It’s almost that time of year again…runners Christmas, the luon parade, the Lululemon fashion show….what ever you want to call it it’s SEAWHEEZE TIME!!!! My all time, hands down FAVOURITE race of the year, can you tell I’m excited?! This will be my 3rd time running the Seawheeze, which I feel so lucky to be doing since it sells out faster than any other race I know! I’m also super pumped because this year I’ll be running the race with my husband, who hasn’t run a half with me in 5 years.
But that’s enough about me, let’s talk about Vancouver! I was born and raised here so I’m kind of biased on how beautiful this city is; but come on…mountains, ocean, skyline views, beaches, the seawall…it’s pretty much like running in a post card! I think that’s one of the things I love most about Seawheeze, it brings so many people from out of town to Vancouver and gives us a chance to show off this beautiful place we get to call home. So whether it’s your first time in Vancity or your 100th, here are a few of my top picks for things to do, eat, shop and of course run!
Of course there are tonnes of events going on for Seawheeze on the Friday before the race (check out their website for the list of events); but if you get here a little early or you’re done down-dogging by noon, here’s a list of some pre-race activities around the city that won’t ruin your legs:
1. Training Club run at Sport Chek Robson- if you’re here on Wednesday and you want to shake out your travelling legs, come by, say hello and join my run crew at 5:30 at the Robson St. Store.
2. Cruise around the Seawall- rent a bike and cruise around the seawall…don’t worry it’s mostly flat and a pretty easy ride if you head around Stanley Park. It’s a great way to see the city and there are lots of great photo-ops along the way!
3. Shopping- depending what you’re looking for, there are lots of different neighbourhoods to get your shopping fix in Vancouver:
- Robson Street and Pacific Centre– this is where you’ll find you’re bigger brand name stores like Zara, JCrew, and Nordstrom as well as some local faves like Aritzia and of course Lululemon (if you didn’t blow the bank at the showcase store).
- Gastown and Main Street- if you’re looking for more one of a kind items and local designers these are the 2 main areas you’ll find them.
- West 4th- if you’re looking for a true Vancouver vibe with some local stores, the original Lululemon and some cute coffee shops mixed in West 4th in Kitsilano is the place for you!
4. Beaches– weather permitting, we have lots of really great beaches in Vancouver; Jericho and Spanish Banks (these are my favourites if you have a car), Wreck beach (if you like to strip down it’s a nude beach), Kitsilano, English Bay and Second and Third Beaches around Stanley park.
5. Local Outdoor Pools- if sand in your pants and oceans aren’t really your thing, we also have a couple of local pools for you to chill out by and go for a dip! Second Beach Pool by Stanley Park and Kits pool in Kitsilano (pic below).
Where to eat, drink and be merry…
Because why else do we run that far if not to enjoy all the food and drinks afterwards (and before…come on you’re on vacation!).
Food (the main event)
1. Vegetarian/Vegan- most restaurants offer veggie options, but my favourite’s are definitely over on Main street:
- Meet on Main– they have my favourite veggie burgers…so many options and so good!
- Acorn– creative vegetarian food…their weekend brunch is my favourite
- Nuba– lebanese and not strictly vegetarian, but their veggie dishes are my favourite! If you go, order the veggie platter to share, it’s delicious! They also have multiple locations in kits and gastown.
2. Sushi- being this lose to the ocean means we have great sushi! You can find a sushi restaurant on almost every corner, and every Vancouverite you ask will have a different favourite local spot…but I promise mine are the best!
- Minami and Miku– these 2 are a little more expensive than the average place in Vancouver, but they are hands down the best in the city!
- Tatsu– this is my favourite local spot on Commercial drive. I’ve probably eaten here over 50 times and never had a bad meal.
3. Italian- if you’re looking for a classic pre-race carb load and pasta is your go to:
- Italian Kitchen– they have a great happy hour with all your go to classic dishes.
- Ask for Luigi– this place is amazing, but be prepared to wait as it always has a 1-2hr line up!
- Nook– cozy Italian food with a couple of locations in Kits and the West End…the rigatoni is my favourite!
4. Just plain good- these are the ones that don’t fit in a specific box, but are definitely worth trying!
- Chambar– this is one of my favourites…I also got married there so I’m a little biased! It’s one of those places where you read the menu and you’re not sure what it is, but when it comes its amazing! They also have one of the best brunches in the city.
- Vancouver Urban Winery– this place is not only delicious it’s also in a beautiful space! Their food is best for sharing between a few people and I also really love their brunch.
- L’Abattoir– if you’re looking for a little post-race romance and you want to treat yourself, this place is a great spot to do it! Great local food with a french twist and really tasty cocktails!
Coffee Shops, Bakeries and Breweries
These are a few of my favourite things…I have a soft spot for pastries, coffee and beer!
1. Coffee Shops- if you love your cup of joe and you want to try some local spots, I like:
- Revolver– this is in Gastown, and they really know their coffee! I usually go for a plane drip here.
- Matchstick– great coffee and really cute little baked goods and toast. A good place to sit and sip.
- Prado Cafe– really good lattes and Kumbucha on tap.
2. Bakeries- I only need to list one place here because it has my heart, Purebread….it is baked goods heaven!!! If you have a sweet tooth like me you will love it here, and seriously EVERYTHING is good!
3. Breweries- we have tonnes of local micro-breweries in Vancouver and if you love beer I’d definitely recommend doing a little tour. There are quite a few within walking distance of each other which makes it easy to do on foot:
- 33 Acres
- Strange fellows
- Main Street Brewery….Just to name a few!
Still not done getting your sweat on…
If you’re still in need of a sweat after your 13.1miles of the Seawheeze, I would hit up some of the local trails for a different take view of the city…of course you knew I would say that! There are lots of great hikes just a short drive from the city offering amazing views (weather permitting) of the gulf islands and howe sound. I like to use the website Vancouver Trails to pick out the best spots, but some of my favourites near by are Eagles Bluff and St. Marks Summit on Cypress (pics below) and Dog Mountain on Seymour.
Hopefully these tips help you get around Vancouver with ease and makes you love my city as much as I do! If you’re from Vancouver, please go ahead and share some of your favourite local spots in the comments below!
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!!!!!