Vancouver – Free Activities

Now that the Olympic-sized crowds, of 100,000 people, who milled around downtown Vancouver each day have dissipated, you can get a respite from the sticker-shock of attending the Games by mixing in some quiet, quality Freebies.

I have given ideas in past articles which you can find in the Vancouver archive (link below), but here are some which others have agreed are worthy of mention.

___Walk or bike along the Stanley Park Seawall: Of course you can also jog, roller-blade or skate there too. Go especially on one of those pristine, winter-sun days (which plagued the Winter Olympics, but showed off the City’s great natural beauty). This is a superlative and exhilarating path right at the water’s edge.

___ Stroll the Beach: It really doesn’t matter which beach, there’s plenty to choose from and one for every taste. In summer, Wreck Beach (below the University of British Columbia) is for nudists. Spanish Banks is for dog walkers; Jericho Beach is for volleyball and Kitsilano Beach is for serious suntanning (that’s possible in summer). English Bay Beach is for serious people-watching and is in a quiet, beautiful part of town.

___ Picnic at the Lighthouse: While you’re at the beach, you may as well bring a picnic — so this activity does require food purchase — or just walk to a place where it’s nice enough to picnic. In this case, everyone has their favorite picnic spot around Vancouver — in ecological niches from one of the beaches all the way up on the mountains. But, one of the prettiest picnic spots is Lighthouse Park on the North Shore. From there, you get a great view of Vancouver’s skyline, and the walk down to the rocky waterline runs through a pristine, old-growth rainforest. Get picnic supplies at Edible BC, in the Granville Island Market.

___ Hike the North Shore, for in Vancouver, like Portland, Oregon, the forests are at the edge of the City and are the beginning of a great wilderness. These areas are only 20 minutes from the city center in both places. With so many evergreens, in any season you can step into a world of muted light and shadow and be quieted by the soaring, divine spaces created by the tree canopy.

___ In summer, watch the Fireworks explode over English Bay: In August (during the July/August HSBC Celebration of Light), three international fireworks companies compete by launching their best displays over English Bay. This is a mass spectacle, as 500,000 spectators can cram themselves onto the beaches around English Bay. There is also the chance for those with boats sail out to watch from the water, too at the required distances.

___ Explore Chinatown: Just like in San Francisco’s fabled neighborhood, fishmongers call out their wares before a shop filled with crabs, eels, geoduck clams and even bullfrogs. Farther down the street, you may see elderly Chinese women haggling over produce or their husbands hunting for traditional items like deer antler or dried sea horse at a a nearby Chinese herbalist. The sights and sounds are unfamiliar and are often unique. Of course, when you need to find a meal, just head inside to any one of a dozen restaurants to sample succulent cooking, most of which is Cantonese. Vancouver is now 65% Asian, and many immigrants came from Hong Kong, famed for its food.

___ Marvel at the First Nations Artwork made for the Olympics all over town. Then, head for the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia campus. The building was designed by native son Arthur Erickson, and is worth a visit in itself. This museum has always been one of the best places in the world to see and learn about West Coast First Nations art and culture. From the first time I went in 1965, I have never forgotten it, and indeed that visit spurred my interest. I always seek out this art wherever I travel, and know Vancouver still has amazing pieces.

___ Browse in the Public Market on Granville Island: All along False Creek, this former industrial site was long ago converted into an eye-popping and sense-stimulating traditional indoor public market. There’s a miniferry at the foot of Davie Street in Yaletown, and in 10 minutes you’ll be there. Find incredible food and goodies for picnics, even if you just sit outside by the wharf to watch people and boats while you nosh — just like you can do at Pike Place Market, in Seattle.

There you have it, today’s bounty of anytime free or low cost fun in Vancouver, BC.

Vancouver, B.C. – detailed Vancouver travel articles archive portal, here!

Vancouver Useful Links Archive from TravelVacationReview

©2010 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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