(This article is sponsored by Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.)
More than Vancouver’s historic commerce and banking street—and home to prestigious international brands such as Cartier, Birks, and Leone—West Hastings Street is developing a future as a foodie destination.
Steps away from Waterfront Station, Gastown and Granville's entertainment hubs, and many of Vancouver’s renowned hotel restaurants, Hastings Street is considered to be the city’s most historic east-west corridor, and dates back to the late 1800s. The Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s self-guided walking tour of the street, from Bute Street to Victory Square, will illustrate the integral role and significance the western end of Hastings has played in the development of Vancouver.
Anchored by a rich history, the community around West Hastings continues to grow into a thriving business, residential, and epicurean district.
Housing restaurant heavyweights such as David Hawskworth’s Nightingale, beloved Vancouver staple Nuba, and a bevy of grab-and-go eateries and cafés around the Simon Fraser University downtown campus, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to dining on West Hastings.
Here are four ways to spend a Sunday and make the most of what this dynamic stretch of the city has to offer:
Be a tourist in your town
Now that Vancouver's wet winter weather is upon us, it's time to bundle up for a refreshing loop around the seawall. Start your pilgrimage early Sunday morning with breakfast at Showcase Restaurant, located at Thurlow and West Hastings in the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown. Showcase is known for its locally made cured meats, artisan cheeses, free-range natural eggs, and Starbucks coffee.
After eating your fill, head west along Hastings to join the seawall at the end of Cardero. Continue toward Stanley Park on foot, or rent a bike from one of the rental shops along Denman.
Without the summer crowds you’ll feel less hurried as you take in the prisrtine views of the North Shore mountains from Stanley Park. Keep an eye out for sea life as you round Brockton Point Lighthouse, stop for photos at Siwash Rock, and gaze up at the underbelly of the Lions Gate Bridge.
Sip and shop
Located at the pinnacle of the Harbour Centre, the Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant is a popular date-night destination, serving continental dishes at 533 feet in the air. The upscale restaurant also offers a Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., so there’s no need to rush out of bed. In fact, skip the wait entirely and make a reservation ahead of time.
The menu features both breakfast and lunch dishes, fresh seafood sushi, and French pastries for dessert. Treat yourself.
Survey the mountains and oceanfront views over a mimosa as you plan your next destination. Meander east into Gastown and peruse the wares from local retailers, or head west for some high-end shopping along Robson Street. If you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a SeaBus to the North Shore and explore the shops at Lonsdale Quay. Top of Vancouver Restaurant is only a quick walk away from Waterfront Station.
Rise and relax
Let’s face it: you’ve probably had a busy week. And you’ve certainly had a full month if you’ve followed this list of weekend activities.
Take a breather from your demanding social calendar and revel in a low-key Sunday. You’ve planned ahead so the kitchen is stocked with healthy goodies from Glory Juice Co., like gluten-free granola and housemade organic almond mylk. Glory Juice Co. aims to help nourish the body and the mind, so you’ll be setting yourself up to tackle whatever Monday throws your way.
Nothing says self-care like a day at the spa, an afternoon massage, or a mani-pedi combo with friends. Afterward, indulge in a sweet treat from small-batch chocolatier Mink Chocolates, located on West Hastings at Hornby.
In the comfort of Mink Chocolates café you can roast your own s’mores tableside, and savour chocolate-covered waffles with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Watch the world go by with a good book in hand, or take your treats to go and stop by Lot 19, a little wedge of land on Hornby between Hastings and Cordova. During the summer this public space hosts live music and activities. In the off-season, from September to May, enjoy this greenway for its urban respite.