Vancouver is a great place for vacations, romantic getaways, or as a base for exploring southwestern B.C. Let me tell you some more about our hometown.

One of the most unique aspects about Vancouver is its location. The wilderness is only a ½ hour drive away from downtown!

Getting close to nature is very easy here. The hiking, sailing, skiing and golfing opportunities are just awesome and are available most of the year. You can travel to Whistler quite easily (1.5 hr drive from the city), and the ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island is a short 30 km trip to the south.

When is the best time to plan your Vancouver vacation? Anytime between April and the end of September will give you a decent chance for some nice weather. We get the most rain and low clouds between November and February.

Here's a brief look at some of the top Vancouver attractions:

Stanley Park: One of the jewels of Vancouver. An incredible 405 hectare park right beside the city center! Trails through the forest, excellent views of the city and north shore mountains, historic totem poles, and the Vancouver Aquarium are just a few reasons why this should be one of the first stops on your Vancouver vacation.

Robson Street: The main shopping artery in the city. Shops, restaurants, and hotels line each side of the street, which gets pretty busy from June to October. If you like Starbucks and love to people watch, there are 2 of them across from each other on the corner of Robson and Thurlow streets.

Canada Place: Originally built for Expo 86, Canada Place, which includes the convention center and Pan Pacific Hotel, is a signature building on the Vancouver waterfront, vaguely familiar to the Opera House in Sydney. A walk around the perimeter shows off the North Shore Mountains, the harbor and any cruise ships that are docked during the summer season. If you're in the mood for a film of some type, the IMAX Theater at the north end has interesting films on a giant five story high screen with surround sound.

Granville Island: Just a great place to spend an afternoon or early evening. Wander through the shops, check out the Public Market, sip an espresso and watch the buskers, or stop by the Granville Island Brewery and sample the latest pale ale! You can also catch the "sea taxi", a small little craft that shuttles you around False Creek to different places like Science World and across the water to the downtown side.

Capilano Suspension Bridge: It's over 200 feet down! A rope-and-plank swinging bridge over the rushing waters of the Capilano River  scary, but totally safe. Numbers of visitors wise, this is the biggest draw in the city, and the admission price has gotten a little steeper too. Try mornings or early evening for the fewest crowds.

Copyright © 2005 Excellent Romantic Vacations

Greg Mattson is the editor of Excellent Romantic Vacations  A guide to great romantic vacations & getaways in Canada, the USA and around the world. You can find out more about Vancouver and Vancouver hotels in our Pacific Northwest Vacation section.