If there's one city in the Pacific Northwest that can go toe-to-toe with Seattle, it's Vancouver.
Great food, clubs that actually play good music, and big enough that you could use more than just a standard weekend to digest it.
So take off this Labor Day weekend and squeeze everything you can out of that happy Monday.
Skip the traffic at the Peace Arch and take the train. It's a gorgeous trip that runs along the waterfront and takes about four hours. Tickets start at $40 — a fraction of flying.
303 South Jackson St, International District (206-296-0100)
SLEEP LIKE A MAD MAN
The Burrard started life as a motel in the 1950s, but new owners have given it a serious facelift. The updated amenities include free bike rentals, a courtyard for kicking back, and passes to the Steve Nash Fitness Center. It's also located in super-hip Yaletown, convenient to some of the city's best restaurants.
Rates start at $114/night. 1100 Burrard Street, Vancouver (604-681-2331)
DINE EVEN FINER
Vancouver's foodie scene is the envy of the world, but no restaurant is hotter right now than Hawksworth. The aromatic soy-roasted sablefish is stellar, as is the foie gras parfait. But you'll need to book well in advance if you want to try them; the wait time at this gorgeous "contemporary Canadian" eatery is at least two weeks long.
801 W Georgia St, Vancouver (604-673-7000)
Sure, the Keefer Bar verges on seedy. But with anatomical diagrams on the walls and a unique cocktail menu that incorporates principles of Chinese medicine into the drinks, this place has a Vancouver vibe that you won't find anywhere else. Plus burlesque hotties on Thursday nights.
135 Keefer Street, Vancouver (604-688-1961)
GET SOME AIR
Once you've had your fill of urban life, head out to nearby Grouse Mountain for a unique perspective on Vancouver -- hooked up to a zipline. This adrenaline-spiking aerial tour takes you across five different lines over Grouse and Dam Mountains. Cap it off with a trip up to the Eye of the Wind, where you can look down on the city below. Wouldn't judge you if you kept your eye out for vacancies.
6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver (604-980-9311)