Vancouver is full of amazing things to do, see and experience. It’s all about discovering the hidden and the not-so-hidden gems around town. And for anyone looking for cool new experiences to up their weekend plans, we have just the thing for you.

Thanks to On The Coast with Gloria Macarenko, we have a list of 5 cool things you can enjoy in and around Vancouver. As you might know, the popular CBC radio show that brings us our daily city news and its in-depth analysis, also spotlights the best of what the city has to offer. This includes showcasing the arts, things you can do, restaurants you can try and a lot more.

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The list below is courtesy of some of the radio show’s recent segments. From tasting unique culinary delights to getting your sweat on at an awesome local social wellness collective, here are 5 cool things in and around Vancouver you ought to try RN—

Grab some late-night grub at Secret Snack Society

Devouring a late-night snack and being part of a secret society! Vancouver’s foodscape can hardly get better than this. And we have Rahul Kumar, owner of the popular Karma Indian Bistro at Kitsilano to thank. The man has started a ghost kitchen that serves an Indian snack-type menu from 10 PM-2 AM.  And he cleverly named it Secret Snack Society.

The place will be serving an Indian snack-type menu with samosa, pakoras and even maggie (Drooool!) on the menu.

Talking to CBC intern Shivani Joshi on the show, Kumar revealed as a late-night snacker himself, he struggled to find decent late-night options in Vancouver. So, he decided to start one for fellow late-night snackers in and around the area. He also revealed why he named it “Secret Snack Society” but we suggest you check out the segment to find that one for yourself.

Secret Snack Society
Photo via Karma Indian Bistro

Pamper yourself with a handcrafted Tawnshi Charcuterie box

Another gem that we owe On The Coast for is Tawnshi Charcuterie. What’s so gem-like in a Charcuterie board? Glad you asked. So, Trevor Jansen and Marina LeClair, the couple behind the brand, gave charcuterie boards an incredible Indigenous twist. Inspired by their Indigenous culture and its connection to the land, the boxes are filled with seasonal ingredients along with cured meats, cheeses, jams, preserves and baked goods.

As we learned from the show, the couple was on the hunt for ideas on what to do next after losing their jobs during the pandemic. And Marina got the idea in the shower one day, while thinking of what could she do and what would bring her joy. On realizing that cooking and entertaining was just that, Marina came up with the idea of indigenous-inspired charcuterie.

Adding to the backstory, Trever said, “We wanted our own business, we wanted to make our family proud and we wanted to honour our heritage as well.” And so was born Tawnshi (Hello in Michif) Charcuterie.

Tawnshi Charcuterie
Photo via Tawnshi Charcuterie

Check out bird counting/watching hotspots

The 26th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count might have ended but with spring on the horizon, bird watching is another cool activity to take up. BC director at Birds Canada, David Bradley who joined Gloria on the show confirmed now is a great time to spot several bird species on the west coast. These include ducks, snow geese, robins and more.

David also shared a few great spots in Vancouver to check them out. “Parks are always a great place… green space and it’s like an oasis for birds. So, often that is a really good place to find birds. Stanley Park, of course, is a flagship in Vancouver. Queen Elizabeth Park is very good as well. Jericho Beach is fantastic as well. So all these locations are the biggest spots to find birds,” he said.

bird watching vancouver
Photo via Shutterstock

Sweat it out with CMMN GRND’s new holistic approach to exercise

An interesting conversation about the capitalism-induced perception of fitness and gender-specific body conformity on the show led to the unravelling of CMMN GRND (read: common ground). It is a group fitness studio and social wellness collective that focuses on the impact of exercise on your body and mind. Wanting to change the focus of workouts from physical appearances to holistic health was what led owner and co-founder, Dylan Archambault, to start the collective.

When Dylan first came out of the closet he was ambushed by the social expectation of what a cis man’s body should be like. This conflicted with his perception growing up as a figure-skater with a supportive mother who let him move his body the way he felt comfortable. This was when he realized that inclusion was necessary in the wellness industry. And so CMMN GRND is changing the social perception one workout at a time.

cmmn grnd
Photo via CMMN GRND

Treat yourself to adventurous treats at Drunken Chocolatier

This one has got to be our favourite discovery on the show. And it’s all thanks to CBC story producer Caroline Chan who went to Drunken Chocolatier. to enjoy their hot chocolate for the lunar new year. During her visit, Chan found a whole bunch of interesting and adventurous flavours there. This includes several Asian-inspired flavours and a “hot” favourite Coconut Sambal (yes, really) chocolate.

The Coconut Sambal has sambal mixed with coconut caramel. Intriguing, eh?

“Just don’t be afraid to try different things in it. If it looks weird, just go for it. That’s what I usually do,” says Carina Chao, owner of Drunken Chocolatier.

chocolate truffles
Photo via Drunken Chocolatier

That was our list for now. To continue uncovering more cool things in Vancouver, tune into CBC Radio’s On The Coast. You can also revisit their old segments on the CBC Listen website below.