Vancouver 2010: Other Things to Do Besides Wait in Line
I think I speak for the majority of Vancouver residents when I say that we're thrilled to have so many visitors in town. However, if you're visiting Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics from out of town or overseas, you'll be spending lots of times in queues... waiting in line. There are other things to do in Vancouver other than wait in line, though:
- Gastown: for some reason, tourists stop at the German beer tent and don't progress much further east. It's worth it, though, for the heritage buildings, stylish boutiques, and fine food. Also, you'll find one of maybe 5 bars in the entire city without TV screens. Do you know which one it is? Don't let the army of crack users scare you away from one of Vancouver's most vibrant neighborhoods. Maybe a five-minute walk east of the Waterfront Station on Cordova.
- The West End: Davie Street and Denman Street boast all sorts of food and drink options, plus stunning waterfront views. Front-row seats for the nightly light show, too.
- Kitsilano: Walk across the Burrard Street Bridge and arrive in oh-so-trendy Kits. From downtown, the walk is roughly an hour: if the sun is shining, you will be treated to world-class views of the bustling waterway, framed by snow-capped mountains. Kits itself is the brunch capital of North America. Anywhere on West 4th Ave between Granville and Vine will treat you right. By Bus: 2, 22, 4, 7, 17, 84
- Seaplane Harbor: You know where the Olympic Cauldron is? Keep walking west... down the steps and along the grassy park that looks out at Stanley Park. Watch the city's fine collection of seaplanes as they take mail, cargo, and passengers along BC's waterways. Poetry in motion.
- Commercial Drive: This is like the Telegraph Avenue of Vancouver. Indie book- and record shops, takeaway food and sit-down meals, vintage clothing stores, and world class people-watching. Get off at the Commercial Drive Skytrain station and walk north. By Bus: 9, B99, 20.
... That should get you started.
The longest queues I've seen are for the Canadian Mint (where you get to hold the Olympic medals) and for the Zipline at Robson Square (where you get to whiz over the heads of the rest of the crowd). These things are cool, but I hesitate to say they're worth standing in line for five hours.
The Zipline queue is over six hours long. That's a full half-day. More to the point, it uses up the entire day, since you can't do anything else that requires a lot of time: other queue-heavy attractions, any destination that requires travel time. So it sucks up the whole day. If you're North American, that means you've used up 1/10 of your annual vacation time. No good. No good at all.
So get out there and enjoy our humble city while the weather is fine and stuff is actually going on.