A romantic take on this coastal British Columbian city.

By Travel & Leisure
September 10, 2012
Vancouver Exploring
Credit: Courtesy of Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden

Vancouver’s thriving music, arts, and dining scenes allow for some very posh date nights. Culture buffs will appreciate the museums and galleries, while nature lovers will delight in the lotus-covered ponds at the city’s gardens. Stroll along cobblestone streets to take advantage of the hot dining and after-dark scene.

C Restaurant

Locally sourced seafood, a perfect patio, and white-linen service define this snappy spot on the seawall at False Creek. Views across the water to Granville Island—both on the deck and from the airy duplex dining room—keep diners distracted while chef de cuisine Quang Dang and executive chef Robert Clark prepare seafood dishes like smoked sablefish in a brown butter–sherry vinaigrette, herb-crusted sockeye, and maple-glazed scallops with creamy orzo and dollops of zucchini relish.

Salt Tasting Room

This unusual eatery off historic Blood Alley is trendy even for Gastown, with a bare-bones constellation of menu items changed daily and displayed on a giant chalkboard. Cobble together a personalized "tasting plate" from a selection of 10 cured meats, 10 artisanal cheeses, and 10 condiments for a different experience each visit. Design elements of exposed brick, unpolished wood, hanging light fixtures, and a communal table give it the look of an upscale cafeteria. The boutique wine and sherry selection can be customized into flights, and there's also sakes from BC and craft beers.

Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

This thirty-story, classic hotel suits a wide range of travelers from families to couples looking for a romantic getaway. YEW Seafood + Bar, located in the hotel, is a distinguished spot for seasonal seafood and lounging with a cocktail or a glass of wine.

OPUS Hotel Vancouver

This trendy, pet-friendly hotel in Yaletown is decorated with bright punches of color. Tech-oriented rooms that include an iPad, smartphone charger, and complimentary international and long-distance calling.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden

This classically designed 'scholars' garden in Vancouver's Chinatown was the first of its kind built outside of Asia. Named in honor of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the father of modern China, the garden (completed in 1986) was designed to mimic the energy and tranquility of a 15th-century Ming scholars garden. Reflecting principles of Feng Shui and Taoism, the popular Chinatown destination achieves harmony through a balance of opposites. Asymmetrical sprays of rocks and Asian flora are juxtaposedto pleasing effect against twisting paths and tranquil waters.

Vancouver Art Gallery

Premier art gallery in the city, exhibiting classic and contemporary art. VAG is undergoing a renovation that will see it moved to a new space sitting on two acres just a few blocks east of the current building. The new design, created by architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, was unveiled in September 2015.

George Ultra Lounge

A well-dressed, 40-is-the-new-30 crowd gathers nightly at this slick lounge, set along Yaletown’s trendiest shopping strip. The doorman stationed outside seems more for show than for keeping out actual riffraff (who would surely be more interested in Granville Street bars, anyway); inside, patrons model the latest in slimming black beneath the glow of a spiny golden chandelier. When the big G behind the bar lights up, so do the eyes of everyone at the bar—it’s hard not to be curious about who’s using the George’s expensive private room for something, well, private.