Adventure Activities in Vancouver -- Try if You Dare

by Helen Gallagher, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Aug 26th 2010 01:23 PM

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Adventure Activity Vancouver

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Just take one look around Vancouver, B.C., and it is not hard to fathom the myriad of daring activities that await you. Towering snowy mountains, sparkling waters and lofty forests surround a glittering, modern downtown packed with adventures for even the most seasoned traveler.

Here are four recommendations for adding at least one adventure activity in Vancouver to your next trip.

1. Savor the suspense


Overcome your fear of heights at the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a swinging, narrow suspension bridge dangling 230 feet over the roaring Capilano River. Originally constructed in 1889, the bridge is now a popular adventure activity in Vancouver for those brave enough to make it across. The spectacular 450-foot walk (white-knuckled, for some!) across the bridge is unforgettable, as you peer down to the river rushing through a steep-walled canyon far below. Your bravery will be rewarded on the opposite side of the canyon, where you will get to experience the "Treetops Adventure," a series of smaller, elevated bridges through towering Douglas fir trees, offering magnificent views of the forest. At the end, explore a series of paths, zen-like gardens and ponds, and perhaps enjoy some hot chocolate before returning to civilization.

Capilano Suspension Bridge is open every day of the year except Christmas and is located just a quick drive away from downtown Vancouver. Outdoor activities beckon throughout the seasons, but hours do vary by season, with longer hours in the spring and summer months. For a slightly different experience, try visiting the bridge during the month of December, when it is open until 9PM and covered with twinkling holiday lights.

Capilano Suspension Bridge
Location: 3735 Capilano Road
North Vancouver, BC V7R 4J1
604-985-7474

2. Explore Gastown


One of Vancouver's most visited and unique neighborhoods, Gastown may not initially seem all that adventurous of a place to explore. But save it for an hour or two of wandering on a cool, misty Vancouver evening, and it can turn into an adventure all its own. Stroll cobblestone streets amidst the eerie flicker of hissing gas lamps, and you'll feel transported to a bygone era. Peek into artsy shops, galleries and cafes, ending your stroll with a stop into Chill Winston for a generous glass of red wine or a scotch to warm you up from the chill. Sample creative appetizers (don't miss the yam chips with maple hummus dip) while sinking into deep, cushiony chairs that are surrounded by wood panels and brick. While its patio is a top destination in summer, Chill Winston is also an excellent spot to stop and warm up before heading on to nearby attractions, such as the beautiful Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens, the first of its kind outside of China.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens

Location: 578 Carrall Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 5K2
604-662-3207
Hours: Daily 9:30AM-7PM

Chill Winston
Location: 3 Alexander Street
Vancouver BC, V6A 1B2
604-288-9575
Hours: Daily 11AM-1AM


3. Go mad on Grouse Mountain


No adventure vacation in Vancouver is complete without a stop at Grouse Mountain, a ski resort with year-round, heart-rate-inducing activities for the daring. In the winter, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating and snowshoeing are popular options, but don't stop there. The mountain offers an aerial tram, zip lines, paragliding and helicopter tours for adrenaline junkies at any time of year.

One of the most exciting parts is the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife, which serves as home to animals unable to survive in the wild, including wolves and grizzly bears. Check out the wolf refuge, located at the base of the mountain, for a rare (and free!), up-close encounter with several beautiful wolves. Nothing can beat hearing that distinctive wolf howl and suddenly spotting their bright eyes glinting through the falling snow. The longer you stay, the more wolves you'll see as they slink in and out of the shadows. This is one adventure activity in Vancouver you might not want to miss.

Grouse Mountain
Location: 6400 Nancy Greene Way
604-980-9311


4. Dive deep for the freshest sushi


When visiting a new city, it's tempting to stick to the slick, hip tourist restaurants that cater to out-of-towners. In Vancouver, there is no lack of these places, which are often quite good. However, for at least one meal, try digging a little deeper into some of the local, neighborhood gems that give the city its true flavor. For sushi lovers, Vancouver is a dream come true, offering some of the freshest fish around.

Tucked away from all the skyscrapers in a quieter part of town, Toshi Sushi is consistently ranked as one of Vancouver's top sushi spots, and that's without the hefty price tag of some of the trendier options. They do not take reservations, but if you can be patient through a possible wait (hey, waiting just means you know it's good!), you will be rewarded with buttery salmon, unbelievably fresh tuna, creative rolls, and a lively, local atmosphere.

Location: 181 East 16 Ave.
604-874-5173

These are only four suggestions for daring activities in a city teeming with adventure. No matter where you go, you'll find an endless supply of fun activities in Vancouver.

Helen Gallagher writes about business, technology, and travel for national consumer and trade publications. She is the author of Social Media Handbook Social Media Handbook and Release Your Writing: Book Publishing Your Way. Read her blog on Red Room.

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