Overnight in Vancouver (and my first giveaway on the blog!)

Happy Friday! I’m so thrilled to be embarking on a three post series about my family’s summer vacation this year. In June, Alex and I went on a 7-day Alaskan cruise with Royal Caribbean with my parents. After the cruise ended, my brother picked us up in Seward and from there, we spent the weekend in Denali National Park. It was probably the most naturally beautiful vacation I’ve ever been on and we spent a lot of time watching for wildlife and enjoying the incredible mountain views.

Today though, we are talking about the beautiful Northwestern city of Vancouver, where we spent the night before boarding the Radiance of the Seas. With the help of a Vancouver city guide from GPSmyCity, we were able to explore much of the downtown area. I’ve recently partnered with the company and am offering a giveaway today (my first!) so keep reading to learn how to enter.

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When Alex and I arrived in Vancouver, we took the SkyTrain Canada Line from the airport to Vancouver City Centre stop and then made the 5 minute walk to our hotel, where we met my parents. We spent the night at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, which was in a perfect location to explore downtown Vancouver and walk to Canada Place to board the ship. The 4-diamond hotel offered various amenities, such as stunning views of the city from floor-to ceiling windows, complimentary wi-fi, a sitting and work area in each room, pool, hot tub, and fitness center. The Hyatt Regency is also pet-friendly, which I know is of the utmost importance to many travelers! One of the stops for the free shuttle to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is also conveniently located right outside of the hotel. Since my parents had arrived the day before us, they took advantage and spent the day exploring the park.

View from our hotel room
View from our hotel room

After settling in, we walked over to Guu on Thurlow for dinner. Guu, established in 1993, is the first “izakaya” restaurant in Vancouver. In case you have never heard of izakaya like me, it refers to a casual Japanese gastropub. The meal begins with an oshibori, or hot towel, and guests can order food and drink as desired. Similar to tapas, items are usually shared by the table and are brought to the table as you order them. Guu is truly an authentic dining experience as evidenced by the lack of English in both the menu translation and speaking ability! The menu at Guu changes daily, so it is hard to make specific recommendations, but I can say that everything we had was delicious! We ordered sake mojitos, white wine, and beer as well as lettuce rolls and chili fried prawns to start our meal. We then ordered tuna tataki, salmon sashimi with a raw egg served on the side, kimchi fried rice, and yaki udon noodles with beef and seaweed salad. We capped off our meal with two orders of cheesecake because, vacation! Everything was fantastic and it was fairly reasonably priced at around $60 for each couple for a full meal with alcoholic beverages.

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Bar seating at Guu on Thurlow
Bar seating at Guu on Thurlow
Enjoying izakaya with Alex and my parents!
Enjoying izakaya with Alex and my parents!

After dinner, we took a walk down to Harbour Green Park and Canada Place to enjoy the salty air and watch floatplanes arrive and depart. On the way back to the hotel, we picked up some wine for the ship and some last-minute necessities at the drugstore before an early bedtime to help us adjust to the time change.

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Enjoying Harbour Park on a beautiful Vancouver evening with my parents and Alex
Enjoying Harbour Green Park on a beautiful Vancouver evening with my parents and Alex

The next day, July 1, it was Canada Day! As I understand, Canada Day is observed and celebrated throughout the country, but celebrations differ by province. There were several festivities at Canada Place, including live music, demonstrations and dancing, and food. Our first priority on Canada Day was to get some breakfast. Since many restaurants were closed for the holiday, those that were open were packed. We decided to start our GPSmyCity walking tour in the hopes that we would find something along the way. Fortunately, Library Square Public House was located next to our first stop, the Vancouver Public Library! We had a fantastic and fun boozy brunch at the casual pub alongside many Canadians celebrating Canada Day and watching a soccer game. Check out the photos on the restaurant’s website- they truly capture the fun and festive ambience and highlight the Instagram-worthy food. Additionally, the service was excellent and cocktails were a highlight! What to order: Food- Farmer’s Breakfast, Breakfast Sandwich, Cocktails – Rose All Day, P.S. I Love You

Library Square Public House
Library Square Public House
Boozy brunch!
Boozy brunch!

After fueling up, we continued on our GPSmyCity walking tour of the Downtown Landmarks in Vancouver. The GPSmyCity app was very user-friendly and guided us from stop to stop, while providing just the right amount of history and information about each attraction. We walked the Downtown Landmarks route backward, beginning at the Vancouver Public Library and walking to the Victory Square Cenotaph, Gastown Steam Clock, Vancouver Lookout, and Marine Building. I loved seeing the steam clock, which is one of the few steam clocks that is still powered by steam, and enjoyed the art deco architectural details of the Marine Building. The app also told us that a few of the attractions were featured in movies and TV shows, which my film buff family appreciated learning.

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Vancouver Public Library
Victory Square. I love all of the buildings with trees on top!
Victory Square. I love all of the buildings with trees on top! (See in the background)
Victory Square Cenotaph
Victory Square Cenotaph
Gastown Steam Clock
Gastown Steam Clock
Marine Building
Marine Building
I loved the Art Deco details!
I loved the Art Deco details!

GPSmyCity offers self-guided city walk apps in over 700 cities around the world on both iOS and Android devices. Each app features several walks, which is nice if you’re planning to be in the city for a few days. Each city walk comes with a travel route plotted on an offline map that guides you to famous attractions, monuments, and hidden gems without a large tour group or expensive tour guide, allowing you to explore attractions at your own pace! The apps work offline and provide turn-by-turn walking directions. I’ll be giving away 20 codes for a free download to my first 20 readers! To enter, just comment on this post and tell me which is the next city you’d like to visit and where you’d like to have a free city walk app! I will announce the winners on October 28. (See the full list of cities available for iOS and Android devices here.) I’ve included screenshots from using the app below so you can get an idea of how it works.

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Map of route
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Summary of city walk
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Description of one of the attractions

After getting back to the hotel to gather our things, we walked to Canada Place through the Canada Day celebrations to board the Radiance of the Seas. I can’t wait to tell you about our amazing cruise experience in my next post!

Celebrating Canada Day
Celebrating Canada Day
Continuing to celebrate Canada Day aboard the Radiance of the Seas
Continuing to celebrate Canada Day aboard the Radiance of the Seas

Thanks for reading this week! Don’t forget: If you’d like to enter the giveaway for a promo code for a free download for a GPSmyCity app featuring self-guided city walks, please comment on this post with in which city you plan to visit use the app. The promo codes can be used on both iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices. The first 20 people to comment on the blog post with which city you’d like to use the app will get a free download of the guide for that city! Winners will be announced on October 28.

RECAP
Eat/Drink
Guu, 838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1W2
Library Square Public House, 300 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6B 6B4
Stay
Hyatt Regency Vancouver, 655 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2R7

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14 comments

    • Thanks for entering Melinda! I’ll get that to you when the giveaway closes. Charleston is beautiful! Have you been before?

  1. Thank you!!! I have been before, but I am going to be taking my boyfriend for his first trip soon! Love your blog!

    • Thank you so much Faye! I can’t wait to meet you too! Would you like a code for a particular city? Maybe Charleston so you could use the app while you are there for the wedding?

  2. Third time is a charm! I tried to post twice before. The app sounds like a terrific idea. We do genealogy road trips every so often and I think Boston is our next destination. We need to go to Nantucket as well and some small towns in New York and Vermont. I really enjoy your blog. (Your mother-in-law put me on to it.)

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