The main districts
Vancouver is generally split into three distinct districts: the Westside, the Eastside (also known as East Van), and the city centre. The city centre is Vancouver's main financial, shopping, and entertainment hub. While its accommodations and restaurant choices can be a bit more pricey, this is a great place to make a base for exploring the city and surroundings. Westside Vancouver includes Stanley Park and the West End with many of the city's most popular places to hang out. You'll enjoy Vancouver's beautiful beaches along with a huge mix of popular little boutique shops and eateries. East Van is a mix of the residential, recreational, and the eclectic. This is where Gastown, Vancouver's original townsite, is located. This neighborhood is an excellent mix of history and heritage with urban chic and kitsch. Further east is the city's Chinatown, one of the largest in North America.
What to do
Vancouver is all about the outdoors, and one of the most popular things for locals and visitors to do is walk, bike, jog, or rollerblade the Seawall. This is a paved trail that begins in the city center, winds around Stanley Park, and follows the False Creek shoreline all the way to Kitsilano. During nicer weather, consider renting a speedboat or take a ferry tour out to the scenic Granville Island. Or, if relaxing is more your thing, there are plenty of Vancouver beaches for the sun-lover to enjoy.
During the winter, many people descend on Vancouver as an excellent base camp for the three local skiing and snowboarding hills of Cypress, Grouse Mountain, and Seymore.
When to visit
Vancouver offers something special most any time of the year. Winter travelers will enjoy lower prices and mild weather that's okay for outdoor activities. Summer travelers will see a multitude of popular events and festivals. But for the best mix of budgeting and weather, travel in either spring or fall.
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