How to Experience Vancouver like a Local

A view of the city of Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Depending on who you ask, Vancouver can be many things—an incredible hike, mesmerizing street art, unforgettable night downtown, coffee on the go, a splendid dish of ramen, etc. One thing is for sure, Vancouver is worth visiting. But, you already know that—that is why you are here reading this article. However, what you don’t know is how to experience Vancouver like a local, right? 

It doesn’t matter whether you just moved to Vancouver or whether you are just planning a two-day trip to this Canadian town—you can experience it like a local. You just have to do what locals do! We will help you out with that, without a doubt. Thus, before you put on your walking shoes, give this article a read—it is full of tips on how to experience local like a pro. 

Getting Around Vancouver 

Vancouver has the best of both worlds—a metropolitan city vibe and a breathtaking nature. So, it just goes without saying that it is here, in Vancouver, where you can experience the true spirit of Canada! But, in order for you to do that, first, you have to find a way to get around this gigantic city. If you ask the locals, they will tell you to either come with your own car or rent one as soon as you arrive. 

However, even though a car is the best way to experience Vancouver like a local, it is also the most expensive way. So, if you don’t want to overspend, you can turn to other transportation options (which are also used by the locals). For instance, you can take the bus or the Skytrain, or, if the weather is nice, you can rent a bike or a Mobi bike. Don’t run away from bikes—you can explore the entire city on them, just follow the bike lanes!

 

A woman riding a bike.
Riding a bike may be your best way to experience Vancouver like a local

Eat Where Locals Eat 

No trip is complete without trying out the local food and drinks. So, again, if you want to experience Vancouver like a local, this is something you have to do. And, don’t worry, even if you are the pickiest eater in the world, you will find something here. It is a known fact that everyone, and their mothers and grandmothers, agrees that the city of Vancouver has some of the best scenes not only in Canada but in the entire world.

The food in Vancouver is diverse and delicious, and once you try it, you will want to stay here forever. Many people have—especially those from Toronto! Well, who can blame them? All they had to do to eat this tasty food for the rest of their lives was hire good movers who planned their long-distance move and an easy transfer from Toronto to Vancouver. 

But, let us go back to the food scene in Vancouver. Here, you can try anything from Italian to Chinese, from processed to organic, cheap to expensive. Because there are so many options, we decided to share some specific places you simply have to try out. And we did a thorough check—all of these places are loved by the locals. So, check out the following:  

  • Stevenson Pizza Company (for seafood pizza) 
  • Jinya Ramen Bar (for ramen, of course) 
  • Fable Diner (for comfort food) 
  • Chancho (for tortillas) 
  • Phnom Penh (for chicken wings) 
  • Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen 
  • La Mezcaleria (for Mexican food) 

Don’t Miss Out on the Beer

Yes, you have different beers wherever you go. So, what makes Vancouver’s beer different? Well, it is healthier and tastier than any other beer you have ever tried. This is because it was made from local ingredients and in local microbreweries. Thus, when you sit at one of those previously mentioned food places, be sure to order a pint. Trust us, even if you are not a beer lover, you will love these ones. 

However, if you are a beer lover, you should go on one of many beer tours (Vancouver Brewery Tour, Canadian Craft Tour, Vancouver Toonie Tour, etc.). These tours will take you to several local breweries where you will be able to try some of the best craft beer. And, you will even get a glass as a souvenir. All insider’s guides to Canada and Vancouver will advise you the same—beer tours are not only great for trying out different beers. They are also great for visiting the city’s outskirts, meeting the locals, and trying local finger food specialties. 

Two women drinking beer and laughing.
Don’t hesitate to join beer tours-locals go on them too!

Do Something Fun

As previously mentioned, Vancouver is a huge city. And as such, it is full of fun places and fun things you can do both as a tourist and as a local. But, as you are here, wondering how to experience Vancouver like a local, you are probably looking for something in between. No need to worry; we got you covered. 

First, we suggest visiting some of Vancouver’s neighborhoods. For instance, Gastown is great for enjoying Canadian architecture; Mount Pleasant is perfect for eating, drinking, and shopping; Chinatown is perfect for everything Asian. And, if you are into natural things, that is, if you prefer hiking, picnicking, and other outdoor adventures, consider going to Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Grind, The Chief Hike, Stanley Park Seawall, English Bay, etc. You will certainly have fun while visiting these.

Just before going, don’t forget to follow those essential tips for essential travels even though you are trying to act like a local. That is, be sure to do research on the place you are going to and pack your backpack accordingly. In most cases, that means packing your comfortable shoes, sun protection, and a big bottle of water. 

A rocky shore during sunset—a way to experience Vancouver like a local
Vancouver’s nature is something you should not miss out on.

And, Do Something Kind

Okay, you have been eating and drinking, and you have been neighborhood hopping and exploring the great outdoors of Vancouver. And, now, all that is left to finish your Vancouver journey is to do something kind. That is, to do something that will support the city and all its artists

A great way to show your support is to pay a visit to one of the many art galleries and studios where locals display their art. Or, check out the street performers—they are on every corner. Buy something from them and praise their work. Doing this will help them and will enrich you! And, it will help you experience Vancouver like a local. 

Charming Villages in Austria for a Cozy Winter Vacation

A charming village in Austria.

Austria is known for its idyllic landscapes, beautiful architecture, and enchanting Christmas markets. In addition, this beautiful country is also a haven for those who like to practice winter sports in Europe. Massive snowfalls, however, transform practically all Austrian villages into fairytale settings right out of the movie Frozen from November to March. Unfortunately, most tourists visit only popular cities like Vienna, Salzburg, or Innsbruck. For this reason, we have prepared an article about those charming villages in Austria where you can go for a cozy winter vacation whether you want to practice winter sports or not. By visiting these villages, you will discover the authentic Austrian spirit and realize just how beautiful this country truly is. So let us proceed in our journey to discover the charming villages that you have to visit when in Austria.

Hallstatt

This tiny village, found on the shores of the lake with the same name, is one of the most beautiful villages in Austria. The Salzkammergut mountains surround Hallstatt and give it a picturesque view that you would never believe to be true. Moreover, this village is so unique and valuable that it became a UNESCO World Heritage site. Over 2000 prehistoric graves were found near Hallstatt village, suggesting that this area might be the cradle of Austrian civilization. In addition, the many 16th century buildings around the local market square will make you take an architectural trip back in time. However, besides admiring the beautiful surroundings, you can also have some fun. For instance, you can go hiking, cycling, or cruising on the lake. And, you can have a taste of the famous Austrian pastry, Schaumrollen.

Picture of the village of Hallstatt.
Hallstatt is one of the most charming villages in Austria for a cozy winter vacation.

St. Gilgen

If you want to visit one of the most charming villages in Austria for a cozy winter vacation, you should visit St. Gilgen. This village, located 20 minutes from Salzburg, is bordered by Wolfgangsee Lake and the Zwölferhorn mountain. And, even if this village is small, there are lots of attractions to be seen here. For example, “The Sound of Music” was filmed here, so you can visit some places that appear in the film. In addition, you can take a cable cart ride to the top of the Zwölferhorn mountain or visit the Mozart house. The Mozart house is not, as one might imagine, where Mozart resided, but rather where his mother was born. Nonetheless, the Mozart house is worth a visit, as is a Wolfgangsee Lake cruise or experiencing the local food. The famous Austrian spaetzle noodles are a must when you come to St. Gilgen.

Mayrhofen

Mayrhofen is another pretty village that is close to a big city. It is located in the Zillertal Valley, just around one hour away from Innsbruck by car or train. The village becomes a ski resort during the winter, but the good part is that it is not very popular among tourists. So, if you like to practice skiing, you can do so here and avoid the crowds. In addition, you can take the cable car to the top of the mountain Ahornbahn and see the Ahorn Lake that sits at 2000m. Also, you can swim in an outdoor swimming pool or take a steam train ride to nearby Zell am Ziller, where you can slide down the alpine toboggan Arena Coaster. Or, you can explore the valley further and visit Hintertux Glacier. There, you can explore an incredible ice cave known as the Ice Palace, or you can ski some more at the local resort where skiing is possible all year round.

Sunset over a mountain in Austria.
The mountain villages in Austria offer breathtaking views.

Durnstein

This village of Lower Austria is said to be the jewel of the Wachau Valley. Durnstein is a historical village alongside the Danube river that will enchant you with its beautiful architecture. For example, the Blue Baroque tower of Durnstein Abbey. This abbey is a former Augustine monastery from the 15th-century, restored in the 18th-century in the Baroque style. In addition, you can also visit the ruins of a 10th-century castle where Richard Lionheart was imprisoned. And, if you decide to visit this beautiful Austrian village, you don’t need to pack a lot of items with you. In the narrow, cobblestoned streets, there are many modern stores where you can get anything you need. As a result, it is best to keep your valuables at home and ensure their safety by renting a storage space for them. It will help you travel lighter and more comfortably

St. Wolfgang

St. Wolfgang is another of the charming villages in Austria that you can visit for a cozy winter vacation. You can find this typical Austrian village on the banks of lake Wolfganesse, surrounded by breathtaking mountains. It has beautiful streets, flower-decorated buildings, and a magnificent 14th-century church that adds to the picturesque setting. This church is famous for being the site of a previous church built in 976 by Saint Wolfgang, Bishop of Regensburg. Also, the church serves as a destination for a pilgrimage that takes place every year from St. Wolfgang’s grave. Besides viewing historic buildings in the village, you can go on a train ride. The Schafbergbahn train will take you up the mountain for more than 1700 meters, from where you can admire the beautiful view of the village. Or, you can take a boat ride along the Wolfgangsee and admire the village from the lake.

Church tower and lake in St. Wolfgang, Austria.
The charming villages in Austria are just as beautiful in summer as they are during winter.

Final words

Austria is more than simply the birthplace of the Viennese waltz and the home of the famed Habsburg emperors. It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world that becomes more and more beautiful when you take the time to explore it. And, the best way to get to the true heart and soul of Austria is to visit its little villages. There, you can meet the friendly locals, taste the delicious Austrian cuisine, and learn about the country’s history. Austria is an ideal winter holiday destination, whether you want to explore it on your own or have a memorable family trip. So make sure to visit the charming villages in Austria for a cozy winter vacation.

Reasons to visit New York over the holidays

Christmas in New York

‘New York’, you shout in disbelief. ‘I can go to New York any other time!’ Yes, that is true. New York City is not a mysterious, exclusive, or exotic place. However, let us tell you something – New York rarely looks better than it does now, during the holiday season. The Rockefeller Center glimmers and glitters, departments stores decorate their windows with ornaments worth traveling for, the streets are full of holiday lights, sights, sounds, etc. And, if you are lucky, it may even snow – and snow is something that makes Central Park mesmerizing and almost magical. But, if you are not persuaded yet, that is, if you are still looking for reasons to visit New York over the holidays, keep on reading. We prepared a list of reasons that will bring you to the Big Apple in the next couple of weeks.

The Big Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center

Okay, the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, a Norway spruce, is an all-American staple. This tree is what you have been seeing on New York City postcards for the last couple of decades. Every year, right before the holiday season starts, this tree (standing just a little over 70-ft high) is brought into the plaza and decorated with the most beautiful lights and ornaments. Moreover, the tree is positioned right next to the enormous ice rink where you can skate, drink hot chocolate or mulled wine, and enjoy the most beautiful Christmas sights. You can pretend to be in one of those classic American movies. So, do not question whether now is the best time to visit New York – it is! Christmas vibes will make you fall in love with the city as soon as you step your foot on its streets.

The ice-skating rink in New York
One reason to visit New York over the holidays is that it will bring out your inner child

Christmas Displays in Manhattan

People usually associate Manhattan with either hard work or with excessive luxury. Yes, you can find both here. But, that is not all you can see, so do not avoid checking out this New York City’s borough, especially now, during the holiday season. In Manhattan, you will find decorated department stores that do not resemble anything you have seen before. Bloomingdale’s, Barneys, Macy’s, Saks, etc., all look like separate cities. It is as though they compete every year to see who is going to be more Christmas-looking. And, the smaller stores, both those high-end and more affordable ones, do not disappoint either. You will want to walk inside just to see the decorations. Do that! That is why those decorations are there. We strongly advise you to check out some of the toy stores in Manhattan, too – that is where you will awaken your inner child.

NYC Entertainment

Most people who come to New York come to hustle. They come to see whether this city will make or break them. But, during the holiday season, from Halloween in October till Chinese New Year in February, people come for entertainment. It does not matter what kind of entertainment you are looking for, you will find it here. Broadway shows, concerts, sporting events, etc., are just some of the things you can do here.

What is more, you will not have to spend much. It will take you just a couple of bucks to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center, to drink hot chocolate in the State Park, or to go stargazing on the High Line. Of course, if your pockets are deeper, there are plenty of options for that too!

Thus, do not worry about not being entertained in New York during the holiday season – that is simply not possible. It is not possible in any season here, to be honest. After all, New York did get the nickname “The city that never sleeps” for a reason. Trust us; once you come here, you will want to move here. Some people do – and that is why we have soo many people from different backgrounds here. If you want to move too, do it. You do not need much – just a room and a storage unit for your stuff. Consider temporary solutions for your items as you will be on the go all the time and try to soak up everything this city has to offer. 

Decorations, representing reasons to visit New York over the holidays.
There is not a city in the world that can treat you as well as New York.

Seasonal Food is a Reason to Visit New York Over the Holidays

When we say that New York is home to some of the most exceptional 5-star restaurants in the world, we mean it. You can find some of the best chefs and some of their best creations right here in the center of New York. But, be warned, some of these restaurants will cost you an arm and a leg. However, do not think that you have to break your budget to eat here. You can find some of the best food on the streets of New York! From Italian and French to Indian and Moroccan – delicacies will be all around you. And, all those delicacies will come with their own holiday spirit. You will see donuts with Christmas lights made of chocolate or even hotdogs wrapped in Christmas paper. But, let us give you a tip that will ensure safe travel – always eat where the crowd eats. There is a reason why empty stalls are empty!

A hotdog.
When in New York – eat where locals eat.

Amazing Lighting Displays all over New York

It is during the holiday season when New York starts to resemble a fairy tale. Those people who grew up watching Home Alone and other Christmas classics know what we are talking about. In December and January, every corner of New York will be decorated with lights – stores, trees, bushes, etc. People’s (local’s) houses will also be in full-Christmas spirit. Santa clauses, raindeers, and giant Christmas trees can be seen in almost all front yards. Just walking through the streets, main and those a bit off the beaten track, will give you the impression like you are in some kind of Santa’s village. New York City does this with every holiday! For instance, October is great for those Halloween Lovers, while November is one of the best months to visit New York if you enjoy Thanksgiving and all the parades. 

See, there are many reasons to visit New York over the holidays. It will undoubtedly give you a one-of-a-kind experience.