Experience Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo like a west coast local with these 10 activities

The Gastown Steamclock. Stanley Park. The Provincial Parliament Buildings. These are the places that typically make their way on to most British Columbia visitor itineraries. While they are certainly worth a visit, you might be looking to go beyond the standard tourist destinations to get a more authentic feel for life on the west coast. We’ve put together a short guide that will help you venture beyond the usual tourist spots and experience Vancouver, Victoria and Nanaimo like a local.


In Vancouver we take brunch seriously, something evidenced by the host of restaurants serving up delectable and Instagram-worthy mid-morning meals. If you don’t mind waiting in line, head to Jam Café on Beatty for one of their generously portioned brunch dishes. Or try Tuc Craft Kitchen on West Cordova Street for some inspired brunch cocktails and their delectable Crispy Bacon and Egg – a house special. Wherever you go, make sure you go hungry!

The Rio

Built in 1938, The Rio is one of the city’s longest standing cultural institutions with a passionately devoted local following. In addition to new releases, this independent theatre specializes in unique film-going experiences and special events. Check out their lively late-night screenings of cult-film classics like The Room and The Big Lebowski.

The Eastside Flea Market

Running every other weekend throughout the spring and summer, The Eastside Flea Market features dozens of local vendors selling unique vintage clothing, homeware, artwork and more! After browsing the market you can enjoy lunch from one of the many food trucks on the outdoor patio at Eastside Studios.


You may have experienced Vancouver by bus, train or foot, but have you seen it from a paddleboard? Get a whole new perspective on the city with a paddleboard tour of Granville Island or Jericho Beach.

Victoria Ale Trail

In BC we love our craft beer, and we’re truly spoiled for options when it comes to breweries. There’s no better place to experience this than in Victoria, home to Canada’s very first brewery. Serious local beer lovers know to head to the more intimate tasting rooms of Driftwood Brewery or Phillips Brewing & Malting Co.

Pacific FC Game at Westhills Stadium

If you’re visiting Victoria during soccer season be sure to check out a game at Westhills Stadium, home of the Pacific Football Club. The stadium is located in a picturesque Pacific Northwest setting that provides a visually stunning backdrop to games.

Hiking Mt Tolmie

A sunset hike to the peak of Mt Tolmie will give you spectacular panoramic views of the city. You can make a day of it and bring along lunch to eat at one of the many picnic areas located along the trails. Don’t forget your camera!

Regard Coffee

Get your days in Nanaimo off to a good start at Regard Coffee. This locally owned café serves up a seriously good cappuccino. Come for the coffee, stay for the chess and excellent collection of books.

Nanaimo Downtown Famer’s Market

Famers markets are usually great places to experience local, community vibes and Nanaimo is no exception. Held every Saturday from May to September at the Pioneer Plaza, this famer’s market offers a delectable selection of locally grown produce, freshly baked goods and artisanal products. A great place to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Nanaimo waterfront!

Lantzville (Sebastian) Beach

Take advantage of Nanaimo’s waterfront location with a visit to Lantzville Beach. The beautiful and dog-friendly shores are a lovely place to take an evening stroll. On the way back you can stop at the Lantzville Village Pub for a beer!

Most travellers want to experience the best of the city they are visiting, not least of which is the place you stay. Mayfair Hotels & Resorts offers accommodations in convenient locations around Vancouver, Nanaimo and Victoria. Book with us and start planning your west coast adventure today!