Choosing where to stay in Vancouver can be a daunting task. The city boasts a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and attractions. Whether you’re looking for luxury accommodations or budget-friendly options, a central location or a quiet retreat, Vancouver has something to offer for every type of traveler. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best neighborhoods and lodging options in Vancouver to help you plan your perfect stay in this beautiful Canadian city.
To help you decide what’s best for your trip, we’ve broken down Vancouver into 6 neighborhoods, each representing something unique while covering all budgets. If you’re ready to book your trip, find out where to stay in Vancouver.
Each neighborhood in Vancouver brings something different to the table. Stay close to Yaletown to be in the center of all the fun. With a nearby SkyTrain Station, AquaBus terminal, and bus network, it’s easy around town and you’ll find a lot to do within walking distance.
First time in Vancouver? First time visitors to Vancouver will love staying in Yaletown thanks to its central location, fine dining, and relaxed atmosphere. Go Directly to Yaletown.
Outside of Yaletown, you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities in the West End, superb views in Coal Harbor, and eclectic shopping in Mount Pleasant. Or stay across the creek in the family-friendly Kitsilano neighborhood. Vancouver’s coolest neighborhoods have something for solo travelers, families, and couples to enjoy.
In a hurry and want to know where to stay in Vancouver right now? These are the best hotels and vacation rentals to suit every budget.
We decided to focus on the top 6 Vancouver neighborhoods that are all based around the downtown area. You can choose to look at North Vancouver, but you will have to fight traffic on the Lions Gate Bridge, or Richmond, where the Airport is located, but if you want to experience the best of Vancouver we recommend staying in the downtown Vancouver area.
On the water, Yaletown offers a fantastic selection of boutique hotels perfect for couples looking for a luxurious and equally romantic getaway. Surrounded by dazzling fresh developments, Yaletown has shed a lot of its historical and industrial roots in favor of modern amenities, which has made it one of the most popular districts in Vancouver.
With so much on offer, it’s no surprise that Yaletown’s many sparkling condos quickly filled up. Beneath the high-rises that glisten against False Creek are some of the most happening streets in Vancouver along with a range of delectable and high-end restaurants.
Here the vibe is very much “dinner and drinks” over DJs and strobe lights. Small and dense, Yaletown hospitality is all about the patios, which quickly fill up with the promise of sunshine.
Dining – Find a cozy cafe and enjoy some tasty treats while taking part in some great people-watching. If you find yourself without dinner plans, walk down the two blocks between Nelson and Davie Street, where some of Vancouver’s best restaurants stand side by side.
Walk the Sea Wall – A solid section of Vancouver’s renowned Sea Wall runs along the edge of Yaletown. The popular pedestrian and bike path runs all the way around downtown Vancouver and is a wonderful way for those staying nearby to explore the city on two feet. Within the district, you’ll also find David Lam Park, a spacious urban oasis that fills up with families and cute picnics on a sunny day.
Roundhouse Station – Speaking of exploring, Vancouver has a great public transport network. Yaletown is serviced by SkyTrain at Yaletown-Roundhouse Station. This line will guide you into the wonderful Gastown district and south towards Richmond on the Pacific Ocean.
Granville Island – Along False Creek, Yaletown locals and visitors also have access to the AquaBus to Granville Island, home to a must-see public market.
But when it comes to attractions within walking distance, you won’t find a shortage of things to do. Add Engine 374 Pavilion and the Roundhouse Turntable Plaza to your itinerary. Make the most of the free entrance to get a glimpse into the early days of Yaletown. Visitors will also have an envious range of art galleries, including the Jennifer Kostuik Gallery, farmers markets, and breweries to visit.
Between downtown Vancouver and the sprawling Stanley Park, the West End is one of the best areas to stay in Vancouver. The entertainment district has plenty of nightlife, shopping and Davie Village has a happening LGBTQ district. We should know, we used to live in the West End. With easy access to public transport via the Vancouver City Centre station and a solid bus network along Davie Street, travelers will have an easy time getting to other parts of the city.
When staying in the West End there is plenty to do to keep you from roaming far and wide. Stanley Park is arguably the top attraction when visiting Vancouver and it’s located in the west end.
Stanely Park – The largest park in the city, Stanley Park is the perfect nature escape, enveloped by the wonderful Sea Wall path, splendid beaches, and the Vancouver Aquarium.
Relaxing Neighborhood – Your morning stroll around the large neighborhood will also be easy on the eye thanks to the many tree-lined residential streets flanked by old-time apartment buildings and historic wooden homes.
Roedde House Museum – This is particularly obvious in and around Barclay Heritage Square, where visitors will also find the impressive Roedde House Museum. A must-visit for history buffs.
Davie Village – Throughout Davie Village and along Denman Street, you will find an array of great dining options and a lively atmosphere that rises through the night. During the day, this is the place to go for some thorough retail therapy. Where you can jump between the many independent boutiques and known brands.
City Beaches – If you’ve arrived in time for summer, West End also offers great access to city beaches. West End is right along the gorgeous English Bay, home to a beach of the same name. Alongside Second Beach, English Bay Beach is a great launching point for a kayak or SUP experience on the delightful waters. Stick around for golden hour with panoramic views of the stunning sky as the sun hits the western horizon.
Granville Street – Granville Street is Vancouer’s main entertainment district with neon lights and the art deco deco Commodore Ballroom lining the street. Along this street you’ll find plenty of restaurants, coffee shops nightclubs and the Orpheum Theatre housing the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
Great outdoors – The outdoor element of the West End has attracted a youthful and laid-back vibe that contrasts with Yaletown. Here, thanks also to the range of older homes, visitors can make the most of a wide range of budget options, from cheaper hotels to a strong selection of vacation rentals.
Running alongside the West End, on the Vancouver Harbour side of the city, Coal Harbour is renowned for its stunning mountain views. In combination with the Waterfront, this part of the city begins at Canada Place, where the cruise ships dock, and ends at the beginning of the beloved Stanley Park.
The convenient location of Coal Harbor provides all the amenities of downtown Vancouver within a scenic neighborhood and in front of a gorgeous marina. Despite its central location, the evenings here remain relaxed and quiet.
Being right alongside the Financial District, Coal Harbour, and the Waterfront are also great options for business travelers.
Coal Harbour was once known as Blueblood Alley for the many incredible mansions owned by the city’s elite in the years gone by. But now the rows of high-rises and marinas packed with houseboats have taken over, creating a beautiful harborside experience.
As you take in the beautiful waterfront views on two feet you’ll find a district bustling with young professionals and a residential area that comes to life. It’s a lovely glimpse into the lives of Vancouverites before the largely residential neighborhood quietens in the evening.
Canada Place – is the heart of the downtown waterfront with the seawall starting at here at the Vanouver Convention Center to Stanley Park.
Art Galleries – Vancouver Art Gallery with local and international artists, Jack Poole Plaza, the Marine Building, and Harbour Green Park. One of the best sights in Vancouver, however, is right here.
Before the 2010 Winter Olympics, Coal Harbour was refurbished into the dazzling neighborhood we see today. It’s also now home to the Olympic Cauldron, a torch installation with soars 30ft high.
Ride the Skytrain – For adventures further afield, you can head to Burrard Station for the SkyTrain that will take you to neighboring districts, with the local bus network being an additional option.
SeaPlane Tour – To see Vancouver from above, Coal Harbour is also the perfect base to jump on the seaplanes that depart from the water. Venture far and wide over the nearby mountain ranges and touch down beside the sprawling metropolis.
Vancouver Lookout – If you don’t want to take a scenic flight, go up the Vancouver Lookout for one of the best veiws of the city.
This is often the perfect mix for families who can access a wide range of public transport, and be within walking distance of dining and attractions, without finding themselves in a hotbed of rowdy nightlife.
Vancouver’s historic neighborhood, the oldest in the city, is found beneath Coal Harbour and to the east of Yaletown. It is walking distance from downtown Vancouver. Gastown is teeming with original architecture, a thriving culinary scene, and a great range of bars and clubs that will see you through to the early hours.
With an irreverent charm, Gastown increasingly attracts a younger population, creating a wonderfully diverse community of professionals, students, and families. Gastown and Chinatown are both very walkable.
Steam Clock – Starting in Gastown, walk long the cobblestone streets that once carried the city’s first families, you’ll find buzzing thoroughfares, heritage buildings, some of the most popular restaurants and cheap eats in town, plus the iconic Steam Clock. Popular with locals and travelers, the steam clock releases steam and plenty of noise every 15 minutes.
At Maple Tree Square, you’ll find a statue of the legendary John Deighton. An impressive storyteller, hence the nickname Gassy Jack, Deighton was a colossal figure in the development of modern-day Vancouver. Continue along the old-time streets ordained with lampposts on your way to Chinatown.
Chinatown Millenium Gate – Pass through the immense Millenium Gate to officially reach Vancouver’s Chinatown, one of the largest in North America. The district is rustic and gritty with a subtle touch of gentrification. It’s the perfect recipe for a foodie haven. When exploring, be sure to try the mouthwatering dim sum and Floata Seafood Restaurant.
Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden – Later make a beeline for the Chinatown Heritage Alley, to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden with stunning gardens and quaint water features.
Shopping – Shopping in both sections of town is prominent but more so in Chinatown, which is home to the International Village Shopping Center and the bustling Water Street. Along with boutique and brand name shops, you’ll find a selection of museums including the Rennie Museum.
Microbreweries – At night you’ll find a flurry of dim-lit cocktail joints serving craft creations, along with trendy microbreweries. This part of the city is certainly rough around the edges, so if it’s your first rodeo to Gastown and Chinatown, keep your street smarts handy. Another option would be to base yourself in Coal Harbor or Yaletown for easy daytime access.
Out of the downtown hub, a great option for families is the neighborhood of Kitsilano. Known simply as Kits, visitors can expect a strong coffee culture and many family-friendly activities from parks to beaches and indoor fun. Along the main drag, West 4th Avenue you can peruse an abundance of boutique shops, cozy cafes, and bookstores before venturing further afield.
Kitsilano provides something more akin to a suburban experience away from the organized chaos that is downtown Vancouver. Thanks to public transport, and a quick walk to the Burrard Street Bridge (for downtown), you’ll be able to visit many of the districts already mentioned along with Granville Island and Richmond to the south. But keep in mind that without the SkyTrain, it may be worth getting a car rental.
Kitsalano Beach – Located right on English Bay, you can capture impressive mountain and city views from the expansive Kitsilano Beach. It’s a also popular sunbathing spot on a warm summer day while also being a fun place to gather the crew for some beach volleyball. Another popular attraction that’s worth visiting, regardless of where you choose to stay, is the Kitsilano Pool.
Nature Trails – The heated outdoor pool is the perfect way to enjoy a swim even when the weather isn’t ideal. After drying off, wander down the several nature trails that meander through the surrounding park.
Vanier Park – Those that choose to stay in Kitsilano will at some point end up at the spacious Vanier Park. Featuring expansive views of the gorgeous Vancouver skyline, the park is a great place to hang out, enjoy a picnic or play some yard games.
Vancouver Museums – It’s also home to three museums, some of the best in the city. These are the Vancouver Maritime Museum, the H. R. MacMillan Space Centre, and the Museum of Vancouver.
The major drawback of Kitsilano is the lack of if any, hotels and true budget options. There are, however, many family-family BnBs and vacation rentals.
While in Kitsilano, go beyond the city with a spectacular scenic drive. Here’s our guide to the Sea to Sky Highway.
A part of East Side Vancouver, Mount Pleasant is another wonderful neighborhood outside of but close to the inner-city. With a youthful exuberance, the district is great for couples and young travelers who want to make the most of the attractions and fun to be had beyond downtown. There
Mount Pleasant is best categorized by Main Street. Seen as Vancouver’s hipster neighborhood, this drag is full of small but funky restaurants, craft beer joints, and new-world cafes serving third-wave coffee. This lifestyle attracts more than just the city’s hipsters, as you’ll find a diverse and social local population.
Even if you end up in the downtown core, it’s worth making the trip over False Creek to experience a different side of local life. But if you choose to base yourself in Mount Pleasant, your trip will start with ease.
The neighborhood is well-connected to the city’s international airport. From there, you can quickly surround yourself with a charming neighborhood devoid of tourist traps. Everyone here is just living their life, and sometimes that is exactly what travelers want to experience.
Boutique Shopping – Without some of the sights that make their way into the hundreds of “top ten” lists, you’ll have the opportunity to discover Mount Pleasant on a whim. You’ll quickly uncover plenty of avant-garde boutiques matched by the number of breweries. But whenever you’re walking around town, stop by Earnest Ice Cream for creative flavors from whiskey hazelnut to London fog.
Science World – One major attraction at the very north end of Mount Pleasant is Science World. On the edge of False Creek, within a striking dome building, visitors can experience 12 family-friendly exhibits that will get you thinking about how the world works.
Granville Island – Located on the water, it’s easy to catch a water taxi to Granville Island to enjoy its shopping, restaurants, the Granville Island Market and Micro Breweries.
From Main Street, you’ll have a moderate walk to the nearest SkyTrain at Cambie Street. From there, you can venture into the city within minutes to tick off the rest of the Vancouver experience.
Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel is the best luxury hotel in Vancouver. This opulent five-star hotel is all about glamor. Located within the Coal Harbour neighborhood, feast on the amazing waterfront vistas and views of the North Shore mountains. With so much to see within easy walking distance, enjoy a great location in style. See prices and availability on Booking.com
From the minute you walk into this luxurious hotel, you’ll find a stunning art collection in the marble lobby. Later, venture into your ornate contemporary rooms with high-tech amenities including a virtual concierge.
Trade the indoor pool for a lavish rooftop swim before sitting down at one of the three on-site restaurants, including The Botanist, a renowned fine dining experience. Its Willow Stream Spa was named one of the top spas in the world by Conde Nast. See reviews on TripAdvisor and rates and availability on Booking.com
The Georgia Court Hotel is located in the heart of the city center, the Georgian Court Hotel is a boutique experience in every sense of the world. With a delectable on-site restaurant and free Wi-Fi, enjoy all the modern comforts while being just steps away from BC Place and a short walk to the bustling Robson Street.
The hotel comes with a well-equipped fitness center, along with a relaxing sauna and hotel tub to freshen up after a big day of walking around Vancouver.
Each room features a generous flat screen and a coffee machine. There are family rooms on offer, along with deluxe options for couples looking to spice up their vacation. See reviews on TripAdvisor and Rates and Availability on Booking.com
The revitalized industrial neighborhood of Yaletown has become one of the hottest areas in Vancouver. With its easy access to a range of public transport, nearby attractions, and the envious food scene, those coming to Vancouver for the first time can’t go wrong by checking into a hotel within the neighborhood.
The central location and the range of hotels on offer help to mitigate any worries you may have before you get your bearings. Find yourself within walking distance of the happening Robson Street and live sport at Rogers Arena and BC Place.
The historic Victorian Hotel is on the cusp of the Gastown District. Much like the neighborhood itself, the hotel is a wonderful example of period charm with enchanting ornate designs and antiquities.
The Victorian Hotel was built before the turn of the 20th century. Just like it did back in 1898, the building offers guests lovely high ceilings, lavish hardwood floors, and intricate moldings. It’s all rather impressive considering it’s the best budget option out of the Vancouver hotels we have listed.
Each guest room is as vibrant as the historic design would suggest and comes with free WiFi. Guests will enjoy a brief five-minute walk to the local SkyTrain station on Granville Street and a fifteen-minute jaunt to all the fun on Robson Street. But with Gastown and Chinatown right around the corner, you’ll be busy for a while before you head anywhere else.
There are two places in Vancouver that are renowned for their nightlife scene. One of them is the city’s West End. When you aren’t enjoying the scenery in Stanley Park or lazing by the beach, you’ll be roaming Robson and Denman street trading cafes for shops. At night, these same streets provide a vibrant nightlife experience with a number of pubs, clubs, and cocktail bars.
The heart of Vancouver’s nightlife and an area that didn’t end up on our list is the Granville Entertainment District. At night, the Granville Street thoroughfare is the most energetic part of the city. Here the nightlife steals the show and runs into the early hours.
Devoid of cars as a pedestrian zone, a combination of blocks brings together some of the best nightclubs and late-night eats found anywhere in Vancouver. Read more about the outdoors in Vancouver at 14 Best Hikes in Vancouver to Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Kitsilano remains one of the best areas to stay in Vancouver for families. The laid-back atmosphere away from the downtown noise allows plenty of time to relax and spend time as one. The nearby beaches will welcome you with open arms, so too the local parks. You’ll find plenty of shopping along West 4th Avenue, along with coffee shops and casual dining among local families.
If you want to stay within Vancouver’s downtown core, then consider the Waterfront and Coal Harbour. Busy during the day, it is a quieter experience at night. The entire crew will love wandering along the Sea Wall path with views of the North Shore Mountains. While the bustling Waterfront Station will connect you with far-off adventures.
Both Mount Pleasant and Gastown provide ample shopping for visitors. Along Main Street, you’ll have an array of vintage shops and modern brands. For those looking for something unique and out of the box, then this is the place to go.
Gastown offers easy access to major inner-city malls, including the CF Pacific Center and the International Village Shopping Center. The district is also known for its number of eclectic thrift stores.
The West End and Yaletown are the perfect locations for those who want to do a lot of sightseeing. Within the heart of the transport network, you’ll be able to get around the entire city without having to hail a cab.
Downtown Vancouver is reasonably packed, so there’ll also be plenty of opportunities to get about on foot and make your way to many of the best things to do in Vancouver.
The best way to save money when traveling around Vancouver is to ditch the car rental and cabs in favor of public transport.
Beginning at the airport, you can get into the city much cheaper by taking the Canada Line. This will stop at Mount Pleasant, Yaletown, Gastown, and close to Coal Harbour.
Throughout your stay buy a Compass Card Day Pass that costs around $8usd. This will provide you with unlimited use of the SkyTrain and buses, among other forms of transport.
Most parts of the city also have budget accommodation options, but cheap eats can be found all over the city.
If you’re arriving via plane, after touching down at Vancouver International Airport, take the 25 minute trip to downtown on the Canada Line. Tickets cost $7usd one way. From there, the best way to get around town is on a bus, SkyTrain, or the AquaBus if you want to head across the water to such places as Granville Island.
The lack of a highway system within the downtown area, along with notoriously bad traffic, means it’s likely best to avoid hiring a car to reach downtown. However, with many amazing destinations around the city, from Richmond to Grouse Mountain, a car will be handy if you want to explore outside of metro Vancouver.
With a mountainous backdrop, the spectacular skyline of Vancouver is one that has to be seen with your own two eyes. Split by False Creek, Vancouver, British Columbia, is a hub of enchanting attractions, from galleries to urban parks and an understated nightlife.
Those visiting Vancouver will have their work cut for them to tick off all the things on the already-packed itinerary. This is why it certainly pays to stay close to all the things that you want to do. Whether that be enjoying the amazing nature in and out of the city, or kicking back at the coffee shops on Davie Street.
Ready to venture beyond the city? Get out of Vancouver with our guide to the ultimate British Columbia Road Trip.
Leave a Reply