But that doesn't mean that visitors have to strap on their skis or hiking books in order to have a good time. Vancouver hosts a thriving bar and club scene as well as an impressive list of theater and music productions throughout the year. It's just that the caliber of outdoor activities here makes everything else pale in comparison.
As the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vancouver can boast to having many world class winter sports facilities. Skiing tops the list in Vancouver, and the slopes at Whistler are nearly unmatched on the continent. The hiking trails in this part of the world are equally magnificent, and anyone in the mood for a challenging hike owes it to themselves to tackle Black Tusk in Garibaldi Park.
Hiking trails abound in the greater Vancouver area. The most accessible uphill climb is Grouse Mountain, made even better by the opportunity to return on the ski lift. There are several parks in the outlying area with trails to suit all abilities. Avid hikers looking for the perfect climb are encouraged to go to Garibaldi Provincial Park for the all-day hike to Black Tusk.
Vancouver is one of North America's most cherished ski destinations, with several world-class resorts in the area. Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort is around 110 kilometers outside of town and remains the undisputed champion, but nearby Grouse Mountain has adequate slopes for a quick side trip. There are also many other resorts in the area.
Playland is a family amusement park that's open during the summer months. Crowds are an issue over holidays and weekends, but for good reason. Don't miss the 1950s-era wooden rollercoaster or all 200 feet of the freefalling ‘Hellevator'.
One of the most popular water based activities is canoeing along False Creek and into the Indian Arm fjords. But there are plenty of other activities on the agenda including yachting, fishing and sunbathing at English Bay Beach. Just be prepared for bracing North Pacific waters no matter how hot a day it is.
The Vancouver night scene hinges on the streets of Granville and Robson, but partiers will also find some action in Chinatown. Most of the pubs and bars stay open until 01:00, while the club scene keeps the music going until 02:00 or later. Bar (but not club) crowds can be young on the weekends, when 19-year-old Oregonians cross the border to capitalize on Canada's lower drinking age.
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