Vancouver: Stanley Park bike rental, Granville Island & VanDusen Botanical Garden
January 16, 2020
Today we are going to talk about three other attractions in Vancouver – Stanley Park bike rental, Granville Island, and VanDusen Botanical Garden.
They are not very close to each other so you might need 2 days to do all three.
Read all the way to the bottom for a bonus suggestion on what to do in Vancouver!
I wrote a different blog post, explaining in detail what to see while you are in Stanley Park. If you want to check out that post, here is a link.
Before we went to Stanley Park, we had breakfast at Nero Belgian Waffle Bar which is located close to the park and had some amazing waffles.
Check out their menu here. It is a cozy little place and the food was very tasty.
They have sweet and savory waffles and an assortment of teas and coffee.
They have both Brussels Waffles (crispier and lighter dough) and Liege Waffles (thicker dough with pearl sugar).
I highly recommend this place if you feel like grabbing a breakfast/brunch before setting off to the park.
Nero Belgian Waffle Bar
Once you are done, head over to the intersection of W. Georga St. and Denman St. where you can rent a bike (there are about four stores there to choose from).
The place from which we rented the bikes was called Yes Cycle. There was no particular reason why we went to that one, it was simply on the corner of the street that we were coming from.
The most famous one is called Spokes Bicycle Rentals which is right in front of Yes Cycle.
The staff at Yes Cycle was friendly and can help adjust the seat for you, help you pick the bike that you like, etc.
They have different bikes – with gears, with baskets, for kids, they even have tandem bikes.
Below you can see the bikes that we rented, mine is the one with the basket because I had to put my purse somewhere.
What I liked about Yes Cycle is that all the bikes are the same rate per person and that they have a wide range of different bicycles suited for all ages and fitness levels.
They also have a flexible payment system where you Pay-As-You-Go, which means you can pay for the bike once you return it.
That way you don’t have to worry about returning the bike by a certain time.
Here are our bikes…mine is the one with the basket coz I had to put my purse somewhere
They provide the bike, a helmet, a lock, and a map. Keep in mind that in Vancouver you are required by law to wear a helmet. Biking is very popular.
So you literally don’t have to worry about anything, they’ll give you everything you need. Just make sure you wear comfortable clothes and shoes.
I used to bike a lot as a kid, but I have not biked very much in my adult years so I was kinda scared, to be honest. But once I got back into it it was actually a really nice day and the bike was pretty nice.
I highly recommend renting a bike from one of the stores at that intersection as they are cheaper than renting the city bikes.
The entire distance you’re going to bike is about 9 km and would take about an hour to bike around if you don’t stop. If you do stop for pictures or to take a break, I would say two to three hours.
Just keep in mind the bikes have a separate lane from the pedestrians and you will need to stay within the bike lane.
Also, you are allowed to bike only in one direction – anticlockwise. Don’t worry you will see what others are doing and just follow them.
Bikers biking in Stanley Park
Granville Island is known for its Public Market where you can buy fresh produce as well as all sorts of sweets, meat, seafood, sandwiches, etc.
We got a fruit smoothie and I couldn’t resist buying some fresh cherries that we took to go with us.
You can also stop by one of the many restaurants in the area. We had dinner at a place called Bridges.
There is no way you can miss it, it’s a big, yellow building by the water. It has two floors and a really nice patio that overlooks downtown Vancouver.
The top part of the restaurant has a more fancy vibe and the bottom floor is more of a pub.
The two floors have different menus, so make sure to check out the food before you decide which one to go to. And don’t worry it is not all seafood, even though there are a lot of seafood-inspired dishes.
I can highly recommend the calamari – my partner doesn’t like seafood and he ate almost the entire plate.
I was also told to try Tony’s Fish & Oyster Cafe (if you are looking for mainly seafood) but we didn’t have time to try it.
It is located a little bit further than Bridges (right on the water) and it is a lot smaller.
View towards Granville Island..you can see Bridges in the distance
Also, don’t forget to try Granville Island beer. The brewery is located right on the island.
You can visit the brewery itself or if you don’t have time don’t worry, most of the restaurants on Granville Island as well as all of Vancouver offer Granville Island beer.
They have about five core beers which are English Bay Pale Ale, Northwest Pale Ale, German Style Pilsner (it is excellent), West Coast IPA and the Rasperry Ale (seasonal).
I love beer, so we ended up trying all five of them. If you want just a good basic beer I would recommend the Pilsner.
If you are more adventurous try their Raspberry Ale. Usually, I don’t like fruity beers but the raspberry one was very nice.
They also have seasonal small batches to choose from as well. The brewery offers daily tours and tastings.
Here is their website if you would like to check out the times.
I highly recommend trying at least one of the beers as they are available only locally and I was impressed at how good they were.
View of Granville Island Brewery
If you like tea, try the Grandville Island Tea Company which is located in the Public Market.
We bought Passion Mango Green Tea, Citrus Blossom Green Tea, and Jasmine Green Tea loose leaf for home and we loved them.
Granville Island is most popular for food and drinks, but you can also walk around and take nice pictures of the Vancouver skyline and the many little boats and yachts that are bobbling around.
There are many small stores and galleries around the island as well. In the summer you can find a lot of artisans and street performers.
Something cool to check out is called the Giants Murals. They are six tall silos that are painted to look like people (giants). Three of them look towards the water and three look inland.
Giants Murals (you can only see 5 of them here)
Van Dusen Botanical Garden
The Van Dusen Botanical Garden is a little bit out of the way but it is a nice place to enjoy nature and to get lost in the hedge maze.
Yes, you heard that right!! They do have a huge hedge maze! Here is a video of me going through it.
Some of the main attractions to see, besides the maze, are the Stone Garden, Korean Pavilion, Alma VanDusen Garden, a section where they have plants from different parts of the world, etc.
Huge hedge maze
A cool fact is that the Visitor Center building is actually designed to look like a flower petal if you look at it from above.
The garden is full of plants, lakes and large lawns. They do have different hours of operations and admission tickets depending on the time of year you are visiting.
Of course, the best time to visit would be in the spring/summer when you have the highest chance of seeing the most plants.
They also hold different events in the garden.
For more information, you can visit their website.
Enjoying the Waterfall
We didn’t have much time to spend in the garden so we followed the main path and tried to see as much as we could.
They do have a gift shop where you can buy some cool things such as plant seeds. There is also a small café in the Visitor Center.
We spend about two hours in the garden but you can easily spend the whole day.
Wooden bridge going over a pond
Kitsilano Beach is very close to Grandville Island. It is a beautiful beach, and when we were passing by, the sky looked amazing.
It is one of the most popular beaches in Vancouver. It is facing English Bay. There is also an outdoor, heated, saltwater swimming pool.
Check out this video of Kitsilano Beach.
You can take the False Creek Ferries from Granville Island to Kits Beach. It’s what we did. It is a very short ride, not more than 10 minutes.
Here is a link with the map and more info.
Kitsilano Beach…look at that sky
In the area, we tried a sushi place that was recommended to me and it was really, really good. It is called Bella Sushi and it is a short walk from Kits Beach.
We ordered this interesting appetizer. It is called Godzilla Bite!!
The sushi was excellent
An ice cream place that I can recommend that is also in that area (I believe it is a chain) is Rain or Shine ice cream. You can only find it in Vancouver.
They have local and interesting flavors such as Pine, Honey Lavender, and London Fog.
The day that we went there, it was cold and raining and the place was still packed with people. I guess it lived up to its name lol.
We tried the London Fog ice cream and it was very good.
London Fog ice cream
There you have it Vancouver – Stanley Park bike rental, Granville Island, and VanDusen Botanical Garden.
Hope you enjoyed this blog post!