Vancouver is nothing if not diverse – as you’ll see if you stroll through its many neighborhoods and suburbs. The roots of so many different cultures are evident in over a dozen different enclaves and we always recommend you visit a few before relocating to get a feel for what suits you and your needs. However, if you’re looking for a quick-guide to get you started, here are a few of our favourites:
Downtown/Chinatown: Vancouver boasts Canada’s largest Chinatown (and North America’s third-largest after San Francisco and NYC) and this century-old neighborhood is the place to be for vivid colours, exotic cuisine and a vibrant culture. You can get a feel for the history of the neighborhood at the Chinese Cultural Centre, and take in the beautiful, manicured greenery at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Needless to say, there are a myriad great asian restaurants in this part of town, and in the warmer months, you’ll enjoy festivals, parades and a bustling Night Market. Another plus – you’re right downtown and don’t need a car to get around easily.
West End: This residential area is ideal for those who want easy access to Stanley Park, the enormous urban oasis of natural west-coast rainforest, pacific oceanfront walkways, and city beaches. Around half a million trees will help you forget any stresses leftover from the workday, and the neighbourhood’s coffee shops, fine-dining restaurants and shopping are perfect for the young professional who wants peace and quiet mixed with stylish socializing.
False Creek/Yaletown: This reclaimed industrial area has seen a serious rebirth in recent years, and is now considered one of Vancouver’s hippest areas, filled with sidewalk cafes, trendy restaurants, brewpubs, day spas, retail and wholesale fashion outlets, and shops selling upscale home decor. There’s a thriving nightlife scene here, and for sports lovers, the city’s two main stadiums are located here, as well as a beautiful seaside walk and cycle path for your early morning workout sessions.
Gastown: If you love history and culture Gastown is the place to settle. This historic district is essentially where Vancouver originated, and it’s cobblestone streets are lined with Victorian buildings, old-style street lamps, and refurbished brick warehouses that today house everything from souvenir shops and First Nations galleries to stylish clothing boutiques and ad agencies.If you’re relocating to Vancouver to start a business, Gastown is considered the place to set up shop (if you can afford it!)