Sabrina Elba’s Guide to Vancouver

Modern architecture, a thriving arts scene and stunning mountain views make Vancouver one of the most interesting and vibrant cities in the world. And who better to share her insider’s guide than Canadian-born model, activist and former ‘Miss Vancouver’, Sabrina Elba (the better half of Idris Elba)? Here, she shares her must-visit spots, as well as her favourite places to stay and shop in the city.

SHOPS

The Leisure Centre
The Leisure Centre is fairly new to Vancouver but it’s easily one of my favourites places to shop. Located on the beautiful Homer Street in Yaletown, it has the latest designer offerings, as well as a library and café you can visit once you’ve finished shopping. The service here is always excellent and the VIP pods always make my time here really special. 

Visit Leisure-Center.com

Aritzia
Aritzia is a Vancouver staple, though my favourite location is the store on Robson – Vancouver’s iconic shopping street. There, you’ll find a great selection from all of their best brands. They do everything from cool workout attire to polished blazers.

Visit Aritzia.com

Roden Gray 
Roden Gray has a one of the best selections of menswear in the city, but that doesn’t stop women like me from having a look every now and then. I love trying on the latest fashionable sneakers or new Yeezy collections – why leave all the good stuff to the guys?

Visit RodenGray.com

F As In Frank Vintage
If you’re a fan of vintage fashion, you won’t be disappointed with the selection at the iconic F As In Frank Vintage store on Main Street. There, you’ll find a range of classic pieces and reworked collections for a great bargain and if you’re lucky enough to be in town for one of their sales, you’ll be able to fill a bag of pre-loved goods for just $10.

Visit FAsInFrankVintage.com

Urban Fare
I wouldn’t usually put a grocery store on a list of my favourite shops, but this one takes the cake… no pun intended. The aisles are filled with fresh produce and conscious contributions, from the best olive oils to a ridiculously good cheese section. Plus, if you get hungry while you’re shopping, you can stop for a bite to eat at their restaurant. 

Visit UrbanFare.com

RESTAURANTS

Tacofino
If, like me, you love Mexican food, head to Tacofino. There are several branches in Vancouver, but the Oasis branch in Financial District has the most stylish interiors. The nachos with roasted jalapenos and chipotle crema on fresh tortilla chips are my absolute favourite, but everything on the menu is delicious. 

Visit Tacofino.com

Bodega
Bodega on Main Street has become one of the city’s most popular hangouts. Their tapas-style plates come in small but flavourful bites, making them a great sharing option, but the real crowd-pleaser here is the extensive wine selection – there’s something for everyone. 

Visit BodegaOnMain.ca

Kissa Tanto
This hidden gem is tucked away in Vancouver’s Chinatown district but it’s well worth scouting out if you’re looking for something a little different. Their Japanese-Italian fusion food is stunning, so it’s no wonder they were named ‘Best New Canadian Restaurant’ in 2017. For me, it’s a must-visit. 

Visit KissaTanto.com

IAN LANTERMAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Rodney’s Oyster House
It would be a shame to go to Vancouver and not try the seafood. Sitting right on the edge of the Pacific, the city is full of the ocean’s best offerings and Rodney’s Oyster House is a great place to try the catch of the day. The staff are always so fun and friendly, and everything on the menu is super fresh and delicious – I usually order the oysters or fish chowder. 

Visit RodneysOysterHouse.com

Annalena
Annalena is one of the coolest places to dine out. Inside, you’ll find beautiful exposed bricks paired with distinctive, minimalist interiors. Their tasting menu always features excellent Canadian produce, including some of the best seafood in town. I guarantee it will impress even the pickiest of eaters.

Visit Annalena.ca

Minami
Yaletown has some of the best restaurants in the city, but any Vancouverite will tell you it’s also known for the best sushi. Right in the centre, Minami is a five-star Japanese restaurant loved for their delicious flame-seared sushi and extensive sake list. Dining here is always a treat. 

Visit MinamiRestaurant.com

BARS

The Keefer Bar
This trendy late-night spot in Chinatown has a selection of delicious Asian-inspired cocktails. For a swanky room without the dress code, The Keefer Bar is the perfect place for a refreshing drink or a midnight snack when you’re hungry.

Visit TheKeeferBar.com

Guilt & Company
What’s better than a fully stocked cocktail bar? A cocktail bar that hosts some of Vancouver’s best jazz bands. Guilt & Company is hidden away in the iconic Gastown region, making it the perfect basement bar getaway.  

Visit GuiltAndCompany.com

Prohibition
If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, head to Prohibition on Georgia Street. The drinks aren’t cheap, but it’s worth a visit for the sophisticated interiors and live music alone. It’s a great night out and the speakeasy vibe is like stepping back into the 20s – just make sure you dress to impress. 

Visit RosewoodHotels.com

Diamond Bar
For a cocktail with a view, the famous Diamond Bar on Powell Street is a great spot. Set in one of Vancouver’s most historic districts, British Colombia, they serve great cocktails and the barmen always have something special up their sleeve. 

Visit Di6mond.com

Local
If you’re in the city during the summer, Local on Kitsilano beach is a must-visit. The tables are usually packed but if you get there early enough, you can relax with a drink in hand while taking in the beautiful views. Be sure to align your visit in time for happy hour. 

Visit LocalPublicEatery.com

HOTELS 

The Douglas Hotel
I absolutely love staying at The Douglas Hotel. Situated in the trendy Parq Casino by Pacific Boulevard, it has a range of beautiful bedrooms with moderns en-suites. For a special treat, I love staying in ‘The Den’ – a stunning suite with modern interiors and breath-taking views of the city.
 
Visit ParqVancouver.com

Sutton Place Hotel
If you’re looking for some old-world beauty, head to Sutton Place Hotel on Burrard Street. The hotel’s lavish rooms have been visited by some of the world’s most iconic people, including Oprah – and if it’s good enough for her…

Visit SuttonPlace.com

Fairmont Waterfront Rooms
It would be a shame to go to Vancouver and miss out on the beautiful mountain views – cue Fairmont Waterfront Rooms. This stunning hotel has a great outdoor pool that overlooks Stanley Park and the North Shore Mountains. There’s also a rooftop bar and an excellent on-site restaurant who use fresh, locally sourced ingredients from their garden and beehives.
Visit Fairmont.com

PLACES TO VISIT

Vancouver Art Gallery
It’s hard to miss the iconic stone structure in the heart of the city that is Vancouver Art Gallery. It’s the largest art gallery in western Canada with a world-renowned collection. The main collections change regularly, but don’t miss out on the works of one of the city’s most famous artists – Emily Carr.
Visit VanArtGallery.bc.ca

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art
Vancouver has a rich history in aboriginal art, and you can see some of the most striking pieces at the Bill Reid Gallery. It’s one of the only public galleries dedicated to indigenous art from the region and it makes a fascinating day out. 

Seawall
If you get a chance to go for a bike ride on a sunny day, you’re going to love the gorgeous Seawall. The wall runs through most of the city and snakes around Stanley Park, giving you an unparalleled tour of Vancouver. Start at the park and finish on the waterfront by Vancouver’s trendiest districts for some of the best views. 

Seawall
Whistler

Deep Cove 
If you’re looking for a taste of the great outdoors, Deep Cove is the perfect place to explore the wilderness. You can go for a swim in the bay or take a hike up the trail, both of which have breath-taking views. Don’t forget to visit the famous donut shop, Honey Donuts, on the way.

Whistler 
I always tell friends they can’t visit Vancouver without taking a drive to Sky Highway to visit the world-famous ski town, Whistler. Only an hour and half from the city, you can enjoy some of the world’s best slopes in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges.

Follow @SabrinaElba 

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