About Dirt Road Travels
We believe that the best way to discover new places is by getting off the beaten path and taking suggestions from local chefs, brewers and entrepreneurs. We create mobile-first city guides with recommendations for the best off-the-beaten-path spots and the stories of how the locals who built them got their start.
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The Ultimate Day in Vancouver
Just a three hour drive north of Seattle, Canada’s westernmost major city is surrounded by water on three sides. Vancouver provides killer views, tasty eats, and a mild climate - making it a perfect year-round destination.
Coffee at The Federal Store
Stop into this little corner shop and enter a re-imagined convenience store. The couple that owns this mom and pop shop has a passion for their community and coffee. They love fresh produce and baking their pastries from scratch. This kind of baking isn’t something to pass up. The avocado toast is topped with feta cheese, basil, and a little splash of lemon juice... yum! The Federal Store comes recommended by a true coffee connoisseur and owner of Bows X Arrows, Drew Johnson. See Drew's story and check out more of his Vancouver recommendations here.
Breakfast Pastries at Beaucoup Bakery
You might be blown away by the sweet smell as you enter this bakery flooded with natural light. "Start the day off early with a fresh pain au raisin here at Beaucoup Bakery.” Brother and sister team, Betty and Jacky Hung, own the shop and know that the best breakfast is right in their own bakery. With items like the Orange Cherry Cardamom Chocolate Croissant, you can't go wrong. Adam Chandler, owner of BETA5 Chocolates, agrees that Beaucoup bakery is the place to go!
Take in the Views at Stanley Park
This thousand acre park is Vancouver’s first and largest urban park. The legendary park offers walking and biking trails and even beaches. The park is known for the Vancouver Seawall, a 1.5 mile path along the water where you can take in the views by bike or with a leisurely stroll. In the park, you'll find the Vancouver Aquarium and Third Beach to the west. Third Beach offers spectacular views from the shore. This trek comes highly recommended by JC Poirier, chef and owner of Ask for Luigi.
Stroll through Gastown
Gastown is known for its art galleries, Victorian architecture and trendy food and beverage scene. A walk through this neighborhood is a must. Make sure you see the famous steam clock that releases steam every hour on the hour. The nightlife in Gastown offers a place to bar hop with an escape from the freshly 21 crowds you might find in other parts of Vancouver. The cobblestone streets and brick buildings ensure you feel the vibes of the neighborhood as you explore. We recommend stopping in The Birds & The Beets, Nelson the Seagull, or Alibi Room on your walk.
Lunch at Ask for Luigi
“Anybody can be a good chef, but if you want to be a great chef, then you have no choice but to be authentic, to do something that is very personal, very close to your heart. If you’re driven by love you can create a masterpiece.” The Italian restaurant is known for handmade noodles, antipasto salads, delicious desserts and family-style sharing. This small spot surprises visitors with big flavors, and servings. Make sure to save room for dessert too as everyone raves about the orange olive oil cakes. When talking to the owners of BETA5, The Birds & The Beets and Bao Bei, dining at Ask for Luigi came up again and again as a must- no matter how long your visit to Vancouver.
Hike through Lynn Canyon Park
Lynn Canyon Park is full of lush hiking trails lined with streams and waterfalls. If you’re brave enough, try crossing the suspension bridge 164 feet above the forest floor. Arrive before afternoon to get your photo op without other tourists in your photos. You can thank Matt, co-owner of The Birds & The Beets, for this recommendation! Lynn Canyon is just outside of the city so budget yourself a full afternoon for this excursion.
Beers at 33 Acres
After your trip through the park, rewards yourself with a cold pour. 33 Acres Brewing Company was built on the idea of sharing - spaces, food, drink, ideas, and conversation. Share craft brews with friends (new and old) in this contemporary space.
Dinner at Bao Bei
“Bao Bei is a really great cafe that’s become a destination restaurant. It’s run by a lady, Tannis, who spent a lot of time in Vancouver’s Chinatown grocery shopping when she was growing up. She brought back this really modern Chinese restaurant that does everything exceptionally.” The chefs and owners of BETA5, The Birds & The Beets and Ask For Luigi, all rave about the experience and cuisine at Bao Bei. When they serve up Chinese style small plates, you really can have it all.
Drinks at The Narrow Lounge
End your day with drinks with locals at The Narrow Lounge. This speakeasy-like bar is a lesser known secret of Vancouver with extremely accommodating staff. Whether you vibe with the indoor medieval decor or the colorful outdoor patio, there is something for everyone at The Narrow Lounge and they'll provide the perfect nightcap to your Ultimate Day in Vancouver.