Vancouver, Canada in Winter: Four Days in Vancouver, BC
I took advantage of a long weekend this winter and spent four days in Vancouver, BC. This was my first trip to Canada, so I was pretty excited, even though it was the dead of winter. Regardless, four days in Vancouver was a perfect getaway from San Francisco since the flight is only about two hours long and I didn't want to travel anywhere further than that.
I knew this four day trip to Vancouver would be cold. Winter travel freaks many people out—winter travel in places that get cold, I should say. It's not that I enjoy the cold, I actually really don't prefer it, but I've recently grown fond of the many perks that come with winter travel. Initially I was unsure whether or not that would ring true in this case, but Vancouver, BC proved to be an excellent winter travel destination.
Why I Love Vancouver, Canana in Winter
The Holiday Season in Vancouver
By far, my favorite thing about taking a trip to Vancouver, Canada in winter is the spirit of the holiday season. Let me just say that Vancouver appears to have a serious love for Christmas—it's awesome. Immediately upon entering the city, it was apparent that the holidays do not go unnoticed. Vancouver is filled with Christmas trees in the streets and plazas, streetlamp posts adorned with ribbons and strands of lights, and local businesses are decked out in festive decor.
In addition to the decor scattered around the city and within hotels, Vancouver has an excellent Christmas market. When I say Christmas market, I'm talking a European-style Christmas market. The Christmas market in Vancouver really goes all out in replicating the traditional Christmas markets that you can find in Europe. Since Europe is a 10+ hour flight from San Francisco, I am more than happy to have access to a pretty awesome European-style Christmas market only two hours away in Vancouver.
Winter Weather in Vancouver
If you are looking for stunning mountains covered in snow, a winter trip to Vancouver is for you. One of the reasons Vancouver is such an incredible city is its access to nature. The city is surrounded by beautiful mountains, greenery and access to water. If you're a fan of winter sports, then you have plenty of reason to travel to Vancouver during the winter. The city is about an hour and a half drive from world-class skiing in Whistler. You may recall that Whistler was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Snow sports are admittedly not my thing. I don't like falling on surfaces that are hard and cold—it's really not for me. But where there are snow sports, there is snow. Looking at, and photographing, snow from the sidelines without risk of falling is my thing.
The beautiful, white, magical scenes full of snow in and around Vancouver are a dream. During my four days in Vancouver, it snowed within the city limits. It was amazing! The locals did tell me that this is not a regular occurrence—there was a lot of snow on the ground. The city was filled with layers of white, fluffy, fairytale-like snow. I was told that usually the snow doesn't stay on the ground like that within the city limits, so that was special. But the city is immediately surrounded by mountains that do stay covered in snow, which makes for beautiful views and easy access.
Eating in Vancouver
You might be wondering how eating in Vancouver is in any way related to the season. Well if you're a food-obsessed traveller like myself, then you know that offseason travel makes it so much easier to get into the restaurants you want to eat at.
Vancouver is such a good food city! It's up there with Portland, Oregon and my delicious home city of San Francisco, California. Since many people tend to avoid winter travel, or simply stay inside, chilly days are the best days to snag a spot at restaurants that are generally crowded. And I'm not talking about high-end fancy-pants restaurants, I'm talking about those infamous spots every city has that often see a constant line out the door and down the block. I ate so well in Vancouver, but those details are coming in another post.