Welcome to the coastal city of Vancouver, where snowy mountains and a pleasantly temperate climate set the stage for a picture-perfect stay. For the nature lover, Vancouver is a dream destination. From Stanley Park’s scenic trails to the panoramic views of Grouse Mountain and the beach town of Kitsilano, the city’s natural beauty truly shines in colder months—though it’s never a bad time to visit, really.

And if the outdoors isn’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of exciting things to do indoors, too. We spent 48 hours in Vancouver and explored everything from ritzy tea ceremonies to craft cocktail distilleries and the coolest places to shop for home goods and outdoor apparel.

Here’s how to make the most of your stay.

Stay

FAIRMONT HOTEL VANCOUVER- Located on West Georgia Street, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver—affectionately known as the ‘Castle in the City—has been around since 1939, and when you walk through its doors, you’ll sense it immediately. This storied space is close to must-visit spots including the Vancouver Art Gallery, Granville Island and the charming Seawall path. Shopping hubs like Robson and Granville are within walking distance, and most places in the city are easily accessible by Uber or public transit. The hotel’s themed afternoon tea experience—located inside the cozy Notch8 restaurant—is one not to miss. Tiny savoury sandwiches and almost-too-pretty-to-eat pastries are served on tiered stands and paired with your choice of loose leaf teas and beautiful craft cocktails. And from now until December 30, the hotel is serving its Alpine chalet-themed ‘Holiday Haus Afternoon Tea’ experience. Expect treats like mini meringue Christmas trees, gingerbread cheesecake, turkey tea sandwiches with cranberry aioli and sage stuffing, puff pastry smoked salmon rolls and so much more.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

Eat & Drink

BAR CORSO- For a taste of Italy on the west coast, Vancouver’s intimate Bar Corso is the place to be. Over on Commercial Drive, executive chef Luke Boswell serves up mouthwatering Italian tapas under dim lights. Crostinis are topped with morsels of waygu beef and smoked bone marrow, tuna crudo or house-made ricotta (and if you can’t choose, simply order the platter) while the pasta specials are made fresh daily. Bar Corso’s cocktail list alone makes the place worth a visit, with innovative drinks like an espresso-infused ‘Beam Me Up’ negroni and an amaro-and-tequila-spiked hot chocolate.

Bar Corso

PLEASE! BEVERAGE CO- Sip cocktails on tap at Please! Beverage Co, a stylish and spacious Mount Pleasant distillery. This cocktail-meets-snack bar pours pints of house-made small-batch libations including the incredible Mango Sticky Rice—made with pandan, coconut, rice and mango—a refreshing Grapefruit Paloma and a minty-floral Green Tea Fizz. Lebanese-inspired bites from Jamjar Canteen are available to snack on while you taste to your heart’s content. The spirits are also excellent served straight up or added into fresh cocktails, and don’t forget to pick up drinks to go at the bottle shop. Fun fact: the drink labels, coasters and shoppable swag items are all designed by local artists.

PLEASE! Beverage Co

AU PETIT COMPTOIR- French food comes easy and authentic at this quaint Continental Street spot. Brunch offers classics like mimosas and eggs en cocotte, but the dinner service is a can’t miss for lovers of French cuisine. Specialties include moules frites and steak frites, but you can also find favourites like escargot and tartare de bœuf. No reservations here, so come early if you can.

SHOP

PEAK PERFORMANCE- If there’s one thing you’re going to do in Vancouver, it’s spend time outdoors. Naturally, the city is an ideal place to stock up on high-performance outerwear. Located at 2123 W 4th Ave in the trendy Kitsilano neighbourhood, the newly-opened Peak Performance concept store has everything you need for mountain treks, hiking, skiing, snowboarding and beyond. The Swedish brand, founded in 1986, was created by two skiers with the goal of designing functional pieces that looked good, too. Another goal for the brand is sustainability: beyond using materials that cut down on water waste and focusing on recycled fibres, Peak Performance also aims to reduce its climate impact by 50% and have 100% circular products by 2030. And by 2050, the company aims to be climate-neutral. The new space includes in-store wash and laundry services, a repair centre (to keep your garments in top condition for longer) and a quintessentially Swedish hot chocolate bar. We love the bestselling Helium line, which is made with ultra-lightweight wind- and water-repellant down that can be worn on its own or layered under heavier items on exceptionally chilly days.

Peak Performance

PYRRHA- Inspired by vintage Victorian wax seals, Pyrrha’s signature one-of-a-kind talisman pieces are made in-house at the brand’s showroom and production studio at 2040 Columbia Street. The space itself is gorgeous: it’s a 100-year-old heritage house complete with a below-ground courtyard and multiple floors of modern, light-filled design rooms. The certified B Corp brand takes sustainability very seriously: Pyrrha is a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council, has earned a Butterfly Mark certified through Positive Luxury and is also a member of 1% for the Planet. Pieces are casted  in 100% recycled sterling silver, 14k gold, and bronze, and are meant to be treasured, admired and passed down for generations. Choose the one that resonates with you.

FABLE- For elevated dinnerware that’s sleek and chic, Fable’s intentionally-designed homewares will serve you well. The Canadian brand strives to be zero waste, using materials like recycled clay and eco-friendly packaging to create products that are built to last. The brand works with ceramicists, woodworkers and glassmiths in Portugal, Germany, Italy and Japan to produce beautiful tableware in a transparent way. From speckled pasta bowls to sturdy wine glasses, elegant flatware and aesthetically-pleasing cappuccino cups, you’ll find everything you need to style your dream living space.

DO

THE NORDIC SPA AT FAIRMONT PACIFIC RIM- Your trip won’t be complete without a jaunt to the swanky Fairmont Pacific and its invigorating rooftop thermal spa. Rotate between the dry cedar sauna, cold plunge, hot tub and pool circuit while you take in the spectacular mountain views. Don a plush robe, sip on a steaming cup of tea (or a delicious cocktail) while you chill out by the heated relaxation areas for a true Nordic experience.

Fairmont Pacific Rim