Aerial view of downtown Vancouver and Burrard Inlet

(Hubert Kang photo)



One of Vancouver's best attractions is its rich mosaic of neighbourhoods. Ethnically and culturally diverse, each Vancouver neighbourhood has a distinct, yet always welcoming, personality.

Sample dim sum and authentic Asian cuisine in Chinatown and immerse youself in Chinese culture. Wander the bustling cosmopolitan shops on Robson Street, a shoppers mecca.

Relax on the patio at a trendy Yaletown micro-brewery. Admire historic buildings and saunter the cobblestone streets of Gastown, a National Historic Site, or marvel at the array of market vendors at Granville Island.

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No visit to Chinatown, a National Historic Site, is complete without a trip to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. A tranquil Ming Dynasty-style garden, it is the first authentic classical Chinese garden to have been built outside of China.

The Chinese Cultural Centre Museum and Archives presents an impressive collection of Chinese memorabilia. It also houses the Chinese Canadian Military Museum.

Make sure to see the Sam Kee Building. At just 1.5m/6ft wide, it's the world's most narrow office building - and easy to miss!

Chinatown can be found just east of downtown Vancouver. Be mindful of the fact that Chinatown, while very safe, is located in a more graphic part of the city.

Robson Street

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Energetic Robson Street is the place to see and be seen in Vancouver, and boasts more than 200 shops, cafés and services.

Spend a day on the strip – try on outfits at trend-setting fashion boutiques or sip a latté while people-watching from a sidewalk café. With a weekend average of some 80,000 streetgoers, there are plenty of people to watch!

Prefer less jostling among crowds? Head to the Vancouver Art Gallery. Housed in a former early-20th-century courthouse, the VAG is a haven for art lovers.

Finish the day with dinner at one of Robson Street's many fine restaurants.

Robson Street runs east-west through downtown Vancouver, from Yaletown to the West End. Parking on Robson Street can be a challenge because of its popularity; there are several parkades located within easy walking distance.


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Once a gritty area of loading bays and brick warehouses, Yaletown has undergone a facelift and is now a stylish mix of the fashion-savvy, dot-commers and celebrities. It is the neighbourhood of choice for urban trendsetters, both as a nighttime destination and a New-York-loft-like place to call home. Yaletown's streets are surrounded by condominium buildings towering over renovated brick-warehouse lofts.

Some of the city's hippest destinations are here: high-end galleries, chic fashion and furnishings boutiques. Swanky restaurants, brew pubs, trendy salons and even movie sets also share its narrow streets.

Yaletown sits at the southeastern tip of downtown Vancouver; parkades and meter parking are available.


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The historic district of Gastown is Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood. Still as colourful as ever, it is a favourite destination of tourists and locals.

A stroll down Gastown's cobblestone streets reveals artist studios, a thriving fashion scene, First Nations' galleries and antique stores - along with some of the best culinary fare in the city -  in refurbished heritage buildings. Gastown is also home to the world's first steam-powered clock, now one of the city's most photographed attractions.

Gastown was designated a National Historic Site in 2009. It's structures share a common Late Victorian and Edwardian look that harkens back to the region's development in the late 19th century. Check out the old Canadian Pacific Railway Station of 1912, or the Hotel Europe for a tangible example of the decorative tastes of the time.

Gastown is within easy walking distance of downtown Vancouver.

Granville Island

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Hop on a water taxi, salute the view of the downtown skyline and get ready to spend an enjoyable day at Granville Island.

An eclectic mix of shops, boutiques and galleries, Granville Island is perhaps most famous for its large and bustling Public Market, where local food vendors and artisans peddle their wares.

Browse the charming shops of the Net Loft, where retailers offer everything from exotic stationary to beads of every shape and kind, funky hats, First Nations gifts, books and locally-made fashions.

The Maritime Market clusters together retailers who specialize in all things ocean related: boat and kayak rentals, marine souvenirs and of course, seafood. There are fishing charters available too.

Kids adore the Kids Market. Here, independent sellers of atypical toys, books, games, clothing, candy and adventure offer a refreshing alternative to the usual.

Granville Island is also dotted with an array of arts-and-crafts studios and galleries dedicated to local and regional work.

Granville Island is located across from downtown Vancouver, under the Granville Bridge. Parking can be difficult to find; consider coming by foot, public transit, bike, taxi or water taxi.

West End

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Vancouver’s most densely populated neighbourhood borders on Stanley Park, English Bay and Robson Street. The area features streets bustling with activity just steps away from some of the cities nicest beaches.

Denman Street is filled with independent owned restaurants, cafes and shops providing bike and rollerblade rentals for those that wish to ride the seawall around neighbouring Stanly Park.

The West End is home to Davie Village, the heart of Vancouver’s LGBT community and the site of the Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival held each August.

Take a break from the busy streets and relax at the West ends two beaches; English Bay and Sunset Beach. The fine sand and stunning views make for a perfect urban escape. The beaches are also one of the best places in the city to each the Celebration of Light fireworks display held in the middle of summer.