Romance Is in the Air
With dazzling city views, rolling ocean currents and glowing streets, Granville Island may just be one of the city’s most romantic destinations.
Amidst the island’s shops and services, you’ll find restaurants and activities perfect for first dates or anniversaries. Enjoy the intimate atmosphere, delicate seafood and ocean views at Sandbar, one of the island’s most beloved fine dining establishments. There’s nothing like laughing with the one you love, so following dinner, catch an improv show at the Vancouver Theatre Sports™ League. If you’re more in the mood for drama, or even live music, there are plenty of options to underscore your romantic evening out.
Don’t forget to indulge in something sweet! There are dessert shops, cafes and sweet treats scattered throughout the Public Market, not mention more than a few areas to grab a nightcap or two. Head to Liberty Distillery for their signature cocktail menu, made from small batch, high quality spirits right on Granville Island.
Finish the evening by taking in shimmering city views with a walk around the edge of the island. Stroll hand-in-hand throughout the shops, walkways and corridors and let your heartstrings be pulled by one of the island’ resident buskers.
If you’re not ready to for your night of amour to end, enjoy the sunrise/sunset from a room at Vancouver’s island oasis, the Granville Island Hotel. Sleep in, enjoy breakfast in bed and get ready to do it all over again.
Walk Around the Island
Granville Island is a 37-acre oasis located in the middle of Vancouver, BC. While the island is accessible by car, boat, or bus, our shops, studios, food vendors, hotels and theatres are best enjoyed by foot.
Just a short walk from the island’s entrance, you’ll find the Kids Market. Housed in a century-old paint factory and train caboose, the Kids Market is brimming with art, magic and science shops that will definitely interest any kid (and even a few adults). The Kids Market is also home to giant indoor Adventure Zone and is right next to Canada’s largest free waterpark, perfect for those sizzling summer days.
From there you can visit the island’s resident day vendors in the Public Market. Aside from delightful food products, the Public Market is home to dozens of artisans crafting everything from jewelry, handmade soaps, preserves, candles and more.
There’s more shopping to be done in Granville Islands Railspur and Net Loft districts. The Net Loft is home to offbeat artisan clothing and home goods, the perfect place to find a one-of-kind gifts for your loved ones back home. If you’re visiting the city, make sure to grab a postcard at The Postcard Place. In the Railspur District you’ll find beautiful leather goods at Hartman Leather and clothing so distinct it’s practically art at Funk Shui.
A trip to Granville Island wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Granville Island Brewery! Granville Island Brewing Co. has been brewing craft beer on the island since 1984 and has been going strong ever since. Rest your weary feet and grab a table in their tasting room, or swing by during one of their daily tours (12pm, 2pm, 4pm) and see just how they bottle all that magic up.
If you’re not a beer drinker but are still in the mode for a treat, take a walk over to Rodgers' Chocolate. Their “Victoria Cream” dates back to the late 19th century when Charles “Candy” Rogers used to make it over a steaming cauldron in Victoria BC. Their Granville Island location serves up chocolates using the same recipes. With dozens of flavours in stock, this is a guaranteed hit for any visitor to the island.
How to Spend a Rainy Day on Granville Island
With dozens of cafes, artist studios and shops nestled in the island’s historic corridors and walkways, you’ll be happy to spend the day indoors on Granville Island.
Start by perusing the food selection in the Public Market. Since Vancouver rain hardly lets up, take your time and ask the vendors about their specialty products, where they’re from and how to use them. Their expertise might just inspire your new favourite dish or wine pairing. Speaking of pairings, nothing goes better with a rainy day than a hot cup of coffee or tea. Stop by the Granville Island Tea Company or Petit Ami for something to keep your hands warm with.
Now that you’re caffeinated, it might be time for some shopping. There are so many shops on the island, but rainy days definitely call for a visit to Paper-Ya, an island favourite for stationary, notebooks, calendars and more. You can spend hours browsing their selection of imported pens, ornate cardstock and hardcover journals. Besides, there’s nothing more relaxing than scribbling down some thoughts, writing a haiku or doodling in a notebook on a rainy afternoon.
As the rain continues to fall, we recommend heading over to Cartwright Street to visit the Federation of Canadian Artists Gallery. Founded in 1941 by a group of Canadian artists, including members of the Group of Seven, the Federation Gallery exhibits the finest local and Canadian artwork. You could spend days admiring the islands collection of art, so be sure to peek into some of the island’s other galleries during your stay.
Since the rain can be a little dreary, why not end your day with something upbeat! The Backstage Lounge on Johnson Street serves up food, drinks and some of the most energetic live music in the city. From soul, blues, jazz and r&b to the finest local indie talent, things always heat-up on their stage. If the cloudy skies have really got you down, the cure is at The Vancouver Improv Centre. From Wednesday to Saturday you can enjoy the quick wit and anything-goes atmosphere of the city’s most seasoned actors and improvisers. It’s a guaranteed mood changer for even the greyest Vancouver days.
It doesn’t matter if you grew up in the city or are just visiting; you’re going to need a rainy day plan when you’re in Vancouver. Come on over and get cozy on the island!
A Granville Island Guide to Photography
Whether you’re a film enthusiast, lover of print photography or a simply an Instagram wiz, Granville Island has more than enough subject matter to fill your camera roll.
It may be obvious, but we’re just getting warmed up, so start by snapping some panoramic shots of False Creek and Vancouver’s downtown core. With views of the water in your frame, you may even catch a seal in the waves or a heron stalking the shore. You can also grab some interesting architectural shots from directly under the Granville Street Bridge.
Next on the list, Granville Island’s stunning 7,200 square metre mural, “Giants”. The 360-degree, 23-metre tall mural is painted upon six enormous industrial silos, ensuring a dramatic shot whether you’re a novice or photography pro.
If you you’re in need of a little inspiration, step into the studio of international award winning photographer, Karen Cooper. Karen’s vivid work captures the graceful beauty of British Columbia’s most striking natural landscapes. From there you can grab your own nature shots of one the island’s parks, trees, birds, marine life and local flora.
Oxidized exteriors, steel beams and traces of the island’s 100+ year industrial history will be the perfect foil to your shots of the island’s softer more natural character.
Food photography may typically be faux pas, but not at Edible Canada. Stop in for a bite at the rustic Canadian bistro and indulge in the rich fare, made entirely of sumptuous local ingredients, some of which comes from the island’s own food vendors. If you can grab your camera before your plate is clear, but sure to get at least a few shots of the bistro’s stunning plating.
Before you leave for the day, see if you can snap a shot of the island’s iconic neon sign. The glowing red light illuminates a series of stark iron crosshatches, which reflect back down upon a gorgeous willow tree right at the island’s entrance, making for what may be your most picturesque shot of the day.
Life by the Water
Some people think it’s rather peculiar that there’s an island in the middle of the city, but that’s just life on the West Coast! If you want to get in on the maritime spirit, Granville Island is the place to be.
The best way to start is by actually getting out on the water! Enjoy life at sea with a quick trip to-or-from the island on the Granville Island Ferry, or rent a boat from Granville Island Boat Rentals and cruise the creek at your own pace. You can also book a whale watching tour from Prince of Whales Whale Watching or schedule a sailing lesson from Simply Sailing in the Granville Island Boatyard.
Our favourite thing about life by the water is obviously the fresh seafood! Celine's Fish & Chips is a casual staple while Sandbar, the Vancouver Fish Company and Tony’s Fish and Oyster Café are the perfect spots to really indulge in the flavours of the sea.
Situated on the eastern side of the island is something truly unique to the island. Alder Bay Boat Company has been crafting beautiful wooden boats on the island since 1990. The shop’s owner, David Bradford builds custom rowboats, sailboats and motorboats using fine cedar and hand tools. The artisanal spirit is certainly alive and well in his shop, as it is with the rest of the island’s makers.
There’s a certain peacefulness that goes along with life by the water, so we recommend bringing your day to a close at the Maritime Market and Marina. Watch the boats bounce as the waves ebb and flow in and out of the harbour and breathe in that fresh ocean air. Ahhh!