Vancouver spots to beat the winter blues

Raincouver, the Wet Coast — there’s no denying that our beautiful city sees its share of rain in the winter. When it’s been pouring for days and you’re damp down to you bones, consider an afternoon at one of these escapes that will leave winter as a distant memory – if only for a few hours. [Photo © Yellow Pages / Pages Jaunes]

Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre

845 Avison Way, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2

For a taste of the tropics, head into to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. Make a beeline for the Amazon Gallery where the lush and humid rainforest of South America is recreated, complete with flying ibises, tree-dwelling sloths and even a simulated thunderstorm. And as your body slowly rids itself of its inner chill, take a moment to learn about the diversity of this part of the world and the tremendous threats it faces. There’s even information on what you can do to help.

Bloedel Conservatory

4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Y 2M9

Escape the blustering rain and be grateful for a coat check at the Bloedel Conservatory. This biodome at the city’s highest point in Queen Elizabeth Park houses a tropical paradise that will be much kinder to your wallet than a mid-winter trip to the Dominican. Catch sight of free-flying exotic birds in every colour imaginable and appreciate the beauty of tropical flowers, abloom in the temperature-controlled environment. After weeks of rain, humidity has never felt so good.

Hillcrest Aquatic Centre

4575 Clancy Loranger Way, Vancouver, BC V5Y 2M4

Pack up the floaties and dig out the bathing suits for a weekend swim at the Hillcrest Community Centre’s massive aquatic centre. Their leisure pool is great for the little ones, complete with toys, sprays and even a lazy river, while their full-sized Olympic pool has diving boards and swim lanes. Relax tired muscles and trap in the heat with a hot tub, sauna or steam. Basically, have all kinds of summer fun in the middle of winter. The best part? No need for sunscreen.

Miraj Hammam Spa

1495 6th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H 4E9

When you find yourself wishing your travel itinerary said Turkey or Morocco, face reality and head instead to Vancouver’s Hammam Spa. This luxurious experience makes winter a distant memory, as it relaxes and soothes you. Using ancient Middle Eastern techniques for steaming, massage and skin exfoliation, you’ll leave this indulgent and invigorating spa warm, supple, soft and at peace. Prolong the experience with their complimentary hot tea and sweet cakes enjoyed while lounging amid low couches and silk cushions.

Hastings Reflexology & Steam Sauna

766 Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V6A 1R5

For perhaps a less luxurious, but no less warming experience, duck into the inconspicuous Hastings Steam & Sauna in the Downtown Eastside. This barebones bathhouse is a relic from the early 20th century, making its hip factor all the more enticing. Pay for your private room and head down the carpeted hall. Your change room leads directly into the shower and sauna rooms. Choose electric or wood-fired heat for your steam and spray fragrant eucalyptus mist on the rocks for some natural aromatherapy.

Who says you have to go on holiday to get away from it all? There are many ways to indulge in a little self-care close to home that will leave you feeling fresh, rejuvenated and utterly relaxed. Spoil yourself with pampering treatments from any one of these local Vancouver spas and enjoy the escape for a few blissful hours. You deserve it. [Image courtesy of CHI The Spa]
In our damp and dark climate on display many months of the year, it’s always handy to have a few indoor activities in your back pocket to get the kids out of the rain and into something fun — whether it’s active, educational or creative. Here are a few great places to take shelter and have fun.
Vancouver has an impressive and diverse theatre culture. From local independent troupes to large-scale musicals, internationally acclaimed productions and major festivals, patrons of the arts have a wide array of choices when it comes to live theatre. Take in a show at one of these impressive stages across the city.
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