Vancouver is a new, multicultural city, and much of the area’s earlier immigration focused on its Chinatown, just one of a number of ethnic enclaves – Italian, Greek, Indian and Japanese in particular – which lend the city its cosmopolitan vibe. Although a wealthy city, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside with its highly visible homeless population and addicts are at odds with the glitz of more lush residential neighbourhoods.
Vancouver’s youthful population has nurtured a thriving counterculture, distinguished by varied restaurants, secondhand shops, avant-garde galleries, clubs and bars. And at the top of the scale are restaurants as good – and as varied – as any in the world.
Vancouver is not a city that requires relentless sightseeing, but a handful of sights make worthwhile viewing by any standards. You’ll inevitably spend a good deal of time in the Downtown area and its Victorian-era equivalent, Gastown, a hip stretch of boutique shops and coffee houses. Chinatown could easily absorb a morning and contains more than its share of interesting shops and restaurants.
The former warehouse district of Yaletown, on Downtown’s southeast fringes, is also great for exploring: a compact grid full of chic cafés, galleries and contemporary restaurants and bars. For a taste of the city’s greener side, hit Stanley Park, a huge area of semi-wild parkland, forest and beaches that crowns the northern tip of the Downtown peninsula.
Take a walk or a bike ride here and follow it up with a stroll to the beach. Be certain to spend a morning on Granville Island, the city’s most tempting spot for wandering, eating and people-watching. If you prefer a cultural slant, hit the spectacular Museum of Anthropology or the museums of Vanier Park, the latter easily accessible from Granville Island.
With its untouched architectural heritage, spectacular stretch in the Grand Canal and unmatched romantic vibes, there’s no questioning why people from all over the world flock here in the masses. Venice is one of the most famous cities in Italy. Then again, few places can be compared to Venice. There’s this incredible renaissance feeling to the city most likely sparked by the centuries-old, unchanged buildings. You feel like you’re entering a work of art, a masterpiece, when you come to Venice. Any tourist could spend forever exploring the city’s labyrinth of islands, canals, pedestrian alleys and bridges.
On the other hand, every good has its bad. While Venice isn’t short of pros, it isn’t all sunshine and roses either. Like every city, there are some things about Venice that you’re not going to like. In fact, you should consider these downsides before booking a flight to Venice because some of them might make you realize it’s not the place for you. With that in mind, Venice’s glut of incredible attributes does outweigh the negatives for most people. Even so, let’s take a look at the good and the bad sides of Venice.
It’s become a lot more touristy of course, but in terms of the buildings, the canals and the views, you are looking at most of what Napoleon and Casanova saw all those years back. This is part of what makes Venice so unique. Most of its buildings date back to the 13th and 18th centuries. In fact, the city has strict laws about the preservation of its historical buildings.
Understandably, they don’t want to change too much because, well, what do you need to change in Venice? Even the stones you walk on and the bricks in the wall are possibly over 500 years old.