The first TV show Mary Elizabeth Winstead starred inplaying a half-human, half-werewolf teenage girlwas shot in Vancouver. Though CBS canceled Wolf Lake after one season, Winstead fell in love with the coastal Canadian town and has worked there on and off ever since. Over time, the actress has graduated from her scream-queen origins to leading roles in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and this years 10 Cloverfield Lane, the J.J. Abrams-produced thriller in which shes abducted by a terrifying prepper played by John Goodman. (Winstead returned to TV in June on CBS BrainDead, a show about zombie politicians by the creators of The Good Wife.) But despite Winsteads onscreen flair for the eerie and bizarre, her real life is more about chic eats and outdoor adventure. Like Vancouver itself, shes hip, vibrant, and on the rise.
Theres a place off the beaten path called Gastown. It has a lot of history, a lot of character, and beautiful architecturebrick buildings, old warehouses. Also, Im a little bit of a sucker for a quintessential hipster coffee shop, and Gastown is home to my favorite, Nelson the Seagull. Its in an industrial-style space with long wooden tablesthe kind of place where everyone is obviously a writer and kind of hunkering down for the day.
The Parlour is a very trendy place, but once my husband and I had the pizza, we were like, Were coming here once a week for sure. We order the Yaletown, which is a sushi pizzatuna and avocado and all of these things you would normally never have on a pizza. It sounds very strange, but its the best pizza ever.
Secret Location has a molecular-gastronomy-type tasting room, and the cocktails are super-inventive. You order a drink that claims to be the essence of some fruitblueberries or peachesand it tastes exactly like it. Its that kind of Willy Wonka-esque experience.
Theres a lot of high-end shopping downtown, but I love this place called Oak + Fort in Gastown. Everything is really minimal but really striking, different than what other people are wearing. When I first walked in, it looked like the kind of place where you know everything is going to be at least $500. But then I found an amazing sweater for 40 bucks, an amazing piece of jewelry for 20 bucks.
We take our dogs to Spanish Banks Beach, where the tide goes out so far that you can walk out for what feels like miles. Then we go to Forty Ninth Parallel Caf & Luckys Doughnuts, which has the best latte and best doughnutmaple-honey-glazedIve ever had. Ever.
Near downtown, right on the water, theres a place called Science World that has great exhibits on stuff like anatomy and sustainability tech and a giant geodesic dome that they built for the worlds fair in the 80s. Locals bring their kids on weekends, but its still fun to go as an adult when the crowds die down.
If youre in Vancouver in the winter, skiing is huge; Whistler is the go-to resort. But we had the most relaxing getaway of all time at Whistler in the summer. We spent the day at a Scandinavian bathhouse called Scandinave, where you jump between really hot pools and really cold pools and saunas and steam rooms. When you feel like taking a break, they have this perch on top of the mountain. Its so blissful to just sit there and look at the scenery and breathe that crisp Vancouver air.
Illustrations by MICHAEL MARSICANO