Beating the Torch to Vancouver

Cities approach the Olympic Games like a first date—no matter how attractive they already are, there's still an extra effort to doll themselves up. But like fresh powder, cities are best visited before the Olympic-level crowds descend. 

Which makes now the perfect time to soak up Vancouver.

The slalom champs, short-skirted skaters and Jamaican bobsled team won't descend on Canada's western shore for another full year, but this seafront city is more than camera-ready.

While Vancouver has always sprawled in the shadow of the slopes, it's come into its own as a winter sports mecca; new lifts at nearby Grouse Mountain put the powder just fifteen minutes away, or head further north for the just-opened Whistler Olympic Park—where you'll night-ski, shoot biathlon rifles and take to the luge (think of it as a northern-tinged bachelor party).

Back in town, the waterfront scene is better than ever. Pre-Olympic hotel openings include the Loden Vancouver in high-end Coal Harbour—a long-awaited boutique just blocks from the monstrous, Pacific-ringed Stanley Park. Around town, the pre-Olympic spirit has brought in everything from stunning ice sculpture to the Cirque du Soleil-esque Avatar Circus Project, to pop-up restaurants and visiting jazz and opera. End the night back at the Loden's already-buzzy restaurant Voya for local oysters, duck sous vide and artisan cocktails from Jay Jones—the Sasha Petraske of Vancouver.

Wherever you go, your mixology standards follow.


1177 Melville St
Coal Harbor
Vancouver, British Columbia

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