Happy 4th of July!! For this year’s holiday, I spent a long weekend in Vancouver, Canada with Rene/Anna/the girls as we were all up there for Janice’s wedding. I have a super packed few days to recap filled with exploring, parties, lazy time on the couch, amazing food…and the best part, sharing it all with Rene and Anna. 🙂
Day 0: One night in the hostel
I flew in Wednesday night and decided to stay in a hostel for a cheap bed while Rene/Anna were coming in the next day. I didn’t do much that evening since I flew in pretty late and basically went straight to bed. The hostel was right on top of a dance club in Gastown, a central, fun neighborhood in Vancouver where we’d be spending a lot of time. I knew we were in for a treat.
Day 1: Biking through Vancouver + already at home + welcome drinks
I woke up on the early side and decided to go straight to exploring! I had half a day by myself before the girls arrived. To be honest…I did absolutely zero research before the trip, but randomly got the idea to rent a bike since it usually comes with recommended itineraries. And low and behold, the nice rental shop guy handed me a paper map and routed for me an entire day of sites to see.
I actually really love paper maps. Flashback to when Michelle and I backpacked Europe for 2 whole months with no cellphone data, and we relied on paper maps. Back to the old school days, ha. 🙂
First stop, Stanley Park, which is a huge, lush green park and main attraction of Vancouver. There was a large loop I took around the circumference of the park with nice views of the waterfront and surrounding greenery. The weather was gloomy but I actually appreciated the cool temps while being active. 🙂
I also ventured off the main bike path to get on the smaller trails of the park. Stanley Park reminded me a lot of Golden Gate Park in SF. It was so peaceful and refreshing to see Vancouver in an active manner!
After Stanley Park, I biked around the city and across the bridge to Granville Island, a popular spot for both tourists and locals as it’s filled with small vendors selling everything under the sun. I loved walking around and checking out people’s hippie dippie products and yummy eats.
After the market, I biked a bit more and eventually dropped it off. I think I biked at least 20 miles! Biking was such a lovely way to see Vancouver – it’s flat and has TONS of bike lanes. Highly recommend!
Finally Rene and Anna arrived! We checked into our Airbnb and were completely blown away. The pictures online made it look like a tiny studio but in reality, it was HUGE modern industrial loft right in the heart of Gastown. We spent a few hours chilling, unpacking, cracking open some beers, and catching up. I remember Anna saying how it already felt like this was our home. ❤
Then we got ready for dinner and a night out. We chose a Japanese spot that Janice recommended. Gastown in the evening was so adorable as it was filled with lights and lots of life.
After dinner, we walked to Dollarama and the liquor store to pick up some necessities for the weekend ;). We killed some time at the Airbnb by making vodka-orange-blueberry cocktails.
The last event of the evening was heading to a bar nearby where Janice hosted everyone in town for the wedding for welcome drinks. It was nice to see everyone although it was a bit packed in there.
Day 2: Hungover hiking at Lynn Canyon + sushi treat + chick flick night
The next day, we eased into the morning with a deli breakfast and a side of planning our day. We decided to take advantage of the only full free day the 3 of us had together by renting a car and exploring the beautiful scenery outside Vancouver. We got lucky and scored a last minute car nearby.
Funny story: we first stopped at a popular hike called Grouse Grind, but after learning it was 2 miles of straight uphill…we turned right around as we were too tired/hungover to tackle it. We got the recommendation for a MUCH easier trail nearby and drove to that instead, ha.
We arrived at Lynn Canyon park, and first steps were a suspension bridge that ended up being a huge photo opp. Not gonna lie, it was pretty scary seeing how high we were with no one regulating the number of people on the bridge!
I loved this park since it had several neat sights right off the trail. Little creeks, tall mossy trees…very Pacific NW feeling.
My favorite was this massive pool with beautiful clear blue that melted straight from a glacier. On a sunny day, lots of people would be swimming, but it was peaceful to hang out with less traffic on a cloudy day.
After a nice helping of Lynn Canyon, we drove to one more spot called Deep Cove. Upon driving up to Deep Cove, I was completely in awe of the massive bay with tall trees and mountains in the horizon. It looked VERY Canada.
We first check out the cute boat town along the coast, grabbing ice cream and donuts. So relaxing sitting outside on the cute street. Then we walked to the dock and plopped down for relaxing views of the bay. We lied down, chatted, as well as enjoyed the silence…this was probably my favorite moment of the trip.
After a very active day, we spent a few hours of down time at the Airbnb. It felt so homey as we were laying on the couches, watching tv, chatting, napping…we all said how much we appreciated feeling like a local in our Airbnb versus staying in a hotel downtown!
In the late evening, we took advantage of our last moments with the car and drove to a popular sushi spot that Anna found. Vancouver is known for their sushi, and I was completely blown away. I’m the biggest fan of sushi but it’s SO expensive in SF that I hardly eat it anymore. This plate would probably cost $60+ in SF, but we got it for $25! Everything was so fresh and the butterfish was especially to die for.
The night ended with buying a bottle of wine and chilling in our pajamas in our apartment. We put on Clueless and Forgetting Sarah Marshall and enjoyed our girl’s night in before the big wedding day.
Day 3: Janice’s wedding!
Saturday was entirely dedicated to Janice’s wedding. We had a very lazy morning in our apartment in front of the couch just like last night. By 1pm, it was time to get ready for the big day!
Girls getting ready for a big event is quite the task – hair, makeup, dress fitting, accessories…we had a ball getting ready and indulging in our long flowy dresses. It’s rare to find an excuse to dress up and we took full advantage of it!
Cabbing to the wedding venue was a bit nerve-wracking as it was pouring rain, but we got super lucky and the moment the ceremony started, the rain stopped! The ceremony was in a beautiful outdoor rose garden, and so heart warming to see a good friend say “I do.” ❤
Then it was cocktail hour! We were all eager to get the drinks going. Our table was a ball of fun and filled with good friends from SF and new friends as well. I knew we had the funnest table when we all started doing shots within 30 minutes of meeting each other 😉
The rest of the wedding ended up being SO. MUCH. FUN. The girls and I were dancing machines on the dance floor, bonding with each other and our new friends. We ended up being the first wedding party ever to run out of tequila…Janice told us by the end, the entire party ordered 650 shots! Seriously one of the funnest nights I’ve had in a long time.
Day 4: Dim sum + Granville Island pt 2
Waking up the next morning was quite the task. We were all in still in our dresses and woke up to this hilarious note from Rene.
Anna and I spent the rest of the morning cleaning up our Airbnb, packing, and then checking out. We went straight to dim sum to soak up all the shenanigans from the night before. I think we went overboard ordering for two 😛
Pro tip: trying durian for the first time hungover is NOT a good idea! 😉
We had a few hours until our evening flight, and so Anna and I checked out Granville Market (round two for me) and hung out at a cafe in Gastown before heading out.
I feel so incredibly happy with this past weekend. Anna, Rene and I travel SUPER well together! We were always on the same page with what to do and eat, and even though we hardly planned for the trip, we were great at figuring things out on the fly and never got bored. It was basically nonstop fresh conversation and laughter for 4 days straight, and I look back feeling super grateful for the quality time I got to spend with them.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned to this blog yet, but Anna and Ben are officially moving back to NYC in September (*cry*), and so we’ve been packing this summer with fun things left and right to cherish our last months together. This trip was such a highlight so far. ❤
And of course, it’s always a treat to see a good friend get hitched!