You do not need to go far from the convention center to find something to do. Downtown Vancouver is blessed with some of the city's best tourist sites. Below is a list to get you started:
Chinatown: Vancouver's Chinatown is the country's largest Chinatown and sits on the east end of downtown. Enter through the Millennium Gate on Pender Street and make your way toward Keefer Street, visiting the many stores that are dotted throughout the area. Check out Hon's Won Tun House, a Vancouver landmark, for lunch, or if you are looking for something less traditional, head down to Bao Bei Brasserie. Walk off the delicious meal with a tour of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden.
At the conference, hear from Wayson Choy, a Chinese Canadian author who grew up in Vancouver's Chinatown.
Stanley Park: The jewel of Vancouver, Stanley Park consists of 1,000 acres of lush evergreens smack dab in the middle of the city. From the convention center, walk west on Georgia Street and you'll be greeted by the Lost Lagoon, which marks the north entrance to the park. Signs mark the many trails to the park, as well as tourist attractions such as the Vancouver Aquarium and the Rhododendron Garden.
Granville Street:Vancouver's shopping and entertainment district has been undergoing a redesign over the past decade. What once was a heavily trafficked street is gradually turning into a pedestrian walkway. Theaters, shops, clubs, and restaurants line the street, making it one of the busiest spots on the weekend.
Yaletown: Once a grungy warehouse district, Yaletown is now one of the most exclusive residential areas in Vancouver. It's a great spot to go on a sunny day—grab a bite to eat at one of the many patio restaurants or relax by the water at David Lam Park. Finish off your day with a short aquabus trip to Science World.
English Bay: Perhaps one of the most visited areas in the city; English Bay offers some of the most amazing ocean views. The long stretch of beach at English Bay is every local's favorite spot. Head on from there to Davie or Denman Street (both areas have the widest selection of restaurants), or kayak your way toward Vancouver Island.
Carol Zachs is the Local Arrangements Committee (LAT) communications chair for NAFSA’s 2011 Annual Conference & Expo. After completing an internship in 2000-01 at the University of Aarhus’ International Secretariat in Denmark, Carol has worked in the field of international education ever since. Currently, she serves as the manager of study and research abroad at the University of British Columbia, where she is also completing graduate work in education. Originally from Mexico City, Carol has been a Vancouver resident for the past 24 years. Carol looks forward to showcasing what Vancouver has to offer to all of the conference attendees.