Just twenty minutes from downtown Vancouver and home to the international airport, Richmond has grown over the years into a busy, multicultural city in its own right. With plenty to offer its many holiday visitors, you can enjoy shopping in its stylish shopping malls, sampling some of its delicious food or exploring its historic waterfront.
The city is a shopper’s delight with several large shopping centres all offering different experiences, from the mainstream fashion stores of the Richmond Centre to the high end labels of the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet (opening Spring 2015). The quirky Asian boutiques of the Aberdeen Centre sell everything from sweets and gifts to kitchen gadgets, so you can spend many enjoyable hours browsing. On top of this, the Night Markets are a must for all visitors. With rows and rows of stalls offering everything from delicious snacks to jewellery, live entertainment and events, they are a real feast for the senses.
Richmond is known for its excellent and varied dining. It boasts over 800 restaurants and some of the best Asian cuisine in North America, offering food from across the continent including Vietnamese, Malaysian, Japanese and Thai among many others. Whether it’s freshly caught West Coast fish and seafood, Korean tacos or Kansas-style smoky meat platters, the city is simply brimming with taste sensations.
There are many urban parks in the city. The large Richmond Nature Park has a range of trails through its wetlands and forest, including an easy boardwalk stroll around a pond, while the charming Minoru Park has a lake and pretty blossoms. Just out of town, on the other side of the airport, is the Iona Beach Regional Park which is also a peaceful place to relax. Some pleasant walks include a long jetty into the bay which you can walk to the end of with an abundance of wildlife to spot.
To the south of the city lies the historic fishing village of Steveston which is a lovely place to explore, with many shops and restaurants along the waterfront, an interesting cannery museum and a fascinating historic shipyard. It is also the base for several whale watching tour boats which cruise through the Gulf Islands in search of the striking orca and other magnificent whales, as well as dolphins, seals and many species of seabirds. Steveston area is popular for cyclists due to its largely flat dyke trails which boast some beautiful river and ocean views.
Richmond has a rich culture and there are several art galleries, including the Rufus Lin Gallery which showcases contemporary Japanese fine art. There are also more than sixty pieces of public artwork placed around the city, such as the ‘Water Sky Garden’ at the Olympic Oval, particularly pleasing when lit up at night. You can pick up walking tour maps to spot other pieces in the city neighbourhoods. There are also many different temples, churches and chapels, one of the most impressive being the International Buddhist Temple where you can see the huge gold Buddha statues and stroll among its tranquil gardens.
Perhaps surprisingly, the city is also home to three successful wineries. Lulu Island Winery produces world renowned Icewine, a dessert wine which is made from grapes that have been frozen on the vine. Famously hard to produce, the winery is the biggest exporter of this wine in the province.
Richmond is full of holiday surprises and contrasts. From the quaint Steveston village to the bustling Asian malls, the serene Buddhist temples to the chaotic Night Markets, your days here will be filled with colour and charisma whatever you decide to do.
Things to do
Top tips for visiting Richmond
Top Tip 1
• Richmond has a huge range of restaurants but the place to be if you’re hungry is ‘Food Street’ (Alexandra Road) in the Golden Village. In just three blocks there are over 200 places to eat offering a wide variety of delicious dishes, from tasty Shanghai-style dumplings to spicy pad Thai, Singapore noodles to bubble teas in all the colours of the rainbow.
Top Tip 2
• The best parks to visit are Richmond Nature Park, Minoru Park and Garry Point Park in Steveston. But for a hidden gem head to Iona Beach, where you can take a walk or cycle down the endless jetty, watch the planes coming and going or enjoy a beautiful sunset from the beach.
Top Tip 3
• There is plenty to entertain you at night - bars, theatres and clubs - but if you are looking for something different try EXIT. Like a creepy version of the Crystal Maze, take part in a group, get locked in a themed room and solve the puzzles to get out. Great fun!
Top Tip 4
• The city is an excellent place to cycle, particularly with children, as many of the trails and dykes are totally flat. Take the 6km trail from Middle Arm of the Fraser down the coast to Steveston where you can reward yourself with a hearty fish and chip lunch at Pajo’s. Look carefully and you may spot turtles sunbathing on the banks of the dyke.
Top Tip 5
• The night market is a must-see during your trip - make sure you visit with an empty stomach as you will want to sample the huge range of delicious food available as well as pick up some bargains. The city also has a large Asian public market if you prefer to shop during the day.
Top Tip 6
• From the differing city malls to the markets and quaint village streets, the shopping here is amazing. Visit the vast Daiso in Aberdeen Mall for the charming Japanese answer to Poundland, hit the high street in the Richmond Centre, or pick up some unique artwork in Steveston.
Top Tip 7
• For a little history, the London Heritage Farm is a beautiful place to visit with lovely gardens and a restored farmhouse which recreates life in the early 1900s, as well as regular events during the summer months.