian Magic, consider it potentially harmful to your wallet’s health—but the perfect spot to snap up a sequinned Attico dress for a Friday night out.
Olive + Ruby Cafe
It can be a struggle to stay healthy on the road––but not in Vancouver. Especially when there are adorable cafe’s like Olive + Ruby serving up up vegan superfood smoothies, breakfast and lunch bowls, all sorts of healthy things on toast, and the most incredible coffee.
Fairmont Pacific Rim
To be totally honest? We could easily visit Vancouver and never leave this hotel’s premises and be totally happy. It’s *that* good. From the on-site Willow Stream Spa (featuring a cool private terrace, meditation pods, and an infrared sauna), the incredible cocktails and fresh sashimi in The Lobby Lounge (not to mention the endless Instagram opportunities), you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave. The Fairmont Gold Owner’s suites are what *really* complete the experience, though––with Pinterest-worthy midcentury modern furniture, a custom vinyl collection and record player (how cool?), your own concierge and access to the property’s lounge, it’s a complete experience that’ll wow even the most seasoned traveler. Did we mention the in-house toiletries are Le Labo?
Just a short walk from the Fairmont Pacific Rim, this is always one of our very first stops upon touching down in Vancouver. Renowned the world over, and hailing from a city that *knows* its sushi, this spot is simply the best. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t eat here multiple times whenever we find ourselves in the city (and yes, occasionally, that means making daily voyages there. Don’t judge us! We’re simply sushi-starved Torontonians).
Another mandatory Vancouver stop? Sleek men’s boutique Roden Gray, a staple of the Gastown shopping strip. With brands ranging from the streetwear-inspired likes of Facetasm, Alyx and Richardson to luxury labels like Raf Simons and Moncler, we dare you to stop by here and not pick yourself up a little something––even if it’s just the girls (they’ve got some incredible multi-purpose grooming picks and a fun array of decor items, too).
When you’re ready for your requisite dose of culture, head here: as one of the largest galleries in the country, expect epic exhibits and innovative contemporary works, too. From incredible experiential installations to classic paintings (like the current Emily Carr retrospective they’re hosting), there’s something for everyone’s taste, with just enough to push the boundaries of it, too.
Paper Hound Bookshop
While on a stroll back to the Fairmont during our last stay, we stumbled upon this incredible vintage book shop that specializes in curiosities and beautifully-designed books (along a stretch of West Pender designated as ‘Book Row’ for its high volume of bookstores). It’s the perfect spot for a totally unique gift ––whether it’s the diary of a WWII soldier, or guide to “practical astronomy”. Woody Harrelson, Miley Cyrus and Patti Smith have all stopped by recently while staying in the city.