This past Tuesday my friends and I completed The Urban Grind and climbed 28-storeys (40 flights of stairs) to get to the top of Harbour Centre.

It was the inaugural year for the Urban Grind and the turnout was INSANE (the ground floor of Harbour Centre was packed with people in their gym strip when I arrived).

What is the Urban Grind?

The Urban Grind is a new initiative hosted by Harbour Centre that lets fitness-seekers climb 593 steps to the top of the building. It is open between 4:00pm-6:30pm every Tuesday of March and costs $5. The ticket includes a free beer at the top and a $5 food voucher to Harbour Centre’s food court. Once you get to the top, you are greeted by a beautiful 360º aerial view of Vancouver and some live DJ entertainment.

All of THAT for $5? It was such a steal – I couldn’t resist!

The Wait (Long Lineup) 

My friends stood in line around 5:30pm and didn’t get in until 6:20pm (yes, a whole spankin’ 50 minutes!). Luckily I got off work late and joined them around 6:10pm so I didn’t have to wait for too long (heh.. thank goodness for friends!). We all had to sign waiver forms and get a witness’ signature to agree that Harbour Centre would not be liable for any injuries. I didn’t exactly read the waiver form (who does?!) so I signed it quickly and was set to climb to the top! We also received our beer ticket at the front desk so that gave us an incentive for us to complete the entire climb.

The Experience

We began our journey into the secret steps of Harbour Centre and I looked at my phone to check the time before heading up to see how long it would take (it was 6:20pm). Going up was not all that exciting – there were some 8″x11″ signs with the words #UrbanGrind and an arrow that pointed to the direction of the path so I guess that was helpful (even though there was no other way to go than to go up). When we reached the halfway point, I was kind of surprised because it seemed pretty quick but it was still a good workout since my legs at that time were already feeling the burn.

Once we reached the top, I quickly checked my time again and it was 6:28pm. ONLY 8 MINUTES OF CLIMB TIME?! Well, that was short-lived. Despite the short workout, you still get this accomplishing feeling at the top and now could tell your friends that you climbed to the top of Harbour Centre!

The climb took us to the Lookout deck so we were greeted with amazing views of Vancouver. Fortunately the weather was gorgeous that day so we got to see the nice skyline and even catch the sun setting. We grabbed our beers and got jiggy with the music (for like 5 minutes). Not many people were dancing but the music was pretty good.

Urban Grind in Vancouver

Getting our drank on
Getting our drank on

Hello Vancouver!

The Missing Food Vouchers

One thing I realized was that we did not receive our $5 food voucher. An organizer told us that the vouchers were waiting for us at the bottom so we went along with that. But as soon as we got to the bottom, there wasn’t anyone giving out vouchers and apparently they all “ran out”. I felt cheated as nobody from our 8-person group nor many of the people we asked received a voucher. Perhaps next week they will learn their lesson and increase their voucher stock!?


Overall the Urban Grind experience was GREAT and I plan to do it again next week (though I’m not looking forward to the long line-up). You get a decent workout, free beer at the top, an amazing view and (if all goes according to plan) a $5 food voucher. I would totally recommend it to anyone looking for something to do during Tuesday evenings in the month of March! Perhaps I’ll do it multiple times within the 4:00pm-6:30pm time slot to get a more intense workout next time (ehhh, we’ll see about that!).