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7 Easy Steps to Explore Richmond, British Columbia

Shopping, authentic Asian dining, Steveston village & more!

Vancouver, one of Canada’s glorious international jewels, is an easy place to fall in love with.  But a short subway ride away (and a stone’s throw from YVR airport) sits the charming city of Richmond. Officially, it’s considered part of Metro-Vancouver but it’s far enough removed to have a flavor all its own. And that flavor is robust, diverse and a lot of fun.

enjoying Richmond, BC ...Annie, GoGirlfriend’s Social Media Manager, and I recently visited Richmond. We had less than 24 hours to experience as much as we could pack in – and we never turn down a challenge. We contacted the social media manager of the three sisters of downtown Richmond hotels – Sheraton, Hilton and Marriott – and asked if she could help us design an itinerary to taste just enough of the city to whet our appetites for a return visit.

What we experienced in such a short time is nothing short of a travel miracle…

7 steps to discovering the beauty of Richmond

Richmond’s population is 60% Asian so from shopping in the Golden Village District to the famous Summer Night Market, flavor is the name of the game. But there’s also the historic village of Steveston, religious temples, a beautiful city park as well as wine tours, local theatre and the beautiful Richmond Olympic Oval.

Here’s what we did – and what we want to do on our next trip.

Summer Night Market

International Summer Night MarketAnnie found the International Summer Night Market online and made me promise we’d make time for it. Having never been to an Asian market before (never mind a night one) I was happy to oblige. Thousands of people visit each year (May to October) to enjoy the music, dance performances and, of course, shopping. The trees were all decorated in lights and as we strolled aisle after aisle of flea-market-style trinkets, we noshed on egg puffs, strangely fried potatoes and fresh-made lemonade. 

Steveston Village

lunching on Steveston docksBritish Columbia has a long, rich history of fishing and Steveston is the perfect place to walk through a community straddling the past, present and future. We explored the Cannery Museum at one end of the boardwalk and walked to the other end to dream about living in one of the beautiful condominiums being built there. In between, we wandered in and out of a smorgasbord of charming shops as well as Belle’s Bake Shop. Annie and I gave into our love of cupcakes – YUM!

Golden Village District

365DaysofDining.comRichmond is fast becoming known as Vancouver’s “new” Chinatown and the Golden Village District, with its over-abundance of Asian-themed shopping malls is partly to blame – not to mention the glorious food choices. Sadly, we didn’t spend much time exploring this part of Richmond but Lindsay Anderson did in Richmond’s 365 Days of Dining. In my next life, I’m coming back as Lindsay.

Harold’s Bistro

a great lunch at Harold'sEvery day for more than 35 years, Mr. Harold Cross has visited the YVR Sheraton for lunch. Now in his 90’s, he’s still a regular every day. The hotel named the restaurant after him (officially named in Harold’s Bistro in 2009), gave him a front-row parking spot and lunch is on the house now. While we missed meeting Harold in person, there was no denying how much the staff loves him. Oh, and lunch was delish, of course.

American Grille Restaurant

the chefs at the American GrilleThe Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel hosted us for dinner the night we visited and we loved that the Marriott, Sheraton and Hilton share a parking lot – traveling between hotels is a cinch. The American Grille is casual and frequented by locals (a nice surprise) as well as international travelers. The menu was inventive and the chef was happy to make accommodations for dietary limitations (vegetarian).

Minoru Park

Minoru Chapel (courtesy of richmond.ca)Whether it’s feeding the geese, playing cricket, basketball, tennis or enjoying one of the many cultural activities, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy this piece of heaven in the center of Richmond. On the west side of Minoru Park sits a quaint chapel surrounded by proper English gardens. The church is available for weddings, church services and even musical performances and the whole of Minoru Park is your backdrop.

Three Sisters Vancouver Airport hotels

The Sheraton, Marriott and Hilton are often dismissed as stopover hotels for travelers passing through Vancouver. But with all there is to do in Richmond, they deserve more than a passing glance. What’s more, the level of service and amenities in the hotels outpace some more expensive hotels I’ve visited. I stayed at the Sheraton and I’m sure they studied my open letter to hotels because everything in my room spoke to simplifying my life and delivering a good night’s sleep. I especially appreciated the extra outlets and USB port beside my bed.

Sadly, there were a few things Annie and I didn’t get to do in Richmond – but they’re on our wish list for next time:

  • Olympic Oval – With almost 50,000 square meters of explorable space, we’re pretty sure we could fill a full day and evening here.
  • Wine tours – Drink you way through Richmond? I love the idea of a wine tour with a few friends. Check out what wineries HelloBC.com recommends.
  • Local theatre – The Gateway Theatre in Richmond offers live professional theatre, 6 award winning shows per year.
  • Religious temples – Rich in history, culture and tranquility, Richmond’s temples are worth a visit: Buddhist Temple and Ling Yen Mountain Temple are on my list of must-visit places.

treats from the SheratonThank you to the Sheraton, Marriott and Hilton for sponsoring our stay in Richmond and for helping us discover all Richmond has to offer travelers. If you’re considering a trip to British Columbia, connect with the Three Sister online:

Have you been to Richmond, British Columbia? I’d love hear what you discovered there! Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook – and let’s continue the conversation!

To comply with the long list of regulating bodies, possibly even Geneva Conventions and in the interest of transparency, our stay in Richmond was sponsored. Commentary and perspectives are those of GoGirlfriend.

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