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Aug 20, 2011 09:11 PM

Coming to Vancouver for 8 days with kids

Hi all,

Wanted to get your input on places to eat. We are coming in from San Francisco to Vancouver for 8 days in the middle of October. I've looked around and see that places that are around the hotel are not getting consistent reviews, thus would like to get some input. We will be staying at Renaissance Hotel in downtown Vancouver, and so far there are no plans on renting a car, unless we really have to. We are looking for a kid-friendly places, especially for breakfast, as kids are really early to rise, and I'm sure that hotel food will not make them too happy. As far as type of food goes, they are not really picky, wife and I do enjoy seafood, especially sushi a lot ( (I hear Miku is a place to go). I would also appreciate a couple of fancy places around the area where we are staying, so I can take few local people to a business dinner, and show them that I know good places around Vancouver too :)

I would also appreciate some suggestions on where to go for sight-seeing/tourist type of activities, to show kids what Vancouver has to offer, two boys 8 and 5. I do have some concerns over weather, so if someone could chime-in in regards to temperature during the time when we will be there, that would be great.

Thank you all for your time and help in advance.

Miku Restaurant
1055 West Hastings, Vancouver, BC V6E 2E9, CA

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  1. Not memorable for adults by any means but White Spot is very kid-friendly and they will probably enjoy a Pirate Meal. At some point you may enjoy the break on your wallet too. They're everywhere. There will be one not far from your hotel and anywhere you happen to be someone will point out the closest White Spot.

    For dinner, Earl's has very nice food and is also kid-friendly. It's a chain, so you're not too far from an Earl's. You'll find Earl's a step up from most American chains' food and the ambiance, even though family in style, is relaxed and dignified.

    TimBits are fun and good! (The rest of the food at Tim Horton's varies from completely forgettable to completely horrid.) But you can get a good cup of coffee to go with or order them from a drive through on your way to someplace else.

    I'll let others suggest current non-chain family fare but if you've got kids you've got to take them to TreeTops. It's awesome and, apparently, they've added a new attraction. The pix on that link do not convey the experience of walking in the canopy of giant firs and I can only imagine how heart stopping a walk over the drop to the stream bed below is.

    You can spend the best part of a day hiking the easy trails and picking up a good bit of info about forrestry management and BC's lumbering history. And, from just a short way up from Treetops you can take the breath taking tram ride up Grouse Mt. to watch a great sunset over Vancouver and do some more hiking.

    The Observatory is up there. It's a wonderful restaurant. More adult, really, but worth an evening of dining if your kids are up to a more serious experience.

    Granville Island is also fun for kids. They can eat out of the Public Market (the Vancouver indoor version of a farmers' market) and then go to the annex that's full of kid-oriented shops. If it were earlier in the year they might enjoy a first-rate water park there too. Don't know your kids but Granville Island is full of artist galleries/workshops. It's a great place to wander around.

    Speaking of galleries, the museum of NW art at the university is not to be missed. I lived in Vancouver a couple times in my life and I can't tell you how I respond to that art. It's very primal stuff! Over in the university district I'd be willing to bet you'll find lots of resources for kids including restaurants.

    Be sure to plan a bicycle tour of Stanley Park. There are many riding trails that are very manageable for kids. While in the park there are playgrounds, totem poles and, of course, the zoo. There are places to eat in the park tho nothing stands out in my memory to recommend. Have your hotel pack you a picnic lunch. There are tons of places where you can park the bikes and stake out a spot on the grass to enjoy your lunches.

    6 Replies
    1. re: rainey

      thanks sooo much for your reply, rainey, much appreciated. i'm raking notes :) thanks again for all the info, definitely will check it out.
      ps, the pictures of the bridge are amazing!

      1. re: HAPKO

        The miniature train @ Stanley Park also runs during October as part of their Halloween Ghost Train:

        1. re: LotusRapper

          Another Granville Island activity that is fun for the kids - take the little water taxis across from the other side of False creek.

          1. re: fmed

            And when you get there, the kids can play in the water park:


            And the Kids Market right next door is hours of fun (& shopping):


            1. re: LotusRapper

              The water park maaaayy be a bit cold in October.

              1. re: fmed

                Ooops, sorry about the OP's timeline !

    2. As far as I'm concerned, you're "out of the woods" with boys @ 5 and 8 even if they are food-finicky ;-) "Eventually, they'll succumb to their own hunger and eat", that's what I say to my wife when I see finicky kids in restos [wink] (not saying your kids are finicky).

      I'll throw in my recommendation of Fairmont Vancouver Hotel's (@ Burrard & Georgia streets) own Griffin's, an old-style high ceiling ballroom-esque dining room with lots of space and separation between tables. They cater to kids, and of the 6 or 7 times we've been there with our own son (during his toddler years) and with our friends' toddlers, Griffin's been a gracious and accommodating venue. See menus at bottom of page:

      The Urban Fare (local small chain of grocery store/cafe) a block away from Renaissance Vancouver on Bute btwn Cordova & Hastings has a good wide selection of cold and hot deli items, as well as a la carte:

      At reasonable prices given their quality.

      Good luck !!

      1. Adding, while you're downtown, and especially if your kids are elementary school age, take a few moments to go to The Bay. That's one of Canada's premier department stores but the reason to go there is to look at the date on the building's cornerstone. The Bay is, of course, the modern day survivor to The Hudson Bay Company that they will undoubtedly remember from history. It's a link our own history will always share with Canada.

        I never pass it without getting an actual thrill.

        1. Welcome in advance to Vancouver.
          I live in North Vancouver and most of the child thing I did with my son and his friends are centered on the north shore, as we call it. A 13 min. Seabus ride from downtown.
          Maplewood Farm (District of North Vancouver)
          An old style farm environment with daily cow milking and other things my kid liked.
          Maplewoods Flats
          A large intertidal wild life refuge. It is just south of the Farm.
          Lynn Canyon Park
          More rustic than capilano bridge park. Capilano is commercial and Lynn canyon is a regional park. Remember that once you leave the residential areas you are in wilderrness and the next town is 500 miles north or the next neighbourhood a mile away across at least one river
          Grouse Mountain
          Depending on weather this can be spectacular. If the clouds are down it is not good. But on a good day a gondola ride from the base to the top can give great views if the weather cooperates.
          Granville Island
          No. 50 bus. Some child oriented businesses but a fun thing as a market. Also there are little ferries from the downtown side to the Island.
          It can be anything. It can be wet or dry. Temps are not predicable but probably not below 45F during the day. I would check Environment Canada’s website and their history site. But i would bring wet weather gear. It does not have to be full hurricane gear but just a Pvc poncho that can be picked up at your local sporting goods stores. Vancouverites sport umbrellas. Sportscheck in pacific centre (downtown mall about a block from your hotel) may have these.

          Lynn Canyon Cafe
          3690A Park Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7J3K2, CA

          Capilano Cafe
          1825 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7P3B5, CA

          2 Replies
          1. re: dapperdon

            thank you thank you thank you. you guys rock! I'm taking notes and making plans. I do hope weather will cooperate and it wont be wet, i know it will be on a colder side tho :)

            fmed, rainey, dapperdon, LotusRapper I do appreciate very much the links, time and info, thank you!

            Are there any spots around the hotel area that locals like, and arent too expensive? Please shine some light on that. Thanks.

            Also, a few fancy seafood places would be a plus, as i've mentioned in my original post, i would like to impress a few local couples that I will be taking out for dinner. Thanks in advance

            1. re: HAPKO

              Hi Hapko
              When my grandsons come down to visit, I have taken them to Science World and they absolutely loved it. They were 8 and 9 when they first went. There is a fabulous store in the building where they can purchase really cool things that most other stores do not carry. My grandsons had almost as much fun in the store that day than inside seeing the exhibition. Right now, the latest exhibition is on Dinasaurs!!

              As for food, another choice might be Boston Pizza, as they have children's menus and my grandsons love the food there. Actually, we went just last night and they offer vegetarian selections and now gluten-free pizzas, so it is a restaurant that is really trying to become truly inclusive. We all had a great meal there last night and the boys even walked away with children's desserts in their hands--one a monster cookie and the other a mini chocolate pizza!!
              They also usually have some kind of colouring contest for the kids going on.
              Safe travels and hoping you enjoy your stay here!!