I love Chinese culture. This love draws from my time teaching English in China at Yanshan University, three hours east of Beijing in the early 2000s. Although I only lived in China for less than one year, a permanent tie was made that continually connects me to the culture. One of my favorite traveling activities, even while traveling in North America, is to find and visit musuems, centers, attractions, and regions that remind me of the unique beauty and creativity of China.
While in Vancouver, I certainly recommend a trip to Vancouver's Chinatown. Although most of the actual Chinese population has moved out of this area into a nearby neighborhood Richmond, there are still some authentic gems in the downtown Chinatown, including the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden.
This garden is absolutely lovely, full of beautiful plants, water features, and typical Chinese architecture. We visited on a rainy day in June and it was still worth it. The covered walkways that surround the gardens give you plenty of viewing opportunities without standing in the rain.
If you have kids with you, be sure to ask for a free scavenger hunt pack at the entrance. The activities help keep your kids interested and occupied as you enjoy the scenery. They'll be hunting for a variety of landscape, architecture, and animal locations while you take everything in. Their completed hunt rewards them with a prize back at the entrance.
In addition to the garden, be sure to head to the tea room. Free Chinese tea tastings are offered all day every day, so it is a fun chance to get your little ones to try a new taste. Coloring pages, crayons, and calligraphy lessons are also out for all guests to enjoy in the tea room.
Photo Credit: Katie Bodell