Vancouver, British Colombia is world-renowned for its breathtaking natural setting and a cosmopolitan flair, complimented by beautiful parks and gardens, beaches, and a variety of cultural and recreational facilities. Whether the visitor chooses to laze on one of the many sandy beaches; enjoy the wide-open spaces, the majestic rainforest and rugged West Coast mountains; join in the beach volleyball games; or windsurf on the ocean, Vancouver's prime location is perfect for those who enjoy the outdoors. In addition to the cities scenic location, visitors also enjoy beautiful gardens, the seawall in world famous Stanley Park, and the nearly 200 city parks.
Vancouver also offers world-class entertainment, fantastic cuisine, malls with individual stores representing the many cultures of the city and much more. Downtown Vancouver is the commercial core with several major tourist areas. Where there was once a rain forest, now there is concrete jungle. But among the remaining evergreens, with a backdrop of the harbor and nearby snow-capped mountains, even the glass and steel high-rises of this city look good. Gastown, the city's birthplace, is a neighborhood of hundred-year-old hotels, outfitters, and warehouses born again as restaurants, stores, and condominiums. Chinatown is a contrast of aging clan-association headquarters and professional new Hong Kong-style shops. In Yaletown, airy redbrick warehouses have become loft residences, stylish boutiques, and nightspots for hip young professionals. The West End, with high-rise apartment buildings and modern condominiums, is the most heavily populated part of the city. Vancouver s close association with its natural environment (the water, beaches, forests, and mountains) is what makes the city attractive to many visitors. It is possible to ski in the morning, go sailing in the afternoon, and then attend the symphony in the evening. And, throughout the year, visitors can experience the customs of people from various countries who now call Vancouver home. This vast range of cultural aspects gives Vancouver a broad appeal and has turned the city into something more than just another pretty place.