Vancouver ChinaTown
Vancouver ChinaTown
2.5
About
As the largest Chinatown in Canada, there are lots to see in this historic district after entering through its grand Millennium Gate. Here, you can find not only dim sum restaurants, Chinese grocers, traditional apothecaries, and antique shops, but also modern cocktail bars, cool coffee roasters, and fashion boutiques. Learn more about the area's history at the Chinese Cultural Center, the first museum in Canada devoted to Chinese culture and history, and then stroll through one of the first Chinese gardens built outside China, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Explore Chinatown on a sightseeing or hop-on hop-off bus tour of Vancouver, which often includes a stop here. – Tripadvisor
Duration: < 1 hour
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Chinatown
With the recent exodus of massive new building projects hitting the neighbourhood, Chinatown; which has always been one of the city's most vibrant areas; is even more buzzing and buoyant than ever before. Playing host to some of the city's best pan-Asian cuisine, from fusion food to traditional home-cooking, Chinatown has remained faithful to its roots as a space which clambers with shop signs and welcomes diners to the table. More that that, it has a hip experimental vibe to it, with trendy pop-ups and catchall market shops. The biggest of Canada's Chinatowns, it is also home to an expansive Chinese garden whose manicured grounds inspire and delight, its ponds and pagodas drawing walkers in for an stroll. Take in the red streetlights, the playful awnings, and the upbeat air that suffuse this area.
How to get there
  • Stadium–Chinatown • 7 min walk
  • Main St–Science World[e] • 9 min walk
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See what travellers are saying
  • Sabella X
    1 contribution
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    The food was good!
    Chinatown needs an upgrade for its building. Parking was difficult to find. When we did find one it was old and emptied. There are few homeless, doesn't feel as safe. The restaurant we ate at, the food was so fragrant and amazing.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written June 14, 2023
  • bahama234
    Hong Kong, China371 contributions
    3.0 of 5 bubbles
    Not outstanding
    I was walking around by myself and didn't feel dangerous. Drug problems happened in everywhere, not only in China Town. I can say it is an outdated China Town when compared with other big cities such as Toronto, really like a dead city. The government needs to put an effort to clean and modern the city.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 29, 2023
  • Jenny L
    1 contribution
    2.0 of 5 bubbles
    Drug Infested and Feels Sketchy and Unsafe
    Homeless folks EVERYWHERE on Pender & Main Streets and Keefe Place. Drug addicts EVERYWHERE, openly lighting crack pipes in doorways we walked past. Saw the same guy three times trying to pull change out of the parking meters with a pocket knife. No one bothered us, but it feels so unsafe that I don’t ever want to visit again because of what we encountered. Good people with great businesses are suffering financially because of the state of affairs. My husband and I won’t be back to Vancouver, and wouldn’t recommend it to anyone either. We visited ChinaTown around 1:00 PM on a Friday.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 11, 2023
  • Rockiroads
    Oshawa, Canada1,269 contributions
    2.0 of 5 bubbles
    Rough area
    We heard so many stories,.."you gotta go to ChinaTown, one of the biggest"! Man we walked in, and pretty made it one block in and walked out. Was I missing something? What were we not seeing as everywhere we turned were homeless, the smell of pee, and some very shady people. So shady as we went by, someone wanted to take our cell phones badly! (my wifes phone for taking photos),... I swear there were some high end sales of items on the streets, and not sure where it came from, but we went the other way. You couldnt get down one of the sidewalks as there were so many blocking our way. We just wanted to get out of there. No attempt to get close to whatever was going on in those crowds. Too bad.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written September 11, 2023
  • Phoebe Z
    Canberra, Australia2 contributions
    2.0 of 5 bubbles
    Staying in Vancouver Chinatown
    We stayed 4 nights in Vancouver Chinatown and, while it's not optimal, it was fine. We booked our accommodation in Chinatown before reading any online reviews because it is situated in a great location. Our first warning sign was our accommodation warning guests to stay away from certain streets in the area. We encountered a lot of homeless people (some appear to either be on a substance or have mental health issues) on all of the surrounding streets. Most of the shops in Chinatown were closed with only a small handful of souvenir stores, grocers and bakeries/restaurants (and they are good ones) remaining open. We also came across human faeces on the ground and the smell of urine was everywhere and often overwhelming. Otherwise, we (3 women) did not feel unsafe in the area as people tend to keep to themselves. We avoided walking along certain streets per recommended, which meant a bit of detouring, and staying out after dark. All in all, our stay was fine but I would not stay in this part of Vancouver again especially as a tourist unfamiliar with the city.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written September 20, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


2.5
2.5 of 5 bubbles976 reviews
Excellent
78
Very good
151
Average
193
Poor
204
Terrible
350

Edward L
London, UK14 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
We didn't read any reviews before we went and only visited because we asked ChatGPT what we should do.

We got off the bus at Abbots near gas Town and the first thing we saw was someone barge onto the bus without paying. Not too bad for a city but it got worse from here.

Ten metres down the road was an open fire with two men sat around injecting into their legs. We very quickly moved on but only to stumble across a young man who appeared to be overdosing and collapsed on the pavement. He was being seen to so we carried on.

Less that half a block further we came across a large encampment of seemingly homeless people all openly using drugs.

I won't strongly recommend avoiding this area as a tourist.
Written February 21, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ethan B
Montreal, Canada3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Solo
I almost didn’t go to Chinatown due to all of the extremely negative reviews from
other visitors, but I’m so glad that I did! I went on a Sunday afternoon around 2pm about a week before Chinese New Year. There were lots of people walking around and supporting the various businesses there. There were lots of cool decorations for the New Year. I visited the Chinatown Storytelling Centre, the Treasure Green Tea Company, Massy Books, Chinatown Plaza, and the Keefer Bar and I absolutely recommend all of them! I also recommend the Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, the Chinese Canadian Museum, and the International Village Mall (particularly Bali Thai) from previous visits.

A lot of reviews mention the homeless, drug addicts, human filth, etc. Let me first say that I urge compassion, empathy, and humanity when dealing with this population. But that being said I totally understand that as a tourist or a visitor, especially with a family, those are not the kind of scenes you want to see on vacation. However — I hardly saw any of those people except on Hastings Street. On the other streets there were maybe one or two scattered but not like the other reviews claimed it would be. Trust me guys — Chinatown needs your support! The place has definitely declined in the past few decades but it is undergoing something of a revival and if people continue to avoid it due to both real and imagined threats it will only get worse. If you’re interested in Chinese culture and/or the history of Vancouver’s Chinese Canadian community, as well as one of the most interesting urban spaces in all of Canada, I definitely recommend visiting Chinatown. Preferably during the day, and maybe keep your guard up when walking on East Hastings. Don’t do what you’re not comfortable with, but with common sense precautions it can be a very fun visit, especially when you are inside the museums/gardens/malls/restaurants, it is very peaceful and relaxing and interesting. Please support Chinatown and don’t believe all the negativity out there! Happy to answer any questions!

很多网友都说这个地方很乱,但是我觉得除了hastings路之外,都还好。我推荐大家去看看,支持唐人街的博物馆、花园、餐厅!
Written February 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Highexpects
London, UK69 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
Please do not attempt to visit Chinatown or even the town centre in Vancouver, it is full of drug addicts like I have never seen in my life anywhere else in Europe. Absolutely disgusting scary place. Spoilt my time there, will never go there again. Had a meal in busy touristy town centre at lunch time and had homeless people under the influence of opioid drugs around which stressed me like hell and made me feel really unsafe. How on Earth can the local authorities let this happen? Bit of a warning for us Europeans.
Written January 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stewart C
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Friends
Do not visit Chinatown. Stay far away. If you're short on time, this is all you need to know.

Let me just start by saying that I grew up in Vancouver and had many wonderful meals with family and friends at Phnom Penh and New Town. From groceries and restaurants to homewares and Chinese New Year decorations, Chinatown had it all. Besides being lively and unique, it was also a place for affordable shopping. It was always a bit rough on the edges but nothing like what it is today.

This isn’t a place to visit as a tourist. This is a place for the dying and the dead. Every corner you look, someone is either intoxicated or passed out cold. If you want to see and smell all manner of bodily fluids and filth, this is the place. I stayed away for a long time but decided to visit on a whim yesterday. What I saw motivated me to post this in the hope that you as a tourist don't regret visiting Vancouver because of it.

Yes, there are many people who walk in and leave without anything happening. However, you would need a laughable amount of delusion to justify what is going on as safe and acceptable. Random attacks do happen here. If you have young children who like to touch things, do not even think of coming here. Used needles and other biohazards are everywhere.

I get it, there’s still some good food, Sun Yat-Sen Garden, a museum and gift shops. There’s even a nightclub. There are good reasons why people still visit. However, the problems here are too deep for a few new hipster restaurants to fix. Chinatown isn’t ready to welcome you as a tourist, regardless of where you come from.

While you’re here, I would also recommend you to avoid or at least exercise caution in the whole Downtown Eastside area, including Gastown. Do not book a hotel in this area. It’s not worth it. Special mention also goes to the stretch of Granville Street between Nelson Street and Drake Street. The closer you are to Granville Bridge, the worse it gets.

On the bright side, I can leave you with an alternative. Richmond is the real Chinatown of BC. This is where you can eat, shop, and see everything that Chinatown used to offer and much more.

For shopping, consider Aberdeen Centre, Parker Place, Yaohan Centre, Lansdowne Centre, Richmond Centre, President Plaza, McArthurGlen Outlet, and Continental Shopping Centre.

For nature, check out West Dyke Trail and Iona Beach Regional Park.

For Chinese style architecture and religion, visit International Buddhist Temple and Ling Yen Mountain Temple.

For restaurants, walk or drive along Alexandra Road. You are almost certain to find a good place. This review would be too long if I wrote about Chinese food in Richmond.

Finally, Crystal Mall in Burnaby and Henderson Place Mall in Coquitlam are worth considering.

The Lower Mainland has so much to offer. Don't waste a minute of your trip here.

Written December 27, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stewarts Vacation
1,035 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
The Chinatown area felt unsafe. The buildings looked unkempt. Many were permanently closed. There were homeless people lining the streets. We moved quickly out of the area.
Written November 10, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stephen L
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
To give you some context. I am originally from London and now live in Chester, north west England.
I am 59 years old.
My trip pre VC has been wonderful through Banff, Jasper and Sun Peaks.
All wonderful.
Arriving in VC we decided to walk to Stanley Park and spent 3 wonderful hours enjoying the natural beauty of the park.
The plan then was to walk to Chinatown and enjoy lunch and perhaps a glass of wine or two.
And how it changed. Chinatown is without question the most horrific area of human habitation I have ever seen or been to.
Disformed bodies littered the floor street after street. People with no comprehension of life or living.
I felt sick to the stomach and never wish to experience this again . It was truly my Armageddon!
Please I urge you, think very carefully before you visit as it will shock you to you core.
The drug by the way is called Spice and is Chinese made!!!
Written October 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Catherine
Chicago, IL50 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Couples
Horrifying. Disgusting. Derelict part of town with drug addicts all over the streets. No restuarants. All closed except a couple dollar shops. Felt so dirty and gross after being here 5 minutes. No one should go here. I think I saw dead woman. Saw needles, pills, living dead..really a terrible place.
Written September 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Phoebe Z
Canberra, Australia2 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Friends
We stayed 4 nights in Vancouver Chinatown and, while it's not optimal, it was fine. We booked our accommodation in Chinatown before reading any online reviews because it is situated in a great location. Our first warning sign was our accommodation warning guests to stay away from certain streets in the area. We encountered a lot of homeless people (some appear to either be on a substance or have mental health issues) on all of the surrounding streets. Most of the shops in Chinatown were closed with only a small handful of souvenir stores, grocers and bakeries/restaurants (and they are good ones) remaining open. We also came across human faeces on the ground and the smell of urine was everywhere and often overwhelming. Otherwise, we (3 women) did not feel unsafe in the area as people tend to keep to themselves. We avoided walking along certain streets per recommended, which meant a bit of detouring, and staying out after dark. All in all, our stay was fine but I would not stay in this part of Vancouver again especially as a tourist unfamiliar with the city.
Written September 20, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hong
Singapore, Singapore20 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
A huge surprise to see useless people using drug by needle syringe. Human urine smell everywhere and be careful not to step on human feces. Dirty toilet in the public shopping centre. The poorest Chinatown in the world.
Written September 17, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rockiroads
Oshawa, Canada1,269 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
We heard so many stories,.."you gotta go to ChinaTown, one of the biggest"! Man we walked in, and pretty made it one block in and walked out. Was I missing something? What were we not seeing as everywhere we turned were homeless, the smell of pee, and some very shady people. So shady as we went by, someone wanted to take our cell phones badly! (my wifes phone for taking photos),... I swear there were some high end sales of items on the streets, and not sure where it came from, but we went the other way. You couldnt get down one of the sidewalks as there were so many blocking our way. We just wanted to get out of there. No attempt to get close to whatever was going on in those crowds. Too bad.
Written September 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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VANCOUVER CHINATOWN - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Vancouver ChinaTown

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