This was one of my favourite trips of the year! I’m so glad we made it back to Vancouver during Autumn to catch the falling leaves and bright colours of the season. We spent a week here catching up with our friends and simply enjoying Vancouver during the fall! I love how cities completely change according to the seasons, and Vancouver is a perfect example of how to do Fall! There are so many fun outdoor activities to do just before it gets chilly, and so many seasonal offerings at their amazing restaurants during this time.
If you want to check out my Vancouver guide from last year, which was during the holiday season you can check it out here.
VanDusen Botanical Gardens by Day
The VanDusen Botanical Gardens are magical. We’ve visited before for the Christmas festival, but never during the day! The garden has multiple themed gardens featuring plants and trees from different parts of the world. During October it’s a beautiful blend of green and orange in most of the park. And their Japanese maples are a beautiful bright red, we managed to catch them right before the leaves fell. During this trip we visited VanDusen during both day and night. In the evening the park is completely transformed into a Halloween Festival, VanDusen Glow in the Gardens. Each year has a different theme, this year featured a giant pumpkin, owls, scarecrows, a jack-o-lantern garden display. You get to follow a trail and collect treats as you go for a prize at the end. We didn’t participate in this but noticed so many children and families had a lot of fun with it. As Halloween is over now, it’s no longer showing, but I’m excited to see what they set up for Christmas 2019! The Christmas decor takes up much more of the park. It’s very epic and well worth the visit, and definitely worth booking in advance as some nights sell out completely.
Day time entry to the park is $8 per person, and $15 for VanDusen Glow in the Gardens.
VanDusen Glow in the Gardens
First of all, Stanley Park is huge! It’s the perfect place to go for a bike ride during fall. It’s the most orange place in the city during this time of year. We spent half a day walking around here. We didn’t rent bikes as the weather did change quite a bit throughout the day, but we’ll definitely be back to bike ride through here next time. It’s so peaceful and has the most stunning views of Vancouver city & skyline.
Deep Cove Kayaking
We went Kayaking in Deep Cove, which is exactly as the name describes, a very deep cove! We had the most perfect weather during our trip and it really peaked on this day. We spent about two hours out on the water, and it was way more relaxing than I expected it to be. I know kayaking is a very popular activity over the summer, but it can definitely be enjoyed well through fall.
This spot is located just one hour outside of Vancouver, in Abbotsford, and was so much fun to visit. It was my first pumpkin patch visit ever! As an Australian, we don’t have pumpkin patches or proper Halloween as our seasons run opposite to most of the world, so it was such a novelty to me. This farm is called Maan Farms and has been run by a local family for generations. We arrived early, at around 8am, well before the school buses started showing up! They all arrived in droves after 9am. Across the road from the pumpkin patch is their corn maze, which goes off during Halloween. The farm has been awarded scariest corn maze in Canada. It’s definitely not my cup of tea, but if you want to be really scared, this is the place for you. I’ll stick to the pumpkin picking, as you can see below, it was epic!
Vancouver Brewery Tours
On our last day in the city we took a brewery tour of some of Vancouver’s best craft breweries. I’m not a huge beer drinker, as I prefer my wines, but I definitely appreciate the art of beer making, and I love to try everything! I’ve actually been on a lot of brewery tours in Australia and New Zealand, but this tour added to my knowledge of this world, because it definitely is a whole world with a very interesting history. One thing I didn’t know is that there are a lot of craft breweries in Vancouver. We visited two, Brassneck and Storm, and spent an hour at each place. Both places were very different from interior and vibes to beer tastes! Storm was very grungy, and because it was halloween season, all the staff were dressed up for the week. Brassneck was I guess a little more refined, it was absolutely packed with groups of friends hanging out and sampling so many different types of beer. I have to say our guide Cam was so knowledgable – if you ever take this tour definitely ask for him!
After our brewery tour we were all craving a good feed. Just around the corner from Storm Brewery you’ll find Downlow Chicken Shack. After sharing that I loved the chicken sandwich from Popina Canteen (which is sooo delicious) a lot of you guys recommended I try Downlow too! I was also told that you’ll always find a line out the door here, which was the case when we showed up. Another reason why our Brewery guide Cam was the best is because he hooked it up here!! He called ahead to his friends and Downlow, so when we arrived our chicken was waiting for us. And the reviews are true, it is definitely damn good chicken! I’m a mild to hot gal but Damian loves his very spicy so her tried out the spiciest chicken which is from the secret menu. They use carolina reaper salt, I didn’t dare touch it but let’s just say I definitely saw a tear or two from him! (In my picture below it’s the one on the top left)
Apologies if my pictures below are not that good! We ate so many wonderful meals in Vancouver and I’m including them all here. If they’re included in the blog it means I really enjoyed our meal and experience, even if the pictures don’t do it justice. We got to see the Cirque Du Soleil Luzia show while we were in town (which was incredible!) and just before the show we enjoyed dinner at Chambar. The cuisine is hard to explain, the restaurant calls it creative Belgian cuisine. I’m not very familiar with Belgian food so I’ll trust them on that. We had a range of interesting dishes from mussels to duck and scallops. Unfortunately we were in a rush and didn’t get to try the desserts. We only spent an hour here as we had to rush off to the show. But even without dessert Damian says it was his favourite meal of the trip!
We came to Glowbal with our friends Janice and James and completely stuffed ourselves silly. Glowbal describes itself as a classic steakhouse, but with a contemporary twist. I ordered the wagyu steak, which just melted in my mouth, but definitely had food fomo over Janice’s spaghetti and meatballs! The spaghetti and meatballs are a truffle spaghetti served with your classic tomato meatballs. The meatballs are huge! And it’s definitely a match made in heaven. I’ll be returning here for sure, just for this!
We didn’t have that many sit-down lunches during our time here because we were often out exploring, but also because we often had a big breakfast and even bigger dinner. But one of the cute little places we did stop at for lunch was Di Beppe! Whoever invented breakfast pizza is a genius. We had some delicious pizza and pastrami sandwiches while watching the leaves blow outside. This cafe is located in Gastown and it’s a super cute spot for lunch or coffee. They don’t have their kitchen open until dinner, but I’ve already stalked their dinner menu so we’ll be back here for pasta, I know it!
I know these pictures don’t do Wildebeest justice because it’s barely half of what we ate that night! Wildebeest is located in the Gastown neighbourhood and offers a locally-sourced farm-to-table menu. We enjoyed a family style ‘three course’ dinner, although it actually felt like ten courses because the just food kept on coming! From devilled eggs to bison tongue to bone marrow, it was a very unique menu but I loved the way that it all worked together. Although quite fancy, it still felt very cosy and almost homely, perhaps due to the way the food was served. We spent hours here chatting with our friends over this meal!
We enjoyed lunch at Minami with our friends, which they always rave about! Our friends actually wanted to take us here but were thrilled to find it was actually part of our itinerary. The Japanese restaurant offers an amazing tasting menu where you can try a little bit of the entire menu! I was drooling over all of the sashimi, the pork belly and the special sushi they had prepared. And to top it all off dessert was not only beautiful but also delicious. It was a fall inspired pumpkin dessert! I could’ve eaten so many.
Market by Jean-Georges
This was our first dinner meal in Vancouver, and definitely my personal favourite of the trip! Located in our hotel, the Shangri-La this restaurant offers a unique ‘Rooted In Nature’ tasting menu inspired by some of the best local flavours and produce created by Chef Ken Nakano. I’d highly recommend this menu if you are looking for something local, fancy, but also a little different!