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. 

European Countries You Should Visit This Spring

A view of Belgrade – one of the European countries you should visit this spring.

We’ve been going on and on about the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, and Colosseum throughout the years. Oui, oui, Western Europe has magnificent attractions we’re all dying to see. However, blinded by over-tourism, we often overlook the wonders that Eastern Europe might have to offer. If you have itchy feet and wondering where to go next, here are some European countries you should visit this spring.

1. Great value for your money

Prices have gone up in the western part of Europe and are getting pricier with every minute. It might be a good idea to take a break from awfully overpriced coffee shops in Rome and save some money while exploring the not-so-basic wonders of the old land. It could be refreshing to look into Balkan countries – such as Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovenia. All of them are excellent and money-saving options.

Prices for travel services, including everything from lodging to transportation to excursions, are much more affordable in Eastern than in Western Europe. For example, a private walking tour may cost $100 or less, but a lovely supper for two with wine would cost $40.

2. You will never be hungry

We can promise you that you will never be hungry in Hungary! Or any other country in Eastern Europe. This region is abundant in gourmet options that would make any foodie salivate and some of the greatest beers, wines, and liquors found anywhere in the globe. In most cases, these tiny nations don’t produce enough to export, so they retain the finest for themselves instead of selling it.

Some of the ‘must try’ dishes are:

  1. Serbian sarma
  2. Bosnian kebabs
  3. Istrian Yota in Croatia
  4. Hungarian goulash
  5. Slovenian buckwheat spoonbread

Of course, nothing in the Balkans goes without some liquor, so you can choose between head-spinning sljivovica and medovaca to add to the dishes’ flavor.

A must try – Sarma

There’s one dish in Eastern Europe that is an absolute favorite for locals and every tourist that is lucky enough to try it. Yes, we are talking about sarma. Pickled cabbage, ground beef, and rice are the main ingredients in traditional sarma. However, the dish may be made with vine leaves or minced fish meat. One thing is for sure – your tastebuds won’t be indifferent after meeting this beauty. Ajvar is another honorable mention coming from Serbia that might go well with sarma. It’s basically some kind of salad made of paprika – but every description is an understatement – you simply have to try it.

A bowl of sarma.
Get ready for an explosion of different tastes! With so many European countries you should visit this spring, you’ll be able to try out many authentic dishes.

3. You can have a variety of cultural experiences

Within a very limited geographic region, you might encounter many distinctive and disparate cultures. Although the distance between Finland and Albania is not great, their cultures are worlds apart. It’s possible to go to numerous countries in one week since everything is within simple driving distance and no more than a couple of hours away by air.

The cultural diversity might require some more time to explore, and you might consider moving here for a while. And if you are considering making such a long and complex move, it’s best to live it up to professional international US movers. You might need help getting here from the US and transporting all your luggage. Go east if you think you would have fun going through culture shock after culture shock.

4. A strong sense of heritage

Although they are catching up with contemporary times, towns like Prague and Krakow are still steeped in history. Their residents continue to observe and enjoy local traditions and festivals year-round. Cobblestone streets and tiny passageways are charming and simple to traverse, and there’s a different sight waiting around every corner. There are still certain regions where horse and carriage remain the primary mode of transportation. In fact, it’s getting to know the heritage of visited countries that will make you a traveler instead of a tourist

A horse drawn carriage.
Include a horse carriage ride in your itinerary to experience the charms of a city.

Spring is a perfect time to visit the Serbian district of Kraljevo because of the unique celebrations of medieval times. So-called ‘Lilac days’ celebrate the love of king Milutin for his future wife – Helene D’Anjou. He ordered the whole area to be planted in lilacs as a wedding gift for her. Allegedly, her hair contained some purple glow that resembled lilacs. How romantic!

5. All the European countries you should visit this spring have breathtaking landscapes

The area offers a diverse range of settings that appeal to many travelers. From magnificent natural beauty, including a variety of national parks, mountains, lakes, and coastline, to rural villages and cosmopolitan towns, among other things. There’s something for everyone. You can make an exciting road trip and see as much as possible. If you’re an adventure-seeking traveler, you should not miss the following places:

  • Lake Bled in Slovenia
  • Plitvice lake in Croatia
  • Budapest Caves
  • Kotor Bay

Kotor – a tiny gem in the mountains

Being a part of a small country called Montenegro, a Balkan gem on its own, Kotor is an inspiration to many artists of this region. If you climb a mountain near Kotor in spring, you will witness the most beautiful landscape where mountains meet the sea.

Kotor Bay at daylight.
It remains a mystery whether Kotor is more beautiful at night or at day.

6. You will be welcomed with open arms

Compared to Western Europeans, who are sick and tired of tourist disturbing their peace, residents of Eastern countries are excited to have guests. These nations, formerly inaccessible to outsiders, are now welcoming tourists with open arms. They are just as keen on getting to know us as we are on learning more about them. If you’re traveling single, don’t worry. The nations in this region are among the friendliest and safest in the world. It is uncommon to encounter off-limits locations, even late at night, and this region has not been the focus of any terrorist activity in recent history. If you choose these European countries you should visit this spring, one thing is for sure – you will be welcomed in the best possible way. 

Best Family Vacations in Canada – Spring Edition

There’s a vacation spot in Canada for everyone: restless youngsters, demanding adolescents, and moms and dads. From eastern beaches to northern lakes, ziplining to horseback riding, puffins to dinosaurs, no person would be able to remain indifferent – especially families. Reconnect with your kids and Canada’s natural wonders this spring. The following is a list of some of the best family vacations in Canada.

Toronto

Toronto is among the best destinations for family vacations in Canada because it is home to so many fantastic sights to see and things to do. And visiting in spring will allow you to move around with fewer visitors than in the summer months.

The Science Museum and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada are great options for families, so you can make these your first stop. Next, kids of all ages can enjoy visiting Little India. Here, they can sit in a tuk-tuk and try many different national dishes. It’s an excellent chance for them to explore other cultures and cuisines! Finally, a trip to the Toronto Islands, where an old-school amusement park for children under ten is housed, is an excellent choice for exhausted moms and dads who want to relax rather than race from one attraction to the next. Parents who enjoy craft beer will be delighted to learn that Toronto is home to a large number of breweries that welcome children.

Overall, Toronto is the place to go if you want ample city conveniences with a neighborhood feel. That’s why the best part of the city is exploring all its diverse communities. So, make sure to uncover the true beauty of Toronto by following local’s guides on where to go and what to see.

A skyline of Toronto during a sunset
Toronto offers a wide variety of activities for families

Quebec City

Quebec offers the feel of a genuine European vacation without ever having to leave North America. It’s one of the most family-friendly places in Canada, with the best schools and daycare and so many fun activities for both the kids and the parents. This is why so many new families settle here every year. In the upper and lower ancient towns, you can go for a walk, stop at a patisserie or sweets shop, and dine. For families with young children, the Funicular and a tour to the Chateau Frontenac are must-dos. 

And, if you ever need a break from the historic city center, you can quickly change the vibe. One of the most stunning places to see in Quebec is Montmorency Falls and the beautiful Ile d’Orleans. A cable car takes you to the top, where you can walk across a bridge that spans the falls and return via cable car or stairs on the other side. If you’ve got young children, consider stopping at the summit’s playground. If you don’t stop, the island features a one-hour-long circle road. But don’t forget to stop by the chocolate shop, visit the roadside stalls offering jam, maple syrup, and other homemade delights, and snap a few shots before returning to the city.

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls are a must-see, but it might seem intimidating at first for families with kids. But don’t worry! It’s all about making it as easy as possible for visitors to take in this natural treasure. And it might just become one of the most memorable travels with your children.

On the Hornblower Cruise, you go so near the falls that you can feel the water on your face. The variety offered by Niagara Falls makes them one of the best family vacations in Canada.

Visitors with more time on their hands can take advantage of numerous family-friendly attractions in town, including an indoor water park, miniature golf, and out-of-this-world culinary establishments.

Those who prefer a slower pace and more natural surroundings may find Niagara’s skyscrapers a little overpowering. However, there are a plethora of other options. Niagara on the Lake, for example, is a picture-perfect town with charming shops and a small village atmosphere and is just a short drive from the Falls. Families seeking a peaceful, leisurely getaway would also appreciate Ontario Wine County located nearby.

Algonquin Park

Even though Canada is home to several magnificent cities, Algonquin Park offers a sense of the country’s untamed wilderness. Moose, polar bears, and beavers are Canada’s most recognizable natural species. And if you’re eager for wildlife encounters, Algonquin Provincial Park, located three hours north of Toronto, is the Canadian wilderness you imagined: clear lakes, towering pines, and flowing rivers. 

Rent a canoe and go for a paddle on one of the lakes for a truly Canadian experience. By camping, you can enjoy Algonquin Provincial Park in the evening while baking smores around the campfire. Non-campers can rent Yurts in the Park, and there are hotels and inns all around it. Only a few eateries can be found in the park, but you must try the world-famous Beavertails: a deep-fried, sugar-coated pastry that includes no beaver.

A high-angle photo of Algonquin Park’s forests.
Algonquin Park is an ideal family vacation for more active families.

Montreal

Montreal is a lovely and easy-to-enjoy city in both its old and new neighborhoods. Green areas and outdoor cafes make any summer day out in town a delight. Montreal’s fresh produce markets deserve their high reputation for the quality of their produce.

The Botanical Gardens, the Biodome, and the Science Museum of Montreal are among the must-sees. Still, the city has a robust cultural calendar, and many museums that cater to both adults and children, and you could quickly fill a vacation to Montreal with activities every single day.

A skyline of Montreal in the evening
Montreal will capture your family’s hearts with its amazing sights and pleasant atmosphere.

Final words

We hope you liked our selection of the best family vacations in Canada. From the hustle and bustle of the cities to the incredible wilderness, Canada really has it all! Spring has just started, so pack up your entire family and get on to traveling! Have an amazing time!