Most unforgettable Vancouver experiences

/ Source: Frommers.com

Taking a Carriage Ride through Stanley Park: One of the largest urban parks in the world, and certainly one of the most beautiful, Stanley Park is nothing short of magnificent. You can sample the highlights on a delightful 1-hour carriage ride that winds through the forest, along Burrard Inlet, past cricket fields, rose gardens, and the park's superlative collection of First Nations totem poles.

Wandering the West End: Encompassing the über-shopping strip known as Robson Street, as well as cafe-lined Denman and a forest of high-rise apartments, the West End is the urban heart of Vancouver. Enjoy the lush trees lining the streets, the range of architecture, the diversity of cultures, the latest fashions and fashionistas, and the neat little surprises on every side street.

Dining Out on Local Seafood: Visitors are rightly amazed at the abundance of fresh-that-day seafood available in Vancouver's restaurants. This is a city where an appetizer of raw oysters often precedes a main course of wild salmon or halibut.

Dining Out, Period: The number of truly outstanding restaurants in Vancouver is astonishing, and the prices are ridiculously low when compared to other food capitals. A meal at one of Vancouver's top restaurants will wake you up to the glories of the food scene here.

Visiting the : It's a Jacques Cousteau special, live and right there in front of you. Fittingly enough, the aquarium has an excellent display on the Pacific Northwest, plus sea otters (cuter than they have any right to be), beluga whales, sea lions, and a Pacific white-sided dolphin.

: Fishmongers call out their wares before a shop filled with crabs, eels, geoducks, and bullfrogs, while farther down the street elderly Chinese women haggle over produce as their husbands hunt for deer antler or dried sea horse at a traditional Chinese herbalist. When you're tired of looking and listening, head inside to any one of a dozen restaurants to sample succulent Cantonese cooking.

Marveling at First Nations Artwork in the Museum of Anthropology: The building -- by native son Arthur Erickson -- would be worth a visit in itself, but this is also one of the best places in the world to see and learn about West Coast First Nations art and culture.

Browsing the Public Market on Granville Island: Down on False Creek, this former industrial site was long ago converted into a truly eye-popping and sense-staggering indoor public market. Hop on the miniferry at the foot of Davie Street in Yaletown and in 10 minutes you'll be there. At the market you'll find incredible food and goodies; put together a picnic and sit outside by the wharf to people- or boat-watch as you nosh.

Kayaking on Indian Arm: Vancouver is one of the few cities on the edge of a great wilderness, and one of the best ways to appreciate its splendor is by kayaking on the gorgeous Indian Arm. Rent a kayak or go with a company -- they may even serve you a gourmet meal of barbecued salmon.

Discovering the Paintings of Emily Carr at the Vancouver Art Gallery: It's always a thrill to discover a great artist, and Emily Carr's work hauntingly captures the primal appeal of B.C.'s rugged, rain- and wave-washed forests and shores.

Crossing the Capilano Suspension Bridge: Stretched across a deep forested canyon, high above old trees and a rushing river, this famous pedestrian-only suspension bridge has been daring visitors to look down for over a hundred years. Now you can explore the giant forest trees, too, on a series of artfully constructed treewalks.

Watching the Sunset from a Waterside Patio: Why else live in a city with such stunning views? Many places on False Creek, English Bay, and Coal Harbour have great waterside patios. For something different, head to the North Shore, where you don't get to see mountains, but you get stunning city views.

For more on sightseeing and planning your trip, pick up one of Frommer's Travel Guides on Vancouver.

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