Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, glistening waterways and dense forest, Vancouver is a breathtaking cosmopolitan hub. Abuzz with energy and rich in character, the British Columbian metropolis is a true international city with a lot on offer.
Clean and safe, cool and young, intelligent and multicultural, outdoorsy and cultural, as USA Today put it, Vancouver is a “supermodel of North American cities”. Only a short drive from the US border, the city – known as Hollywood North – sees extraordinary shopping, dining, art and entertainment sit on the doorstep of some of the world’s most impressive wilderness.
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Vancouver locals are reputed to ‘eat out’ more than most North Americans and as a result are spoilt for choice with an exceptional array of dining opportunities.
Boasting more restaurants per head than anywhere else in Canada, Vancouver’s rich dining scene is divided up over a number of exciting urban neighbourhoods.
The city’s birthplace, Gastown – a settlement originally founded around a tavern – is home to cobble stone streets and Victorian buildings that house excellent casual dining and drinking establishments.
Former warehouse district, Yaletown has been coined Vancouver’s hippest neighbourhood, lined with sidewalk cafes, trendy restaurants and afterhours haunts.
The city’s main drag, Granville Street hosts British Columbia’s biggest selection of restaurants and eateries, and is a popular late-night hangout, brimming with nightclubs and bars.
North America's third-largest Chinatown can be found just east of downtown. The historical area is abuzz with vibrant colours and culture, and rich with history, architecture and culinary hotspots.
Connected to the downtown area via Granville Street, Granville Island is home to more than 70 eateries, as well as Canada’s first microbrewery Granville Island Brewing, and epicurean hive Granville Island Public Market.
Outside downtown Vancouver, south of English Bay, former hippy haven, Kitsilano is a popular haunt for the rich and famous, and is particularly celebrated for its organic food markets, ethnic restaurant and on-trend cafes.
Amid Vancouver’s sea of culinary choices, seafood and local produce reign supreme. The local chef community has a deep respect for Pacific Northwest products, and most local menus spill with Pacific-caught seafood (in particular scallops, fish, oysters and crab) farm-fresh vegetables, dairy products and meats.
As a cosmopolitan city, full of young professionals and culture enthusiasts, Vancouver boasts a number of exciting inner-city and suburban retail opportunities.
Downtown – from Burrard to Howe and West Hastings to Georgia – is speckled with a fantastic mix of commercial buildings, including The Sinclair Centre and Pacific Centre. The area is also home to leading shopping thoroughfare, Robson Street.
East along the waterfront, the Gastown district is rich with history and features an array of outstanding galleries, antique shops and art stores. As the birthplace of Vancouver, Gastown is a great location in which to pick up souvenirs.
Running through the heart of Vancouver, major thoroughfare, Granville Street is populated with a diverse array of shopping opportunities. The area sees apparel stores vie for business with book shops, and electronic outlets sit side-by-side with cafes.
Southeast of Granville Street, Yaletown’s former industrial brick warehouses have been stylishly redeveloped to now house super-hip clothing stores and designer furniture outlets.
Dissecting China Town, Main Street has a reputation as a prominent shopping hotspot, offering an eclectic mix of old and new.
On the other side of town, West End is famous for its prominent gay and lesbian community, legendary bookstores and coffee shops.
Across False Creek, Granville Island offers a number of exceptional shopping experiences; in particular Grandville Island Public Markets (where stalls hawk fresh produce, meats, fish and baked goods) and niche shops and galleries (that specialise in crafts like pottery, glassware and paper making).
Over the bridge, South Granville is fast-emerging as one of Vancouver's trendiest shopping enclaves, an area full of interior design, home furnishings, antiques and designer fashion boutiques.
Five minutes’ drive east of downtown, Commercial Drive – or 'Little Italy' or 'The Drive' as it is known by locals – hosts a community of funky and unique stores. While further out (15 minutes on the Skytrain ride from downtown) Burnaby hosts British Columbia’s largest shopping centre, Metropolis at Metrotown.