Ever wish you knew the inside scoop before visiting a new destination? Now you can! We’ve reached out to our favorite locals and tour guides from all over the world for their insider tips. In the City Insider Q&A, they’ll let you in on the spots that should be on your must-see and do list!
Name: Josh Bloomfield
Occupation: Owner/operator/guide at Cycle City Tours
City: Vancouver, BC
Short bio: Growing up in the prairies of Manitoba, Josh is a friendly, soft spoken kind of guy who loves good music, food and the great outdoors. Armed with a degree in marketing and finance from the University of Manitoba and a backpack, Josh set off to travel the world. Over several years, his travels took him to Brazil (to study Capoeira—a Brazilian martial art/dance/music), a rural village in Japan (where he taught English), and to Cambodia (where he worked for a non-profit organization and guided his first bike tour).
Getting tired of the same old backpacker and tourist hangouts, Josh decided to start travelling by bicycle, taking him to remote parts of Asia that few outsiders have experienced. In 2009, he made it all the way to the border of Tibet after a 4,000 km journey following the Mekong river from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The experience sealed his belief that a journey is truly about the people you meet and learn from along the way. Josh continues paying it forward, sharing what he knows about Vancouver with new friends who join his bike tours. He is particularly interested in First Nations culture and history, Pacific temperate rainforest ecology, and Vancouver’s food scene.
Josh enjoys bike touring, yoga, and studies West African percussion in his spare time, regularly playing with friends and African dance groups around town.
Best way to get to/from airport: The Canada Line Skytrain—for sure!
Best way to get to/from train station: Bicycle—it’s the only way I get around.
Favorite 5-star hotel: Rosewood Hotel Georgia
Favorite budget hotel: The Burrard. It’s well-priced and super hip.
5 places visitors must see:
1. Third Beach located in Stanley Park. It’s a great place to watch the sunset.
2. The view from Grouse Mountain.
3. Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood at night.
4. Don’t miss the Make Music Vancouver Festival—it’s a free outdoor music festival featuring local talent, and takes place in the streets of Gastown and Yaletown.
5. The otters at the Vancouver Aquarium.
Best local newspaper/recommended reading (for finding out what’s going on about town): Georgia Straight.
Favorite fine dining restaurant: Vij’s. Indian food that will knock your socks off!
Favorite casual restaurant: Tacofino food truck. I’m on a fish taco kick right now.
Best place to get a coffee: JJ Bean in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighourhood.
Best music venue/place to see live music: Rio Theatre.
Favorite museum: Museum of Anthropology.
Best sports venue(s): BC Place Stadium.
Most popular local food: Candied salmon at Granville Island.
Best “locals only spot”: Grandview Park located in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive neighbourhood. You’ll find more characters than you can imagine, the world’s first bike polo court, and lots of musicians jamming.
To live like a local, you must have this experience: Explore the city by bike!
Most popular local drink: Coconut water. That stuff is like healthy crack for workout junkies.
Movies/TV shows filmed in your city: So many movies/TV shows are filmed in Vancouver—it’s known as “Hollywood North.” For nostalgic value, my favorite would have to be Macgyver. Richard Dean Anderson had one of the best mullets in the business.
Best souvenirs to buy/goods to bring home: Smoked Salmon!
Best place to volunteer: HUB.
Biggest tourist trap/places to avoid and when: Granville Island is amazing, but it can get pretty busy during peak hours. Check it out in the morning, Monday through Friday, to avoid the crowds.
Best smartphone app(s) for your city: Vancouver Food Truck App. It’s free, and you’ll always know where the street food is at.
Best travel tip: Rent a bike or take a bike tour, you won’t regret it! (Shameless self promotion ;-))