British Columbia

British Columbia Travel Guide

For winter sports lovers, Whistler is one of the most popular destinations not just in British Columbia, but in all of North America. Visitors can ski, snowboard, zip-line, ice skate, bungee jump and more in this lovely town, the host of the 2010 Winter Olympics. After hitting the slope, there’s a wonderful array of activities, too: from shopping to dining to dancing the night away at a club. Adventurous travelers looking for things to do in British Columbia will also love the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, (where they can walk along the 230 ft tall and 450 ft long bridge above the river) and the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, a gorgeous hiking route lined with beaches, tide pools, picnic areas and breathtaking landscapes.

Speaking of great views, don’t miss Glacier National Park, where mountains, caves, rivers and active glaciers create a spectacular experience. For a more low-key approach to nature, spend the day at one of Victoria’s pretty beaches, like Cordova Bay and Gonzales. For a taste of British Columbia’s most vibrant side, head to the beautiful city of Vancouver. With a rich cultural side (expect opera, theater, and film happenings, as well as art and design fairs throughout the year), excellent restaurants and bars, and an eco-friendly lifestyle, it brings together all of the greatest things to do in British Columbia.

In the Victorian neighborhood of Gastown, this three-story Native American art gallery showcases ceremonial masks and totem poles, limited-edition prints, and bentwood boxes. The beaded moccasins and hand-carved “talking sticks” make for great souvenirs.

What started as a tiny consignment shop in the indie district around King Edward Avenue has grown into the neighborhood’s premiere boutique for all things antique and secondhand. Find vintage leather clutches and bags alongside baby toys, kitchenware, printed stationery, and more.

Created in the style of a traditional European "cabinet of curiousities," the back room of Alexander Lamb's Wunderkammer Antiques displays unique mementoes from its former curators' 45 years of world travel.

In a town where martinis and serious conversation are the nighttime norm, this local haunt is—refreshingly—all about beer and laughter.

The outfitter arranges four-day guided wildlife tours with stays in a hilltop timber lodge.

The trendy South Granville shopping district is home to this popular home decorating boutique known for its feminine style. Twinkling chandeliers, mirrored chests, mercury-glass lamps, and quirky handcrafted tableware share showroom space with Bèrgere chairs and custom sofas.

Straight out of National Geographic--or Ripley's Believe It or Not--this kooky collection of travel mementos occupies a back room at a Main Street antique shop.

Located in Vancouver International Airport, the Travel + Leisure store is the first of its kind in the world. The store, a partnership between Travel + Leisure and respected airport retailer Hudson Group, is located on level 3 of the airport, before security at the domestic terminal.

The winery comes alive each summer with a sunset concert series and a restaurant serving game sausages and other wine-friendly food at lunch.

A spindle whorl is a stone disc that serves as a weight to maintain the momentum of a spindle in a spinning wheel. This one, carved out of Canadian red cedar by indigenous artist Susan A. Point, is a mammoth example that represents the art of the Coast Salish, a First Nations tribe.

Vancouver’s enviable natural setting places this annual fireworks “competition” above most others in the world. International teams light up the sky over English Bay with the latest and greatest in fireworks, all set to music (the soundtrack is also broadcast on local radio).

It’s great fun to watch the takeoffs and landings of Vancouver’s numerous floatplanes (which locals use for quick transport to Victoria—B.C.’s provincial capital—and regional islands). It’s much more entertaining, though, to actually sightsee from one.

Create a picnic with a sweet, nutty parmesan or raw-milk chèvre from Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan. From Carmelis, all the area's wineries are within a half-day's drive.

The Canadian company that created the U.S. Olympic team uniforms for the 2002, 2004, and 2006 Games has stores across Canada and Asia (but, ironically, only four in the U.S.).

Stop in at Tugwell Creek Honey Farm & Meadery to sample the excellent honey and strong mead.