In no particular order:

Juxtapositions. From many vantage points throughout the city you can see unusual urban architecture, snow-capped mountains, and rocky beaches or shimmering water at the same time. I loved that there are beautiful landscapes everywhere even when you’re right in the middle of the city.

My daughter. She was a phenomenal traveler. She loved the airplanes (she had her first gum to clear her ears during the descent into Baltimore), she loved the hotels, she blazed fearlessly across the Capilano Suspension Bridge and the treetop adventure on the other side. She was up for any

adventure in any neighborhood. She made friends with eight- and ten-year-old sisters at a playground in Stanley Park. She loved the story of the Raven, a First Nations trickster tale that they broadcast on the miniature train we rode through the park.

Intergenerational mosh pit. We went to the the Vancouver International Children’s Festival on Granville Island and watched a performance by Quebecois folk and roll band Mauvais Sort. They asked for people to come down in front of the stage and dance. The request was answered by a group of preschoolers and toddlers and a group of tweens, who co-existed peacefully on the dance floor throughout the performance. The older kids danced and had a great time but were totally respectful and nice. I was amazed.

Unusual playground equipment at playgrounds overlooking the water–for once Zoe got to push Randy on something instead of the other way around. This is at Kitsilano Beach. 

The Regional Assembly of Text–a really cool store for font, design, and print nerds like me. They have a letter writing club once a month where they set out a bunch of typewriters and people come to type letters.

The Vancouver Aquarium–I’ve visited many an aquarium in my day and this was one of the coolest. I especially liked seeing the Beluga whales and the dolphin show. I didn’t like so much waiting in line for the 4D movie only to have Zoe crying the first minute of the film when we were spritzed with water to feel like the whales were splashing us and we had to leave the theater. Oh well.

Slickety Jim’s Chat ‘n’ Chew–a fun restaurant with an awesome name and amusing menu. The food was good too.

Kidsbooks–the best kids bookstore ever. Wish we’d gone earlier than half hour before it closed for the day.

Haida art–animals drawn or painted in the style of the First Nations people indigenous to the region that now includes Vancouver.

Shore 104.3–a fun radio station that plays music I actually like listening to, or introduces me to new music I happen to like. There is no radio station like this in the DC area.

Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park–colorful birds flying around amid tropical flowers in a geodesic dome surrounded by a fountain and people doing tai chi and a wedding. What more could you want? Our trip was fantastic and, after a week back at work, I wish we were still there.