Even if you don't have tickets in hand to the 2010 Winter Olympics, you can still head to Vancouver to join the party. Downtown Vancouver and surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs are playing host to not just the Games, but also a myriad of celebrations that are open to the public.
From February 11 to 28, LiveCity Yaletown will feature celebrations in and around David Lam Park, along the shores of False Creek. Located just minutes from BC Place Stadium, public events will include live performances, Olympic sponsor pavilions and giant screens showing event highlights. Once a gritty industrial area, Yaletown is now considered Vancouver's yuppie-yet-trendy neighborhood—easy to walk around with ample pubs, restaurants, boutique shops and galleries. LiveCity Downtown, adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre complex at Georgia and Cambie, will be another gathering space with public programming. Open from February 13 to 28, the space will feature live Olympic coverage, pavilions, food and drinks and is positioned so close to BC Place and General Motors Place that you'll think you're at the Games. Both spaces will open again in March as the city celebrates the Paralympic Winter Games.
The nearby town of Richmond, located south of Vancouver near the airport, is home to the $175 million Olympic Oval, which will host speed skating and award ceremonies. And where there's an event, there's a party. The O Zone entertainment area will be located just off the Richmond-Brighouse station and a few minutes walk from the Oval itself. The O Zone site is bigger than 66 football fields, featuring an enormous Holland Heineken House beer garden, massive screens, Olympic mascots, live ice carving and fireworks. Richmond is easily accessible from downtown by Canada Line, the city's new rapid transit system.