The arts scene in Vancouver is awesome: Museum-hopping opportunities abound. But many of the structures in this city, thanks to their architecture and history, are artsy attractions in their own right. Like the Christ Church Cathedral, a parish that dates back to the 1880s and which today draws visitors of all denominations with its Gothic Revival look, intricate arches, Douglas fir beams and stunning stained glass windows – 32 in all. There's also an impressive labyrinth located on the sanctuary floor. Visitation hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week, with evening labyrinth access on weekends (call ahead to ensure times).
If you want more art, you're in the right place; the cathedral's location on Burrad Street puts it amongst a bevy of arts galleries and theaters. For a 24-hour art experience, consider a stay on one of the Gallery Floors at the Listel Hotel, where rooms are designed as individual galleries and feature limited-edition originals curated by the celebrated Buschlen Mowatt Gallery.
Steep, Don't Slurp
It's worth mentioning that the hotel right across the street from Christ Church Cathedral – the AAA 4-Diamond Fairmont Hotel Vancouver – is an artistic draw in its own right. This elegant, castle-themed property, respectfully dubbed The Grand Lady, dates back to 1888 and has hosted international royalty.
And it may be the best spot in town for a spot of tea. The Fairmont brand features dozens of signature teas – black, white, green and herbal – and for $49, you can experience them at this hotel in style; sandwiches (like the slow-roasted beef striploin, horseradish, onion and pickle on grain bread) and sweets (like apricot tea cake) come standard. Add a glass of bubbly for $10. And kids can join the steeping; the hotel's Bubblegum Tea includes sandwiches and strawberries bathed in Devonshire cream and preserves for $19. For other elevated tea experiences, check out the Adonia Tea House and the Urban Tea Merchant.
See the Farm, Skip the Zoo
The Greater Vancouver Zoo is an awesome getaway for families: more than 800 animals on some 120 acres. But for a more hands-on experience, check out Maplewood Farm in North Vancouver, home to several hundred animals – cows, pigs, donkeys, goats and sheep. There are petting areas where you can get up close and personal with – and feed – ducks and bunnies. And their Behind the Scenes program lets kids (ages 3 to 10) groom Shetland ponies and collect chicken eggs; these are scheduled on specific dates throughout summer and fall.
Gabe Saglie is Senior Editor for Travelzoo, which features hotel, airfare and a bevy of local deals in Vancouver and British Columbia at http://www.travelzoo.com/british-columbia/.