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Indoor Escapes in Vancouver

When the weather outside is less than perfect, it’s time for inside adventures


Treasures from around the world fill the Museum of Anthropology. Photo by KK Law

For Art Lovers
Art aficionados exercise the right side of their brains at the stately Vancouver Art Gallery, which often stages large exhibitions of Matisse, Renoir, da Vinci and other masters. Get the most out of your visit with gallery tours every Thursday and Sunday, or wander the cavernous halls on your own to discover BC legends such as Emily Carr and Jack Shadbolt. Head out to the University of British Columbia campus for the Museum of Anthropology, which houses 38,000 indigenous artifacts from around the world, including a range of Northwest Coast First Nations totem poles. On your way back into town, pop into more than 20 art spaces on South Granville’s Gallery Row to see everything from contemporary abstracts to historical landscapes by members of the Group of Seven. Finish up your culture crawl balancing cocktail and palette while you explore your inner Picasso at Raw Canvas, the city’s only tapas-and-art lounge.—KU

For Shopaholics
Give your wallet a workout at Pacific Centre’s myriad stores, from high-end boutiques to budget-friendly chains, such as H&M, Apple, Sephora, Michael Kors and Gap. The attached Holt Renfrew and The Bay are worth spending an hour—or four—perusing. Escape the bustle of downtown and shop till you drop at nearby mega-malls Metropolis at Metrotown, Oakridge Centre, Richmond Centre and Park Royal. Still have money to burn? Purchase an eye-catching brolly from The Umbrella Shop, then hit the pavement on Robson Street for five-star window-shopping. J. Crew, Zara and Club Monaco await rainy-day dodgers.—JP

For Kids
They may be the littlest ones in the car, but tots and tykes can sure make a big noise when they’re not entertained. Banish boredom at Science World at Telus World of Science, where kids have so much fun with hands-on exhibits that they don’t realize how much they’re learning. Take the family to the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park to see everything from beluga whales and African penguins to sloths and scarlet ibises. Make sure to snap lots of photos, then stop by Make on Granville Island to create unique souvenirs by transferring those images onto t-shirts, pillows and aprons. Kids can even design their own buttons and shirts.—SR

For Sports Fans
Hockey lovers cheer on our local NHL team, the Vancouver Canucks, in Rogers Arena and scoop up souvenirs at the Canucks Team Store, or head to the Pacific Coliseum to watch the Vancouver Giants WHL team in action. Prefer the gridiron? Head to BC Place Stadium, home of the BC Lions football team. The stadium, which reopened last year after a renovation to install the world’s largest cable-supported retractable roof, also houses the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team. Year-round, the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum beckons with its interactive exhibits, tributes to local heroes Terry Fox and Rick Hansen, and Vancouver 2010 Gallery, where you can relive Olympic glory.—SR

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