9 Must-See Areas of Vancouver


I knew for my first destination post I had to do my hometown, so here are my 9 must-see areas of Vancouver.

Vancouver is the perfect mix of city and nature. You can go for long hikes or climbs during the day and then out to any number of restaurants, bars and pubs with friends in the evening. Vancouver is one of the few places in the world where you can actually go skiing/snowboarding and go to the beach in the same city and the same day.

Vancouver is a multicultural society with many different communities from all over the world. There’s never a shortage of cultural events to experience and cuisines from around the world to enjoy.

When I was thinking of my 9 must-see areas of Vancouver there was no way that I could rank them because each area of Vancouver is so unique and special on its own. So, I did my list in alphabetical order.

Coal Harbour

Coal Harbour is located on the north side of the downtown peninsula facing Burrard Inlet between Stanley Park and the Convention Centre.

The neighbourhood consists of numerous high-rise residential apartment and condo towers with luxury townhome podiums.

Take a walk along the Coal Harbour waterfront lined with green areas for lounging and relaxing, restaurants and cafes with outdoor patios, and boutique shops. All of which come with amazing views of the Vancouver coastal mountains.

Commercial Drive

Commercial Drive, or “The Drive as it’s known by locals, is an area just east of downtown Vancouver and was Vancouver’s original “Little Italy”. It hosts several popular events each year. The Vancouver Dyke March during Pride week, Car Free Day when a portion of the street is closed to vehicle traffic, and Italian Day which is a day of celebration of Commercial Drive’s Italian roots and the Italian influences that have fostered the neighbourhood’s growth over the years.

You could spend a whole day on The Drive walking from one end to the other visiting any number of cafes, delis, ice cream shops, or bars. There is also a plethora of restaurants of all kinds of international cuisines and a variety of small shops that you can pop into. If you need a break from all the walking just lounge at any of the small parks just off of Commercial Drive.

Kitsilano

Kitsilano, or Kits for short, is located on Vancouver’s West Side just across the Burrard Bridge from downtown. It’s a popular hangout for Vancouverites and tourists alike because of Kitsilano Beach and Park which has tennis and basketball courts, beach volleyball, an outdoor pool, concession stand and picnic tables. Next to Kitsilano Beach is Vanier Park which is home to the Vancouver Museum and Maritime Museum, as well as the yearly Bard On The Beach festival.

Just a short walk or drive from the beach are two of Vancouver’s main thoroughfares, West Broadway, or Greektown, and West 4th, where you’ll find many popular restaurants, bars and shops. Some of Vancouver’s most popular summer events are also held there such as Greek Day and the Khatsahlano Street Party.

Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant is packed with stylish craft breweries, vintage boutiques and eclectic eateries, forming a hipster-preferred neighbourhood that has come a long way from its early industrial days.

The neighbourhood, once characterized as working-class, has undergone a process of gentrification since the early 1990s, including the area the intersections of Main Street and Broadway.

Mount Pleasant is known as one of the more up and coming neighbourhoods, especially in the communities surrounding Vancouver’s downtown peninsula. Many first-time homeowners and young professionals, as well as a growing number of families, call Mount Pleasant home. It is also home to a number of artists and writers.

Olympic Village

When the City of Vancouver was awarded the 2010 Winter Olympic Games this site was chosen to build the athletes’ village. Up until then the whole area was industrial land. You will see this when you walk around the Village.

After the Olympics the athletes’ village was converted into condos and is now one of Vancouver’s newest neighbourhoods. In Olympic Village you’ll find parks and outdoor seating areas with amazing views of downtown Vancouver and the mountains, restaurants with outdoor patios, cafes, and a number of food trucks.

University of British Columbia

The University of British Columbia campus, which is located on the University Endowment Lands, is on the western most point of the City of Vancouver. It is very much a city unto itself with modern residential development, shopping, restaurants and its own security. Walking around the campus you’ll see a mixture of old and new architecture and scenic parks and views.

Surrounding the University Endowment Lands is the Pacific Spirit Regional Park, a nature preserve of the Government of British Columbia. Many students and Vancouverites use the park as their playground for hiking and cycling. Here is where you’ll also find Vancouver’s only nude beach, Wreck Beach.

West End

The West End is, just like its name, on the west end of the downtown peninsula next to Stanley Park and between Yaletown and Coal Harbour. It is most known for its long stretch of beach and park the largest being English Bay, the Davie Village which is Vancouver’s gay village, and Robson Street one of downtown Vancouver’s main thoroughfares and upscale shopping streets.

The West End has something for everyone. Whether you want to swim in the ocean or relax on the beach, sit at a cafe and people watch, spend a day shopping, or enjoy an evening of fine dining the West End is a must-see area of Vancouver.

Yaletown

Yaletown is an area of downtown Vancouver that used to be a heavy industrial area dominated by warehouses and rail yards. It was chosen by the City of Vancouver to be the site of Expo 86 (the 1986 World’s Fair). After Expo 86 it was transformed into one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the city. The marinas, parks, high-rise apartment blocks, and converted heritage buildings make up one of the most significant urban regeneration projects in North America.

Take a stroll through the streets of Yaletown and enjoy one of the old warehouses’ large exterior platforms, once used for easy loading, which are now urban patios. Yaletown’s waterfront location along the Seawall is a big draw for Vancouverites and tourists alike, but it is also known for its sophisticated late-night lounges.

Vancouver literally has something for everyone and is not limited to these 9 areas, these were just the 9 must-see areas of Vancouver that I chose. Not to mention a bunch of other must-see areas that are outside of the City of Vancouver.

If you haven’t visited Vancouver yet make sure you do, and if you already have then come back again and see something new. Afterall, Vancouver is in a constant state of change.


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