Spend a little time in Vancouver, and your biggest problem is going to be deciding what to do while you’re here. A gay-friendly, urban retreat on nature’s doorstep, Vancouver has what you’re looking for. Whether your idea of fun is a quiet beachside stroll with a coffee in your hand, or cutting up the dancefloor into the wee hours, Vancouver’s got you covered.
Vancouver is a city of unique and vibrant neighbourhoods, and as an established gay-friendly destination, you’ll find our LGBT community living throughout. So where can visitors go to find the very best of Vancouver's gay culture?
Randall Shirley, one of North America’s top gay travel journalists, has explored some of his favourite local neighbourhoods for Tourism Vancouver’s Out in Vancouver newsletter. Below are some of his LGBT-friendly must-visit ‘hoods for sightseeing, shopping, dining, wandering or just hanging out.
The West End
Located on the downtown peninsula, the West End encompasses Davie Village, and is a mix of tree-lined streets, beaches, and a thriving commercial heart with funky stores, and community restaurants. (read full article)
Vancouver’s original neighbourhood, circa 1867, Gastown has long been a haven for souvenir-hunting tourists, but it’s now where you’ll find many of Vancouver’s hottest restaurants and shops. (read full article)
As much a state of mind as it is a place, “Kits” is a vibrant and walkable beachfront neighbourhood. Buy a yoga mat at the original lululemon, head to Kits beach and create your own Lotusland moment. (read full article)
Almost every city has a street named Main, but no other has quite the hip vibe of Vancouver’s. Anchored by the clock tower of the circa 1915 Heritage Hall, it isn’t the gay village, but there’s gobs of gay appeal in this ‘hood. (read full article)
Locally known as "The Drive," this extremely multicultural area has long been popular with lesbians, and plenty of gay men love it too, particularly as the neighbourhood holds its own Pride festival each June. (read full article)
Other Neighbourhood Resources
Known for its diversity, Vancouver is home to a variety of gay and gay-friendly bars, pubs, cabarets and nightclubs. Whether you're looking for a candlelight dinner or a night on the town, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Vancouver.
While the West End neighbourhood is the focus of the LGBT nightlife scene, you’ll find plenty of options sprinkled throughout the city’s neighbourhoods – check out our neighbourhood guide for areas to explore. For a comprehensive list of LGBT nightlife establishments and events, visit Gayvan.com’s website.
Whether you’re looking for high-end fashion from international designers, culinary souvenirs or a uniquely artistic piece from an independent boutique, Vancouver’s shopping scene will not disappoint. Downtown Vancouver’s Robson Street is the city’s best known shopping thoroughfare, offering big names from around the world and anchored by the partly-subterranean Pacific Centre.
For high-end fashions, try Holt Renfrew – a Canadian department store with exclusive international labels and a personal shopping service that leaves no coat-hanger unturned, or the newly-opened Nordstrom department store. Downtown’s Alberni Street and the South Granville area are also havens of designer style. On the hunt for something funkier? Check out Gastown’s indie studios, Main Street’s excellent vintage stores, and Kitsilano’s wholesome lifestyle purveyors. For culinary gems and tasty souvenirs, it’s hard to beat Granville Island’s public market and its neighbouring stores.
For more shopping information, click here.
With a robust LGBT community in Vancouver, it’s easy for visitors to find like-minded locals who share their special interests, hobbies and sporting pastimes. From running groups and swim clubs, to dance troupes and choirs; community health and wellness groups, to organizations dedicated to exploring Vancouver’s natural environment, you’ll find Vancouverites who share your passions.
We’ve compiled the following resources to help you find groups and organizations to connect with:
- GayVan.com is home to a comprehensive list of gay community groups.
- MyDavieVillage offers helpful lists of groups divided into arts and culture, sports, and social groups.
- QueerActive is dedicated to healthy pursuits, from badminton to dragon boating.
- This article in Vancouver’s Georgia Straight newspaper includes many resources for those looking for LGBT sporting groups.