On this self-guided tour of the city, which includes a combination of walking and ferry-hopping, you’ll start and end in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighborhood. In between, you’ll explore the Olympic Village, the emerging arts district known as “The Flats,” and the False Creek waterfront. Stop along the way to sample some craft beer.
Total Distance: 2.6 miles (4.25 kilometers)
Total Walking Time: 1.5 hours
Start your stroll with coffee and pastries at Yaletown’s Small Victory Bakery. When you’re ready to wander, exit the bakery, turning left on Homer Street, and take an immediate left onto Helmcken Street. Follow Helmcken two blocks down the hill, and turn right onto Mainland Street, checking out the neighborhood’s restored warehouse buildings. In one block, at Davie Street, turn left to walk south toward the waterfront.
In two blocks, at the corner of Davie and Pacific Boulevard, stop for a quick look at the Engine 374 Pavilion to see the locomotive that pulled the first transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver in 1887. Continue south on Davie Street one more block to False Creek and the Aquabus ferry dock, where colorful ferries shuttle across False Creek, which British naval officer and explorer George Henry Richards is credited with naming. In 1859, Richards traveled up what he thought was a creek in search of coal deposits but discovered that this “False Creek” was actually an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Board the ferry headed east to The Village.
When you get off the ferry, explore the cluster of contemporary buildings in front of you: the Olympic Village, also known as the Village at False Creek. The neighborhood’s buildings, which housed athletes during the 2010 Olympic Games, have been converted into condominiums, and the district has several brewpubs, cafés, public art pieces, and a community center.
If you’re ready for a break, nab a patio seat at Tap & Barrel, where they’ve got a long list of B.C. beer and wines on tap and great views of the city skyline.
From the Olympic Village, you’ll detour away from the water to explore an emerging arts district called The Flats. Walk south through the plaza on Salt Street, past the massive sculptures The Birds, and continue two blocks to West 1st Avenue. Turn left onto 1st, and go three blocks east, crossing Main Street. Look for the Winsor Gallery on your right; stop and see what’s on view in this contemporary art gallery.
Leaving the gallery, turn right to continue east on 1st Avenue. In two blocks, when 1st comes to a T at Thornton Street, turn left to check out two more art spaces, Equinox Gallery and Monte Clark Gallery, both in the same brightly painted building among the warehouses at the foot of Thornton.
Retrace your steps up Thornton Street, turning right onto 1st Avenue, then taking the next left onto Scotia Street. Cross busy 2nd Avenue, then continue south up the hill on Scotia for three blocks, turning right onto 5th Avenue. Follow 5th one block west to Main Street, turn left onto Main, and you’ll find your next stop, Brassneck Brewery, where you can do a tasting of their small-batch beer.
Turn left out of the brewery onto Main and walk two blocks south. At 8th Avenue, turn right, walk two more blocks, and you’ll see 33 Acres Brewing on your right. Stop for another beer tasting and a snack, too. To get back to the ferry, turn right onto 8th Avenue and take the first right onto Manitoba Street. Follow Manitoba 10 blocks north, back to the Olympic Village. Pause to take photos of the city skyline and Science World’s dome before boarding the Aquabus to return to the Yaletown docks.
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