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Before we even start City Guide : Vancouver, go grab your Passport and/or Enhanced License. Go get it now, verify that it is current, and that it won’t expire within six (6) months of travel. Go on, this Guide will still be here in 10 minutes. If they require updating, follow this link to renew.

HOW TO GET TO VANCOUVER, AKA “PLANES, TRAINS, & AUTOMOBILES” : 

BY AIR

OK… So, yes, you can fly from Seattle to Vancouver if you want. It is an option but not really a practical/endorsed one due to how far from Vancouver we’re located. A flight can cost between $150.00 CAD on off-peak to $300.00 CAD on peak (the flight itself is under 1 hour long) from either Alaska Air or Air Canada. Another airport option is to fly in to Victoria on Vancouver Island, then take either a quick puddle-jumper flight or take a BC Ferry (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay) which is an hour and a half away. 

BY BOAT

There is no direct ferry service between Seattle and Vancouver; however, Clipper Vacations offers ferry service from Seattle to Victoria. From Victoria, people can then either fly by plane or take the previously mentioned BC Ferries (leaves from Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay, which is an hour and a half away). This is a good option for anyone wanting to make a stopover in Victoria for a visit, but a much, much more expensive adventure. 

BY CAR / BUS / TRAIN

We highly recommend taking the ECS Bus. Filled with beer, song, and comradery, how else would you possibly want to invade another country (and yes, Canadian Friends, we’re aware of the War of 1812)? 

If you would rather take your own set of wheels, by car it’s a straight shot North on I-5 for 142.6 miles / 229.49 KM, or just shy of 3 hours with the border crossing. If you are driving and have a couple of extra hours to spare, consider exploring some of the off-the-beaten-path routes that may include Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands, Deception PassChuckanut Drive and other gloriously scenic spots. 

If you choo-choo-choose to travel by train, you’re looking at Amtrak. The trip takes 4 hours. Amtrak arrives at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver where passengers can pick up a train to either the airport or to the heart of downtown Vancouver. The price is beyond reasonable ($40.00-$75.00 USD), the views sensational, the seats are comfortable with power outlets at each and the border crossing relatively painless.

If you decide to take a bus that isn’t operated by ECS (booooooooooo!), there is the Quick Shuttle ($129.00 USD, round trip), but Greyhound ($13.00 - $50.00 USD) may be the better option. Greyhound is slightly faster and cheaper than by train; however, the views aren't as good. Buses arrive at a terminal in downtown Vancouver with convenient access to public transit.

GETTING AROUND THE CITY :

PUBLIC TRANSIT

While there are Taxis, if you’re planning on doing your socializing in the Downtown area, or in the Gastown District, you can walk to BC Place in no time at all. If you need public transit, the TransLink covers all of Vancouver and comes quite cheap. 

THINGS TO SEE & DO I NTHE BIG SMOKE

Granville Island is just over the bridge from downtown Vancouver. A great area to get out of the city and experience something slightly different for a day. It’s right on the water, which gives amazing views of the city, and even has a fantastic brewery directly under the bridge, Granville Island Brewing. 

Locally known as 'Mother Nature's Stairmaster', the Grouse Mountain Grind path is built largely of big wooden steps. The track takes you 850m up the mountain and is a difficult, strenuous climb – but can be thrilling if you're into heart attack defying hikes. There's an easier way to get up too, The Skyride: a giant airborne gondola that departs every 15 minutes.

At the UBC Museum of Anthropology you can take a walk through the history of mankind, with exhibits from cultures of every corner of the globe. If the laboratory is more your style, the visually amazing Science World will be right up your alley. 

Stanley Park has been called the soul of the city and the envy of the world. Cross it on a horse-drawn carriage if you're lazy, but better, just wander on foot (though be warned, at 400 hectares (1,000 acres) it's slightly bigger than New York's Central Park, making it the largest urban park in North America). Because it's almost an island, Stanley Park is wrapped with a sea wall that offers 9 KM / 5 miles of spectacular waterfront views.

Vancouver’s newest nightlife craze is the Escape Room Game Experience, a game where you & your friends are locked in a room and then forced to solve a mystery or finish a series of challenges before being let out. Simple, right? Yeeeeah… You’re being timed, and 45 minutes doesn’t last very long when you’re trying to solve a murder. Give it a try at Smarty Pantz, E-Exit West Broadway, i-Exit Vancouver, and Locked Canada.

EAT, DRINK, & BE MERRY 

The Afghan Horsemen is a hidden gem of a restaurant on the outskirts of Granville Island that serves Afghani cuisine in a lively setting. Although the main draw is the food, one of the highlights is the Drinks menu, which offers the option to order “The Mighty Horsemen”. A sweet, fruity drink of your choice served in a flower pot. Yes, a flower pot. 

The Narrow Lounge, a Main Street’s hipster staple that everyone’s known about way longer than you and now that it’s cool, they’re just going to find somewhere else to go. The Narrow Lounge has a cool, “in-the-know” concept, wherein you know the place is open by the red light above the door. There is virtually no signage or marketing for the Narrow Lounge, people just know where it is and know why to go.

If a sports bar is more your thing, you can’t go wrong with the match day haunts of our Canadian counterparts Sounders North. They can typically be found hanging their tuques at The Pint Vancouver (which also boasts one of Van City’s best Rugby viewings) and Red Card Sports Bar (at the Moda Hotel). 

Of course, since this is a Cascadian City, there are craft beers that require drinking. The following are some of the best offerings the city has on tap and are all within walking distance (more or less) from each other. Rave Green Pub Crawl, anyone?  33 Acres Brewing Co., 

Main St. Brewing Co., Brassneck Brewery, Steel Toad Brewpub, Strange Fellows Brewing, Off The Rail Brewing, Bomber Brewing, Parallel 49 Brewing (Sounders North’s brewery of choice), Postmark Brewing Co.

WHERE TO STAY

While most folks will simply tough out the 3+ hour drive back to the Emerald City post-match, or jump on the ECS Bus, there are ample spots to put her head down in Vancouver if you’d rather spend the night North of 49. There’s something for everyone, depending on the weight of your wallet. The Delta Hotel by Marriott and The Hotel Blu are upper crust ($190.00+ CAD), The Victorian ($89.00) offers more of an urban stay, grab a room at one of the two C&N Backpack Hostels ($27.00-$75.00 CAD) in the city, the YWCA ($75.00 - $140.00 CAD) is always a great spot to stay in any city, or grab a room that Sounders North’s home bar (Red Card Sports Bar) is attached to, The Moda Hotel ($98.00-$175.00 CAD). 

We understand that everyone’s taste in hotels is going to vary, however we would suggest staying closer to the downtown area of Vancouver as it makes life easier to navigate the city. 

MATCH DAY 

In trips past, we’ve pre-func’d on the bus on the way to Vancouver. This will absolutely be the case again. For those who are already in the city from travelling early, or you’re a Canuck, feel free to pre-func with Sounders North at their previously mentioned bars.  When purchasing your transit tickets, buying them earlier in the day (rather than just before the match) will save you a lot of time and hassle. As for the March To The Match, details will be posted in the Away Match thread and on the Travel Page.

GET HOME

Head South of the 49th parallel and declare 3 points at the border.