Content originally written for the Let’s Go: USA & Canada Guideby our researcher-writer, Graham Bishai.
Science World at TELUS World of Science
1455 Quebec St.; (604) 443-7440; www.scienceworld.ca; open M-F 10am-5pm, Sa-Su 10am-6pm
Whether you have kids or want to feel like one again, this place will get your synapses firing. It’s an interactive experience from start to finish. Here, “interactive” is not just a flashy word to mean fun. You will get your hands wet. You can control your own optical illusion with lights, see how flexible your body is, or scan your skin for evidence of sun damage. You can shoot balls through vacuum tubes, or create a hydroelectric dam. You can even pilot a sperm to get it to fertilize an egg. These stimulating exhibits will leave you wanting to reproduce…these experiences, they are so fun! Don’t miss Eureka, the physics exhibit, which has great views of the water outside, and water to play with inside. Budget at least two hours to do the museum thoroughly.
Admission $25 CAD, student $20.25 CAD; wheelchair accessible; live science shows at 11:20am, 12:20pm, 1:20pm, 2:20pm, and 3:20pm; occasional guided tours
Contemporary Art Gallery
555 Nelson St.; (604) 681-2700; www.contemporaryartgallery.ca; Tu-Su 12pm-6pm
Do you like to loudly tell everyone that you’re “really into art,” but secretly get bored 20 minutes into an art museum visit? You’re not alone. The Contemporary Art Gallery is an FDA-approved antidote to art museum fatigue. This free gallery only takes 30 minutes, and that’s if you’re doing it thoroughly. It’s cheaper and more chill than the Vancouver Art Gallery. You walk right in, the guy at the front casually says “hey,” and you are free to roam their three galleries. Their modern art exhibits change every three months. It’s minimalist, and super casual. Located right in Yaletown, it’s a quick place to chill, recharge, breathe, or do some thinking after lunch.
Free entry; tours first Th of every month at 12:30pm, last Su of every month at 3pm.; wheelchair accessible
Vancouver Art Gallery
750 Hornby St.; (604) 662-4700; www.vanartgallery.bc.ca; open M-F 10am-5pm, Sa-Su 10am-6pm
Home to a large collection of works by Emily Carr, a landscape painter who drew inspiration from indigenous people in Northwest Canada, Vancouver Art Gallery includes depictions of the British Columbian forest, indigenous cultures’ relationship with nature, and the logging industry that Carr witnessed in the region. You’ll enjoy it much more if you get a tour, as there is limited information displayed for self-guiding. Carr’s work—housed on the fourth floor— is the only permanent exhibit in the museum. Even those works get rotated, but they never take down their most popular painting, “Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky.” The rest of the floors house travelling exhibits, which display a variety of mediums and genres. To save on admission, go on a Tuesday from 5pm-9pm. Then, admission is as much as you would like to donate.
Admission $24 CAD, student $18 CAD, free Tu 5pm-9pm; general gallery tours Th and Sa 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 2:30pm, and Su 11am; wheelchair accessible
Graham left behind the stressed-out chaos of Cambridge for the laid back life on the West Coast. A refreshing change of pace, he assumed, until the line for coffee on his first morning took 2 mins longer than he’s used to, and the Northeast nasty jumped out. Starting in Vancouver, Graham meandered south, toning his calves being a pedestrian on San Francisco’s hills and by navigating the monstrosity that is Los Angeles using just his feet and public transit (only resorting to Uber twice!) Graham’s love for the West Coast life only increased as he sat by the Puget Sound in Seattle, sipped kombucha in the crunchy cafes of Portland, climbed into a waterfall in Yosemite and stayed in an abandoned opera house in Death Valley. By the time he hit upper 80s sun of San Diego, buff calves and sun tanned, the words “West Coast, Best Coast,” almost slipped out of his mouth. Identity crisis looming, he figured it was time to go home.