DAY THREE: FERRIES AND FIRST NATIONS
Hop on a tiny False Creek Ferry (from the Aquatic Centre and Science World; 604-684-7781) or Aquabus (from Hornby St, David Lam Park, and Yaletown; 604-689-5858) and cross False Creek to Granville Island, a popular pedestrian area, loved for its shops, restaurants, caf?s, galleries and marina. The lively Granville Island Public Market [link to: www.granvilleisland.com] has hundreds of food stalls, crafts emporiums, and colorful people watching opportunities. Families with children will appreciate the numerous offerings for the little ones, particularly the Kids Market.
Have brunch or lunch on the island (if you've any room left after tasting local delights at the market) at The Sandbar (1535 Johnston St., Granville Island; 604-669-9030; C$11-29). It's tops for seafood and views of False Creek from the heated outdoor patio upstairs. If there's a chill in the air, try for the tables by the fireplace and cozy up under the blankets provided by staff.
A taxi ride to the west lies the city's most rewarding museum, the Museum of Anthropology (6393 N W Marine Dr, University of British Columbia campus, opposite Gate 4; 604-822-5087), located on the grounds of the university. The museum is devoted to the native peoples of the Pacific Northwest, known as First Nations in Canada, with fascinating displays of totems, artifacts, and other media. The behemoth sculpture The Raven and the Beast was carved from a 4 1/2-ton block of cedar and depicts the Haida tribe's legend of evolution. It's a remarkable achievement.
If the weather is conducive, you may want to while away a few hours at one of the city's beaches. Jericho Beach, Locarno Beach, and Spanish Banks are east of the university. West of Granville Island lies trendy Kitsilano with its ranks of volleyball courts and chic food concession, the Watermark. If it's really sunny, however, trek down the steep path from the edge of the UBC campus to the gay nude beach at Wreck Beach's south end. The rest of the beach is also nude. Naked vendors ply the beach offering water, beer, sandwiches, and a surprising array of narcotics. Ask any student how to get to the access paths that lead down to the water. If you shopped at Granville Island, leave your purchases in a locker in the Museum of Anthropology.
Dine at Asian street food-inspired Flying Tiger (2958 W. 4th Ave; 604-737-7529; C$6-17) in Kitsilano, where cute chef Tina Fineza serves up sumptuous tastes from the Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Korea, and Vietnam with flair and enthusiasm.
Back in the Village, the Fountainhead (1025 Davie St; 604-687-2222; C$6-13) is a pleasant spot to relax, have a beer and watch the laid back Vancouverites catch up with friends and play pool. The patio is heated and either from here or through the large windows you have an excellent view of everybody passing by. Finish off your night at the Oasis Pub (1240 Thurlow St; 604-685-1724; C$4-15), the very model of a gay piano bar, complete with live jazz and showtunes, a 30+ crowd, and camp servers. It features an extensive martini list, as well as a surprisingly good share plate, sandwich, and pizza menu.