If you are tight on time during your visit to Vancouver and Whistler, here are a couple of tips on places you can skip and others you should not miss:
Steam clock. In Gastown, tourists flock to the historic steam clock, a street-side clock that emits toots and blasts every hour on the hour. It's somewhat charming but not worth the trek for a scene reminiscent of watching a teapot boiling.
Eastside. For the most part, downtown Vancouver is a model of tidiness and order. But be careful you don't stumble into the Eastside neighborhoods north of Chinatown and east of Gastown, where crime, drug dealing and gang violence are a growing problem. I got lost in that area one night and wished I had worn my running shoes.
Zipline tour. The first leap off a wooden platform, perched more than 1,000 feet above a surging creek, can be daunting. But the ensuing rush is worth it. Take one of several zipline tours offered at the base of Whistler mountain and you will swoon at the views of the woods in Fitzsimmons Canyon and scream like a lunatic when you fly 60 mph over Fitzsimmons Creek, suspended by a half-inch steel cable.