Story by Justin Goldman| Rhapsody, January 2017
Photography by Grant Harder (Stanley Park); Richard Wong/Alamy (The Raven and the First Men); courtesy of Hawksworth Restaurant (tuna dish); courtesy of Rosewood Hotel Georgia (hotel suite); courtesy of The Keefer Bar (bar interior)
You're in town for business, but you have the day off. Go.
9 a.m. Vancouver may be the North American city most blessed with natural beauty. Take in those views with a morning jog along the Seawall, a 13-mile running and biking trail that loops along the harbor and around forested Stanley Park. The sublime scenery includes seaplanes on Burrard Inlet, the iconic Lions Gate Bridge, and the snowcapped Coast Mountains.
10:30 a.m. Vancouver is home to North America's third-largest Chinatown, so satisfy your post-jog appetite with dim sum at Dynasty Seafood, just 10 minutes south of downtown. In the ballroom-style dining room, chopstick up steamed black truffle dumplings, pan-fried shrimp and chive dumplings, deep-fried taro root with barbecued duck, and, of course, egg-custard tarts.
Bill Reid's The Raven and the First Men, at the Museum of Anthropology
12:30 p.m. Walk off your brunch with a 20-minute stroll to the Granville Island Public Market. Just before you reach the main building, stop at Artisan Sake Maker for a flight of house-made rice wines. The cornucopia of comestibles on offer inside the marketplace can be overwhelming, but don't miss the charcuterie at the Oyama Sausage Co.
2 p.m. Head west along English Bay to the University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology. You'll find yourself gawping at the world's finest collection of First Nations art: 30-foot-tall totem poles, intricate canoes, Bill Reid's awe-inspiring sculpture The Raven and the First Men. Once you've scraped your jaw off the floor, walk across campus and down 473 steps to Wreck Beach, a stretch of clothing-optional sand that seems to be hosting a casting call for Burning Man. Resist the urge to gawp.
4 p.m. Catch your breath at the top of the stairs and skip back across town to the city's hippest (and oldest) neighborhood, Gastown, which takes its name from an 1867 tavern. The area feels both roughneck and refined: cobblestone streets, a historic Victorian steam clock, upscale restaurants, a gritty street scene. Turn down Blood Alley (see what we mean?) and take a seat on the deck at Tacofino, a Mexican restaurant that grew out of a beloved food truck, to snack on lamb birria tacos and happy-hour margaritas. Be careful with those margs.
The Keefer Bar's apothecary interior
6 p.m. Head back to the Rosewood Hotel Georgia to get cleaned up for dinner. The 156-room property dates to 1927, and retains a robber-baron feel (a stately brick facade and a lobby decked in dark wood and sparkling chandeliers) balanced with modern amenities (a luxurious spa that offers oxygen-infusion facials). Skip the facial, because you're running late for dinner. Don't worry—you don't have far to go.
7:30 p.m. Just off the lobby is Hawksworth, arguably Canada's best restaurant, where chef David Hawksworth offers a classic Pacific Northwest–style tasting menu. Seared yellowfin tuna, Yarrow Meadows duck breast, and Nova Scotia lobster are all highlights, but the best part may be the spot-on wine pairings.
9:30 p.m. Cab it to Chinatown and The Keefer Bar, a narrow wooden lounge that feels like a Chinese apothecary belowdecks of a pirate ship. Have a Chinatown Sour (Wild Turkey, Fernet, lemon, and orgeat), or a barrel-aged Tangerine Dream (Bulleit rye, Ramazzotti, tangerine dry vermouth, and cherry cedar bitters). Realize that you're about to go overboard. Step out into the rain-misty night, and set sail for home.