Vancouver, British Columbia

The 2017 year has officially started, yet I continue reminiscing over my recent trip to Vancouver. Although it was my first trip to Canada, Vancouver was nothing like I had anticipated. It did not feel foreign.

Vancouver is a city that will give most Americans deja-vu because it is not that different from the states. It did not feel like I was ever in Canada and that is what often brings and pushes many visitors looking for a Canadian experience.

You see, Montreal was my original destination of choice for New Year’s Eve. As I researched more, I did not consider the language barrier I would encounter because like most Americans do, we tend to forget that Canada’s mother tongue is French.

With this in mind, I had to pivot and look elsewhere. In doing so, I stumbled upon some incredibly cheap flights to Vancouver. Never in a million years had I thought about travelling to Vancouver as my first destination in Canada, yet I am glad Vancouver found me.

It might not be a top destination for travel seekers, but Vancouver is a perfect winter oasis. The city truly shines offering gorgeous landscapes, diverse culture to thriving art and entertainment.

What Vancouver gives visitors is a freshness you cannot get from most places. This can be a good or bad feature to some. Yes, the temperature is cold and frigid, it gets as low as 20 degrees coupled with a lot of rain.

Despite growing up in Los Angeles, I missed the rain and embraced it. If you are second guessing traveling to Vancouver because of the weather, you are robbing yourself the opportunity of exploring an exciting city.

There is a lot to love about Vancouver. I had four full days and in them I went to a Canucks hockey game, ate some great cuisine, attended an electronic music festival, and even got to snowboard on a ski resort like Grouse Mountain.

What stood out from my visit was the intoxicating landscapes. Whether you visit the main island, Richmond, or Northern Vancouver, you are always next to the sea, ice, and mountains.

If you are not an outdoors person, you have an abundance of art galas and museums to choose from coupled with consumerism that is not drastically different from the US. The only big difference is Tim Hortons dominates the coffee scene.

Like most metropolitan cities, Vancouver is not all aesthetically pleasing. If you venture from Gastown to Yaletown, you will encounter homeless and drug rehab centers. If these features do not bother you and you can get past the cold weather, all that may stand in your way is the Canadian dollar.

Vancouver is a great city, one I highly recommend for a quick weekend getaway. This city is filled with different lifestyles, personalities, food, and picture-perfect landscapes. It’s Canada, just cooler and calmer than America.