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Yaletown is Vancouver’s trendy and upscale renovated
warehouse district. This fresh urban neighbourhood is just an easy walk
from the centre of downtown Vancouver or a quick ferry ride from
Granville Island. Yaletown’s converted heritage buildings are home to
some of city’s top fashion and design shops, as well as cutting edge
restaurants and bars. Old loading docks act as giant sidewalks and
create a unique setting for wandering, shopping, or lounging at one of
the many outdoor patios. Check out www.yaletowninfo.com for more on this unique part of the downtown area.
Running from Burrard to Denman in between Robson and Beach, it has the best mix of beautiful views of the ocean, relaxing parks and any type of food you might be craving. In one block on Davie you can get the best value sushi at Samari Sushi and the best Greek at Stepho's (inexpensive, too), or even find a great falafel. Denman would be great place to grab some gelato and head down to the beach for the sunset. What 's great about the West End is it is down-to-earth, welcoming and stylish. For a great night out go to Celebrities , it's one of the best clubs in Vancouver with a mix of all types of people and persuasions, great music and a huge dance floor to enjoy it.
Gastown is a really unique part of Vancouver that has had it's hard times and is now gaining popularity with a plethora of new hip establishments. First you have to see the steam clock and don't forget to clap when it finishes its big show on the hour. Walk down Water St. for the pure tourist view, although there are some more interesting shops cropping up that aren't in the t-shirt and cheap souvenir category, most reacently including a return of John Fluevog to the area. If you're looking for local designer and vintage shops, check out Cordova from about Richards to Cambie a whole slew of great little shops like Dream, The Block, Mintage, Deluxe Junk. Abbott st. between Cordova st. and Water st. is quickly emerging as a happening litlle half block including Livestock known for their hiphop styles and rare sneakers. One recommmeded club would be the Lotus Sound Lounge at Abbot St. and Pender St. and the bar upstairs Honey has some fun weekly special nights. Also Shine at the start of Water St. at Cordova St. can be good depending on the night.
Gastown also has pretty much the best fabric store downtown, Dressew (337 W. Hastings). It's big and can be overwhelming at first, but there is good stuff at good prices to be found. Head downstairs for the reduced fabrics and all the trims and notions you could ever need. They are closed on Sundays.
Guu at the start of Water St. from Cordova has great Japanese tapas (meaning everything but sushi). Have the chicken karage, it is mouth watering. Another great resturant is Incendio's ( Alexander and Columbia), an Italian gem. They make the best focaccia bread, pizza and lasagna with their in-house brick oven. For an Irish feel, everyone goes to The Irish Heather near the Gassy Jack statue on Carroll St. For a cheap pint and travel atmosphere head to the Cambie at Cambie an Cordova St. A good vegetarian day time option is Nuba. They have an excellent falafel and great lentil soup.They have also opened a new location at Davie and Seymour. Check out La Casita on the corner of Abbott and Cordova for some good Mexican. Bonetta on the corner of Cordova St. and Carrall St. has high end fare in a unpretensious atmosphere. Seems like every day there are new places opening up in this area so ramble around and jump in.
This area has some parts that are unsavory, but it is generally safe to walk through. So if you're planning to brave it, just be smart and don' t doddle or stare and they won't even notice you.
The little bakeries are fun, and in the summer months there is a great night market on Keefer west of Main. Of course there are plenty of fun asia import shops with all sorts of knick knacks. The area boasts some notable buildings including the The World's Thinnest Building. At just 6ft deep, the Sam Kee Building at Carral and Pender is the world's smallest building. Just up the block on Pender check out the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden for a peaceful break.
As one of the ethnic and cultural hubs of the city, Commercial Drive has a largely food-based economy. From Italian bakeries and coffee shops, to the Portugese Club of Vancouver , this is not only the place to go to watch the World Cup, but should be number one on your list for a great cup of coffee. Bustling on weekends and weekdays alike, the street is home to some of the city's best restaraunt patios, and almost certainly its best gelato.
Getting there: Commercial Drive is on the east side of Vancouver, so take the Skytrain east from downtown and get off at Broadway, then walk north, up Commercial Drive towards the mountains; or head down Hastings Street from downtown by car or bus, and take a right on Commercial Drive. The most action is between 1st Avenue and Venables St.
South Main, recently dubbed 'Soma' by those who want to capitalize on its current trendiness, is the place to go for clothes and antiques. If Robson Street isn't quite giving you what you're looking for, and you need something a little more 'fashion forward' (think: New York or London 20-something scenesters), Main Street is where it's at; it's quickly becoming the city's coolest neighborhood to live. Great second-hand clothing, kitsch and antique stores are everywhere you turn, along with funky restaraunts and coffee shops; great for taking a load off and doing some people watching.
Getting there: Take the Main Street bus (No. 3) from downtown; it'll take you through the downtown east side, then Chinatown. Get off at Main and Broadway and keep walking south (away from downtown) for shopping delights. Or take the Skytrain and get off at Main Street station; you'll still need to get further south for the good stuff, but you can catch a bus at the station. The best shopping and people watching is between Broadway and 20th or so. Don't ignore the side streets, they can offer great food and shopping as well, including the corsets of Lace Embrace Atelier on 16th at Main
The Punjabi Market (aka Little India) is further south around 40th for all-you-can-eat curry. Also in the same area but across to Fraser and about 46th is Rocco's, the best place to find silk and other import fabrics in every color you can imagine at resonable prices.
Granville Street in downtown Vancouver is fast becoming the club district. Bars, clubs, and lounges of all flavours have sprung up in the last few years. If you're looking for a place to have a few drinks, start at Granville and Robson and walk your way southward towards Pacific. Whether you're looking for an unpretentious bar ( El Furniture Warehouse), posh lounge ( Crush Champagne Lounge , Ginger 62, Republic), or hip night club ( Plaza , Caprice , Roxy, Tonic), you'll find it on Granville Street or one of the smaller avenues intersecting Granville. At the end of the night you'll also find a number of 99 cent pizza take out places open afterhours to serve all the hungry bar/lounge/club-goers. The street is changing over to a club district after getting rundown and becoming a popular area for the homeless and runaway teens for a time, but it is generally safe given the heavy foot traffic through the night. Come with an open mind and relaxed attitude (and good walking shoes) and you'll be sure to have a great time.
If you're going to visit in the day you'll be delighted to find the a number of unique shops and restaurants as well.
The North Shore tourism site combines the two for easier access to information.
These two municipalities sit north of downtown, across the Burrard Inlet. There are three ways to get to the North Shore: the Lions Gate Bridge, which leads into West Vancouver; the Seabus, which is a commuter ferry (no cars) that goes to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver; and the Second Narrows Bridge, which leads directly to the eastern section of North Vancouver. The tourist opportunities on the North Shore generally involve the great outdoors, with fantastic beaches, ski hills, mountain biking and hiking, kayaking and fishing.
West Vancouver is the more 'upscale' part of the North Shore (there's no downscale part, to be honest). Big mansions sit on the slope of the British Properties and the shopping & restaurant scene usually favour independents instead of chains.
There is a big mall called Park Royal. If you feel like a little retail therapy stop into The Village at Park Royal. This intimate mall offers locals & tourists a true outdoor "village" shopping experience. Along with the great many boutiques such as Oliver Barret, Kiss & Make-up, and Beauty Bar, there are several restaurants with covered and heated patios.
Ambleside and Dundarave are two other shopping areas with their own unique flavour!
North Vancouver covers quite a wide area. From the Capilano suspension bridge in the far west to Deep Cove on it's eastern edge, there's quite a bit to do.
The Seabus brings people to Lonsdale Quay at the foot of Lonsdale Avenue, a market with food and shops in the style of Granville Island, but much smaller. This is also where the main bus exchange is so if you don't have a car, from here you can take a bus to West Vancouver (Park Royal, Ambleside), Grouse Mountain, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Lynn Canyon or just up Lonsdale for shopping. Translink will have the information you need for that.
Starting around the intersection of 13th Avenue and continuing up until 20th Ave, Lonsdale is a bustle with stores and restaurants. What sets Lonsdale apart from everywhere else in Vancouver is the heavy presence of Iranian immigrants. Persian bakeries, food stores and restaurants are everywhere and these are worth visiting! In most bakeries you buy cookies by weight, there are delis with some of the best local kebab. There's even a place for Naan lovers!