Whether you are looking for a nice spot to eat your brown bag lunch or for a place to land with your take-out meal, there are plenty of good lunch eating spots in downtown Vancouver. They will make the most boring homemade sandwich a special meal to remember. A perk of living in one of the world’s most livable cities is the possibility of eating outside in the perfect setting, just a few steps away from the office.
It’s almost noon, your empty stomach is clearly sending you signs of distress. You are having a hard time concentrating on that email you read for the third time. Peeking through the window, you see nothing but sunshine and blue skies. This calls for an outdoor lunch. You quickly message your co-workers to meet at the door, take your sunglasses and leave the office for an hour of holiday-feeling freedom.
Here are some of the best outdoor lunch spots in downtown Vancouver.
The public broadcaster has nicely set-up picnic tables and an outdoor stage facing rows of rectangular blocks creating natural seating for people to enjoy some sunshine right outside the CBC’s front doors. You may very well see media personalities or high profile guests around! Their plaza is welcoming and animated with a variety of free outdoor concerts in the summertime. The Musical Nooners are a series of 40 concerts in 40 days presented in July and August.
Location: 700 Hamilton St, Vancouver
With the food truck proliferation in and around the downtown core area, the stairs leading to Robson square and the Art Gallery have become urban bleachers to savor freshly made sandwiches, tacos and wraps. About ten food trucks are parked around the block and serve hundreds of hungry business people. Seagulls and pigeons have been seen in the area so keep an eye on your fries!
Location: Corner of Robson St. and Howe St.
This spot is a must in the city. One of the first things a new Vancouver resident gets to know is that the Colesseum style public library is a popular meeting point. The outside stairs are good seats to borrow any time of the day but lunchtime is particularly busy. There are sometimes street performers entertaining the crowd while you are eating or waiting for someone.
Location: Stairs on Robson St.
The VAG seems to be the beating heart of the city. Demonstrations, large gatherings, vigils and critical mass events all start here. A stone’s throw away from the Financial District, it is as central as it gets. The front and backyards of the building are popular. The space at the back (on Georgia St.) used to be all luxurious grass. The ground is now covered with uninviting wood chips but the stairs and fountain are still convenient seats.
Location: Robson and Georgia St between Hornby and Howe St.
Summer comes, Viva Vancouver – a program of the city – transforms the streets into unique temporary public spaces enticing people to spend more time on (literally) the street. In the past, Viva and The Vancouver Public Space Network has encouraged people to come down to Abbott St in Gastown for Lunch Meet, a lunchtime street event where the lunch crowd was invited to grab something or bring their food to enjoy at a communal table.
This year, VIVA Granville will focus on transforming downtown Granville St, between Davie and Hastings Streets, into a recurring, summertime, pedestrian- only corridor on the weekend.
Until the next group lunch eating activity is scheduled, you may want to visit their parklet on Robson Street.
Follow them online to know more about their 2013 ideas!
For a scenic view of the Burrard Inlet and the mountains, head to Granville Square located at the junction of Granville and Cordova, next to the old train station. Walk on the ramp on Granville St towards the prominent tower at 200 Granville Street in the heart of the Financial District. From the elevated square, Canada Place and Gastown look different and hugely impressive. You are in for a charming lunch with a mix of modernity and old times!
Location: 200 Granville St. at Cordova St.
Parks are always natural options when it comes to outdoor eating. Vancouver has its fair share of urban parks. Victory park is one of them and has become increasingly popular. With several excellent restaurants and food trucks around, one can easily adopt the quiet oasis as their perfect lunch eating spot.
Location: The park is bordered by Pender and Hastings St. between Cambie and Hamilton St.
A bit further away from the city centre and its businesses, David Lam park is a relaxing and enjoyable place to have a bite and unwind. You can even bring a book and a blanket to read in the sun. Daydreaming at its best!
Location: On Pacific blvd between Homer and Drake St.
If you are lucky enough to work around English Bay or if your home office is in the West End, you have one of the city’s best spots to enjoy your lunch al fresco and soak in the afternoon sun. Sit on a bench, on the grass or directly on the beach your back against a log and take a deep breath of salty sea air. There are many take out options on Denman Street so you can quickly grab fish and chips, shawarma wraps or pizza slices on your way down to the water.
All in all, the best patios in town are actually free! It is just a matter of looking around to find that special spot where you can share a meal with your friends, or a good book.
Know of any other good outdoor lunch spots we’re missing? Let us know in the comments below!
Written by Véronique St-Antoine, a food contributor to Vancity Buzz. Connect with Véronique on Twitter at @vstantoine.