Remember that time I headed out to the West Coast? Well, I totally have failed at recapping it in a timely manner, but I’m back because I don’t want to forget all the cool things I saw… and the good food I ate. Next up, my Seattle snaps. (See my Vancouver snaps here.)
Just because the calendar says mid-September (already, somehow), doesn’t mean we have fall weather just yet. I love summer, so I don’t mind — and this means I can enjoy my favorite summer spots for a few more weeks. So for my Philly friends who haven’t checked out Monarch Philly in Northern Liberties, get on that.
Monarch is part swim club, part beer garden, all swanky (and very Miami-esque). You can buy daily swim passes or a membership, or you can just enjoy food and drinks with the ambiance. I usually stick to light bites — the chicken skewers and pork pot stickers are definitely my favorites. And of course, they pair well with cocktails — try the Saint Monarch for something light and fizzy.
Monarch is always Instagram-worthy, but it really comes alive during the weekends. This fall, there’s weekend brunch and football specials Saturdays and Sundays. Watching football poolside with with $25 pitchers of mimosas? Yes please.
It’s been about three weeks since I shared my Vancouver Snapchats, so we’re overdue for my Vancouver recap! Spoiler alert: it was our favorite city of our whole trip! Our vacation had has covering four cities in about 9 days, which left us traveling about every other day. We really had to cram in everything we wanted to do, and after some flight issues (American Airlines, never again) we ended up with less time in Vancouver than we had anticipated.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Cambie Village, which is a quiet but conveniently located residential neighborhood in Vancouver. It was late and we were starving by the time we checked in. Luckily, the sun didn’t set until around 10 pm, so we walked to Sushiyama on Broadway (as recommended by our host). It was so good (and so cheap) — it was one of Nick’s favorite meals of our trip. Afterwards, we swung by El Camino’s on Main Street for a nightcap (it had a very El Rey-vibe, for my Philly friends).
Sunday morning started with brunch with a Florida acquaintance at Yolks (Nick grabbed coffee at Elysian on the way). I ordered the waffles because it turns out they only serve poached eggswhich duh, but also not my thing. Megan had interned at the Vancouver Aquarium and gave us discounted family/friend tickets, which helped shape the course of our day. (Pro tip: a day pass for Vancouver public transit is about $10 Canadian — so worth it! We also heard cabs were cheap and Uber/Lyft don’t have a presence there.)
We took a bus to the entrance of Stanley Park, an urban park, and walked the seawall. It’s a pretty quintessential Vancouver thing, and the views are unreal. I had no idea Vancouver had such a beach town vibe — it kind of reminded me of Fort Lauderdale, but with a forest instead of a palm trees and lots of humidity. Anyway, walk Stanley Park. Don’t miss the totem poles like I did.
The aquarium by the way? Totally worth it. Seattle and San Francisco also have city aquariums, and I’m glad we were able to stop by at least one. The space was a lot bigger than it seemed, so we spent a few hours exploring. We pet stingrays and saw a small dolphin show (featuring animals that were rescued and cannot be released back into the wild, so it’s low on the guilt scale).
After the aquarium, we took another bus to Granville Island. It’s a cool little hipster community, with street art, small shops, a brewery, and a public market (like Reading Terminal Market). I would’ve loved to spend more time there if we weren’t crunched for time. Instead, I got some gelato and we enjoyed the warm sunshine by the water.
After that, it was back on the bus, this time to Gastown, which is sort of like Old City — it was Vancouver’s first downtown, and it’s on the waterfront. We bought souvenirs and had a great dinner at the Flying Pig Bistro on Water Street.
From there, we walked over to Canada Place. It’s an interesting structure (it’s a convention center/cruise terminal) with cool views of the harbor and most importantly, it’s next to the 8-Bit Orca statue. Only in Canada.
We hopped on the subway (so clean) back to “our neighborhood” and swung by 33 Acres Brewing. It was such a cool place: a coffeeshop/brewery combo (basically made for Kendall). I was exhausted at this point, so I only had a small glass of their cider, but it was delicious. It was pretty busy for late on a Sunday night, and it’s off the beaten path — our bartender seemed genuinely confused by our presence once he realized we were tourists. Such a neat spot though.
And that was basically our 36~ hours in Vancouver. And of course, I couldn’t leave without a maple donut from Tim Horton’s before leaving the next morning. But man, Vancouver, I miss you already!