Please note: British Columbia is in Step 2 of its COVID-19 restart plan. Please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including physical distancing and frequent hand washing, and wearing a mask or face-covering in public indoor and retail spaces. If you are sick, please stay home.
Our hearts and souls are yearning for adventure, social connection, and immersion in the great outdoors. We’re craving a change of pace and new experiences following a year of cancelled travel plans and failed attempts at baking sourdough.
But for now, we’re easing back into the swing of things locally, using the precious time we have closer to home as an opportunity to get to know our surrounding neighbourhoods and cities on a deeper level. Our first stop? Burnaby.
Arguably one of the most underrated destinations in the Lower Mainland, it’s a convenient base for local adventures with a multitude of options for phenomenal dining, nature basking, water-based activities, and stunning hotels where you can take in a new perspective of the city.
To help you make the most of your weekend adventure in Burnaby this summer, we’ve curated a fun-filled itinerary that will almost make you feel like a tourist in this vibrant urban centre.
Stay at a central hotel
Day trips to Burnaby are wonderful, but to really get a sense of the city, book a stay at one of the many hotels in the area. We recommend Delta Hotels Burnaby by Marriott, Accent Inns- Burnaby, Holiday Inn Express Vancouver-Metrotown, or the Best Western Plus Burnaby Hotel — prepare yourself for a very good sleep.
Right now, when you stay at any participating Burnaby hotel, you can get a complimentary $50 Metropolis at Metrotown or a gas gift card — an additional perk for staying local.
Dine-in Italian style
On Friday, start your weekend off with a delicious dinner at Pasta Amore Pizzeria and Restaurant (pasta is always a good idea). Located on Dawson Street, this Burnaby institution has been dishing up authentic Italian eats for almost two decades. While you’re there, order from the seasonally inspired menu (we recommend a pizza and the penne primavera with veggies in a creamy tomato sauce) and sip on a BC wine as the day turns to night.
Visit a craft brewery
Burnaby has a stellar craft beer scene, so it makes sense to visit at least one of the local craft breweries during your stay. Dageraad Brewing at Thunderbird Cresent is open until 9 pm, so you could potentially head there first for a small-batch brew. Afterward, sample the newest creations on tap at Steamworks Brewery & Taproom on William Street or Studio Brewing on Beresford Street — both of which are open until 10 pm.
Breakfast with French pastries
If we could eat freshly baked pastries for breakfast every day, there’s a strong chance that we would — especially pastries from Burnaby’s Mon Paris Patisserie. The most idyllic Saturday breakfast spot, it has a menu filled with delights like almond double-baked croissants, cherry turnovers, cream cheese croissants, and so much more. Order your treats (and coffee, of course) to go before embarking on a day of adventures.
Get active in Deer Lake Park
Fun fact: Burnaby has more than 200 parks, and its ratio of parkland to residents is one of the highest in North America. Since summer is one of the best times to enjoy the city’s outdoor spaces, you can make your way across the lake at Deer Lake Park by renting a paddleboat with Deer Lake Rentals or bring your own bike and take on one of the park’s abundant cycle trails through dense forest. The best part? Both of these activities check the box for a solid (yet enjoyable) workout.
Treat yourself to lunch
While you’re in Deer Lake Park, refuel with a lakeside lunch at a truly unique dining establishment — Hart House Restaurant. Located in a beautiful Tudor-style mansion, the restaurant has a lunch menu with something for every kind of mood. Keep it light with the Soup du Jour and Housemade Focaccia Bread or go for something a little more hearty with the equally tasty Hart House Burger and organic greens or fries on the side.
Explore the Heights
Burnaby is home to a plethora of hidden gems, and one of those is the Heights. A thriving community with more than 150 years of history, it’s filled with plenty of independently owned businesses, public art, murals, parks and trails, gorgeous viewpoints, and shops (including the must-visit Italian spot Cioffi’s Meat Market & Deli) all within walking distance. One of our new favourite places for sundaes and milkshakes in this part of town? The charming, family-owned Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionery.
Indulge in Greek fare
When you’ve worked up (or walked up) an appetite for dinner, SOCRATES in the Heights has you covered. This family-owned restaurant is renowned for its mouthwatering Greek cuisine and winning menu items like Greek Fries (a must-try), Souvlaki (with the option of chicken, lamb, pork, beef, or prawns), and a host of other Greek specialties to choose from. Whether you visit solo or with a friend, it’s sure to be a memorable experience.
Catch a magnificent sunset
Burnaby’s epic landscape means you can do everything from get out on the water to climb a mountain all in one day. So why not do it all? During your staycation, venture to Burnaby Mountain to take in an unforgettable sunset at Kamui Mintara (Playground of the Gods). These towering wooden sculptures by Japanese artists Nuburi and Shusei Toko are a sight to behold as the sun fades into the night’s sky.
One last foodie stop
As your weekend in Burnaby draws to a close, be sure to check out one more foodie haven before you go home: La Forêt. This chic, industrial-style bakery has an extensive selection of sweet and savoury menu items for brunch. If black squid ink waffles are too bold a choice, opt for a classic breakfast sandwich (with a croissant as your bread) or a summer-perfect avocado platter. Pro tip: order an extra coffee for the road.
Squeeze in shopping
It’s been a while since we’ve visited the mall and browsed the shelves at the stores we love. If you share the same sentiment, you have the chance to squeeze in some shopping before you leave Burnaby. With Metropolis at Metrotown, The City of Lougheed Shopping Centre, and The Amazing Brentwood (with its seriously noteworthy food court) all within reach, you’ll easily find wardrobe essentials to take you through summer — plus some snacks for the road.
To discover more hidden gems in Burnaby and start planning your staycation, visit tourismburnaby.com/summer.