World-class cities are a tourist attraction in and among themselves. Recently, Vancouver, Canada’s third-largest city and the country’s ‘Gateway to the Pacific’, joined this exclusive club. While the sightseeing and entertainment options in Vancouver are endless, a massive draw to the port city are its historic and eclectic neighborhoods. Whereas there is no shortage of cool neighborhoods in Vancouver, we narrowed them down to the three coolest for this article. Enjoy and be inspired to visit.
Gastown is truly a Vancouver gem. Stroll the streets of this amazing neighborhood and you’ll be enthralled by the mixture of old and new, which sit side-by-side in perfect harmony with one another. First on the list is a place where many visitors to the district like to stay, the Hotel Europe, a genuine relic of the 19th century that resembles New York’s Flatiron Building. Speaking of local history, did you know that Gastown is the only Vancouver district that has a cobblestone street?
Another huge attraction to the neighborhood is the lamps lining Water Street and fairy lights that illuminate the night. Hungry? Rush on over to the locally-famous Peckinpah, which serves a mean Carolina – style barbecue. Perhaps you’d like to do some shopping while you’re in the neighborhood. Well, there’s no shortage of hip contemporary fashion and boutiques and a variety of other upscale stores.
One final interesting fact about Gastown. Not only is this neighborhood supercool, it’s also the city’s oldest. John ‘Gassy Jack’ Deighton established a tavern here back in 1867 and the neighborhood just kept growing and growing after that.
Yaletown, an extension of Vancouver’s sprawling downtown core, has some truly unique charms of its own. Yaletown, traditionally one of the city’s ‘warehouse districts’, saw an explosion in growth following the World Fair in 1986. Nowadays, folks who explore this exciting neighborhood will see plenty of hip apartment buildings as well as the coolest eateries and shops you could ever imagine. A huge draw to Yaletown is its picturesque walking areas along the Vancouver Seawall. If you’re in the mood for some laidback, sophisticated late-night lounges, you won’t find finer establishments than Pierre’s Champaign Lounge or the OPUS Bar, located in the OPUS Hotel, a mere hop, skip and a jump from the Roundhouse Skytrain Station.
Yaletown has some historical aspects as well, including the role it played in the Fraser Valley Gold Rush of the 1880s, in which 34,000 men from various countries descended upon the British Columbia coast with visions of making their fortune.
While we’re in that era of history, it’s worth checking out the Victorian Hotel on Homer Street, whose story began in 1898.
Out of the three finalists, Vancouver’s West End definitely takes the cake as the city’s coolest neighborhood. This district maintains its cool no matter how cold or hot the weather may be.
There are plenty of cool hotels to make your stay in the West End as comfortable as possible including Century Plaza Hotel and Spa, Riviera Hotel on Robson and Times Square Suites Hotel, all of which are close to the neighborhood’s exciting sights.
If parks are your thing, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store in the West End. Many of the city’s famous urban parks can be found here: Stanley Park, Cardero Park and Nelson Park, to name a few. Summers can be very warm in Vancouver and what better way to cool down than to relax on one of the West End’s awesome beaches. There are plenty to choose from here. You’ll especially love Sunset Beach, where, as its namesake suggests, boasts gorgeous sunsets.
The shopping opportunities on Robson Street are out of this world. For dining, bring your appetite and taste buds on over to Denman Street, where countless culinary delights await. The West End is also the home of Davie Village, where Vancouver’s gay community is located.
Planning a trip to Canada? Be sure to check out our Toronto guide!