An Insider's Guide to Vancouver

By Pamela Cyr
NALP Bulletin+
March 2023

The Conference Planning Work Group is excited to welcome NALP members to the Vancouver Convention Centre for the Annual Education Conference April 25-28. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, foodie, or looking to hit the shops and take advantage of the lower Canadian dollar, Vancouver has you covered! The city is very walkable and has accessible public transit ( as well as taxis, ride-share (Uber and Lyft), and bike-share. Remember to pack your walking shoes, layers and a rain coat! Your hotel should have an umbrella you can borrow for any April showers. The following is an insider’s view for the top three activities from 1 hour to half a day, some ideas that will take a full day. Some of the best restaurants, bars, and shopping are listed for any NALP members who plan to stay longer — something I highly recommend!

Top 3 Activities, 1-4 Hours

Activity 1: Bike Around Stanley Park (1 min walk from Vancouver Convention Centre)

  • If you do one thing in Vancouver, go for a walk, run or cycle along Vancouver’s 28-km seawall, the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path. The convention center is right on the seawall, on the north side of downtown (“North” in Vancouver is where the mountains are).
  • The seawall leads you to and wraps around Stanley Park. You can walk around the entire park via the sea wall in about four hours, or just turn around when you are ready.
  • Renting a bike and riding like a Vancouverite is a great way to get around the sea wall or travel outside of the downtown core.
  • There are a ton of bike rental companies downtown in and around the convention center, including Cycle City Tours on Hornby Street, just south of the convention center. They rent bikes (conventional and e-bikes) and also do great guided tours.

Activity 2: Walk on Robson Street (10 min walk from Vancouver Convention Centre)

Take a stroll down Robson Street (start at Hornby St. and walk to Jervis St.) as a great intro to Vancouver’s history, fashion, food, and culture ( Suggested stops include:

  • Vancouver Art Gallery: (Robson @ Hornby) – make sure to see the historic Art Gallery (once Vancouver’s courthouse) from its front (facing Georgia Street). The two lions that guard the front of the gallery are very insta-worthy!
  • Vancouver Courthouse – the Great Hall: take a slight detour south up Hornby Street to see Lady Justice and admire the work of world famous Vancouver architect Arthur Erickson (
  • Lululemon: visit the Flagship store of this global active-wear brand started in Vancity in 1998 (970 Robson St.).
  • Roots: premium outdoor lifestyle brand & former outfitter of the Canadian Olympic team (1001 Robson St.).
  • Club Monaco: Canadian-based international “affordable luxury” brand (1040 Robson St.).
  • Blue Ruby: Beautiful, hand-selected jewelry from designers around the word, local Canadian designers and in-house collections (1089 Robson St.).
  • Artizia: Visit Aritzia’s Flagship store to browse comfortable everyday luxury. This women’s fashion brand that was founded in Vancouver in 1984 now has stores throughout Canada and the US (1100 Robson St.).
  • Art Gallery Food Truck Map:
  • Earl’s (1185 Robson St.):
  • Joe Forte’s (777 Thurlow Street @ Robson):

Activity 3: Go to the Beach

A top stop on any trip to Vancouver is one of our many beaches. A few local favorites include:

Other Top Sites/Neighborhoods

The cobbled streets of Gastown, Yaletown, Commercial Drive (Vancouver’s “Little Italy”), and the Granville Island Public Market are popular and quick excursions. For more info and to browse what might appeal to you see:

If You Have a Full Day (or More)

North Shore: Only about a half-hour Uber from downtown Vancouver, step into the rain forest at Lynn Headwaters, where you can stroll along the Varley trail (named after a famous “Group of Seven” Canadian artist) and finish at the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge.
Insider’s tip: The Lynn Canyon suspension bridge is much less busy than the more touristy Capilano Suspension bridge. Uber is the fastest way to get there, but another option is to take the 12-min sea bus downtown from Waterfront Station (about a 5-min walk from the convention center) and grab an Uber on bus on the other side: Lower Lonsdale (where the sea bus docks in North Vancouver) is a great place to have lunch and admire amazing views of downtown:

Whistler: Home of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and only about an hour and 45-minute drive from downtown Vancouver, Whistler is known for its skiing and snowboarding in the winter and mountain biking and hiking in the summer:

Victoria: The quaint capital of the province of British Columbia located on Vancouver Island, Victoria is one of the most British-influenced cities in North America, with an abundance of tearooms, antique shops and galleries:

Travel to Victoria from downtown Vancouver in about a half-hour by float plane or heli-jet or take the longer, more scenic ferry (about 4 hours total travel time, including 1 hour 35 minute crossing time):

Other Day Trip


A list of some of the Local Host’s favorite (top picks highlighted) restaurants and bars frequented by the Vancouver legal community are below by neighborhood.

Some other great resources include:




  • Food trucks: try Mom’s Grilled Cheese 2 min from Vancouver Art Gallery (700 Howe @ Robson)
  • Japadog: (Waterfront Station or 530 Robson St.)
  • Rue 909 Sushi: (909 Dunsmuir) – seating available


Casual Sit-down

Basic mid-range Canadian chains popular with lawyers and also great for a drink + snack

Stanley Park



Local host’s favourite area for restaurants. Generally safe to Uber there and back, however note downtown eastside has people experiencing homelessness, as well as substance use and mental health issues.

East Vancouver/Mount Pleasant




  • Chambar: Try a Caesar cocktail (like a Bloody Mary but the Canadian twist is the “Clamato” tomato juice.)
  • Gotham (Lounge): Live music weekly – try the fresh jumbo shrimp cocktail and cheese toast.
  • Magnet:
  • Cactus Club, Earls, and Joeys (see above “Restaurants”) for other downtown options.

Hotel - Downtown

Pacific Rim

Late/Open until 3 a.m.

For more info:


National Association for Law Placement, Inc.® (NALP®)
1220 19th Street NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036-2405
(202) 835-1001 [email protected]
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