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Explore Vancouver Like A Local

So, you want the inside scoop on visiting Vancouver like a local, eh?

Well my friend you’re in luck, because I’m the guy that’s going to help you explore Vancouver like a local.

Let me preface this by saying that I can’t give you everything in this post, there is just too much information I could share with you. That’s why I made the Ultimate Vancouver Travel Guide. If you truly want to know the “in’s and out’s” you can watch the 50+ videos inside of it.

I’m going to give you the crash course in traversing Vancouver like a local.

First off, I’ll help you understand the geography a little bit. The city of Vancouver is only a small part of what makes up Metro Vancouver, which consists of Vancouver and the 20 other surrounding cities that you might encounter during your time in Vancouver.

It’s extremely common to live in any of the surrounding areas and take public transit from say New Westminster to Downtown Vancouver in less than 30 minutes by sky train.

When it comes to looking at places to stay while you’re in Vancouver, the areas further outside of Vancouver are definitely options and possibly cheaper.

When it comes to things to do in Vancouver you can check out this big long list here, but really we Vancouverites like to get outdoors. So bring some hiking boots, a backpack and lots of water because if you live in Vancouver you’ll want to get outside and enjoy the beautiful landscape we have here. We are literally sitting between the ocean, forest and mountains.

This offers a wide variety of things you could do, the choice is really up to you. If you want to feel like a local in Vancouver head out to any of the many hiking trails, parks or beaches for the day and then as the sun goes down head into downtown Vancouver for some fun in the evening.

Of course, most of you visiting Vancouver will want to get a good taste of the Downtown Vancouver experience.

If you want the late night clubs and pubs downtown Vancouver is the place to go. Granville street is where you’re going to find nightclubs in Vancouver, and on Friday and Saturday nights they block off the streets and there is a ton of police presence in the area. This place can become a gong show on the weekends and if you’re looking for some craziness, this is where you want to be.

A lot of locals and tourists go out on granville street and if that’s your scene you’ll enjoy yourself. Myself and many other locals often enjoy the more low key Gastown. This place is a major tourist trap during the day and if you go one block too far while you’re in Gastown you could end up in the craziness of east hastings street, which you don’t want to be in. If you stick to certain areas of Gastown you’ll be alright.

If you’re young and doing the backpacking thing check out the Cambie in Gastown, it’s a bar that also has a hostel attached to it. You don’t need to stay at the hostel however to go to the bar. You are sure to meet a lot of travelers and locals here – or if you’re looking for a place to watch a sports event, the Charles Bar right beside the Cambie is a good place to do that.

So let’s just summarize what we’ve covered so far.

  • 1. Vancouver is actually a lot bigger than just the city of Vancouver.
  • 2. Part of the local experience is getting out into nature, even if it’s not your thing, try it. You might like it.
  • 3. If you want to go out, downtown Vancouver is typically the best spot to do that.

What else do locals do? Well if you’re a local you’re probably not eating out all the time because that gets expensive, if you’re on holiday you might live it up, but when you live your day to day life here the general population of metro Vancouver doesn’t eat out at restaurants every meal.

If you’re looking for the way to eat cheap in Vancouver, go to the Real Canadian Superstore (or just “superstore” as we call it) They don’t have one in downtown Vancouver, but they do have one by Renfrew Skytrain station and in Metrotown Mall in Burnaby. A few other options for grocery stores that offer good deals and might be close to where you are staying are No Frills, Save On Foods, T & T Supermarket, and Safeway (although they tend to be more expensive) to grab stuff you can cook at home.

Of course, if you truly are a local, you know the cheap food deals for when you do decide to treat yourself to eating out. I have more than a dozen videos on food deals and so much more in The Ultimate Guide to Vancouver if you really want to explore Vancouver like a local.