1. Coolest cocktails
Feeling adventurous? Try an award-winning “apothecary cocktail” like the Royal Unicorn (cilantro, gin, pineapple, cucumber, ginger syrup, lime) at the Keefer Bar. Or indulge your inner Mad Men fan at the Emerald, a 1960s-Vegas-inspired joint where the best Bloody Caesars in town are made to order at your table from a bar cart. Bonus: The deep-set leather booths are perfect for girlie get-togethers! Keefer Bar, 135 Keefer St.; The Emerald, 555 Gore St.
2. Smart style
Fashion lovers flock to designer Erin Templeton’s boutique for her covetable handbags made from buttery-soft leathers. (The Shopper is one of our faves!) And don’t miss Charlie & Lee. Run by a super-cool couple, the shop carries labels from around the globe like Rag & Bone and Primary New York (designed by a Canadian expat). Erin Templeton, 511 Carrall St.; Charlie & Lee, 223 Union St.
3. Ultimate home finds
Go on a treasure hunt at Bamboo Village Oriental Folk Art & Craft. Believe us: Climbing the rickety stairs and sidestepping through the tightly packed aisles are totally worth it for all the awesome finds, from paper lanterns and Chinese kitchenware to statement furniture like a bright red armoire. 135 E. Pender St., 604-662-3300.
4. Go green
Once voted the world’s best city garden by National Geographic, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (a.k.a. the Garden of Ease) is the closest you’ll get to the real thing without leaving the country. Enjoy a guided tour of the serene settings while you sip Chinese tea. 578 Carrall St.
5. Foodie delights
Gourmands won’t want to miss Edible Canada’s two-hour walking tour. You’ll explore local markets and shops, indulge in yummy tastings from tea to barbecue and finish off with a classic Cantonese dim sum lunch. And be sure to drop by Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie. It’s a treasured local fave thanks to its minimal yet warm vibe, great wine list and modern tapas-style menu with Shanghai and Taiwanese influences. We love the truffled pork dumplings. 163 Keefer St.