EVERYTHING STICKY AND SWEET
With just two days to go before the big show I know many of you are making travel plans and I thought I'd throw in a few helpful tips. Be sure to allow yourself enough time for border crossing, and bring your proper documents if you are driving through. You now need a passport OR a valid driver's license WITH a birth certificate. I've been checking the wait times the last couple days at www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/general/times/menu-e.html which is updated every hour and haven't seen any extended wait times. When looking at the chart check out the box for "Douglas (Peace Arch)" to find the crossing from I-5. As expected the busiest times are after 5pm on and I would highly suggest that you get through the border well before then on Thursday. Let's not forget that Madonna is playing a stadium that is three times the size of Key Arena. There will surely be traffic flow coming from Washington that may clog it up. So far rain is predicted on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. If it does rain into the afternoon on Thursday that may affect crossing times as well. The last time I crossed the border it took 90 minutes JUST for the border in addition to the three hours travel time. I'm hoping that it won't be that bad again, but I'm not taking any chances with time.
Once into the city you can breathe a sigh of relief. You are there and there is no way you are missing the show now so take some time and enjoy it. I have a list of places I hit whenever there. Vancouver is beautiful and if you haven't been I highly recommend doing what I call the "downtown circle" that encompasses my three favorite travel activities: sightseeing, shopping and eating!
The circle is connected by four streets; Granville, Robson, Denman and Davie. It doesn't matter exactly where you start (of course this depends on your hotel location) but I like to begin at Granville and Robson. Both are lined with shopping and places to eat. I start off with a crepe at one of the fabulous Cafe Crepe restaurants or walk-up windows. Once I have my fill I'm off to the shops. Check out the Aldo Outlet right there on the corner of Granville and Robson for great deals on shoes. Head west on Robson for the rest of the stores until you hit Denman and move south. The shops get smaller and more locally owned at this point and you are more likely to find unique items that you won't see anywhere else. Just off of Denman is Comox St. home of the fantastic Delilah's Martini Bar and Restaurant. Super charming atmosphere and delicious eats, this is the PERFECT place for dinner before the show. Check out http://www.delilahs.ca/ for more. Once back on Denman you can head down to the best damn cupcake you will ever eat at Cupcakes by Heather and Lori. It's the cutest little shop that you can't miss because it's entirely pink and the smell of baked cakes will surely lure you in (http://www.cupcakesonline.com/).
Take your deserts and within a short walk Denman will turn into beautiful Stanley Park (www.vancouver.ca/parks/parks/stanley/index.htm). Breathtaking scenery and location make it the "Volunteer Park" of Vancouver...except with sweeping views of the mountains and water. One can easily spend an afternoon taking it all in if this is your sort of thing. It's also a great spot for jogging if your hotel is close enough to it.
Continue on to Davie St. where you will find many of the local gay bars and clubs, as well as some gay owned stores. Pop into Numbers for a drink and acclimate yourself to the area if you intend to partake in the evening activities. This is where you will be bar crawling with the rest of the nightlife. And let me tell you that the kids in Vancouver know how to party. The street scene alone is packed with people on any weekend evening and I expect this to be a blowout week because of Madge and Halloween. We'll do our best to keep you up to date with all activities involving her "Madgesty" including pre and post parties. Check out http://www.tourismvancouver.com/ and http://www.gayvancouver.net/ for more information and ideas. The city is huge and lots of fun so venture out and create some of your own favorite stops.
By the way, last I checked the Executive Vintage Park Hotel (http://www.executivehotels.net/) downtown still had rooms and limited Madonna Concert Packages still available. The package includes room with jacuzzi bath tub, shuttle transfer on availiblitity to BC Place Stadium (hotel guests only), sparkling white wine for arrival and a Madonna CD for just $269. The accomodations are deluxe and they even have complimentary wine tasting every night.