Embrace Winter? Bring it On.

If you can’t beat ‘um, join ‘um right? So, with most of the U.S. thawing from the latest polar vortex, this nomad headed North, to the great Pacific Northwest to be exact.  With flights to Vancouver, British Columbia hovering right around $300, it seemed like a bargain.  Watch the ticket prices and be ready to pounce as they seem to fluctuate quite a bit this time of year.

It’s a long, long flight from Atlanta to Vancouver – with a very quick stop in Seattle.  But with views coming into Seattle like this one of Mt. Ranier, you can’t help but get excited about playing in some snow.

Mt Rainier Seattle

The last hop to Vancouver is literally just a hop, like less than 30 minutes in the air.  I love all of the new automated customs processes, so easy and quick, and since Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics some years back, they are set up to handle large crowds if needed.

Travel Tip; Invest in TSA Pre-Check & Global Entry to smooth your long travel days.

Also, take a look into private club memberships that aren’t tied to one airline.  With the included meals and drinks and the ability to pop in and out, it really can save a lot of money, (and time), (and frustration). We had breakfast at Atlanta’s Club at ATL and a quick lunch at Seattle’s Club at Sea. I could get used to this.

Vancouver is easy to explore.  The train departs right from the airport and is the fastest, most scenic way to get into town.  We took it straight to the end of the line, the Waterfront, and had about a two block walk to our hotel, The EXchange.

The EXchange opened in about August of 2018 and they are still finishing up things like the restaurant but it is truly a new (somewhat hidden) gem in Vancouver.  The recast stock exchange building has been lovingly transformed into a boutique hotel hugged by a new office building.  The service is impeccable, I mean these people really love their jobs and their hotel. And, doesn’t that ceiling just want to make you cry? Trivia, what movie is that line from?…. Last Holiday with Queen Latifah, a classic.

The lobby, can you hear the ghost’s shouting ‘SOLD’?
Environmentally friendly - radiant heat from the ceiling -no noisy blowers AND heated floors in the bathroom. A big plus!
Right in the middle of all the action!

A short walk puts you right in the Gastown district; quaint but touristy with cobblestone lined streets, cozily lit up with white lights in the trees. Stop and take the obligatory picture by the old steam clock, pick up your souvenirs, grab a beer at the iconic Steamworks Brewing Co., and if your hungry there is plenty to eat, including the cozy and popular, the Flying Pig.

Steam clock, is it really running on steam? I think caffeine as Vancouverites seem to drink that 24×7

Public transportation is super easy, we picked up the bus at the Waterfront Station, pop inside to see how it’s been lovingly restored. Then take the bus over to Granville Island where you can explore artists workshops and stores and grab a bite from one of the many possibilities at The Public Market. Don’t forget to grab some macaroons to go!

You had me at olives!

You’re going to need to walk off those indulgences so pick up the very walkable, scenic path from Granville Island back to downtown. Or optionally take a water taxi. We walked off lunch with a stop at the Olympic village before hopping back on the subway at the amazing Science World at TELUS to the Waterfront. I love, love, love that there are two paths: one for walkers and one for bikers. Vancouver is a very bikeable city if that’s your thing!

It’s touristy but the Vancouver Lookout provides elevated 360-degree views of the city and area. I liked that there were no lines and you can go up multiple times so, go during the day and then go back at night, or just go for the night views. See the lights of the ski lift on Grouse Mountain off in the distance?

Vancouver comes alive when the sun goes down.

This post is getting long but so much to do, I’ll close with my indulgence for the trip, a first for me, a seaplane tour! There’s no other way to get views like these, worth the splurge and so much fun. Lot’s more to do and see here, but next up will be the ski town of Whistler. Add this trip to your list and start making plans – great to visit any time of the year.

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