It's roughly 3 hours from Seattle, depending on the border wait. You can apply for a Nexus Pass and then you zip past any long border lines.
Highlights of the trip were...
Dinner at Vij's is always a treat and always memorable. It's always fascinating to see the line that forms before doors open. It's fun to chat with the other die-hards who sit for an hour, rain or shine, to get in. We ordered a ton of food and everything was great.
We hit Vij's sister restaurant the next day for lunch. It's no Vij's, but it did not disappoint either. The food was fantastic. We liked one dish so much that we ordered two to go for dinner that night. I also loaded up on spices for myself and for gifts, and some naan and rice from the refrigerated section. I cooked from Vij's cookbook that week and had my own piece of Vij's with the rice and naan. It made the homemade chicken curry that much better.
We had a lovely brunch at Hawksworth. I felt like I was in Europe because of the international vibe at brunch. The food was fantastic. My husband and I also went to the Hawksworth bar one night for cocktails which we thoroughly enjoyed. Lots of great cocktail creations.
We took the Skyride to the top of Grouse Mountain. We watched the grizzly bears, the lumberjack show and the zip-liners as they screamed and whizzed by. The kids loved it.
We took a water taxi to Granville Island. The kids loved the water taxi. I loved the view from the water and checking out all the cool architecture and condos. Vancouver is so pretty and I loved that vantage point.
We heard from Seattle's Eltana owners that Siegel's Bagels was worth checking out. I thought they were a great recommendation among all the tourist traps at the Granville Island market. I loved the bagel with black pepper cream cheese that my husband ordered. He always orders better than me. It's so annoying.
You could spend days enjoying Stanley Park. There is so much to do there. There are play areas, a public pool that looks great for kids, a small water park (no water slides, just sprinklers and games), a rose garden, train ride (kinda lame), horse drawn tour, aquarium, bike path and more. We love spending time at Stanley Park.
Things we wanted to do but ran out of time:
We did not make it to the Chinese Garden but I will make sure to visit next trip. I love Seattle's Japanese Garden so I've got to see Vancouver's Chinese Garden.
Food Cart Fest
We didn't make it but I was dying to go. The Food Cart Fest ends September 2nd so hurry and go now!
We hit a few other restaurants that we read about on these lists from Vancouver Magazine and have a few more tagged for our next visit. I definitely want to hit Vij's new Railway Express when we return. Can't wait to go back.
From Vancouver Magazine... (Thanks Ali for the links!)
Best New Restaurant 2012
Vancouver Restaurant Awards 2012