As a cosmopolitan, coastal city, Vancouver's style ranges from haute couture to cozy flannels and fleece. Shopping in Vancouver offers this same diverse range with high fashion boutiques, designer label, accessory and jewelry stores, to extensive shop-til-you-drop malls offering something for everyone.
There are unique areas all around Vancouver for clothing, art, ceramics, furniture and much more waiting for you to discover. See the following for details about great shopping areas in Vancouver:
Just outside of Vancouver lies BC's largest shopping centre :Metropolis at Metrotown. Home to 400 shops with the biggest selection of fashion, accessories, sporting goods and apparel, beauty boutiques, restaurants, theatres and in-mall events. Just a quick 15 minutes skytrain ride from downtown Vancouver and free parking for motorists. Metropolis at Metrotown is open seven days a week with shopping until 9pm Monday to Saturday.
In the heritage area around Main Street and Keefer, you'll find everything from ginseng to green tea, fine embroidered linens, silk robes, exotic fresh produce plus traditional Chinese tableware and cooking utensils. Natural apothecaries and herbalists abound in Chinatown, and it's the best place in Vancouver to buy freshly-prepared Asian delicacies from moon cake to roasted duck. The summer weekend night markets are always popular, especially for cheap imported goods and a vast smorgasbord of take-out food options.
Just a 5 minute drive or ride on the SkyTrain from downtown, Commercial Drive is a place to see! Unofficially known as 'Little Italy', or called 'The Drive' by locals, this community has grown into an eclectic mix of cultures, coffee shops, restaurants and funky, unique stores.
At one end is an old church converted into a theatre for performing arts, and at the other is a traditional cinema - with balcony! - showing a selection of mainstream, independent and international feature films. In between, you can spend a day wandering, people watching and enjoying the sumptuous foods, drinks and atmosphere!
Rainbow flags and sunburst banners adorn the utility posts in this lively neighbourhood in the heart of downtown's dense West End. Known internationally for its thriving community of gay and lesbian residents, Davie Village is also home to legendary bookstores and thumping nightclubs known for welcoming people of all persuasions. Residents and visitors hang out in the neighbourhood's coffee shops and cafes every day of the week.
Downtown & Gastown
The downtown area of Vancouver from Burrard to Howe and West Hastings to Georgia is a made up of many fantastic stores mixed with commercial buildings, making this area a great place to wander and explore! High fashion, jewelry, shoes, home wares, and much more can be found and it makes for a lovely walk through the downtown streets with coffee shops and restaurants also readily available. Access to Sinclair Centre, a restored landmark heritage building, now housing many upper-end clothing, accessory, gifts and arts stores, Royal Centre offering a extraordinary assortment of underground shops and restaurants, or at Pacific Centre where there are over 100 stores including the flagship Holt Renfrew store all within a few minutes walk.
If you continue past Hastings towards the water, you'll find Cordova Street which leads you past the beautiful Waterfront Station building and down to Water Street - the main road of historic Gastown. The area is rich with history and culture as there are many outstanding art galleries, antique shops, and native art stores that are a must see for visitors. As well, you can pick up great gifts and souvenirs in the many specialty shops. Wool sweaters, cozy fleece jackets, attractive jewelry, fun T-shirts, or how about a 'moose in a can'? They have it all at Gastown, along with countless excellent restaurants - and return here at night for some fantastic nightclubs, pubs and live music!
Granville Street is a main thoroughfare through Vancouver and there are two very distinct shopping areas to visit. One is in the downtown core, the other is south, just across the Granville Bridge up to West 16th Avenue.
Downtown Granville Street provides access to The Bay and Sears department stores, Pacific Centre shopping mall, Robson Street shops and restaurants, as well as many unique stores all along Granville. Clothing and shoes stores sit beside book stores, accessory specialty shops, computer and electronic stores, discount music shops, as well as two large movie theatres, countless coffee shops and restaurants of all types and tastes!
South Granville is fast-emerging as one of Vancouver's trendiest shopping neighbourhoods, full of galleries and stores specializing in interior design, home furnishings and antiques. Designer fashions, fine eyewear, shoes, stationary, linens and china round out the varied retail mix. Top eateries like West (formerly Ouest), the Stanley Theatre and the elegant Meinhardt's Fine Foods make this strip one of the best areas for an early evening stroll and browse!
Granville Island Market
This is a must see for visitors and shoppers looking for the unique and usual. The public markets offer boundless opportunities for fresh produce, meats, fish, baked goods and so much more - the perfect place for lunch or to pick up dinner! Exploring the rest of the area, you can easily spend a full day browsing through the diverse range of shops, stalls, galleries, and theatres available at Granville Island.
Everything from pottery, books, clothing, glassware, beads, books and many specialty stores such as tea, wine, paper products or kitchenware can be found here. Make sure to check out the Kids Only centre for fantastic gift ideas for kids of all ages!
The Kerrisdale shopping area is known to many as the "village." It's only 20 minutes from Vancouver's downtown and offers more than 200 diverse shops and services along its quaint tree-lined streets. The business district is concentrated on West 41st Avenue between Maple and Larch streets, stretching in a north-south direction along West and East Boulevards. Surrounding this area are older, gracious homes, newer additions to the neighbourhood, and both high and low-rise apartment buildings. Architecturally, the neighbourhood boasts many styles and structures listed in the Vancouver Heritage inventory.
In the 1960s, Kitsilano was Vancouver's hippy hangout, drawing comparisons to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury. Today, Kitsilano still has plenty of culture, but its apartments and houses are now occupied by young urban professionals who enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. Most of the action is centered on West Fourth Avenue and West Broadway, with bookstores, ethnic restaurants, cafes and specialty retailers offering plenty of places to explore
For a truly eclectic mix of old and new, mid-Main Street offers great shopping, coffee shops and restaurants of every taste and type. Main Street runs between the East and West sides of downtown Vancouver and offers an endless supply of shops to visit and places to take a break, have a snack or sit and enjoy a full meal.
The major areas to wander include 16th to 33rd Ave and Main, which offer a wide assortment of clothing, carpet, books, novelty and home accessory stores, but this area is well known for many antique shops. Restaurants range from cozy, unique eateries, to large scale restaurants for groups and families and almost every Culture and flavor is represented. As well, coffee and tea shops are a favourite in this community, so it's a sure bet for a relaxing drink and break after a long day of shopping!
Robson is Vancouver's leading shopping and strolling thoroughfare - high fashion mixed with souvenir shops, music stores, beauty products, book stores and so much more. For serious shoppers, this is the place to go. For those less serious, this is the perfect street for having lunch or a coffee and people watching!
Of course it's hard not to buy when you're surrounded by so many great stores - Salvatore Ferragamo is internationally famous for fine leather footwear and eye-catching accessories. Make sure to check out Roots - Canada's flagship store offering a popular range of casual wear from college-style leather jackets to bright-red retro-runners. And for active life-styles, see Lululemon Athletica for trendy yoga apparel with a designer West Coast twist.
Many of Yaletown's former industrial brick warehouses have been converted into super-hip clothing stores, designer furniture outlets and even a trendy showroom for the new Mini Cooper - a postmodern reinvention of a design classic that mirrors the stylish redevelopment of the Yaletown area.
This is the leading downtown spot for locating the latest fashions for clothing, shoes, accessories, and even homes - stores like the multi-floored Chintz & Company cater to those who want their apartments to look as cool as they do!