Why Vancouver Kicks Ass

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Sitting between three bodies of water and the Coastal Mountain Range, Vancouver benefits from gorgeous scenery. Mountains are well and good, but visitors would do well not to be distracted from the city's happening cultural scene. Sitting between three bodies of water and the Coastal Mountain Range, Vancouver benefits from gorgeous scenery. Mountains are well and good, but visitors would do well not to be distracted from the city's happening cultural scene.

Fast-paced Vancouver is buzzing with young artists, creative musicians, and all-around eccentric thinkers that create a unique twist on the typical "modern city." While wandering the city's bustling streets, pedestrian's pass stylish vintage stores, trendy little restaurants, and probably a few lively street performers.

Vancouver has found a way to maintain its status as Canada's frontier town: pushing boundaries. Visitors would be well-advised to join the maddeningly hip crowd.

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Why Vancouver Kicks Ass

The self-proclaimed funkiest place for Japanese food is covered wall-to-wall in Japanese dolls and toys. The sushi is exceptional and affordable and features playful rolls like the "Andy Warhol," the "Miss Piggy" and the "X-Rated." These awesomely title treats are fine, but's all about the "Tex Mex" (pictured above), a california roll, splashed with a creamy salsa mix of tomatoes, avocado, roe and salmon. Prices range from around $5-$11 for rolls. 

3431 W. Broadway; 604-738-5298

Hours: Mon-Thu 4:30 p.m.- 1:30 p.m.; Fri-Sat 4:30 p.m.- 12 a.m.

This recently re-opened deli reimagines the butchery as a cool 50s/60s inspired eatery. It can't get any more affordable than a meal here: A grilled cheese and fries costs $4. Plus, in keeping with the city's vibe, art on the walls is by a favorite local artist Dan Climan, and is an awesome addition to the place.

43 W. Hastings St.; 604-683-7761

Hours: Mon-Sat 8:30 a.m.- 6 p.m.

A Caesar: (pictured) It is sort of like a Bloody Mary but with clam juice. It sounds pretty gross, but is actually quite delicious.

Chelada: Beer, salt, lime, and a chilli rim. We'll take two.

Most bars in Vancouver offer these Canadian specialties, with the Waldorf Hotel's Mexican brunch being particularly well known for its spectacular Caesar cocktails.

To find a delicious Chelada, look no further than The Diamond. A swanky lounge and popular restaurant said to have some of the best cocktails in the city. Pair the Mexican version of a Bloody Mary and other phenomenal drinks from $9 to $14 with entrees that rage from $10 to $15. 

The Diamond: 6 Powell St.

Hours: Wed-Thurs 5 p.m.- 1 a.m.; Fri-Sat 5 p.m.- 2 a.m.; Sun 5 p.m.- 12 a.m.

Restored to its original 50's style, The Waldorf is probably the nicest venue that hipsters will venture to – not ultra-swanky, but definitely tasteful. And, with a cover charge that hovers somewhere around $0 to $5, that's a price travelers can get down with.

The amenities include three large rooms for music and parties, a Cabaret room, a Lebanese food chain, a Tiki bar and an art gallery called "Black & Yellow" (no, not the Wiz Khalifa song), among others. Oh and did we mention it's also a hotel?

Its 'Hideaway' space provides one of the coolest hidden stages and private bars in the city complete with trap doors and an advanced-audio visual system. The Waldorf's decor consists of fake palm trees and gaudy star lights hanging from ceiling.

1489 E. Hastings St.; 604-253-7141

Room Rates: $95-$110 per night

The Astoria is a live music venue located in an old brick building on Hastings street in Strathcona, where young people flock to live in little duplexes and split-story houses. Asbalt-the pub in the dated building - is a local attraction and, although it's a bit out of the way from downtown Vancouver, a scene to consider checking out.

For those less than excited to stand in a long line to get into the joint, a super cheap $4 cover charge – if any at all – may shorten the wait.

769 Hastings St. E.; 604-254-3355

One of the coolest live music venues around, The Biltmore Cabaret hosts local and international touring live bands and DJs from all over the world. From dance parties to ice-cream socials, this place does it all – at just an $8  charge to walk in the doors.

Browse through party photographer Lindsay Elliott's website to scope out the crowd. And, check out the schedule here

395 Kingsway; 604-676-0541

MY!BIG!GAY!HUSBAND! is a talented Vancouver-based DJ who plays, produces, and organizes parties and events. Check out some of his sets on his Myspace page.

Best known as the drummer and singer of dance-punk duo Death from Above 1979, as well as the singer and guitarist for his own band, Sebastien Grainger and The Mountains, Grainger is a regular at Vancouver hotspot The Biltmore.

Connor Brady & Ashley Marie put on parties at Vancouver hotspots "for musical nerds."

Daniel R. & Andrew V. have an awesome party at The Waldorf called "C86" where they play guitars, Smith tunes and 80s pop songs.

Cam Dales is one of the "Radio Zero" DJs.

Vancouver seems to be embracing a "tropical" vibe right now – could be because of the nine-month long rainy season. Whatever the reason, local scenesters have embraced a sunny style and local bands are even playing music with a bit of a Caribbean influence. Here's to optimism.


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